Time Enforcer Anubis here with a fresh review!
It’s not often that an anime comes around that revolutionizes its genre, not in the sense of a deconstruction or a subversion, but in the sense of truly doing something new. Though there have been anime since that have utilized the same nuances, Amagami SS really put arc-based harem anime on everyone’s radar.
Amagami SS is a harem anime based on the dating sim Amagami. It follows the story of Junichi Tachibana, a high school student who, after being stood up by his Christmas Eve date two years prior, is heartbroken and unsure about love. His luck changes, however, when he encounters one of six girls, launching him on an adventure of romance.
Amagami SS differs from many harem series before it through its use of arcs. Instead of having the protagonist choose one heroine (Pissing off the fans of all the others) or simply not choose at all (Pissing off all the fans), Amagami SS gives each heroine her time to shine. Each girl gets a four-episode arc, after which the show resets to the beginning. It makes the show very easy to handle, as an arc can easily be finished in one sitting. Watching the show an arc at a time, there’s nothing to remember between each sitting. The viewer doesn’t find themselves asking “What happened last episode?” between sittings, because the show just resets.
The show has a very natural atmosphere. It’s presented as nothing more than a high-school romance story, but that’s what makes it work. It’s a collection of beautiful pure love stories that all have an unassuming, simple tone. Neither the romance, nor the comedy or other elements seem forced or out-of-place.
The art style in Amagami SS is very down-to-earth. No crazy hair colors. No over-the-top proportions. Not even any zany pantyshot action. The girls all have reasonable body-types, hair colors, and hairstyles. The grounded visual style really plays to the show’s atmosphere. It’s the icing on the cake, really, and I honestly don’t think the series would work anywhere near as well with a more stylized art style.
The characters play to the down-to-earth nature of the show as well. They all have very fleshed-out, non-archetypal personalities, from boisterous childhood friend Kaoru, to tea club member and half-hearted dieter Rihoko. It’s surprising how developed the characters become within the show’s four-episode arcs, even with a targeted focus on each arc’s heroine.
Most of the time, when you get an anime based off of a dating sim game, it tends to focus on one route within the game. Amagami SS solves this problem be focusing on multiple routes. It’s the sort of thing that seems so simple once it’s been done, but just hadn’t been done until then. I really hope more anime take advantage of this storytelling style, as it creates a diverse, interesting story that’s also an easy watch. I’d recommend Amagami SS to anyone looking for a lighthearted, easy-to-watch anime, as well as fans of romance and harem anime.
‘Till next time!