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Amagami SS – 17

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「桜井梨穂子編 第一章 オモイデ」 (Sakurai Rihoko-hen Dai Isshou – Omoide)
“Sakurai Rihoko Chapter 1 – Memories”

The childhood friend arc has arrived, and with it a much cuter Rihoko than all the previous ones had me believe. I guess it’s true what they say about how one’s perception of someone can drastically change once you get to know them. As this is only the first episode, I’m nowhere near jumping on the Rihoko bandwagon just yet, but can definitely see some of her cuter charm points. For one, you can never go wrong with a sporty girl who loves to eat, even if it’s the cause of the resounding personality trait we’ve seen thus far — her self-consciousness over her weight. It’s not something that I really thought much of in the previous girls’ arcs, but found it really helped show the innocent and earnest side of her. Her decision to go on yet another diet was prompted by her feelings for Junichi after all, whom she’s had an unrequited love for all this time. As a result, I could get a real sense that she wanted to make herself more attractive in hopes that Junichi will finally see her as something more, and couldn’t help but want to support in her pursuit of happiness.

Incidentally, the above is in connection to the endearing aspect of her character that I took an immediate liking to this episode, where she exudes an almost child-like behavior with the way she wears her heart on her sleeve. It’s usually not too hard to figure out what’s on Rihoko’s mind, which both her good friend Itou Kanae (Matsuoka Yuki) and even Umehara easily picked up on and helped her by setting up an ice skating outing with Junichi on the weekend (i.e. next episode). At the same time, she isn’t one to speak out and say what’s truly on her mind, even when Junichi asked her to go out with him one time, only to find out that he wanted help picking out a gift for the girl who would later stand him up and leave him heartbroken. Given how she didn’t seize that opportunity to be there for Junichi, Rihiko probably isn’t the most assertive girl (nor a terribly graceful one either), but that in itself is what stood out the most to me. She’s fairly simple-minded and always means well, but can’t bring herself to tell Junichi how she feels about him since she knows he doesn’t see her that way. In short, she has all the makings of a girl that one wouldn’t be able to leave alone and would want to take care of (or help along), which may be an inadvertent charm point but a charm point nonetheless.

As for some episode specifics, this came off as mostly an introduction to “all things Rihoko” and featured a lot of the other girls crossing paths with her in some way to help contrast their differences. During all that, there was a pretty prominent comedic touch from Rihoko getting stuck in the fence when she tried to sneak onto school grounds for being late, as it was the only time we got to see how she and Junichi get along when they’re alone together. In light of how their relationship is very sibling-like both past and present, it’ll be interesting to see how that finally develops into something more. Rounding all that out was the Umehara and Junichi combination who mean business when it comes to whatever they can get their hands on with naked girls in it (even if it’s from the library) and the sight of Miya when she was younger. Lastly, there was Tsukasa, who I’m starting to believe is really perceptive of everything that’s going on around her yet always keeps it to herself. This includes how she was probably aware that the envelope she picked up had one of Umehara’s adult magazines inside. After all the foreshadowing of her character, I’m curious as to how Junichi will “handle” the class president in the last arc, but it’s Rihoko who will be getting his complete attention for now.

It’s a new arc and we have a new ending theme by Shintani Ryouko to commemorate it. Judging from the sequence, I think it’s probably safe to say that if Rihoko has gained some weight over the years, it’s the kind on top that any girl would be happy to have increasing. The song itself, “Love Isn’t in a Rush”, came off a bit too cutesy at the beginning, but sounds a lot better later on. Strangely, my opinion of it seems to keep improving the more I listen to it too. On a completely separate note, I’m thinking Kanae would’ve been an awesome heroine and can definitely see how she took first place in the Miss Santa contest at the end of Ai’s arc last time.

* The opening sequence has been updated with Rihoko near the end as expected.

 

ED5 Sequence

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ED5: 「恋はあせらず」 (Koi wa Aserazu) by 新谷良子 (Shintani Ryouko)
Watch the 5th ED!: Download, Streaming ▼

Preview

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October 28, 2010 at 10:41 pm
70 comments »
  • October 28, 2010 at 10:48 pmDawn

    oh jesus, the chibi-’ni shi shi’s’ won’t get out of my head!! ☆⌒(>。≪)イタイ

    • October 29, 2010 at 11:30 pmTravian

      Yeah that’s for sure. Rihoko’s version of the memory amused me with the nishishi but Tachibana’s version had me laughing by mixing meat buns into it.

      • November 1, 2010 at 9:28 pmbunny

        chibi-miya takes the cake for this episode. Ni-shi-shi is too epic lol!

