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Seiren – 04

「常木耀 最終章 ホシゾラ」 (Tsuneki Hikari Shuushou – Hoshizora)
“Tsuneki Hikari Final Chapter – Starry Sky”

That got super weird.

There’s no two ways about it: if this be the end of the Tsuneki Hikari arc, Seiren did not stick the landing. And since the preview moves onto the new girl, apparently it is! So that’s fun. Let’s dissect the ways this arc went wrong.

If there’s one truth that undergirds nearly all human fiction, it can be summarized in one word: conflict. Whether it be martial, internal, interpersonal, or metaphysical, conflict drives narrative. What did the conflict end up being in this arc? Damn if I know. Hikari suspected her friend of ratting her out, but she brushed it off. What kind of a twisted friendship is that, when you’ll tolerate your “friend” getting you out of the way like that? Suspecting Shouichi didn’t go anywhere either. There was some junk about Hikari’s parents, and her goals for the future, but those appeared all of a sudden when a conclusion was needed. They were hinted at, broadly, but just mentioning that her parents were strict doesn’t mean that little factoid means anything to us. It all just came out of nowhere, and wasn’t earned.

Of course, it’s not helped by how Shouichi remains as interesting as a wet piece of cardboard. He totally wussed out at the end, and let’s be clear, I’m not saying that he necessarily should have pushed to date now. (Though they were both being dumb. Why are you thinking so far ahead instead of enjoying a year and change of dating? Just date, you stupid kids. Life is too short for adolescent nonsense.) It takes two to tango, and if she doesn’t want to dance, an honorable defeat it is. He was just so whiny about the whole thing. Makes it hard to root for the kid.

Then Shouichi decides his future career because of a girl, which probably isn’t wise. Then she shows back up with notes about how she’s good at cooking omelettes and venison now? Ugh. Too cute by half, Seiren. This arc feels like it was written by someone who doesn’t understand how conflict, drama, or romantic fiction is supposed to work. Maybe they were trying for something new, but if so, it didn’t work. The fundamentals weren’t there. This, despite some genuinely promising character work with Hikari early on that could had led to somewhere. The arc faceplanted, and is already sliding out of my memory with all the other passable stories I’ve read in my time.

Ah well, such is life. Fortunately we have two more shots to see if there’s a writer worth their salt among the Seiren crew. Next up is gamer girl, which I’m sure is bound to please many. Hopefully it develops to something this time.

Random thoughts:

  • Rabbit baby play? Weird, but you do you. Taking baths in uniform? Now that I don’t get. It seems like the subversive joy of someone who’s secretly boring, and who doesn’t have to do laundry (at least that jives with established facts!). The fetishes remain all over the place. Do better, Seiren. You’re fucking it up.

My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for exclusive content. At stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Fire, further; Fire; Starting a story with a bang—and when not to; and If my mother was a politician.

 

Preview

January 28, 2017 at 9:18 pm
39 comments »
  • January 28, 2017 at 11:15 pmTrippwire

    Thanks, Stilts. I knew it wasn’t just me. For much of the episode I was recoiling in my chair, making a stank face because I couldn’t understand why anything played out the way it did.

    The biggest thing that struck me, too, was how Hikari just brushed off friends devious actions. Like, “Oh, all is fair in love and war, I suppose.” What? No, she’s a bitch and don’t let her treat you that way. You end the friendship right there because it’s clear what kind of person she is. Boy oh boy.

    • January 29, 2017 at 3:50 pmKarmafan

      I hated that last episode. Its almost as if some Japanese authority figure made the writers make the storyline end with the suggestion (for the anime viewers) that future career goals must come before romance. Then at the end of the episode they stuck a 1 minute ending of them meeting again to reduce the anger folks that sat thru 4 episodes were gonna have.

