Amagami SS is a masterpiece

Sounds like a troll, right? Seems like a troll, right?

To some extent, it is. But I do think that aside from being a masterpiece of hilarity, it merits a closer look than merely ‘this series sucks, I’m dropping it because I’m too smart for it,’ because it actually is smarter than it appears. I may be quite fond of cerebral series such as Tatami Galaxy, but I haven’t failed to see the charms of this series. If one really thinks about it, it wonderfully subverts the romantic comedy genre in anime. Most romantic comedies with high-school settings deal with the saccharine and more platonic aspects of romantic development: it always starts with mere acquaintance, then slowly develops into familiarity. Sex is often out of the question: Kare Kano is one of the notable exceptions of this, with the couple actually consummating their relationship within the series. Nearly all romantic comedies to this point, however, deal with a linear and solitary progression of the plot. A subtle or obvious competition among the prospective girlfriends appears sooner or later in the series, with the girl the protagonist truly loves being with the hero in the end: the element of competition is never quite removed, but there is always a relatively clear resolution by the end of the series, with only one girl being with the hero.

I do <em>as well</em>.

I do as well.

Amagami SS subverts that: why can’t the hero have them all (like Pokemon)? I believe it is the series that pioneers various pathways within the same series having different endings. The protagonist is not merely paired to one girl; he is paired to all of the prospective girls with the series tackling different paths. In addition to that, it tackles the more visceral aspects of romantic development early on in the series: as much as one denies it, physical intimacy is just as important as emotional intimacy in a relationship. I don’t pertain to all out making-out, but I can’t fault Tachibana’s efforts toward his senpai: his attempts at physically getting closer is successful despite the circumambulant method of getting there. Finally, it fearlessly panders to the more sensual side of a relationship, and the more sensual side of viewers. I must admit that I was quite aroused when I saw Tachibana kiss the back of the knee of Morishima as well as during their quasi-sadomasochistic role playing in the cafeteria. That’s something that has been bypassed before in most romantic comedies, or alluded to only vaguely: in love, it cannot be denied that there is a sexual element.

I find nothing wrong with that. Frankly, I think it’s added more spice to the series. I agree with lolikit in that there’s something more to the show. It must not be dropped even if ‘one values his intelligence,’ because it is also smart in a way that some people can’t see.

Yes, I watch Amagami for the plot as well.

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34 Responses to “Amagami SS is a masterpiece”

  1. Mentar Says:

    That’s a very nice way to put into words what I thought about it 🙂

    ^_^b

  2. Hogart Says:

    I think you’re all mistaking “atypical fanservice” for “intelligence”. I see nothing “intelligent” about Amigami, it’s just pandering to our need to explore the possiblities that would occur in real life in a freakish one-in-a-billion situation.

    That’s not to say it’s bad or wrong in doing so. After all, there’s an over-saturation of shows with garden-variety fanservice. Amigami is just exploring wish-fulfillment more than pantsu. But that doesn’t make it intelligent.

    It’s just a farcical tease, much like B Gata last season only with a different sense of humor and a proper harem angle. If you found B Gata too blatant, this one might better suit your taste.

  3. Michael Says:

    Mentar:

    Thanks.

    Hogart:

    I didn’t say or imply the anime was cerebral or intelligent. In fact, I suggested the contrary. It is smart, but I pertain to the smartness as a cleverness, and not intelligence, because whether we like it or not, it does introduce novel ideas into the re-hashes of the romantic comedy genre. It brings something new to the table, even if only with atypical fanservice and cleverness.

  4. lolikitsune Says:

    I see this ending up like the Code Geass debates, only this time I’ll be on the side of the lovers rather than the haters.

  5. Hogart Says:

    Gotcha. I will admit that it introduces new things, at least I’ve not seen knee-kissing in an anime before. And since cleverness and novelty are in the eyes of the beholder, I’ll just chalk my misunderstanding up to my being a pompous ass.

  6. Michael Says:

    Hogart:

    Pompous? I never even thought of that. I do appreciate your commentary. Thank you.

    lolikitsune:

    Hah.