  • October 28, 2010 at 10:49 pmTDRKZ

    New girls reset! OMNIBUS WIN

  • October 28, 2010 at 10:51 pmjhacks

    “I guess it’s true what they say about how one’s perception of someone can drastically change once you get to know them. ”

    Got that right sir!!
    Am not excited about this arc, but damn the story is very funny and cute!!

  • October 28, 2010 at 10:54 pmFlamingYu

    Ayatsuji looking scary in 1 scene.
    Will Umehara be getting together with Kanae in this arc?
    It feels that way, during the invitation scene. =/

    • October 29, 2010 at 3:39 amBreedo

      I wondered that about Kaoru and Umehara in the Haruka arc, so i’m skeptical about that.

    • October 29, 2010 at 9:11 amLoL

      You will see more of ayatsuji, much more darker. For me her path is the best, not the typical lovey dovey story we had with the other girls. I like they saved her for the last arc.

      • October 29, 2010 at 11:32 pmTravian

        Saving the best for the last :)

  • October 28, 2010 at 10:58 pmEl Barto

    • October 28, 2010 at 11:05 pmchris

      Disagree about her being chubby but agree that shes actually quite hot.

  • October 28, 2010 at 11:03 pmkarbd

    hell yeah…

  • October 28, 2010 at 11:04 pmKyuusei

    Hmm, I don’t see much of a difference between little Maya and “current” Maya. Except in height. And thats about it.

    • October 28, 2010 at 11:08 pmFlamingYu

      and “Ni-shi-shi-shi” started way back then?
      Ahaha…

    • October 29, 2010 at 3:48 amDivine

      That’s the beauty of it. :)

  • October 28, 2010 at 11:09 pmAntoine

    YAY! Rihoko! It seems like she isn’t as popular as the other girls, but she’s #1 in my book :D
    The whole ‘childhood friends’ aspect can work wonders in developing a relationship. Loved this episode, and can’t wait for the next.

  • October 28, 2010 at 11:09 pmJustin Olbrantz (Quantam)

    @chris

    In Japan, if a girl’s not skinny as a rail, she’s fat.

    *sigh* On occasion Rihoko can be cute, but more often her stupidity is painful to watch.

    • October 29, 2010 at 1:21 amZnail

      Japanese girls are even afraid of doing sports as the muscles will make them look ‘fat’.

    • October 29, 2010 at 2:37 amSV

      Yeah well, not to be mean… but if she couldn’t control eating and her weight at that age, imagine what she’ll look like at 40.

      • October 29, 2010 at 5:33 amrsquirrel

        probably much hotter than most american women at that age…

  • October 28, 2010 at 11:14 pmkyonkun

    I love Amagami SS and it’s too bad that it gets overlooked by somewhat by the anime community. It came in 12th in the Dengeki 2010 Summer Rankings :(

    • October 29, 2010 at 9:22 amLoL

      I guess that’s beacuse the stories are quite plain. They lack innovation, they are simple love stories. I don’t mean that’s necessary bad, but when you play the game it doesn’t feel as plain as the anime, probably because in the game you are the active part.

      The omnibus format is refreshing but it doesn’t leave so much space for more elaborated plots. At least for me is the part I don’t like in this anime. Personally I have to watch every arc in a row beacuse watching it by separated episodes bores me.

  • October 28, 2010 at 11:19 pmexia

    Rihoko has a charming aura surrounding her. She seems very easy to like. I think I will be enjoying this arc :D

  • October 28, 2010 at 11:22 pmZone

    honestly this is the arc i less looking forward to…bt after watching tis eps i find rihoko really cute and tis eps really nice to watch..

  • October 28, 2010 at 11:39 pmKaiser

    Childhood friends are approved!

  • October 28, 2010 at 11:42 pmzmil

    osananaji ka..

  • October 28, 2010 at 11:56 pmkeiOnDaisuki

    man, now i know why rihoko got 3rd place in the poll.SHE’S SO CUTE!! and i find her chubbiness so appealing.L0L. i guess she ties with miya now as my 2nd fav amagami girl.X33 aahhh! chibi! XDD and like kanae too.

    BTW, agreed. tsukasa’s intriguing nature would only make you think how her arc would go.hmmm..pretty unpredictable.

    • October 29, 2010 at 12:22 amSora no Kaze

      Well, it’s kinda given that Tsukasa is more then what meets the eye. Considering the certain aspects about her within her story itself.

      Anyways, woot Rihoko. Well, at least none of those girls mentioned her breast as part of her weight problem lol. What’s interesting to note is that it seems that Junichi does take some interset in her actually, or at least definitely not against the idea of going out with somebody “chubby” (I feel like they emphasized it more in this arc a bit which kinda distracts me by actually making her a bit more fatter). Either way, she’s cute and awesome.

