Friday, February 17, 2012

Amagami SS+ plus - 07

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Kaoru was strictly middle of the pack for me in the first season of Amagami SS, but I’m finding my preferences when it comes to heroines aren’t necessarily carrying over.

There’s been a notable lack of imperative for much of this season.  None of the episodes have been bad or anything, but a lot of it has felt like it really didn't have any compelling reason to exist at all.  This first episode of the Kaoru arc, by contrast, had momentum right out of the gate and kept it going throughout.  It had a lively and upbeat tone that matches her character, and the nature of the relationship between she and Junichi lends itself to further exploration.  Of all the couples that existed at the end of their S1 arcs, this one in many ways felt the least complete.  Could they make the transition from osananajimi to couple, or were they going to one of those couples that acted like pals?

I was glad to see the arc jump right into that, and build the episode around it.  As Kaoru’s friend (Kodawaki Mai) points out, the stuff Junichi and Kaoru do together as a couple is pretty much the same stuff they did before.  As a remedy for this, they hatch a plan for the couple to take a summer trip – complicated by the fact that Junichi is flat broke.  This leads to a pretty funny sequence with the two of them working in a hero show, which Junichi messes up by getting a little too enthusiastic (and jealous) in his villain role.  They only get half-pay and a warning never to come back, but it’s enough to land the two of them on that ultimate in cheap-o vacations – the bus tour.

Let me say up front that I knew they’d get left behind by the bus at the rest stop – that was telegraphed the minute the driver announced the 20-minute break.  But the bus scenes were still fun, and in fact the bit with the two of lip-wrestling over a piece of candy and the impact their soundtrack had on their fellow passengers was probably the most Amagami has made me laugh this season.  I wasn’t wild about Kaoru’s S1 arc, but I do like her better as a pairing for Junichi than Rihoko.  Their friendship is more on even terms, with Kaoru giving as good as it gets, and Junichi is so relaxed around her than it makes all their scenes together relaxing and easy to watch.  Pair that with a “plot” that’s probably the most interesting of the S2 arc thus far, and you have the makings of a pretty successful episode.  With a good follow-up next week it might be the best arc of the season so far.

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11 comments:

  1. Her arc in season 1 was one of the weakest in my opinion, even though she was my second favorite heroine in terms of how much I liked the characters (second to my lovely Haruka). But this was a solid start for her S2 arc, so far maybe the best of the season depending on the second ep. That said, I'm sure Haruka's arc will be the best this season, OBVIOUSLY, since Haruka will be in it.

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  2. Am I supposed to find Junichi being a dick to Kaoru during the show, embarassing her publicly no less, and causing them to lose half their pay...amusing? Because it really isn't.

    Though at least this time the "crisis" is at least vaguely crisis-like.

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    1. Eh, lighten up. Kaoru and Junichi basically treat each other like equals, which I think is one of the more endearing dynamics of the six couples. And the hero show bit is a silly gag, nothing more. You'd be just as well to be pissed at her for wasting their travel money on junk food and making them miss the bus. If this were the sort of show where you were supposed to get upset at the characters.

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    2. The show's really been asking us to swallow a lot of Junichi being either a dick, a moron, or both, and not giving much in return.

      And are you seriously going to defend the show on this count? Isn't Junichi basically everything thats wrong with modern anime male leads?

      Why should I want any of these girls to be with him? He's a moron half the time and an insensitive jerk the other half.

      Kaoru wasn't exactly a shining example of intelligence this episode either, though she did manage to avoid publicly humiliating Junichi.

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    3. I'm certainly not going to defend Junichi as some paragon of the ideal male lead, but I don't think this is a show that lends itself to being taken that seriously. I actually think of all his incarnations, "Kaoru Junichi" is one of the best, and I think their relationship is refreshingly relaxed and cordial. And as far as stupidity, what she did was certainly stupider than what he did, though neither one of them was being malicious - just dumb.

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    4. I dunno, I'd say that his stunt during the show is notably worse, if for no other reason than that it affected a large number of people other than the two of them. Kaoru's just inconveniences the two of them, and they are both morons so they kinda deserve it.

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    5. Idiotic couple they are. But it is because they understand and can accept each other which makes the relationship.
      The thing about friends is that there is less pretense in a relationship.

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  3. ^_^ a good start for her arc..and still a wild imagination powers for junichi..

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  4. Kaoru and her sex hair are just sooooo irresistible!
    Definitely the best episode of SS+ so far. Junichi's too comfortable around Kaoru but I guess that's one of the perks you have when your BFF is your girlfriend.

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  5. I wonder how he managed to shoot out 4 tentacles from the squid costume. One amazing costume.
    And seriously anyone who goes on a trip knows that buying snacks and placing them on the bus would take 10 minutes. And food that late at night would take a long while to prepare. Plain silly and bad time management. But that is just how this couple is.

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