Anime original by Studio Gokumi
Streaming on Crunchyroll
Shouichi Kamita is just your average teen. Since he’s the main character of a show from the makers of Amagami, he doesn’t gain super powers, or have all the best grades immediately, or get it with all the girls… well at least not all at once. He’s just a regular boy trying to figure out his place in life. Recently he’s been flirting with fellow classmate Hikari Tsuneki, but questions about his goals for the future lead him to focus on improving himself.
Marlin’s verdict: I Missed You, Amagami
Sure, I’m the romance guy so it’s no surprise that I like the romance show, but I think there’s a lot to be said of the natural storytelling style of this show and its spiritual predecessors. People in these shows actually process their feelings and have complex motivations. Our main character doesn’t even start off this show wanting to date this girl! It’s madness! No joke, I think the most refreshing part about this first episode is that the MC is faced with a choice: mess around with his crush, or get serious about his life and study, and he actually chooses the latter. I’m also warming up to his bro Ikuo Nanasaki, granted half of that is his sibling connection to undisputed #2 Amagami girl Ai Nanasaki. He does everything a good supporting friend character needs to do, able to call the MC out, but still willing to listen and help with his problems. Hikari is also a good choice for the first girl, coquettish like Haruna from Amagami, but more down to earth and playful than “high as a kite” as some Glorio blogsters like to say. I’m not sure where they’re going with her breaking into his room, but I’ve been pleasantly satisfied by how this first episode turned out, and, a rarity for this season, I’m intently looking forward to the next episode.
Iro’s verdict: More of The Same, and That’s Okay
I hesitate to compare Seiren too heavily to Amagami SS, but it’s impossible to not do so at this point. They’re practically the same in everything but name and production values, and the advertising has leaned heavily into the “spiritual successor” thing. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, since Seiren has the same kind of writing and tone that made Amagami a fan favorite. The characters feel like actual people in a way that most anime don’t capture, chiefly via a lack of the melodrama we’ve been taught to expect from romance shows. Shouichi gets invited to sit with this arc’s main heroine at lunch, and… they just talk, because they’re classmates. His sister gets out of the shower, and… she’s wearing normal pajamas, because what else would she be wearing? He decides he needs to buckle down and study for finals, and… he does so. One could argue that Seiren is just plain bland – and I might agree with that assessment – but just like Amagami SS, that plainness is what makes the show endearing and even occasionally relatable. Now if they just toned down the OP and ED…
Gee’s verdict: Sex Hair Is Still The Best Hair
The nature of Seiren’s lineage makes comparisons with Amagami unavoidable. Overall, while I can’t say Seiren is doing an amazing job of emulating what made its spiritual predecessor work so well, that very lineage means Seiren inevitably has bigger shoes to fill. Amagami was a completely unknown quantity, and while it didn’t set the world on fire, its distinctly grounded approach to character relationships and interactions won a lot of us over. Kisai Takayama’s character design went a long way to achieving this, with its believable and appealing style.
That said, Seiren does accomplish many of the things that made Amagami work. Conversations between different genders occur naturally without the usual sexual tension or romantic pretense that seems to plague any conversation in an anime between a man and a woman. Our main character is your typical anime everyman, but is neither a clueless celibate nor a perverted deviant. So while I’m not 100% sold on the designs of the new girls and its OP is distinctly inferior to Amagami’s, I’m still interested enough in Seiren to stick with it and see where it goes.