    • October 29, 2010 at 5:57 amKarmafan

      How did the poll turn out? What were the rankings? Who was #1?

      • October 29, 2010 at 6:36 amkeiOnDaisuki

        here are the rankings:

        1. Ai Nanasaki
        2. Haruka Morishima
        3. Rihoko Sakurai
        4. Kaoru Tanamachi
        5. Tsukasa Ayatsuji
        6. Miya Tachibana
        7. Sae Nakata
        8. Hibiki Tsukahara
        9. Maya Takahashi
        10. Tachibana (Junichi)

        and for the rest of the results..go here..

        http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=257061

      • October 29, 2010 at 7:38 amFlamingYu

        Wow, Junichi got #10, not bad there.

      • October 29, 2010 at 9:31 amKarmafan

        My favorite was Sae, followed by Haruka and Rihoko. Ai is my least favorite of the girls.

  • October 29, 2010 at 12:20 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    Rihoko is also a lot more likable now since she’s getting A LOT more attention than she used to as a minor side character in the other arcs where she’d only get a couple lines in something like 1-2 episodes and then never seen again, so we never really got time to appreciate her presence I think.

  • October 29, 2010 at 12:24 amrummy

    First mention of a bandwagon, and it had to be on Rihoko. :/

    Meh, I’m gonna get a alotta hate. But it seemed, the wagon was more so, all over Ai and her arc. Granted, her personality is close to perfect. Her story was just.. uh, alright.

  • October 29, 2010 at 12:30 amblueskydreams

    Color me surprised. Rihoko’s arc immediately was able to make me smile, and as a heroine I really feel like rooting for her too. Nice ED, entertaining story points, and Rihoko herself is quite likable. I like it when a arc that I wasn’t anticipating turns out to be unexpectingly good.

    I can’t wait for next weeks episode.

  • October 29, 2010 at 1:34 amZnail

    “Lastly, there was Tsukasa, who I’m starting to believe is really perceptive of everything that’s going on around her yet always keeps it to herself.”

    These early impressions of Tsukasa will be funny when her arc comes around.

    Show Spoiler ▼

  • October 29, 2010 at 1:57 amLectro Volpi

    Chubby Rihoko exceeded my expectations.

    Rihoko was in love with Junichi since childhood, does that mean we’ve had 4 heartbroken Rihokos?

    Rihoko’s bust size is second only to Sae… and that is impressive!

    Her ending is cute but hohoho! “Kitto ashita Wa…” is still unbeatable for me!

    • October 29, 2010 at 2:06 amLectro Volpi

      I should not get my hopes up about… this being better than the matchless Haruka’s arc. I guess that honour belongs to Tsukasa’s arc.

      Anyway, just because it’s not better doesn’t mean it’ll be bad!

      • October 29, 2010 at 2:25 amLectro Volpi

        My gawd… forgot to mention: Kanae won because Haruka didn’t participated in the contest.

      • October 29, 2010 at 2:41 amkeiOnDaisuki

        ^well yeah,since nobody stands against haruka’s sophisticated charm.L0L.haruka ftw! XD

    • October 29, 2010 at 2:45 amkeiOnDaisuki

      4 incarnations and she always end up heartbroken.and add 1,tsukasa’s arc, w/c makes it five. T_T i feel bad for her.

  • October 29, 2010 at 2:58 amkeiOnDaisuki

    tsukasa’s arc is special since they started dropping hints to her personality inside ai’s arc to this. i must say,the events where she’d been shown,might be related to the development in her arc.say,they’re in her POV during those scenes w/c would explain why she was lookin’ at ai in the library that way.XD

  • October 29, 2010 at 3:08 amKiiragi

    “Strangely, my opinion of it seems to keep improving the more I listen to it too.”
    This happens to you a lot doesn’t it?

  • October 29, 2010 at 3:47 amBreedo

    ahhh this is the one i been waiting for i think i got a taste of how all the Ai fans felt last time, really pleased with the pacing and comedy, also looks like the tea club might be a mission of sorts for this arc later on, LOL at Junichi fixing the fence for Rihoko, if she only knew, the reaction to getting thinner all of a sudden was priceless though i roared! i’m also thinking Kanae is a kind of contrast/staright man for Rihoko, or at the very least eye candy for the picky ppl ;)

  • October 29, 2010 at 5:10 amkarnos

    at first i was thinking to myself who is that girl dancing around the slide in the “flashback” scene but i immeadity recognised it was miya when she laughed.

    man that laugh is gonna be stuck in my head just like the “rich oujo-sama laugh”

    • November 1, 2010 at 9:30 pmbunny

      it deserves to be up there in the anime hall of fame for weird laughs, tied with Gecko Moria’s “Ki-shi-shi” lol

  • October 29, 2010 at 5:17 amTehJawknee

    I know I’ve said it before, but Hibiki needs her own arc. Add to that Kanae, and we have a second season in the works. We just need another… hmm… what was Kaoru’s friend again?