  7. lolikitsune Says:

    Though it should be noted that the ‘gotta catch’em all’ thing is the exact same formula as Kyoto Animation’s been using for AIR, Kanon, Clannad; only Amagami plans to explicitly kill the continuity between heroines’ stories.

  8. DoctorDazza Says:

    So it’s a visual novel in anime form?

    Which is good, it’s DIFFERENT. One of the problems I found with Clannad, other than I needed to buy a new box of tissues, was that I liked Kyou’s character more, but I was forced upon Nagisa as the heroine.

    One thing that does annoy me in the whole ‘herem’ genre, is that the guy never takes risks, or puts himself out there, it’s always the female leading the way.

    I agree with you all the way about this show, I hope it gets better with the other heroines, mind you I am LOVING Morishima, she’s my type of gal ;P

  9. Michael Says:

    lolikitsune:

    Good point.

    DoctorDazza:

    Yes. There is a different continuity for each of the heroines. I don’t find the show to really be a masterpiece by my personal standards, but it does bring something novel to the table that some people don’t like to admit.

  10. Mystlord Says:

    See, now I’m sure you’re just going against the crowd for the sake of going against the crowd XP

    But in all seriousness, I’m against the show primarily because I just don’t find it funny or interesting. I think one big part in my frustration with the show is that the first two episodes looked like it was going to set up to something semi-normal in terms of character development, and then it throws this at me. Plus I already found the characters annoying in the first place, plus they seem far too one-dimensional – the girl is just purely perky, and the boy is seriously obsessed.

    I dunno. I guess the show’s just not for me.

  11. lolikitsune Says:

    I do think it boils down to that “don’t like to admit”, c.f. kimagure-san’s comment on my linked post on this episode.

  12. Michael Says:

    Mystlord:

    No. I’m just not making out the relationships in Amagami to be of a general nature. I don’t think the relationships there are crass, since a few relationships are built on subservience. I actually know one guy in real life who did what Tachibana did and actually pulled it off. Why? Because the girl was better-looking than him and more popular. So he persisted and kept on trying despite her initial refusal. They are still currently going strong. Does that make Amagami unrealistic? Does that make them simpletons? No, it doesn’t.

    I don’t think I have the right to call it a romance devoid of character, personality, empathy, and interest, because I do believe some relationships arise from initial subservience. Just because it gives light into a part of romance-comedy rarely discussed or tackled does not make it crass. I’m not touting it to be a masterpiece: it’s neither Tatami Galaxy or Honey and Clover. I just think it’s haughty to do that to this series, especially with the fact that it is more novel than a lot of romance-comedies in the past. It may not be novel for reasons people think is right, but that doesn’t make it any less novel.

    I was aroused by the episode. I was surprised at how it tackled the sensuality of a budding relationship with that kind of frankness. I was surprised at the path it took. Do I think I have the right to bash it for that vanguard direction? Fuck no.

    I’m not being contentious just for the sake of being it. I’m just saying that it doesn’t warrant all that bashing. I’m not touting it to be a masterpiece (other than of hilarity).

    lolikitsune:

    Whether you admit it or not, though, the series does bring something new to the table. People can say that it’s just a different type of fanservice or just more sensual developments, but THOSE are novel for the romance-comedy genre. I think the series has to be more respected from that standpoint.

  13. /a/nonymous Says:

    Haters gonna hate.

    I thought you were really pretentious with your DEEP posts at first. Then I read that article, and, oh, man, that fag just fucking pisses me off. Ugh. God, that chaostangent dick just reeks of pretension. I was wondering how many times he right-clicked on Word just to write that post.

    He also deletes comments so as not to make the ‘discussion’ shit. Well, his write-up already was, so there was nothing else that was going to change with the discussion. Fucking prick.

    Ironically, he can’t even spell navel-gazing correctly. That fucker is just so full of himself.

