Amagami SS -was- demeaning to women ; Kaoru renewed my faith in Amagami SS

I like to stand out from the crowd, and most of the time it’s by accident. I went online to read reviews for Amagami SS 08 on one of the forums I frequent, and I was dismayed at the anti-Kaoru arc comments posted there, which was mostly flooded with pictures of Haruka in a santa suit. Am I the only person why actually liked Kaoru’s arc more than Haruka’s -regardless of how ‘anticlimatic’ its ending was?

Well , I’ll tell you why.

From the start, I thought I would have liked Haruka’s arc the best. It seemed the most interesting, and at the time I was afraid that I would be so attached to her that I would not be able to watch the remaining arcs properly. But Haruka’s  arc mostly thought me a few things , on retrospect, after watching Kaoru’s arc.

  1. Haruka is a bitch. There. I said it. She’s snobbish, she’ s fickle, and she mocks others. Perhaps each arc makes the character seem godly. Kaoru was this immature character in Haruka’s arc. In Kaoru’s Arc, Haruka is snobbish, constantly brandishing her assets (in all senses of the word, RE: Episode 08).
  2. Haruka is a nympho. Yes. I said it too. I expected the same thing to come from Kaoru’s Arc,but no. In Haruka’s arc, they spend a lot of time – a lot, mind you, having sexual play. That whole BDSM scene in the cafeteria, the whole Junichi constantly trying to kiss her kneepits segment.  Call it dominating, or whatever. But it’s frankly queasy on retrospect.
  3. Haruka is insecure – control-freak insecure. That whole ‘I want you to see me’ segment? Ugh. Haruka is a disgrace to women. I’m a male, I’m not a sexist, but this is what I feel. She implies that in a relationship, the body is the most important thing – and by god does she secure this. Not only does she keep showing off her body – even in Kaoru’s arc, – she objectifies herself.

Now Kaoru renews the concept of women in Amagami SS. Haruka made it appear that all the women were like her , thus dealing a huge blow to womanhood. As a guy, I can tell that gender roles have changed, if not even switched! Gone are the chauvinistic ramblings of yesteryear. Women are go-getters, they are strong and they can fend for themselves, they even accomplish better things than the males themselves! But even in this world of rapid gender-role progression, Kaoru still can find love, even if it was in the unlikely form of a ‘bad friend’.

…but isn’t that how a relationship should start?  People complain that it’s bad, it’s stupid, or that it’s even lame. Honestly, who found Haruka’s relationship exactly endearing and reflective? How did she get into a relationship with Junichi again? Being one of the most popular girls in her year, I don’t exactly see the edge she’s coming from.

Furthermore, Kaoru is tough. She stands up for her classmates, she works to keep her own family alive. But no-one is incapable of shedding tears. Kaoru breaks down when she finds out that her mother was dating someone – and possibly getting re-married. Before you automatically rule me out by stating that this is degrading as well, emotions are part and parcel of life. I’m not saying that people can’t show emotion. I’m just saying that this was utterly damning and reflective of her situation. All her time spent taking care of a single mother, that bond they share , a private relationship, and then suddenly you bring a stranger into the question? Who wouldn’t be sad?

THE FIFTH HOLE?

She has to endure with humiliation at work,all the while being so cheerful to others. That’s what makes me like her as a character. She’s headstrong and overall, endearing as a character. I think I’ll miss her arc.

Overall, I would like to add that the art and quality has improved from the previous arc. I also liked this much more than Haruka’s arc. The ED was great. I’m keeping my hopes up for Sae’s arc now.

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52 Responses to Amagami SS -was- demeaning to women ; Kaoru renewed my faith in Amagami SS

  1. Ming Xuan says:

    Don’t ask me. I hate nowadays harems.

    • Valence says:

      That’s the problem. There are so many shows which can be classified as harem – but are not harem! In a sense, Bakemonogatari is harem, but we don’t call it that.

      Amagami SS isn’t harem either. Harem is when relationships haven’t all at the same time, when all the girls fall in love with the main character at the same time.Amagami SS could be argued to be exploring every single alternative route, as expected since it was based on a VN.

