July 30, 2010

Amagami SS Ep5: Hello My Friend

Posted in Amagami SS tagged , , , , , , at 7:06 pm by meotwister5

The “childhood friend” shtick.  You’d be hard pressed to imagine a shounen or shoujo series where there wasn’t at least one character who filled these shoes.  Male or female this character gives something of a social root for the lead character, as through this person we can see the lead for what he was in the past and how he grew to be who he is now.  The childhood friend is usually a foil to bounce the lead off of, allowing us to learn more about the lead and see him in contrasting lights.

That said, you’d probably also be hard pressed to find a shounen and shoujo series that uses the childhood friend shtick as a romantic subplot and uses it “well”, and by well I mean setting it apart from all the generic childhood friend romances we’ve seen before.

Will Kaoru be any different?

Playful or carnivorous? You decide.

It would seem that somehow, based on the flashback, it is probable that all the girls Junichi will ever bone date in this series is intricately tied to that event in the park in Christmas two years ago.  For Haruka it was meeting her in the same spot the next year and exchanging words that would influence them both.  For Kaoru it’s apparently meeting him as he was going home and realizing that her poor lonely friend just got stood up.  From what I understood that was the year they first met in third year of middle school.  Perhaps, more than that, it was where all of this had really began.

As an aside I wonder why it was never really hinted who the girl that stood him up was, but hey who knows maybe they’ll reveal it down the road.

Inside the male mind.

They do what childhood friends do, which is constantly annoying and bickering with each other and having good ol’ laughs about it afterward.  The big problem with using the childhood friends trope is semblance of chemistry, that is to say, showing the viewer that these two have been friends for years and know each other inside and out rather than making it as if they’re both strangers.  There are a lot of series out there where the friendship really isn’t tight or believable because really, most viewers will compare the friendships to their own, and you really want the pair to act like they’ve been friends for a while.

In that sense Junichi and Kaoru definitely do have some chemistry.  While their antics are the typical generic fare of arguments, friendliness and fun, it flows smoother than most and you can definitely feel the bonds of friendship between them.  Besides Junichi’s male fantasies of course.

Whether or not Junichi actually does have feelings for her is obviously still vague at this point.  Some would say that his overactive imagination is evidence of that, but I say it’s more of a reflection of him being… well a guy and all and recognizing that Kaoru’s actually pretty hot and OH GOD THAT SEXYHAIR (there I said it Shiroth!), and this doesn’t exactly mean that he has the hots for her.

Of course being a romance series he’s bound to at least develop that, since he’s really entertaining the idea right now, and really who wouldn’t be?

Still inside the male mind.

Junichi’s actually a bit removed from his personality during the Haruka arc.  In the Haruka arc he was more of a brooding and slightly depressed individual still rather fixated on his emotional scar of two years ago.  The Junichi of the Haruka arc is a bit more positive, slightly more mentally healthy (as evidenced by his imagination) and a bit more outgoing.  The Junichi of the previous arc might have declined the request made in the back of the building for fear of opening old wounds, but the Junichi here is actually helpful and open.

This is a good thing for me.  I probably wouldn’t be able to stand having him all dark and broody every arc honestly.  Not saying of course that this downplays his previous trauma, but it comes off as a sort of reflection of his own experiences with the girl of his dreams this arc.

Seriously this is all men ever think about.

If I were to compare Haruka and Kaoru’s appeal for their respective starting episodes, I would have to give the edge towards Kaoru.  Initially speaking, Haruka came off as the sugar-high eccentric girl that was a bit odd most of the time.  In contrast, Kaoru gives off the “girl I’ve known for most of my life” vibe from the get go, making her the easier to relate to of the two.  Most of us know more girls of Kaoru’s type than of Haruka’s, which makes identifying with Junichi and understanding Kaoru’s personality easier to do.

Personality wise, the Animesuki forumers ahve said most of what needs to be said: she’s the pretty and tomboyish friend you’ve always hung out with.  The thoughtful kind who wouldn’t hesitate to help a friend in need.  Personally I think this was already evident during the flashback.  Rather than try to console an obviously depressed guy she decided to try and get his mind of things and to somehow, for what it’s worth, let him enjoy the rest of Christmas.

He's got you under his spell.

For a pilot episode of this arc, it’s actually rather on par with the first one.  It doesn’t have the punch and the appeal that Haruka did given her wilder and more eccentric personality, but as a representative of the girl you’ve known for much of your life, Kaoru’s pilot relates to me more than Haruka’s does.  It feels more homely and down to earth, probably because it relies on the basic ideas of old friendships transforming into deeper ones rather than on something that’s more hyper and novel for the lead character.

Whether or not this arc can separate itself from the multitudes of other childhood romances remains to be seen, but at least from the first episode, it’s doing a pretty good job.

Advertisements

4 Comments »

  1. Anonymous said,

    Rihoko is actually the childhood friend (see her closeness to Miya), Kaoru came in later during junior high.

  2. coolasj19 said,

    Junichi is allowed to be different people.
    1. To keep it fresh.
    2. Because he is around different people.

    I’m just glad they established the moody brooding ” I hate myself because I got stood up ” in the very first episode and aren’t dwelling on it.

  3. coolasj19 said,

    btw. suscribed to your site.

  4. Michael said,

    For what it’s worth, this was a better start and it was also more believable. 🙂

    How’s medicine? :S


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: