Seiren – 3 – METANORN

Seiren – 03

Maybe the beauty shot of the entire arc

winter15-highw So are Hikari and Shouichi on the rails to romance? Welllll, not exactly…

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“I’m not touching youuuuuuuu”

It’s a week into the summer course, and Hikari and Mako get moved into Shouichi’s class, out of the special remedial class. But that doesn’t really make the other students happy, who now think they have to watch Mr Last Place and Jerseys Girl flirt during class. But far from being ashamed at the whispering, Hikari takes the opportunity to tease the rest of the people more. Her circumstances really don’t engender the most respectful attitude for the whole endeavor, since she’d much rather be on that mixer beach tour than at a lockaway summer school. Plus, the attitude in the class is pretty crummy, as Shouichi confirms talking to Hikari later.

This is how cats really look when you don’t do what they want

But the issue of motivation is a major gulf between them, in that Shouichi won’t admit why he decided to come to this summer school. He kind of demurs, not wanting to admit that it was because Hikari, Youko, and Yukie had teased him about his future. But clamming up about it kinda puts the brakes on the rapport they had been developing, and I don’t know that it would have been too bad an idea for him to give her credit for his interest in improving himself. The real rub is in how he would present it, and maybe that wouldn’t have gone too well, as we see later in the episode.

Closer or Just Convenient?

Maybe he’ll learn to not try to tease her

The subdued sexiness of the show

But even with them not talking as much in class, Hikari is still gravitating towards Shouichi as the person she knows second-most (after Mako). So it’s not a huge surprise when she comes to visit him late in the evening, mostly because she’s bored and wants someone to entertain her. He needs to learn to not challenge Hikari, because she’ll always outdo him, whether it’s accepting his challenges and proving him wrong, or by making it too difficult for him to keep up. She even taunts him with a yobai visit to Mako’s room. But we’ve known that’s one of the things that Hikari likes best about Shouichi: his embarrassed face. So it’s no surprise that she nearly dares him to come see her new bikini. She wants someone to see it, and even if he’s not the absolute #1 candidate for that, he’s Mr. Right Now, the guy that she can interact and have fun with.

Hey, do you want to see it?

Maybe I wanna see yours too!

Once again, the show does a really good job making some sexy scenes without feeling the need to call the viewers attention to them with cheesy sound effects. And Shouichi’s focus on things like Hikari’s belly button and the soles of her feet are interesting counterpoints to the usual male gaze points, not that the show is avoiding those either. And it does a good job with the mild sexual tension of the two of them being alone together in the bath, as well as showing us the consequences of Shouichi thinking about Hikari wetting herself. Standing at attention is not something we usually see in non-hentai anime, but I think this show used the point well both to convey how Shouichi was thinking about Hikari and also to let him scare the teacher away.

“No, I don’t swing that waaaaaay!”

Kinda Blowing It

“Hey, did anything happen at the mixer tour?” “Nah, not really”

But they have one more conversation, and that’s where things go a little wrong, as I think Shouichi got a little too comfortable talking to Hikari as a friend. It’s really never good to accuse someone of lying all the time, especially if you want to stay close to them, even if you couch it as a friendly question. It puts Hikari on the defensive about how she’s talked to him before, and when he pushes it about her workplace, the conversation turns cold, because it’s her working behind her parents back that got her in trouble. And he’s the first person to have admitted knowing about it that she didn’t tell. That instantly seems to change her thoughts toward him, as perhaps he’s the one who turned her into the disciplinary committee, which called her parents, leading to her present situation. And I think she might be thinking that Shouichi could have done that, along with mentioning the idea of a summer school, so that he’d get to make some time with her. Even if she says she doesn’t suspect him, I think that she does, as that is pretty much the end of the time they spend together at the camp.

 

“wait… what?”

But I think we get a hint at the real culprit later in the show, as everyone heads back to school. Even though Yukie says nohing special happened at the mixer beach trip, she’s now walking to school on Araki-senpai’s arm, with Hikari and Youko staring daggers at her back, and casting a few in Shouichi’s direction. Somehow Shouichi takes this as Hikari definitely suspecting him, but this is one where I think Occam’s Razor is going to prevail. I think anyone can see that the most likely person to have ratted Hikari out is Yukie, as she’s the one who benefitted. Plus, the idea that Shouichi would have been some mastermind of the whole thing is somewhat laughable.

This ED is a Little Suggestive…

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When I first watched this episode, I didn’t see anyway we’d get from the end of this episode to anything resembling a couple between Hikari and Shouichi by the end of the next episode. It felt like the gulf between them with her suspecting him was just too wide to cross in just one episode. But after rewatching it, it felt like that wasn’t nearly as much, and that Hikari was more mad at Yukie for being a dorobouneko. And that her look over at Shouichi wasn’t nearly as accusatory as it was embarrassed. We’ll have to see next week, but I think that the show is doing really well making an authentic feeling story, without “perfect” characters. That makes it a bit more fun, plus there’s actually some possibility that they won’t be a couple. There’s a feeling of inevitability because it’s a TV show, but that’s tempered by the way it’s being presented. I’m really enjoying this, but part of me also hopes that they can change up the story type a bit for the other girls.

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Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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7 Responses to “Seiren – 03”

  1. belatkuro says:

    I don’t understand what you mean by the ED? It’s been the same since episode 1. The banana is pretty suggestive but what about the order?

    Probably the first time I’ve seen a boner in anime. Can’t remember any other shows that showed it like that, excluding H shows of course.

    The episode was a bit of a mixed bag. There was definitely progression with the way they interacted in the room and the bath. Lots of sexy scenes and teasing that I like. Hikari really has a great figure and I love watching the ED just to look at her(the song is also good; full ED in a few days). Though does Hikari really just wear the jersey all week to have those marks on her waist?

    On the other hand, the conflict suddenly came out and it’s sort of confusing. I get that there’s false happiness first before a final conflict and then the happy ending but I feel like there won’t be enough time in the next episode to finish the issue and give a satisfying conclusion to the couple getting together. They’ve become comfortable with each other in this episode but that sort of widened up again with the existence of the snitch who ratted Hikari out to the summer course. And Shouichi didn’t really defend himself that well. Takayama does have some weird ways to end a route like Rihoko’s so maybe it’ll be different in the other girls but I felt that there could have been a better way to go in this route than what transpired in the end. We’ll just see I guess.

    Here’s some translated stuff that features Amagami and Seiren characters from the official website. Gives a bit of tease to the next heroines.

    • Highway says:

      Yeah, the ED’s been the same, with the “Hey, giant boner lighthouse!” image followed by the “Two hands on the banana” image. They’re both a bit suggestive 😉

      Like I said, when I first watched it, I had the same kind of reaction: “How are they going to finish this arc in one more episode? Seems like they’re really far apart.” But watching it a second time, maybe I was more used to it or something, but it really didn’t seem like Hikari and Shouichi were nearly as far apart as Shouichi thinks at the end of the episode, which is what I think was coloring my opinion at first.

      I do think that what the sudden change of mood shows is that Hikari wasn’t really “over” getting marooned in the class, even if she had been having some fun. She feels like she was sold down the river, and when Shouichi brings it up, that’s the first thing in her head. But I’m thinking that she’s come around quick seeing Yukie with Araki. While I don’t know that Hikari was totally set on dating Araki, I think she probably thought it was a good idea, and to be railroaded by her friend is not going to make her happy, oh no.

      One of the images in the preview for next week was Hikari confronting Yukie with Shouichi behind her, so we’ll see how that goes.

  2. Rathje says:

    Sorry, this MC is pathetic. Completely unlikable waste of space.

    Amagami had a MC with some personality, a guy who could surprise you with his creativity and occasional daring. This MC has none of that charisma.

    He’s basically a pathetic nothing with an obsession with Japanese sex-fetishes, and that’s really the whole story with him. All he does every episode is blush about morbid fetishes.

    Noticing one or two fetishes occasionally and MOVING ON is fine for an MC. Noticing one every five minutes just makes him mentally ill. Blushing about toilet dreams, butt marks, “she’s in my clothes!”, wetting oneself fantasies, foot fetishes, indirect kisses just makes him an annoying self-absorbed loser.

    The Japanese male obsession with fetishes is morbid, annoying, and pathetic. And so is this MC.

    Really, the only admirable thing he’s done in the entire show is take proactive action to study more, and have the guts to tell the girl he likes that she’s attractive.

    That’s it really.

    Yet another MC who has girls interested in him for no rational reason that we can discern.

    In Amagami, the MC at least had the charisma for the girls’ interest to make sense. There’s absolutely nothing admirable here.