      • howeirong says:

        This show has been classed in the same category as True Tears:

        Romantic Drama. For good reason, too: Harem are usually played for laughs, drama is srsbsns.

        Yes, Kaoru’s arc is really good, I agree with you here. The omnibus format is a pretty interesting take on things, though. Kaoru’s arc got my started on Amagami again; I’d like to see what comes next.

        • Valence says:

          The Sae arc seems to surely, be packed with fan-service. Oh god, it’s a underclassman for crying out loud. They’d probably take the chance to show her (lack of) curves.

          There’s drama in Amagami SS, surprisingly. I thought it would be yet another generic series when it started.

  2. Azure Hoshizora says:

    I honestly fell asleep in episode 1 and never found perseverance and determination to watch the rest… All the reviews floating around didn’t even manage to make me the slightest bit interested in it…

    Or maybe I turned immune to the likes of Amagami…

  3. Lenneth says:

    Indeed I prefer kaoru to that bitch haruka, i look forward to the next hole

  4. kiyoura says:

    I’m so glad someone out there thinks the same way I do about Haruka. I really wanted to like her, really. Because her personality was energetic and cheerful. But her bad side started to show real quick, she uses people. Thinks only of herself, even till the very end.For someone who wants to date an older man, she sure acts like a spolied child. I much preferred Kaoru’s arc.

    • Valence says:

      Same here. I honestly felt interested in Haruka because she was so cheery, she seemed to exude this air of confidence. But slowly, she just degraded as a character, into a steaming pile of negative stereotypes. I guess that’s why I prefer Kaoru’s arc more.

      Yeah, Kaoru-arc supporters FTW. I’m sick of people spamming my forums with gifs of Haruka’s santa suit.

  5. hiroy_raind says:

    glad to see another fellow! 😀

    watching eps 3&4 made me scratch my head until it almost bleeds. God knows why I still want to watch anymore, but Kaoru saved the show for me.

    • Valence says:

      Episode 3 and 4…were awkward to watch. I actually dropped the show,but I downloaded episode 5 with a slight bit of optimism, and I’m glad I did.

  6. flyzice says:

    After watching the Haruka Arc, I almost dropped the anime but decided to pick it up again. Only this time I waited until Kaoru Arc ended before I actually watched it. I gotta say that I enjoyed the second arc more than the first one but the development of the story is still not there. Perhaps because it’s only four episodes per arc so I can’t really complain.

    Oh, Haruka somewhat freaks me out. Her character is kind of disturbing. LOL

    • Valence says:

      Same here, I marathoned the 2nd arc. Perhaps that’s why it seemed nicer. It’s rather sad how many people rate the first arc higher than this one, and then complain about Kaoru wasting time and whatnot, flooding the imageboard with pictures of Haruka, over and over again. Haruka seems too random , from BDSM player to ‘Lovely’ Haruka – really, I can’t take it.

      Each arc is 4 episodes long, and that’s commendable on its own.

  7. lvlln says:

    I agree with most of the points in this post. Kaoru was a FAR better character than Haruka and, indeed, wasn’t the misogynistic ideal like her predecessor was.

    But that’s precisely why I didn’t like the Kaoru arc as much as I liked the Haruka arc. Both were failures of storytelling, but the Haruka arc failed SPECTACULARLY. It was so full of misogyny and pure wish fulfillment that I couldn’t help but enjoy watching. After all, don’t you slow down when you see a car crash on the side of the road?

    Kaoru’s arc was just plain old bad. That’s boring. That’s simple failure, the kind that’s not fun to watch. It’s made even more painful by how good a character Kaoru is. She deserved a better arc.

    • Valence says:

      I guess I do slow down when I see a car crash on the side of the road, just to see how the guy must have suffered or out of pure curiosity at the large crowd surrounding him. That’s exactly why I didn’t enjoy watching it. I watched it simply because others are, and the guy driving must have suffered horribly. I’m not that sadistic enough to enjoy that. Similarly, the Haruka arc did fail, I admit, but nevertheless I didn’t like it. It made me feel awkward, squeamish even, much like watching the police clean that poor driver’s innards off the sidewalk.