  14. Ryan A Says:

    lol, well played. I like this idea that there’s a distinctly sexual aspect to an adapted harem-story. Perhaps some were not expecting it or are denying the appeal, but it’s not so bad when we know what we’re after :3

  15. /a/nonymous Says:

    People watching this show for anything other than an entertaining series are literally doing it wrong.

    Just at a glance, you can tell this is nothing deep, nothing meaningful, and yet it holds the premise of being light-hearted, easy cruising entertainment. This is not the first show of its kind. Throughout the years we have had PLENTY of shows that exhibited themselves to be nothing more than entertainment. That’s what anime is about in Japan; you have a few shows that warrant something more than watching at 2 in the morning with the brain shut off, but most shows are there purely for the sake of entertainment. That doesn’t mean the two are mutually exclusive, but the distinction is there.,

    And that’s what this show delivers. If you think whatever happened in this show is “retarded” or etc., that means you’re watching the show for the wrong reason and you should really just give up on anime.

  16. Michael Says:

    /a/nonymous:

    No comments. 😉

    Ryan A:

    Yes. Exactly.

    /a/nonymous:

    Yes. I also agree for the most part.

  17. lolikitsune Says:

    It’s also important to note that while this is ‘sexual’ it’s really not more so than all the sexualized ‘moe’ or w/e BS that we find in lots of other popular shows. Anime has always been chock full of fetishization, sexualization, etc.

    I think what drives Amagami home is the authenticity of its sexuality—something we saw some of in Bakemonogatari’s ep 12, I believe—and this is guaranteed to make some uncomfortable. Again, like Kimagure-san, uncomfortable admitting to whatever enjoyment/understanding they might have.

  18. Alexander Says:

    I’m happily enjoying the delicious irony of seeing all the perverts who act like spoiled snobs towards other shows bend over backwards trying to excuse this pile of fanservice and pandering.

  19. Michael Says:

    Alexander:

    I never tried to excuse Amagami. But I want people to watch what they want to watch, without a holier-than-thou telling them to not watch series just because it’s cretinous. Because Amagami, while nothing special, doesn’t deserve those words. People should just see for themselves.

    lolikitsune:

    That’s a good point. It places focus on an uncomfortable part of a budding relationship, something which most people gloss over.

    It’s a wish-fulfillment show, as it is supposed to be. It is pretty unrealistic. But some relationships arise from these stupid hijinks (as I was witness to) that I can’t ignore its basis on reality. Cretins? Only if you’re a social outcast who can’t see the panorama of human nature … because things like those happen.

  20. another /a/non Says:

    Whoever said a show based on a wish-fulfillment dating sim was meant to be oh so deep anyway? Four episodes for each girl, six girls, so it’s practically six shows in one, like those horror anthology movies only starring the same general cast every time. The stories don’t intertwine since the show resets with each girl. So perhaps it’s best judged by individual arcs.

    I’ve read some complaints that the show started with the wrong girl – in the first episode people were all bitching because she likes “older, more responsible guys”. The kneejerk reaction of some was to drop it. Now the remainder are either being turned on, puzzled or repelled because of the non-vanilla intimate play. Perhaps if it had started with a girl whose arc had more conventional intimate action, reception would be different? I think no one who hasn’t played the game expected such “kinkiness”.

    Besides kneepit kissing and affectionate biting (which explains the title), the game also has midriff, possibly navel activity – the various art (official, in-game and fan-made) doesn’t make it clear whether it’s kissing, licking, touching, or just showing, which is plenty erotic by itself. The next arc will have ear biting and belly stuff. Since those are more conventional than the back of the knees, perhaps there will be less “weirded out” comments. After that one of the other girls bites the guy, and in the “still alone” ending in the game (unlikely to happen in the show) the guy’s sister bites him. But based on art, it’s unclear what activities he’ll be doing with the rest of the girls besides kissing. He kisses all of the romantic options of course.

  21. another /a/non Says:

    Also, some people are watching the show mainly for particular girls. I bet opinions will change like the wind depending on the current girl. Surely their stories are not all as kinky as the current one is.