  • January 28, 2017 at 11:47 pmET

    Kamita was a fucking pussy and was just so frustrating to watch for the past four episodes. Tsuneki was no better; leading somebody on like that only to friend-zone him at the end is just evil, and she lost a lot of my respect when she let her friend’s backstab slide off just like that without standing up for herself.

    If Seiren is meant to be Amagami’s successor, then it’s failing miserably. Seiren had better buck up for the next arc.

  • January 29, 2017 at 1:10 amBored_Onlooker

    And here I thought that this could match up to Amagami’s level but nope!Kamita is such a big wuss!!!Even Junichi has the guts to ask for a second kiss from Haruka!!!And I don’t understand Hikari either…What’s the use of leading the guy on and then friendzone him at the end.

    • January 29, 2017 at 8:36 pmhaseo0408

      My thoughts exactly! Hikari was the girl taht caught my attention the most in the trailers so it´s a little dessapointing that ended like this, with no resolution, just a mayber ever after… I hope the gamer gir is better than this.

      The second girls I was looking for the most is the dissiplinaru commietie girl but I´ll to wait until the second part later this year to see her arc, what a bumer.

      • January 30, 2017 at 12:29 pmStilts

        Where’d you hear that there’s going to be a second part later this year?

  • January 29, 2017 at 1:39 ambrass

    Ahh… i get Tsuneki Hikari -normal ending- now i’m playing again for the -good ending- and to get the replay scene(hehehe~)

    seriously Tsuneki-san!! after that grand antagonist line and you just replying with ok…
    let’s just make you bald and wear cape

    • January 29, 2017 at 6:32 amAex

      That really is what this ending felt like, right? Like the good ending would’ve been that she doesn’t reject him on the beach and they’re together for a year before she leaves, then a big time-skip to where she’s been back for a while and it’s only natural that they’re already back together because they never really broke up. Not more of Hikari’s non-committal bullshit that Shoichi won’t call her on and made this arc so infuriating.

  • January 29, 2017 at 2:08 amDeano

    So definitely mixed thoughts on the episode, but it’s less on how it ended than how it got there.

    Going off the of the beat-model of romance, this actually was a ‘complete’ romance arc. Hikari suspecting Shouichi of being the one to tell on her actually was the final problem, with the confrontation over it (and refusing to accept his uniform back during their ‘fight’) the black moment. The tension between the two of them actually got more respectable, and if episode 3 had begun where this one began- with Shouichi clearly under suspicion- that might have made last episode better as well. Given it a cliffhanger of an impact.

    The guy not getting the girl is also a ‘complete’ romance ending as well. The final beat of a romance story- the Culmination- can be success… OR the ‘Glorious Defeat,’ where feelings are laid bare as the black moment is overcome, but ultimately blocked for other reasons beyond the protagonists control. The Heroine reciprocating, but ultimately refusing for Reasons, is completely valid in and of itself. Sad, yes, but that’s why the beat can be called ‘Glorious Defeat.’

    Some might say that the decision to leave was the black moment, with the reunion five minute slater the success, but I’d disagree. That was the epilogue, and didn’t have the development (or actual commitment to a relationship) to claim to be the resolution. The emotional resolution occured on the beach, not after.

    There’s even some little things that were ‘good’ in and of themselves. Continuing to use the gym uniform as a symbol for the relationship. The fact that the end-beat thematically ties into the themes of episode 1′s starting beats, where the protagonist’s ‘reason to need romance’ (an aimless future) is fulfilled as he’s given direction for his life. The fact that the crisis did entail, and use, the themes of rumors and trustworthiness to feed the black moment. Even the fact that the arc has a convenient video-game esque divergence point for contrast to future arcs. Likely future arcs won’t have them studying with Hikari, which means she won’t get a chance to go on the mixer trip anyway, which means her friend won’t betray her, which means no conflict. Etc. etc. I even liked that Shouichi turned to hide his tears as his heart was getting broken, even as he tried not to show the hurt. Good stuff there, and it could have made for good endings.