      However, that’s rather sad to see that Kaoru, being a much awesome-r character than Haruka,gets such a horrid arc. It’s like Angel Beats. They fuck the character up at the ending. It’s sad how they destroy everything by one episode, and that’s a crying shame.

      Ah well. Hoping that Sae’s arc turns out for the better.

  8. Fidelis says:

    I can relate to your frustration, and here are my thoughts with Napoleonic Wars metaphors because I feel like it. Her dress does look old-fashioned…

    She got quite the backlash on the site I frequented as time went on. I defended her story as best as I can. I think I was the poster who took her arc most seriously over there. I had even made screenshots comparing thematic parallel scenes and everything. I felt like the last of the Old Guard at Waterloo. At first it was all “the Guard dies, it does not surrender!” Then it was just “Merde!” since barely anyone else had my back by the last episode, and I guess her fans were just resigned to imposed exile at Saint Helena under the weight of all the negativity.

    A lot of people were calling her arc bland and boring by the end. The relationship here is much more intimate than the last one, which was dominated by hormones, and therefore needs a slower, gentler pace. What’s mundane for them (the drama, the stress-free last episode) is just normal for me, and that’s what made (sigh) it so appealing. They can chew on that.

    It’s also disappointing that no one tries to stand up for her arc on there any more these days. God knows I tried to pick up the gauntlet but no one wants to talk about her anymore. I felt like Marshal Ney allegedly being the last Frenchman to leave Russia. Nothing left to do but to toss my musket in the river and trudge off.

    Ending episode 8 the way they did, you just know the amount of time wasted on pointless, pointless side characters is directly responsible for stuff like the matter with her mom not getting wrapped up, and the still-shot ending. Got that rubbed in my face with all the imagespam of you-know-what.

    The arc looks worse when you compare it to the game, since it appears she just got shafted. Everything, the drama, even their awkward flirting, ran deeper. The very last scene of the best ending was not the bike scene they cut, but Kaoru presenting Junichi to her mom and stepdad. It is a bitter pill.

    But by itself, the only problems with the arc as it stands to me are the downplaying of the mom drama and the ending which the network censored, leading to the still-frame. The latter was just ill-fated, but the former could have been saved with even a single line, about how she needs a man in her life just like mom. But nooo, we need more cameos, no time left lol.

    “All her time spent taking care of a single mother, that bond they share , a private relationship, and then suddenly you bring a stranger into the question? Who wouldn’t be sad?” —> Not only that, it was for love of her dad, dialogue makes that clear. I for one am grateful the arc went deeper than mere hormonal antics and allowed us to see more of her character. Pity they chose not to do it properly. If she ever gets a manga perhaps they’ll do it better there, but reading it will be bittersweet.

    I only ever planned to watch her arc because based on game info, her story just hit closer to home than any other, and she had a stronger personality and thus a better romantic partner than the other friend character. As a person, she’s one of the nicer ones too, helping friends and random people and all. It was never about the hair for me.

    Neither does a less than excellent cartoon version does not ruin her for me. Sounding silly now, but she is still mah queen, or to continue the gratitious metaphors, my empress. Vive l’Impératrice! (and Vive l’Empereur for her guy.)

    • Valence says:

      Well said, good man.

      Anyway, it’s sad how they contrast so much. Haruka runs by responding to her ‘hormones’ , acting like a selfish child and attempting to engage in sexual play all the damn time.Kaoru responds to her beliefs, her morals and her emotions, caring for her mother, and being a stark contrast compared to Haruka. So why is it that people like Haruka’s arc more than Kaoru’s? I don’t understand.

      Rather sadly,I think that the last episode is what made these people dislike the Kaoru arc to begin with. They complain it’s bland ; they complain it’s too weak a ending compared to Haruka’s. And Haruka’s ending wasn’t weak? Oh god, I was squeamish and squirming in my seat when they showed the future, 10 years later. Do you really want such a ridiculous plot device being given to Kaoru’s arc? They complain they want to see the future, because Haruka’s arc had it. Face it – Haruka Arc Failed.

      It was never about the hair for me,either, I just thought it was funny how they called her Sexhair. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that her arc is better than Haruka’s, and that she might be one of the strongest female leads in Amagami SS.

      Vive l’Impératrice.

