Amagami SS Plus Collection (Cert 15)
3 Discs DVD / 2 Discs Blu-ray (Distributor: MVM) Running time: 327 minutes approx.
Release Date: June 26th
With most romantic anime being about the awkward and eventful journey to true love – with the odd exception, like the awesome My Love Story!! – we rarely get to see how the relationships progress afterwards. Since the inevitable climax of the couple getting together and presumably living happily ever after is usually enough to satisfy fans of the genre, it is accepted the story ends there.
As we saw, Amagami SS likes to play a different game, in this case by adapting every route of a dating sim into a 26 episode series. Therefore, the curiosity of what happens after the main series ended is satiated with this follow up which delivers exactly that. Plus thankfully keeps things considerably briefer by allocating just two episodes per girl (along with a bonus OVA) which actually proves sufficient.
Because this is essentially a collection of prologues, it jumps right back into the stories without any recap for those with short memories, unless with MVM releasing this so soon after series one, the more impatient among you will have grabbed this title at the earlier convenience, thus things will still be fresh in your minds.
Each story is set some time after male protagonist and apparent irresistible stud muffin Junichi Tachibana has won over the girl(s) of his dream, with the relationships now in full blissful swing. But don’t be fooled into thinking that just because the chase is over that there aren’t still obstacles to overcome, be it on Junichi’s part or that of his girlfriend(s).
They are a mixed bunch truth be told, some possessing fun stories to drive them, others simply involving Junichi and the girl of the moment with little consequence. The more observant of you may notice that the girls appear in reverse order to how they were featured in the first series, meaning we kick off this set with the last girl Junichi won over, Tsukasa Ayatsuji.
One of the few school based stories on offer, we find Tsukasa has put herself up for nomination as Student Council President, as has meek Sae Nakata (who we shall meet again later) but Tsukasa’s main rival is Noriko Kurosawa. In a sneaky move Noriko has named Junichi as her Vice-President – same as Tsukasa – to undermine Tsukasa’s campaign and steal her boyfriend.
Rihoko Sakurai’s arc is less exciting, as the couple aren’t really a couple since they were childhood friends first. The main thrust of this yarn is about Rihoko plucking up the courage to confess to Junichi and hopes to do it over a home cooked meal. Aside from some louse trying to hit on Rihoko while she was out shopping, there is not much to see here.
Swimmer Ai Nanasaki doesn’t fare much better with her entry, which is based around Junichi being too busy with his cram school to be by her side during Christmas. There is a brief moment of amusement when Junichi flees from the cram school to be with Ai and they are chased through the streets, ending up in a love hotel district but that is all I can recall from this segment.
Up next is my favourite story of the entire set – one that is not just consistently amusing but actually had me laughing out loud, especially an awkward scene on a bus. Kaoru Tanamachi invites Junichi to work with her during the summer but they get sacked from their plum job working a live superhero show, so they take a last minute, cheap bus trip to the hot springs that ends up being one disaster after another. Just great stuff from start to finish.
We mentioned Sae Nakata earlier and now she returns for her own moment in the spotlight, still struggling with her shyness but has improved greatly sine Junichi has been coaching her. Junichi needs to assume the reigns of instructor once more as Sae has been tasked with organising the Founder’s Festival and needs all the support she can get to climb further out of her shell and bring it all together.
The final story features Haruka Morishima, the untouchable school idol that Junichi somehow managed to win over. Just like her British grandparents back in the day, Haruka wants Junichi to propose to her during their graduation ceremony but he is unsure. Meanwhile, Haruka’s British cousin Jessica arrives in Japan to take Haruka back home to England with her, threatening to jeopardise the relationship.
Actually this isn’t the end as there is an OVA involving Miya and all the girls from the series – none of them linked with Junichi, who is relegated to the role of pervy single older brother – as they visit a new hot springs bath centre. Basically its 23 minutes of girls comparing boob sizes.
On the one hand I suppose we should appreciate the gesture from the folks at AIC for providing us with a look at the aftermath of the first Amagami SS series and for keeping it short despite the wide scope of possibilities to make this an endless ongoing concern. But with some of the entries being empty and rather vapid it reveals who the real personalities were and which girls were essentially proven to be ballast.
It may be that the writers were trying too hard in creating different futures for the each girl with this not being based on the original game that they were unable to be stretch their imaginations across all six scenarios. For this writer this is 50% enjoyable and 50% filler, but the Kaoru arc more than makes up for the deficit created by the weaker stories.
Depending on how much one enjoyed the first series, Amagami SS Plus is either a welcome adjunct or a simple case of prolonging the agony, but since it is mostly inoffensive and undemanding fluff that offers the viewer a choice of stories, it feels churlish to be too negative about it.
Japanese 2.0 w/ English Subtitles
Disc 1 Only:
Clean Opening Animation
Clean Closing Animation
Rating – ***
Man In Black