October 29, 2010

Amagami SS Ep17: Unrequited Love

Posted in Amagami SS tagged , , , , , at 8:17 pm by meotwister5

How many of you can easily name a series where the main protagonist changed in the middle of the story?  Not much I can probably tell you, which makes it a bit surprising that the creators opted to shift the perspective from Junichi to the girl in question.  It is however different inc concept since this series isn’t one continuous tale, and because the lead female became the focal point at the start of her story, it doesn’t neatly qualify as a shifting of protagonists.

Still, it might do the series some good to have different focus this time around, and based on my opinion that this is the best opener of the series so far, they may be on to something here.

Don't laugh. It can happen to ANYONE.

As I mentioned, the first thing you’ll notice is that Rihoko’s narrating, and that the protagonist role has shifted from Junichi to her.  The story’s perspective now shifts to her viewpoint and her, in her own words, unrequited love.  This time we’re seeing things more directly from the viewpoint of the female rather than the male, so as expected were seeing a more… female (so to speak) view on the events, especially Rihoko’s attempts to go on a diet.  A diet we can obviously tell isn’t as much due to being stuck under the fence as it is Junichi’s casual comment on her getting fat again.

And really Junichi does lack a bit of tact, because this one of the things you really shouldn’t telling women, and he’s probably just lucky Rihoko’s a nice girl.

Notice her having an entire BAG of cupcakes.

Despite the fact that he’s no longer the focal point of the storytelling, I can say that this version of Junichi is his best self in the series so far.  Controlled and manly perversions without the high degree of denseness and idiocy he had in the previous stories.  It might be because we aren’t seeing everything he does in this episode compared to previous ones, but this Junichi is almost fully level-headed, observant and generally not an all around idiot.  Okay he still is, but not to the same degree he was before.  I actually found him to be quite respectable in this version, so much so that he might tend to kid around (especially since they are old friends) but he’s generally acting like a modern high school guy with a slight gentleman’s touch.

The best scene of the episode goes to him.  Widening that gap in the wire’s for Rihoko, even if he wasn’t sure she’d be late, is to me the single best initial gesture he’s done for the girl of the arc so far.  It didn’t take any lessons in romance or sudden realizations on his mistakes and actions that caused him to do it.  He did it precisely because it was in his nature and he felt like he should, for her sake.  This is a Junichi that is a far cry from his previous selves.

Dieting requires presence of mind.

One thing I immediately saw is while they’re still keeping her old carefree self, they’re trying to ease her out of the ditzy airhead stigma a lot of people give her during the previous arcs, where most of the time we only see her going about her dieting or the tea club.  Compared to most of the other heroines, she usually gets the least screen time when she appeared previously, so I was also initially pressed to believe that she’s supposed to fill in the airhead slot for the show, and this episode shows that this isn’t so.  She may be always late and sometimes absent minded but she tried her damn best.

Also maybe mostly because of the female perspective, but this episode also gives the most single episode characterization for the lead female, which is again expected probably since she’s the center of attention.  This also becomes more apparent when you do realize that Junichi’s been making a lot of jokes about her weight since they were kids and this has actually affected her as they grew up together.  Much more so because she has one-sided feelings for him, which also presses her towards her weight issues.

Kids will be kids...

Remarkably absent from this episode, and man I hope from this arc, are Junichi’s visions from whatever he ends up smoking in previous arcs.  The episode was straight and without frills, really showing directly the feelings that Rihoko has and how her weight issues seem to affect her interactions with Junichi.

A simple, yet symbolic, gesture.

So far, this episode is the best arc opener for the series so far.  Better pacing, better characterization and my favorite ED of the series, this is shaping up to be a very good story arc that, depending on the circumstances, might be my favorite arc of the series.

I hope it continues this trend.


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