  9. Fidelis says:

    Thanks, I’m glad to have at least one kindred spirit. If you wish, you can read my review of her arc here (under the handle “Glorg”):

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/reviews.php?target_group=Main&target_title=Amagami

    And you can take a look at my response to a negative arc review here, which predictably takes issue with the second half (but the reviewer liked the Morishima arc even less):

    http://cjblackwing.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/amagami-ss-sex-hair-aka-kaoru-arc-failure-to-launch/

    It’s “interesting for you, not interesting for me” yet again and I can’t objectively prove it wrong since it’s all subjective, but I can write a separate opinion.

    When I said it was never about the hair, I overstated a bit. As I wrote there, her hair is just the “topping on the sundae” for me. I wouldn’t have minded if it was straight. About the game endings which, I admit it, 4chan provided (copied/pasted from the second link):

    In the bad and normal endings, they’re still friends but nothing like the couples they become in the best endings. In the bad ending Junichi stands her up to date another girl, but she forgives him after tossing him in a river. In the normal ending, she just hits him after Keiko of all people confesses to him. She’s the only girl for him.

    The good ending has them living together in college, but they haven’t promised to stay together forever, just for a long time to come. There’s that element of uncertainty hanging over them, since theirs is a more casual relationship and we don’t know how long it will last.

    The best ending, as we know, has them still in high school but they’ve exchanged vows rather like a married couple, so there’s that seal to keep them in place. (They didn’t have a “honeymoon” in the good ending either, and the game implies they do go all the way: “Neither of them get any sleep that night.” Oooh.) Of course marriages don’t always last, but that’s no fun. (Plus there’s the “meeting her parents” scene I mentioned, at the very end. Post-game credits or so I heard.)

    And it’s either Bad or Best, or Normal or Good, depending on hoe close you get during the playthrough. The Ignored status ending happens if you never get close. You’re still friends, but unknown to you she gets published in a magazine. (Prose, poetry or manga? Either way, GOOD GRAVY!!!) I wish they had gone into that aspect of her.

    I wouldn’t have minded a timeskip, but hers isn’t as big as Morishima’s – and again, it’s more realistic. But if they had kept the bike scene (cut for legal reasons – dangerous tandem bike positions), the “meet the parents” scene and the college roommates scene if would be too long a coda, I think.

    • Valence says:

      Sweet . Will read.

      So I take it that she was an awesome character in the game too? I guess the childhood friend character seems to work most of the time.

      But regarding the timeskip, I wouldn’t like a timeskip. You see what it did to Morishima’s arc? It was like the final nail in the coffin for me. The ending was so darn exaggerated to the extent that they seem like ham actors. At least the Kaoru end was somewhat better than their pretentious lover’s play.

      Besides, if Amagami SS had been given more episodes per arc, Kaoru’s character would have been played out better.

      Yeah, Kaoru Supporters for the win.

  10. Pingback: Kuttsukiboshi : Tangled Stars, OVA Episode 1 Review « Ambivalence , or is it ambiguity?

  11. Fidelis says:

    If you don’t mind, I’m going to split my post into two, and start from the bottom again, all for reading ease.

    Hm, I just realized the first link was lvlln’s. Even though you like the arc for much the same reasons as I do, you still call it horrid? Is it just because of the final episode leaving things hanging and casting a pall on the whole thing (as you said Angel Beats did, I cannot relate), or for more reasons?

    As much as it pains me, I have to look at it more critically after defending it, for the sake of balance. Let’s say the arc is an 8.5/10 now when I look at it without considering the game:

    -0.5 for drama ultimately being too quickly resolved and dropped), but since it still works for me (mutual support, etc.) only half a point deducted;
    -0.5 for the ending feeling lacking, but only half a point due to unavoidable comparisons to Haruka’s decade-skip, and more importantly, due to the network censoring the real scene.
    -0.5 for lesser, more forgivable issues. Some of these are palpable but some may just be me nitpicking. But I bet some of these already appeared in Haruka’s arc (which I’ve only seen the prologue of) and will continue all the way to the end..

    The first two problems only become apparent by the last episode. Now if I take the game spoilers into account, considering what it could have been: oh man, double the first two deductions and it becomes 7.5/10.

