August 20, 2010

Amagami SS Arc Finale: Kaoru GET!

Posted in Amagami SS tagged , , , , , , at 11:17 pm by meotwister5

Whether or not a unique friendship can really evolve into something deeper really depends on who you ask.  There are many relationships that had started out as a close friendship that had turned into romance.  There are even those that had started out as enemies and eventually became the opposite (keep your enemies closer as they say).  Some romances you could see from day one, and others you would never had seen in a hundred years.

People have often said that good friends make great lovers, but obviously that does not always apply to every heterosexual friendships.  Some are really better off as just friends, while some are really geared up for going to the next level.

How about Junichi and Kaoru?

All infirmaries should be like this.

The two finally set that date they’ve been trying to make for ages.  Granted with a bit of a push from their friends, the two managed to overcome the strange wall of shyness that never used to exist between the both of them.  Before they used to be so open and so comfortable with each other, but in a way you could see that when touching upon the subject of romance, things become a bit awkward between them.  Not as awkward as most couples get but you can see how slightly uncomfortable they could get with each other.


The Good

One of the biggest charms of Kaoru’s arc was how really down-to-earth and natural the entire setup is.  Most of us are well versed in the classic setup of friends becoming lovers, and while the show doesn’t take too many creative liberties on a traditional plot, the arc manages to effectively convey an entire season’s worth of material into four episode.  One of my initial complaints with Haruka’s arc was the pacing, and how it felt like the arc was rushing a bit at some points.  The pacing for this arc felt smoother, mostly because the arc didn’t need to spend time building a believable relationship between two relative strangers.  With their friendship to back them up, the plot managed to concentrate on Junichi’s and Kaoru’s evolution in their relationship from friends to lovers.

Another thing is the dialogue.  Again, perhaps it’s because of their friendship, but the dialogue in this arc felt a lot more natural and believable than the previous one.  While most of their conversations border on silly banter and silly arguing, it’s in the way they speak to each other and the way that they are comfortable around each other that really sells the premise that they are, indeed, good friends.

The Bad

A cliche is a cliche, and honestly this story doesn’t really deviate itself from an established formula.  As I’ve said before, the friends to lovers thing has been done to death before, both good and bad, and when it comes down to it this arc really isn’t all that different.  This arc doesn’t take any creative risks with the formula at all, which is either a bane or a boon depending on what you really want in your romance series.  The arc really doesn’t do so much to differentiate itself from the rest of the crowd of it’s plot type.  From that aspect, it is a bit generic, but at least from an execution standpoint it is a lot better than most series in its league, but that doesn’t exactly make it stellar either.

It would be a bit odd if they didn't actually kiss.

My biggest gripe, if you could call it a valid complaint, would be the half-assed attempt at a prologue, which was really nothing more than a passing shot of the future (?) with a few lines from each other.  After we got that rather hilarious prologue with Haruka… this is what we get?  Haruka’s arc got a good few minutes to show how their relationship went into marriage, and with Kaoru’s we don’t even have an inkling of how long that screenshot was or anything.  Some suggested they ran out of time to animate an epilogue but really now, sounds like poor planning to me.

What a tease!

In the end, while the arc doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, Kaoru and Junichi’s development came out as much more believable, if predictable, than Haruka’s arc and a good few other similar works to boot.  The entire friendship angle makes their relationship and their development much easier to believe and to connect to, as I’m sure some of us are familiar with these types of romances.  It really doesn’t… say… revolutionize the cliche if you will, but it definitely was a fun ride while it lasted.



  1. Anonymous said,

    Heard about this on er, 4chan:

    According to these Twitter statements, a final bicycle scene (as seen in the final sponsor message at the every end of the credits) couldn’t be aired because it was “dangerous”. Apparently because they were riding in tandem.

    Supposedly, the home video release will have a real epilogue and other extended footage presumably like the above.

  2. Fidelis said,

    (Yes, this is the same poster, now with a handle.)

    There’s another friend character, but I decided long ago that I would only watch this arc because its star and its relationship dynamics appeal to me the most. This arc has tons going for it in my book, including:

    – The couple are peers, meaning pretty much equals
    – Down-to-earth story, most of the time
    – The themes of mutual support and trust, in good times and in bad
    – The whole romantic buddies dynamic
    – This old friend having a stronger personality/character than the actual childhood friend (she’s cute in her own right but her traits lead me to think her type would make for a better friend than partner)

    Sure, this may be all just based on a dating sim, but I dare say the future episodes won’t get nearly as natural, as deep and as emotionally resonant as this arc did, the above things and more considered. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and snags like the real ending and hopefully other footage being saved for the DVD/BD don’t take away its force for me.

    Now I just hope the home video fixes the snags – and that the arc gets its own manga series, where it can be retold more fully, with all the buddy interaction and relationship growth given the unhurried attention they deserve.

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