Amagami SS Collection (Cert 15)

6 Discs DVD / 3 Discs Blu-ray (Distributor: MVM) Running time: 490 minutes approx.

Release Date: May 15th 

Henry VIII famously had six wives but not in the same recurring time frame nor the ability to hit the reset button and begin again with a new wife like the past never happened. Perhaps, if like Junichi Tachibana, Henry VIII was the protagonist of the popular dating sim Amagami, he may have saved himself a few headaches.

A second year high schooler, Junichi had his heart broken when his girlfriend stood him up on Christmas Eve. Rather than have her beheaded as Henry VIII would have done, Junichi throws himself into his school activities, finding love with six very different girls as a result. Told over 24 episodes with four episodes per arc, Amagami SS details Junichi’s journey to romantic bliss.

First up is school goddess Haruka Morishima, initially out of Junichi’s league until she spies him helping a first year girl and softens towards him, in the most straightforward tale in this collection. Up next is Kaoru Tanamachi, a long time friend of Junichi’s fulfilling the “true love right under your nose” trope in lieu of their existing platonic relationship.

Girl number three is Sae Nakata, the shy first year student Junichi assisted in the first episode and friend of his younger sister Miya. Sae wants to work as a café maid but lacks the confidence to talk to people, so Junichi becomes her coach. Swimmer Ai Nanasaki is the fourth love interest, anther classmate of Miya and one that takes a bit of a while to defrost before falling for our teenage Casanova.

The penultimate conquest is childhood friend Rihoko Sakurai, whom Junichi helps stick to her diet, bringing them closer. Finally, Tsukasa Ayatsuji proves the biggest challenge for Junichi. The stress of organising the school festival forces Tsukasa to reveal her split personality to Junichi, confusing him as to which side of her he fell for.

If the Groundhog Day format of this series seems familiar, you’ve presumably watched another recent MVM release with a similar premise, Photo Kano. This show however benefits from more time to explore each scenario with a little more depth but without the central photography gimmick to act as anchor for Junichi’s actions.

As far as leading men go, Junichi is well mannered, studious and hardly selfish yet is openly shallow about women, sharing porn mags with his mates and finding priority value in the size of a girl’s chest. In the first two arcs, he reveals some odd peccadilloes which are encouraged by his girl of the moment, kissing one behind the knee just as her dog does and the other on the belly!

Buttressed by little sister Miya, who may have a tacit brother love complex, on hand to call him out for being a pervert on a regular basis whilst playing cupid on more than one occasion, it is often a shock that Junichi gets as far as he does with these girls. But as outlined above, some of the romances blossom because of circumstance than direct pursuing by Junichi, others are simple contrivances by way of concluding the arc.

Junichi, his mate Masayoshi Umehara and Miya are the only real constants in this recurring universe, their roles remaining barely deviating from start to finish, while the girls appear as extras in each other’s segments with no reference to their own dalliances with Junichi. This enables each tale to be viewed as a standalone yet feels decidedly peculiar when watched in succession.

The DVD version of this release allots one disc per story and each one brings with it a sense of déjà vu by beginning with the fateful Christmas Eve night dumping, told from a different perspective on each occasion to avoid direct repetition. Some of the girls feature immediately to get the ball rolling, others are slotted into the picture later.

Aside from the common attraction to Junichi, the girls each have their own personalities and for the most part are distinguishable from one another; only Haruka and Tsukasa are too similar in appearance to incur potential confusion. In order to give each story a unique feel, the closing theme songs are sung by the respective voice actress of their character.

The action is kept largely at school with the home lives barely figuring into scheme of things, so no angry parents or disruptive siblings (aside from Miya) to complicate things. Of course there are still regular features from within the anime diegesis that this show feels beholden to cover, such as the school festival, the trip to the amusement park, etc. alongside classic broad comedy shenanigans like the accidental boob grab and panty peeking.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised at this, since it was established from the beginning that Junichi was your average horny teen boy, but it is hard not feel a slight disconnect from the emotional drama the scripts commit to in catering for the hopeless romantics watching. For every step taken forward in trying to be relatable, two are taken in reverse to satiate the base instincts of a simpler mind.

If the twenty-four main episode don’t wear you down, there are two bonus OVA episodes included on the final disc – the first featuring pushy first year girl Risa Kamizaki who declares her love for Junichi and demands he be her boyfriend, the second focusing on Miya, who wonders how her brother has so many female acquaintances yet can’t find love.

With no knowledge of the original game I cannot say how well this adaptation holds up but as an anime series Amagami SS is a curious beast. Ambitious in its protean narrative yet bound by its repetitive structure, it aims to offer something for everyone but suffers from being too niche for widespread appeal.

Ultimately harmless fare that demands little of the audience besides patience, Amagami SS is a show best viewed in individual sessions rather than binge watching to avoid inevitable fatigue.

 

Extras:

Japanese 2.0 w/ English Subtitles

 

Disc 1:

Trailers

Clean Opening Animation

Clean Closing Animation

DVD Credits

 

Disc 2:

Clean Opening Animation

Clean Closing Animation

 

Disc 3:

Clean Opening Animation

Clean Closing Animation

 

Disc 4:

Trailers

Clean Opening Animation

Clean Closing Animation

DVD Credits

 

Disc 5:

Clean Opening Animation

Clean Closing Animation

 

Disc 6:

Special 1 – Risa Kamizaki – The Truth

Special 2 – Miya Tachibana – Little Sister

Tsukasa Ayatsuji – Clean Opening And Closing Animation

Risa Kamizaki – Clean Opening And Closing Animation

Miya Tachibana – Clean Opening And Closing Animation

 

Rating – ***

Man In Black

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2 thoughts on “Amagami SS Collection

  1. I suppose I might like this more than Photo Kano as they dedicate more episodes to each girl, so the stories won’t feel so rushed.

    The other day I finished watching Busou Shinki by the way. In the end I thought it was a fun show.

    Like

    1. It’s funny how four episodes seems to be sufficient time to tell a simple story, but like I said, binge watching just encourages burn out through repetition.

      Busou Shinki – I’ve forgotten about that one already. Shows how insubstantial it was! 😛

      Liked by 1 person

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