    -1 for stuff that could have been deeper. It all still works for me, but I can’t ignore that they kiss more, they hang out more, and the drama lasts longer, leading to more intimate supportive scenes as he helps her cope.
    -1 for the ending feeling lacking. -0.5 for the unavoidable network censoring, but -0.5 for skipping the extra stuff they could have added: meeting her parents, if not college life from the good end. (I insist on an epilogue of some sort only for consistency with the other girls).
    -0.5 for lesser, more forgivable issues, but I’m tempted to just give these a pass now for an 8/10.

    A lower score is harder to bear since I really wanted this arc to be a slam-dunk, so I just look at it on its own terms. The lesser, more forgivable issues are:

    – Side characters always having lines when they show up. The only times they’re silent are during the opening credits and the start of episode 1 where everyone first goes to school. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t at all, but even when it’s okay (like Junichi bumping into Rihoko, ep. 5) it tends to go on for too long. This is a sneaky way to build up the other girls to the audience before their turn, but at the expense of airtime for the present girl. As we know this contributed to the problems with the ending and drama.

    – it’s a male-oriented game in the first place, so we don’t get just quite enough of what the girl thinks. Kaoru did fine though with introspective scenes to parallel Junichi’s, but he got a little more. She should have had one more scene at home after ep. 7, perhaps right after Junichi’s bath (which itself mirrors her ep. 6 bath), but with her drying her hair or in bed as not to overuse bath.scenes.

    – I would have liked to see subtle emotions better conveyed. When Junichi says he doesn’t like any girls (rooftop, ep.6) we viewers know he harbors some feelings for Kaoru already. the scene could have had a closeup to his face, a slight second of unease, etc. Related to the next one below:

    – It’s sadly obvious they were skimping on animation costs. We never get a proper extended kiss closeup, only extreme mouth zooms and/or full body shots. The camera is either always too far or too near, they should be half-body shots at least. The struggling in the rooftop kiss scene was mostly conveyed through voiceovers and still-frame backgrounds. It’s a prefiguring of the still-frame ending, which I heard will be corrected in the DVD/BD.

    • Fidelis says:

      Took longer than I thought to write the second half.

      The 0.5 deductions for minor problems are only there to avoid giving blanket 10s. The 0.5 deductions for censorship don’t seem fair either. Feel free to disregard their point value.

      How do you feel about the bed scene? It’s too major, having been built up. Then it just teases us. Is she really asleep or not, playing one last prank on Junichi as well as the viewers? Is her voiceover delivered in bed just afterward? If she’s pranking him again, I guess it is in character.

      Nevertheless, leaving it there only compounds the abruptness of the still-frame ending, and censors didn’t help either. Remember, in the game they were supposed to bike off into the sunrise after being up all night. I wonder if the bike footage will replace the still-frame entirely or be added in between.

      In the game, she tells him in bed that she needs him just like her mom needs someone else to love. I was waiting for her to say that while she was on top. Even if they kept the tease kiss, at least the drama would have been acknowledged again. But even if the drama was downplayed from the game, the basic theme of support was still strong.

      Ending the bed scene when they did could mean these two are too innocent for such things, despite what they may think. Physical intimacy isn’t just sex anyway. But did it have to be such a tease? If they were never meant to go all the way for the show, the writers shouldn’t have made a big deal of her panties, and just shown them snuggling and kissing or even just asleep in each others’ arms, which is cuter and more appropriate for high schoolers acting like they’re married, by my standards.

      The ending could have been better done. It just feels bad when it falters at the very end. But for me it doesn’t cancel out the tons of good things in the other episodes. But for some it may, and probably did, sour the whole story for them. Some may have already found the story too down-to-earth as to be mundane and boring.

      Kaoru’s was easily the most anticipated arc because of her hair and midriff probably. That’s why it’s getting the backlash now, because despite spoilers being out there and readily provided, people were expecting so much of her, and so every flaw gets magnified. I’m no different, but I read the spoilers, and had a fair idea what to expect.