    And as an anime fan, I’ve pretty much come to the point where the MC has to be good. Giving the girls interesting characters and personalities no longer cuts it for me. The MC has to be at least decent, or the show is a failure for me.

    And this guy’s just a perverted self-absorbed waste of space who decided to start trying harder on his exams.

    • Highway says:

      So, you’re saying he’s a teen. I personally find Shouichi to be a very authentic teen boy, which is usually little more than a lot of hormones in a meat skin. At least when I was a teen boy, I noticed things when I was alone in a room with a girl I liked.

      And really, boys and girls get interested in boys and girls because they’re there. There doesn’t really need to be some watershed event, something to catalyze a reaction. I think that TV really skews this reality, because we as viewers get hung up on the “What makes this special”, because so many things are presented as special. This show is one of the ones that’s making the ordinary into the focus of the show, and that’s never been something that I mind, because I find fascination in the the “ordinary” lives of people. And lots of people ask lots of other people “How did you two meet?” and for the most part, it’s a banal ordinary story. “I met my wife at a high school party. She liked a record (Thomas Dolby’s Aliens Ate My Buick) I had brought to the party at the request of the host, and we spent the whole night talking to each other” (this is a true story). But it’s made special because it’s a special event in the lives of those people. That’s how I view it.

      It’s too bad you don’t like the show.

  3. Rathje says:

    There are things i like about it.

    I like the supporting characters. I like the plot setup – a summer test study camp is fairly novel for this genre. I also like the girl protagonist.

    It’s just the show falls short of Amagami on most points. If you were to compare this to the Junichi-Haruka arc (which is the obvious comparison) – you see similarities. A guy being played with by a very bold and flirtatious girl, but managing to win her heart and not just her amusement. Some fetishy kind of play factored into that too.

    But the difference was all in the male MC. In Amagami, Junichi gave as good as he got from Haruka (and the later girls). There was a lot more flirtation between equals. There was never a sense that Junichi was inferior to Haruka or not worthy of being with someone as vivacious as her. He kept up with her – played against her on her own terms, and ended up showing her a great time and winning her affections.

    None of that can be said of this couple. She is throwing all the pitches in this arc. He’s just sitting their blushing and stammering and obsessing about sex.

    Teenage boy or not, that’s not fair to teenage boys. Yes, they think about sex frequently and often. I sure did. But it’s not all they think about – and certainly most of them don’t combine 7 different weird sex fetishes into one guy. That’s just not believable.

    After three episodes, I see no reason why this guy should even be with a girl this fun.

    That’s a real problem – because the main narrative goal of a show like Seiren, or Amagami, or… whatever that creepy one where he does his sister was… the main goal of these shows is to have a strong MC who can woo various girls and entertain the audience as we watch different aspects of his personality being brought out by different girls. It’s part of the fun of the what-if fantasy.

    And it absolutely requires the MC to be the best character in the series.

    This guy is not the best character. In fact, can we even identify anything interesting about him at all that would make the prospect of watching him win over the other three or four girls remotely appealing?

    I’m not a prude. I enjoy a good romantic fanservice show. But this guy is just pathetic. What’s to like about him?

    (OK, I’ll admit, it was sort of funny how he got rid of the teacher in the bath, but still…)

    • Highway says:

      I think that is fair to teenage boys when the entirety of what you see of them is their interactions with a girl they would be interested in. We’re not seeing Shouichi when he’s studying by himself or in class. He’s presumably being different then, but it would be even more boring (from the perspective of a TV viewer).

      But even then I don’t think that he’s completely obsessed with sex. We’ve seen him actually hold some very successful conversations with Hikari throughout the arc without stammering or blushing. But part of Hikari’s personality is to specifically tease Shouichi because he reacts to her. So I think it’s justifiable that those reactions are a significant part of the arc.

      I personally think that the monogamous nature of a show like Seiren allows for less of a “strong main character”. There’s a lot more to the opportunity and circumstances, rather than needing a boy who needs to actively pull people to him with charisma. I personally find him interesting in that he is fairly level-headed, he’s able to keep up with Hikari quite a bit even when presented situations that throw him initially, and that he’s *not* a horndog, like Junichi was in Amagami SS, an aspect that I found and continue to find offputting.

      • Rathje says:

        Alright, at least I see where you’re coming from on this – even if I don’t share your taste in it.

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