    Where this arc of Seiren went wrong, in my view, is how it executed the final beats. The reasoning for Hikari refusal, the lack of reasoning for the epilogue, and seeming to forget the themes that the relationship built around. Plus the whole thing with her false-friend (which is really about forgetting the theme of the relationship.)

    First off, Hikari’s refusal. Let’s start by saying her ‘no’ itself wasn’t the issue, but how it was executed dramatically. It’s not wrong to have a Glorious Defeat, but when you do it does need some emotional catharsis, and Seiren failed there. If the two had started going out- even on the understanding that it would be limited- you would have had that catharsis. In fact, you would have had a reason for Shouichi to wait at the end, because of a promised renewal. But if you don’t do that, you have to build up your denial of emotion.

    Hikari’s refusal is just short of a deus ex machina.

    Deus ex machina are plot devices that come out of nowhere, with no foreshadowing, to solve an otherwise insurmountable problem for the protagonists. In this case, though, Hikari’s reason for saying no was a reverse deus ex machina- it was an insurmountable problem that came out of nowhere to prevent romantic culimination. It really didn’t have a build-up, and it’s questionable if it genuinely had foreshadowing. We saw Hikari ask her resteraunt manager for help, but until the reveal that could have been anything from personal help to emotional guidance. Before then, though, we had little to nothing to suggest Hikari had any such hangups, or that she’d oppose a temporary relationship (after all, she wanted a mixer tour), and so on.

    Deux ex machina are bad enough when they work for the protagonist, but when they subvert the ending they’re a lot like a spitefall game master who wants to end the story with total team wipe. Rocks fall, everyone dies, game over. Seiren didn’t have the emotional setup for a sudden, point blank refusal… especially after Hikari herself initiated the kissing (and more). Given that Hikari’s refusal is a choice, not something forced on her, it makes it worse.

    And then not only did it fail to set up the refusal, but it also failed to give Shouichi (or Hikari) reason to stay invested for the future. This is where something as banal as a promise to return in the future, or a temporary relationship with an enforced break, would have helped. Even a long-distance relationship could do- or a change of motive for the breakup. If Hikari’s leaving wasn’t a choice, but something forced upon her- that she was moving away soon, and the mixer tour was to be her farewell tour with a friend- then the romance could have had a tragic element and lack of resolution.

    Instead, Hikari refused him, and left a year later, and five years after all that Shouichi is still pining for her because… well, not even reasons. Not from her, at least.

    I mean, it’s obvious he wanted the same career feild to find her again, but then what? She didn’t promise to wait for him. He didn’t promise to wait for her. They could have met eachother, both of them mutual engaged to someone else, and that would have even been more appropriate- that they were a sort of first Real Love/ones that got away. Heck, if there’d been any sign they’d had some sort of mutual commitment to it, I would have cheered. If Hikari had a wedding band on her finger when she returned but then took it off to claim she used it to keep others at bay- or if she’d returned wearing his sports uniform- then you’d have something to wait for.

    Instead, Hikari’s interest is unsupported- and that turns Shouichi’s waiting from something admirable to pitiful. If he’d moved on, great- she had a significant, positive influence on his life, but he moved forward. If she’d promised to come back to him, then it’s dedication. But if’s just a foolish hope that she’d come back half a decade later and still be single and find him attractive…

    Well, not so admirable.

    But finally for this TL;DR- it’s the lack of thematic awareness about malicious gossip and rumor-mongering that ruins the crisis and resolution. After three episodes of doing a really good job of actually establishing a subtle theme, the lackluster resolution completely forgets what it used to bring Hikari and Shouichi together in the first place.

    I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll restate it again- the one of the underlying themes of the Hikari arc was the role of gossip and slander. Hikari was, as we saw, someone regularly victim to slander and was false-friends with someone who betrayed her trust and talked behind her back. The attraction to Shouichi was built upon the fact that he overcame the reputation barrier and contrasted himself against that. That opened the door, and Hikari found she enjoyed teasing him to garner honest reactions, and that was the bedrock of their relationship. Shouichi rose above scandal, which she did not like and had to pretend didn’t bother her.