      However, too many people, regardless of spoilers, still had the first arc in mind and were expecting more of the same – more intense, wacky, kinky stuff. Kaoru’s arc not being such doesn’t make it necessarily worse, just different. Though I have to wonder if the first arc being more consistent in its wacky tone makes it technically “better”.

      Everybody criticizing the arc keeps pointing out the shift in gears. But then the first arc has no appeal for me, and the development is only part of the real story. If, as some suggested, the show had dropped the mom drama and emphasized her aggressive kissing of Junichi instead (we only got to see a portion of that), wouldn’t it be shallower? Nothing as strong to weld them ever closer.

      Here’s the 4chan thread I started and kept posting throughout, where I first tried to take the bull by the horns:

      http://green-oval.net/cgi-board.pl/a/thread/39478468#p39478468

      And here are the spoilers 4chan provided:

      – Guide to the girls and their endings: http://pastebin.com/pQaKkyRu
      – Guide to Kaoru’s Best Ending storyline: http://pastebin.com/tQkY6taa

      • Valence says:

        I think the entire last scene was voiced in bed. She seems to be yet again playing another prank on her ‘bad friend’, and then talking about how they have progressed to a whole new relationship.

        To be honest, I watched her for the hair and midriff too. I’m quite happy I did that, for she didn’t disappoint me at all, aside from the ending which faltered. But really,I like it when they don’t display too much sexual play. Haruka’s arc seems to tell me that love= sexual play and roleplay. Kaoru’s arc doesn’t do that.

        Hmm, I wonder if it’s possible to find Amagami SS on the PC,that’d be awesome. But until such a thing becomes reality, I’ll just keep watching and hope for the best.

        • Fidelis says:

          You can play it with an emulator on the PC if you have the know-how, including knowing Japanese.

          I must have written too much on this subject. Sorry if they’re too long, ha. It’s my fault for having emotionally invested in it, the characters and story are so likable that it nags so when people think otherwise. But hopefully I haven’t yet run out of things to say. Keeping these short:

          New arc now and even if I’m not watching any more it goddamn hurts, and will all the way to the end.

          Disregard my “scores” above and just look at my critiques. It’s not fair to judge the whole arc by a episode that falters at the end, so scores should be higher.

          Any way you look at it, the arc is flawed and is therefore not the best by default. Whyyy, writers? Fans just have to bear the weight. Also perhaps she shouldn’t have come as early as she had, so perhaps so much of her time wouldn’t have been consumed by other people.

          I was talking about the episodes again over on my previously-frequented site. I have you to thank actually for giving me an outlet before I dared to venture there again. But I don’t think I will again. Thanks anyway for being here.

          Someone said “I still feel like [the drama] kinda killed the pace”. I replied that the pace slows down as the action becomes more internalized more and more, so the contrast in tone between episode 5 and episode 8 only reflects the plot/relationship development since they have mellowed to each other. It’s not what people expected, I guess, but it works for me.

          Others have compared the pace of episode 8 to a leisurely victory lap rather than a mad dash to the finish line. Because the mad dash was practically made in episode 7, Junichi frantically running around and all. Again, they say basically the same things to each other at the restaurant and the tower.

          Some simply don’t like her or her arc because their tastes differ. I can’t argue with subjective stuff, and sadly the people who don’t agree are now more vocal than those who do, but I can comfort myself with the thought that she is probably one of the more moral girls with one of the more morally substantive stories. A better person, a better story. You went into that a bit yourself above. Just goes to show her appeal lies in her relative normalcy, and there can be nothing wrong with that.

      • Valence says:

        >understand Japanese

        Game over.

        Anyway, I’m glad my blog provided an outlet for you 😀 The internet is serious business, and everything counts.

        I guess yeah. I admit that the end faltered, and probably was not as good as Haruka’s ending in terms of entertainment value, or whatever other way they want to describe it, but overall Kaoru > Haruka. I know, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion and interpretations, but this is what I feel.

  12. Fidelis says:

    Oh my, that just looks bad. Sorry.Can;t you reformat it as an admin or something?

    • Valence says:

      Oh dear,I have no idea how ._.

      Never mind, let the comments remain as a reminder and example for others to join the Kaoru-supporter cause.