    • October 29, 2010 at 6:32 amSuppa Tenko

      How about the drunk teacher?

      • October 29, 2010 at 9:53 amTehJawknee

        Indeed.

  • October 29, 2010 at 7:14 amGekokujou

    There are six choices for girls in this series and I can’t even decide which one I want to eat. Damn 2D girls:D

  • October 29, 2010 at 7:22 amLolwut

    Last picture from the ED sequence confirms she’s not fat.

  • October 29, 2010 at 8:09 amZnail

    I just noticed an interesting coincidence! Haruka, Sae and now Rihoko likes to eat, see any similarities between them? :)

  • October 29, 2010 at 8:34 ammaster_recrecia

    oh man, I love this arc! best arc for me now. :-)

  • October 29, 2010 at 9:09 amSnicket

    How does ones butt get stuck in a slide? o.O I guess Japan makes their slides thinner then everyone else does.

    anyway, it looks like we finally get to the ‘childhood friend’ arch. Hopefully it will be on par with the others, maybe even surpassing them.

    • October 29, 2010 at 9:37 amRobz

      Well.. you should also consider that slides were meant for kids, not for teenagers/high school students (especially not to the slightly chubby Rihoko)

      • October 30, 2010 at 5:46 amSnicket

        this is true, but i’ve seen people a way bigger then her slide down one without any issues.

  • October 29, 2010 at 9:41 amzmil

    Risa Kamizaki last heroin on amagami OVA http://danbooru.donmai.us/data/fcd2c08100a35a2ac38e18569170f53b.jpg

    • October 29, 2010 at 9:57 amTehJawknee

      Link Failure.

  • October 29, 2010 at 10:51 amfluidity

    Personally, I enjoyed listening to her ED song more than any of the other preceding EDs of the other female leads(even if I’m in the “Ai’s Boat” area). Maybe it’s because it’s the most upbeat ED theme so far.

  • October 29, 2010 at 2:18 pmoutcast

    what no ni shi shi arc? aww

  • October 29, 2010 at 3:12 pmAex

    Wow… she’s just too cute!! She’s got that whole “innocent puppy” feeling too her that just makes you wanna cuddle and root for her! Ai is still my favorite, but Rihoko is definitely the cutest!! Plus I finally get to see the childhood friend get the guy! Looking forward to more!

  • October 29, 2010 at 4:23 pmrummy

    If there’s one charm she has over the other heroines. Rihoko’s closed eyes smiles are so frigging adorable.

  • October 29, 2010 at 4:35 pmJon

    Rihoko is like getting Yui for a girlfriend minus the metabolism and the extra lovey dovey…
    That is good because Yui is my favourite in K-on after all.

    • October 29, 2010 at 9:22 pmKarmafan

      I agree.

    • October 30, 2010 at 5:48 pmZnail

      I didn’t notice it at first, but you are very right in how similar they are!

  • October 29, 2010 at 8:28 pmVexx

    I’d have to say her “fat” is mostly imaginary (all in her mind). She’s *on her way* to a problem — but still early enough to get a grip on weight management. I happen to like small, petite women but Rihoko is clearly cute and attractive and we support this fictional character’s attempts in working to stay that way. :)

  • October 30, 2010 at 8:23 pmShinjiro

    Rihoko is adorable as heck. I don’t mind her being a bit chubby neither for some reason…I think her cuteness factor pushed that aspect aside for me. Up to now, I wouldn’t know who to choose as best girl. I’m just wow’ed by each of them.

  • October 30, 2010 at 10:46 pmkc

    ugh! sae’s voice!! why, oh why does she always have to be included?

    nhoo… i find rihoko more charming than cute. i must admit, i didn’t like her as well when she was just a side character during the other arcs. im glad that perception didn’t spill over when it’s her story’s turn. was thinking i might have to skip this one like sae’s. glad to be proven wrong. :)

  • October 31, 2010 at 5:32 amIncognito

    As per the usual habit, “We have entered an endless recursion of time…”

    If you guys say “Chubby” (or “Fatty”), I say “Healthy.” I’m sure we’ve seen our fair share of “healthy” pin-up girls on magazine covers anyway.

    As much as I wanted to skip this arc, her proper character introduction (told from her POV, no less) in this episode convinced me otherwise. Not to mention that we might be getting lots of funny moments in this arc as well.

    Episode-wise though, Sae is still not safe from lampshades about her “tracts of land.” A little after this scene Sae worries that her beverage has lots of calories, while the shot focuses on her assets (making it obvious where those calories are going).