    In this episode, though… say what you will about how she shouldn’t have made peace with her friend for moral/ethical reasons, but it was a thematic betrayal as well. Before, what Hikari found herself wanting was honesty- but here, she started settling for duplicity and dishonesty. Her own relationship/feelings for Shouichi were the thing that had to be secret and hidden from public attention.

    And then the role of reputation and slander was completely absent from the glorious defeat. Hikari wanted to avoid a one-year relationship because it wouldn’t be committed enough- not because she was afraid of how it might look, or that rumors might suggest she’d cheat on him while abroad, or anything else. The thematic underpinning for three quarters of the arc- and behind the black moment- were completely absent. Hikari accepted deceit and slander from a friend, but rejected a sincere commitment from the one she cared about, and that’s the exact opposite for what should have occurred. I get that Seiren didn’t want to break her friendship harshly, especially since the conflict will likely be avoided in all the other routes, but it still needed to be justified in some way- even if it was a ‘I’m angry, but I forgive you because I accept people’s flaws’ sort of way. Or the ‘I found someone I like anyway, thanks to you’ motive.

    But honestly, it’s just unsatisfying overall. Even a temporary relationship with a known end-date and fears for what would have been after would have been preferable.

    So those are my thoughts on what the underlying flaws were. It’s not even that the broad motions were unfeasible- they just lacked a proper thematic underpinning that failed to support the mood. If they’d gone for a more conventional happier ending, no one would have minded as much, but they didn’t and that requires the extra legwork.

    Seiren didn’t stick the landing- but they did do enough things right that I’ll stick around for the next chapter. But the Hikari arc was a bit of a let down- between too much wasted time in part 3, and forgetting the themes for part 4′s unfulfilling resolution.

    What’s really a shame- besides that they had a really good setup in episodes 1 and 2 about the themes of gossip- was that the outcome of this arc doesn’t work well for a sequel series.

    It’d be hard to have Seiren SS/Seiren SS+ for a pairing that’s officialy not a pairing for the expected period of embellishment. If they’d come together like a conventional pairing, Hikari SS route could have used the ‘I want to leave and become a chef’ as a great crisis/worry for a shorter episode arc- both for the ‘rumors of a breakup’ dynamic, and the resolution/commitment to wait for eachother.

    As is, what would sequel write in? UST when they’re not together at school? Or a post-reunion continuation?

    Eh. At least it tempers expectations for this as an expansion of the Amagami brand.

    • January 29, 2017 at 3:11 amStilts

      Good thoughts. On the theme of gossip & slander: I almost get the impression that the writers didn’t realize they were evoking this theme. It was so subtle at times that it almost felt incidental, like it came about more as a result of the tropes they used to set up Hikari’s character as one potentially attractive to (male) viewers rather than out of any intention.

      This does happen, by the way—I’ve had editors point out themes in my own fiction, only for me to respond that I didn’t realize they were there. They were just so central to either my personal worldview, the construction of the plot/world, or the construction of certain characters that they snuck in without my realizing. Once they were pointed out, then I had to decide whether to expand or squash them.

      With Seiren, it almost feels like it didn’t get the edit required to realize that theme was there. I’m not necessarily saying that, by the way—I think them trying to play with the theme, and not doing it well/getting distracted partway through, are far more likely. Still, it’s an interesting thing I wanted to digress on, haha.

    • January 29, 2017 at 6:27 amAex

      Great point on Hikari being the one that kissed Shoichi. Missed that, and it does make things a lot worse. She kissed him for herself, like she was trying to force a resolution, which might’ve worked if she were a senior about to graduate, but then they have over a year where they see each other every day. That’s not how real feelings work, and if she was serious then something would’ve given. If not, like you said, there’s no reason to force them back together at the end. It was something that happened to him once and the girl wasn’t serious, so he moves on. But no, they wanted a dramatic reunion with the classic look shared between two people that tells the audience that they were 100% going to get back together, even though at that point the audience has 0% reason to hold onto or even believe the relationship.