  13. Fidelis says:

    I think a poster on the thread I linked above hit the nail on the head about the discontent:

    “There was so much hype for sex hair. There were huge sex hair threads before the show was even announced! A normal relationship isn’t bad but we expected so much more because of her reputation. We came off the Haruka arc seeing these wild kinky role playing games, fun, excitement, wow!, then we get Kaoru who is a cool girl with normal drama getting into a normal relationship.”

    He implies watching a cool girl getting into a normal relationship isn’t fun or exciting. There’s a different level of enjoyment to be gained for sure, but it’s not inferior just because it’s different.

    I also wonder how old those who like her less for reasons of “normalcy”, being “less” fun and exciting, are. This may be below the belt … but could age/maturity be a factor? I’m in my early twenties. Why were so many people fixated on Santa-sempai anyway, on your forums and mine (the 4chan anime board)? Because she’s canonically hotter. (What forums do you go to?)

    • Fidelis says:

      I must sound like a broken record now. But again, just what were people expecting out of her arc?

      Some didn’t like the drama because it was all done before and was thus uninteresting to them. Well, fine. Some didn’t like it because she “lost her charisma”. Well, to me it gave her more depth. Some didn’t like the second half because it “lost” its “spice and vigor”. But as you said, her playful tendencies were still there, and the story just mellowed. It and they had to mellow, I can’t see how otherwise.

      Story spoilers were provided in many of her threads for those who wanted them. I know I kept posting them and even corresponded with game players for more spoilers, so maybe that’s why I’m still bummed a week later. There’s a sense of personal failure.

      I honestly hadn’t expected the responses to be as negative as they’ve become, for many to be disappointed with her story in general rather than specific issues like the ending.

      • Valence says:

        In general her story followed the same structure as Haruka’s, so I don’t see the problem there.

        Story spoilers don’t really help much since it’s an adaptation of only one scene. But since they seem to only be adapting the happy ends, you get the spoiler. But then again, where’s the fun in knowing how something will end? It takes all the fun out of watching.

        Also, this hype brings on a bad mindset to watch the show. You watch the show with no expectations, from which you create new ones. You can’t possibly go in already expecting something awesome- because everything will seem to not be that way.

    • Valence says:

      I seem to lurk around MAL forums the most. The others I just pass by and read.

      Yes, there is hype for Sex Hair, but there was hype for every arc, now wasn’t there? Which arc had no hype at all? After all, Amagami SS is based on the game, and people who play that game naturally have hype.

      I’m even younger than you, so I have no idea why people are so fixated on ‘Santa-senpai’ either. Perhaps they’re all ronery. I don’t know.

      • Fidelis says:

        Oh, I won’t deny I’m ronery myself, just for a different kind of person, haha. Kaoru just happens to come very close to that type, and that could explain why I’m still here writing about her story.

        But come to think of it, she also reminds me of my mother a lot. AAAAAHHH.

        Saw this link, and you said your piece there already. Couldn’t resist going into multiple paragraphs there also, haha.

        http://www.seaslugteam.com/archives/2010/08/26/haruka-vs-kaoru-who%E2%80%99d-you-rather/

        Should I link to this page in return? You didn’t.

        • Valence says:

          Link here if you want 😀 Since most of your debate is already typed here. Besides, I like links.

          Anyway, going to watch Sae’s arc and see how it turns out.

  14. Fidelis says:

    Hello again. How’s the current arc? I wasted a lot of time with that point allotment above, hmm.

    I’d like to share some recent insights about the way people watch the show differently. Surely I’m not the only one to think about the show this way: The show’s entertainment levels may be described in terms of depth and height.

    Opposite directions, same principle. “Emotional depth” means the feelings it produces flow inward than outward, and the reverse is true for “emotional height.” Emotional depth makes you smile or chuckle, emotional height makes you giggle or guffaw. One doesn’t have to be so physical about it, but see what I mean?

    The second half of the Kaoru arc didn’t reach the emotional heights of the first half. But it exceeded the latter in emotional depth, which it already had in good measure. One doesn’t laugh the same way one does for the first half, since the mood is somber, then hopeful, then relaxed. One smiles when it’s over. For me, the emotional depth of Kaoru’s arc far more important than the emotional highs caused by antics in the first half. But that’s for me. It’s all subjective.

