October 22, 2010

Amagami SS Arc Review: Ai Get!

Posted in Amagami SS tagged , , , , , at 6:45 pm by meotwister5

Usually when I think Hot Springs, Onsen or whatever they call it in your language, I think of a bunch of beauties bathing bare as men peep and gawk like little children.  Said spring usually has an inn with good food, and the end result is usually some pair or whatever ending up together despite the guy’s habit at sneaking a peek.  Not that I’d blame them because every man with a pair of testicles is subject to such temptations on a daily basis.

But for this show, there are no peepings, no inns and no good food.  Only a pair in a rather isolated but actually rather romantic setting, getting together, probably getting it on, and confirming their feelings for each other.

It's a stare down. Over Oden.

Junichi has been recruited by Ai to help out in their Oden stand to do the man work because… well there aren’t any men in the female swimming team obviously.  In the process they get challenged by the tea ceremony club to produce the swimming club’s famous original Oden, whatever the hell the original is supposed to be.  And while they succeed, we are treated with sensei-style hi-jinks, further probable proof of why high school teachers shouldn’t be drinking on campus.

All in all the first half is as generic as you can get.  Even if Ai is still firmly in control, it’s still the usual high school fluff stuff we’ve seen hundreds of times before, even as absurd as their teacher is.  Why they even drink on campus is probably the only disturbing thing.

I'ts rather absurd.

I honestly wanted more out of the first half, considering that this is the first time in the arcs that Junichi actually did something productive for the Founder’s Festival aside from frolicking on the stage with Sae.  Lots of time and space for him and Ai to bond over the steaming pots of Oden broth, but instead we get a food challenge, a freeloader named Haruka and a drunk teacher.  So the show decided to go the silly path for the first half of the episode like they always do.  And I mean always.

In your dreams boy!

On the other hand, the final half of the episode towards the conclusion is probably one of the more memorable confessions I’ve seen in months, and so far the best for the series.  She clearly planned all of this, the cunning young lady.  A perfect spot for a perfect scene to end with a perfect confession.  Ai again shows some uncharacteristic embarrassment considering she openly flashed Junichi more than once already.  Junichi, as generic as he is, despite his usual fantasies actually managed to hold together in the hot spring and not fall apart into a perverted delirium.

Yes, the bathing suit was a lie!

It again shows just how much Ai was in control.  This arc, for the most part, has had her in the driver’s seat rather than the guy.  It’s not bad of course, and after this episode it makes nearly perfect sense to me why Junichi shouldn’t have been setting the pace for this arc.  I’m already willing to concede having Junichi take the helm, because Ai shows she’s perfectly capable of handling guys like him.

Too bad!

My favorite scene in the entire episode, and probably the arc, is the epilogue (if you could call it that) of Junichi lying on Ai’s lap like a sleepy little child.  Some might call it strange, but it does represent perfectly just how their relationship is about.  Ai’s been the rather mature figure in the relationship while Junichi’s sort of… the one who’s still learning, and the lap pillow does accurately portray how Junichi does rely a lot on Ai.  That doesn’t mean of course that it’s a one sided relationship because, he might be an perverted idiot, but the episodes did show he can really be an active member of their pairing when he has to.

There is of course the suggestion that uh… the way he suddenly wakes up in the epilogue from a haze sort of makes me consider that the entire episode before the epilogue, hell maybe even the entire arc, was Junichi dreaming and remembering how they met, got together and fell in love.  That’s not such a far fetched idea when I think about it, and actually puts more depth into the final scene rather than simply him falling asleep on her lap.  It perhaps shows that the story we had witnessed was more a recollection than an active watching, and maybe sort of explains all the ridiculous scenes in the arc as… tricks his mind is playing on him.

Maybe.

Yeah. You can bet they got it on.

All in all, despite the absurdities of Junichi’s drug-fueled mind, a very solid arc with a very solid lead female, much more when compared to the previous arc.  This time the lead female took a more active and controlling role in the development of the relationship, as opposed to just letting the guy take the reigns.

Next week we finally get to what I’ve been waiting for since the season started:  Sakurai Rihoko!

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