    • January 29, 2017 at 9:55 amtheirs

      Good point. Probably the best explanation on why I feel unsatisfied with this episode. Was slightly perplexed as to why, since I think most of their actions are actually in character. Didn’t think too much about it while watching, but it seems I did notice them not following the theme of the previous three episodes.

      I’ll agree with Stilts reply here that it seems the editor missed it. But who exactly does the role of the editor? Remembering Shirobako, it doesn’t seem like there is anyone specifically in that role.

      • January 29, 2017 at 5:05 pmStilts

        That’s a problem I have with big-budget productions like anime/TV/movies/etc. Unless there’s a REALLY GOOD director at the helm and a REALLY GOOD head writer (likely, team of writers) who can pick out all the problems while they’re still working on the script, it’s liable to be released without the kind of editing a book gets, i.e. here’s a potentially finished thing (it could be released with a few grammatical checks), tell me what’s wrong with is.

        Unless you’ve got someone who’s great at seeing the full picture without having the full product, you’re not going to get the kind of editing other formats can do. That’s one reason why Marvel movies work so well, by the way—the hard work figuring out plot lines was done in the comics, which the movies use at templates. Ditto for the better anime series, though length considerations hamper them more often than in movies (you must do X number of episodes, etc).

  • January 29, 2017 at 2:14 amMentar

    Amen, Stilts. I fully agree with you.

    In a way it’s a shame, because – unlike Amagami – I find all main girls visually appealing, and the initial characterization of Hikari would have allowed for a fun arc. But it never really materialized, and the nondescript and bland male MC utterly failed. After episode 3 I was worrying how the story would credibly link up Hikari and Kamita, but in the end, they simply didn’t try to do it at all.

    This doesn’t bode well for the future arc. Can I ask for an audible, toss out Kamita and replace him with his friend?

    I’m thinking back to the substance of an Ayatsuji arc of Amagami and weep.

  • January 29, 2017 at 2:32 amillusion

    Coming from someone who just finished watching Amagami SS and SS+, Junichi is miles better than Kamita.

    • January 29, 2017 at 6:42 amAex

      Because Junichi tried. Replace Shoichi with Junichi on the beach and we go from
      “Oh, okay,”

      to

      “Bullshit. We like each other and we have over a year. If you say you’re going to learn to commit to what matters to you then start right now and get in the damn relationship!”

      XD

  • January 29, 2017 at 5:53 amNishizawa Mihashi

    When I look at Hikari,
    my testicles are empty;

    But I look at Shouichi,
    and he runs to his granny!

  • January 29, 2017 at 6:02 amNishizawa Mihashi

    Seriously dawg, somebody go pop a cap in this bitch-ass mofo! I’m tried of seein’ his lame-ass on tha street, muthafucka needs to get smoked, taught a lesson, grind his pubes till he becomes man a’ steel.

    Jun’ichi was a bro you could getcho’ back on but this busta? FUCK him. And his sperm. And his bacteria. And his body cells. GEEZUS

    We coulda made somethin REAL special with Hikari but no writers gotta be composed of mofos who ain’t got no clue as to what they doin’. FUCK. They should let me write the script. And dat script I’d be writin will make all dem homo sapiens be blowin loads by the end of episode 1. Literally? Figuratively? Why not both?

  • January 29, 2017 at 6:09 amAex

    Wow, I expected to come into this looking for a fight, but people agree with me? That’s a first for this arc, lol!