  22. another /a/non Says:

    Comments inspired by the latest troll thread on a certain board:

    As others have said, there’s a big difference between the game and the show. The former is meant to put the player in the shoes of the guy with its first-person views and RPG-like interface. The latter changes the perspective so that the viewer always see “Tachibana” so the self-projection is weakened.

    Again I wonder if the (online) reception would have been different if the series had started with a more conventional girl like Nanasaki. Based on her manga, her story doesn’t have anything out of the ordinary. Would Tachibana, so often accused of being dull and weak, act the same around each girl? I’d say of course not, circumstances are different. Unlike with Morishima, he’s the same age as most of them and older than two.

  23. Corey Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvf-9OcTek8

  24. /a/nonymous Says:

    Alexander,

    Your mindset is what prevents you from enjoying entertainment. Nobody is excusing this show for what it is; rather, we are embracing it. If you fail to realize this when watching Amagami SS, then you really missed the entire point of the show.

  25. Michael Says:

    another /a/non:

    Exactly. Why look for something that clearly isn’t there in the first place?

    I also think you may be right had they started with a different girl. Morishima is just too polarizing, as I’ve said in my previous comments.

    Corey:

    Give it a chance. That’s right.

    /a/nonymous:

    Well said.

  26. lolikitsune Says:

    The polarization is key to making the show memorable in the ‘sphere. I approve of the current lulzfest.

  27. Summer 2010: Amagami SS – aloe, dream Says:

    […] mike: it fearlessly panders to the more sensual side of a relationship, and the more sensual side of viewers. […]

  28. Angelus Says:

    First “In the Realm of the Senses” and now this. I was watching Amagami anyway, but when I saw the last episode I was struck by the nature of the relationship. It was the first time in a long time that something has had me squirming on the edge of my seat in that delicious mixture of pleasure and embarrassment familiar to S&M aficionados. Do they really let kids watch this in Japan? 😉

  29. Ronin AnimeLover Says:

    DoctorDazza, lolikit: AGREE!

    another /a/non: Ditto. Comparisons with KimiKiss are not that far.

  30. MeoTwister5 Says:

    I lold.

    I need more Rihoko kthnxbai.

  31. Raiza Sunozaki Says:

    I’ll say this: I have a hate/love relationship with this show. For most of the first three episodes, I haven’t been able to make it three minutes without pausing, needing to take a break from how incredibly annoying I find the show. Don’t ask me why; I don’t even know. Something about the characters just drives me insane. That and I’ve never had much of an interest in S & M relationships, so it might just be the current track the anime’s on.
    But despite all the times I’ve paused it, I’ve always found myself unable to navigate away from the page (with one exception during the first episode), and I’ve made my way through all the episodes currently out.
    So while several parts of this show annoy me and tempt me to drop it, something just keeps bringing me back to it. And for me, that’s a first in a series.

  32. Michael Says:

    lolikitsune:

    Hah.

    Angelus:

    >something has had me squirming on the edge of my seat in that delicious mixture of pleasure and embarrassment familiar to S&M aficionados

    Oh, you hit the nail right on the head. I was also squirming and my mouth gaped open when all of that was going on.

    MeoTwister:

    I like Nanasaki more! 🙂

    Raiza Sunozaki:

    I think I understand the feeling. Even I can’t help myself sometimes.

    Ronin AnimeLover:

    Yeah. 😀

  33. unicorn Says:

    What will the pokemon’s graphic be on the upcoming Nintendo 3DS? I can’t wait ^_^

  34. marcmarc Says:

    I enjoyed the series as a concept, but I found it to be a little “too” wholesome. I’ve found my self in situations very similar to the ones in show, and let me tell things didn’t play out in such a cute and “sweet” way.

    There is no point in building sexual tension if the show is not even going to allude to level of intimacy. Junichi can barely get a hug or a kiss from his supposed girlfriends.

    Too many scenes where at least a little petting would be expected ended with the characters simply going to sleep. The complete disregard for reality annoyed through the entire series.

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