    • Fidelis says:

      Apparently people over at the board are finding the current arc better than the second, because it’s antics-driven like the first.

      That’s their opinion, and it is mine that Kaoru’s arc won’t be topped because the others have less depth or substance (much like how I think she herself, having more of these, is the best romantic option).

      Yes, her story doesn’t reach the heights of reliance on kinks/quirks/crazy antics as other arcs = it’s less exotic. Also it’s more organic – their relationship blooms instead of being planted). The story could even have been told without the belly kiss. What does that imply?

      For me, the appeal of her kind of relationship, that of friends expanding their love for each other, is more fundamental than that of other types in the game/show. So her arc has more depth – more substance. Or in terms of food, more sustenance. The antics and quirks are just garnish, and by having less focus on them, the meal is much richer.

    • Fidelis says:

      Someone said he was “sitting on his ass” for the arc unlike others where he pursues the girl. Would you believe it?

      For one thing, the arc isn’t about getting someone’s affection, because the affection between them was already there. It was about coming to terms with it, for both of them.

      Also, he wasn’t passive. They constantly “passed the ball” to each other. so here’s a short recap:

      — He gets the ball rolling with his indirect admission that he likes her. She realizes she likes him too.
      .
      — She kisses him, he kisses her back. (Even in the second kiss alone, the ball changes hands several times. He suggests kissing her, she agrees, he falters, she tells him to get on with it.)

      — She invites him to spend more time with her. (But he already does a lot.) When she goes missing, he shows how deeply he cares by looking all over for her, buying her favorite chocolate for her, etc.

      — He says he’ll always be there for her. She admits she doesn’t want him to leave her alone. This makes him realize he’s in truly in love.

      — He asks her out, but she’s already planned to go out with him. On the date, she confesses first. He confesses after her, and leads her into a kiss.

      — After she’s stranded for the night, he offers his own place. She insists on sleeping side by side and teases him.

      Comprehension skills, people.

    • Valence says:

      Hi again 😀

      Well, I haven’t got the chance to watch episode 10 yet, too busy. But it seems to be so much more fanservice-y than Haruka’s arc…yet not so over-the-top. I don’t know how to describe it. Sae’s arc is interesting. It has even more fanservice and ecchi than Haruka’s arc, if I recall correctly.

      Emotional depth = Kaoru wins.
      Fanservice = Haruka wins

      Tell you what, I’ll go catch up on Sae’s arc when I get the chance, then I’ll answer you. I’m lagging behind D:

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  16. Fidelis says:

    Guess who’s getting her own manga series?

    http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=243645&show=20

    Actually she’s taking over the slot previously held by the class rep. Her story ran for 16 chapters, so if they maintain that length (and they better, hah), there should be enough space for the stuff the show left out (refer to my links above, etc.). The art style feels a bit off though. Still, better late than never, and she sure deserves it.

    • Valence says:

      So BOTH of them have manga already – and I didn’t know? Bummer. But it’s good news, I hope translators pick up on it soon. I think I might just cry from happiness.

      Or maybe not.

    • Fidelis says:

      The series is called Amagami: Precious Diary, but since the title refers to a plot element in Tsukasa’s story they have to change it. To what, I wonder? “Bad Friends” again? What does that mean anyway? Perhaps there’s something lost in translation.

      There’s another manga for Ai called Amagami: Love Goes On, but it only has 4 chapters. Both predate the show. Her story is over also, and I think it’s continuing with another girl as well. Thankfully Kaoru got the longer series.

    • Valence says:

      From what I can tell there’s something about “first bond/love”. I guess that’s what makes it. But I don’t think it’s a continuation of Precious Diary, but a different spinoff altogether.

  17. Fidelis says:

    Chapter 1 of the Kaoru manga is translated, and it’s still called Precious Diary(!). No word about the other one yet.

    Just one chapter in and they’re at ‘first third of episode 6’ levels already relationship-wise. But most of the story/characterization stuff from episode 5 to 6 is missing, or just hasn’t happened/been detailed yet, if it will. Different formats and all that… Again, I hope this is as long as the previous arc was.

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