    Sorry. Anyway, first this arc fails at the emotional hook at the beginning that made Amagami so damn good and gave us a reason to not only root for Junichi but also a good reason beyond proximity as to why the couple was in each others lives. There was always something in Amagami, and here there was nothing, just being stuck at cram school. Now they utterly failed at any connection to the ending. Stilts hit all the points, so I’ll just beat the dead horse that is the very end.

    Are we seriously supposed to believe they got together at the end? Like, seriously seriously? Cause I don’t. Aside from the kiss this was barely even romance to me. They had not even two weeks where they were a pseudo-couple, then she ignored him for months, then they had one day and a kiss, then she REJECTS him before he even works up the guts to ask her out because she doesn’t want to be tied down from going to Spain even though that’s OVER A YEAR away! Are you kidding me? Way to make Hikari seem like a selfish twit. Suspension of disbelief = shattered. It might’ve worked if she were a senior and was about to graduate, but she friendzoned him for over a year even though she supposedly liked him and knew he liked her.

    That’s some selfish tease bullshit, Hikari, and if this were Junichi he would’ve called your non-committal ass out and dragged you off so the two of you would’ve spent that year making some awesome memories. THEN I could’ve believed that they had a chance after four years apart.

    Some weak delivery, a kiss, and a “dramatic” five-year time-skip does not a romance make. Hell, despite all the checkboxes apparently being hit, I’m not even sure this qualified as a romance.

    • February 5, 2017 at 9:56 pmManly Tear

      ^Word. The odds of a girl like Hikari not finding someone else feels slim to say the least, and the guy literally gambled on that. Either reject him properly so he can move on or make some memories in that remaining year, damn it. At the same time, I also wanna be mean and say he deserves it for being waaaaaaaaay over the acceptable borders of BETA-ness.

  • January 29, 2017 at 7:53 amIncognito

    http://randomc.net/image/Seiren/Seiren%20-%2004%20-%20Large%2028.jpg

    OK, what bothered me the most about this underwater kissing scene is that, wouldn’t the waves (even small ones) kick up a cloud of sand? Also, opening your eyes (without goggles) under the sea… If the sand doesn’t get into your eyes first, the saltwater will surely give a good sting.

    Anyway, as for the actual arc… Well, to quote The Mighty Jingles (after seeing a World of Warships/Tanks player epically fail at something):

    “How do you f**k that up?”

    I haven’t felt this disappointed since the ending of Rihoko’s arc back in Amagami SS. Heck, it could be argued that this was even worse, as at least Rihoko eventually got a good end in SS+.

    A “Just Friends” + “Maybe Ever After” ending after giving minimal/vague reasons to care about the lead characters, scant character development, and an unclear theme to Hikari’s arc? “Ugh” indeed. And as much as I liked the fanservice in Amagami SS, those were but bonuses to how decently (if not well) done the show was written in general. Here, not even the fanservice can carry the show…

    While I’m hoping that the next arc/s will be better executed, if this show really starts to go south, I’ll probably just go back to rewatching Amagami SS and SS+ once Seiren is done…and perhaps a freaking drink to go along with it.

    • January 29, 2017 at 8:57 amewok40k

      A confession: I myself DO have a thing for underwater kisses (though definitely not fully clothed bathing, mind you…) – and pool or large bathtub or spa is only way to do it, water at sea and lakes is just too dirty near the shore due to sand and silt , not the least one you are kicking up yourself by moving in shallow water… This also makes any sort of trying to go further than kisses outright impossible – sand in the private parts, not healthy or pleasant at all…
      As fellow Jingles watcher and WOT/WOWS player I seriouysly understand the comment.
      There would be easily 2 better ways to make the conflict resolved:
      “date for year and then have long-distance relationship”
      “screw this i’m coming with you wherever you go, I will find something to study there”
      but no they’ve made such weak half-assed deus-ex-machina ending…

  • January 29, 2017 at 10:24 amtheirs

    This episode felt more like slice of life instead of romance. Really not the best way to end the arc. I don’t have a problem with the ending it self, but by the way it was done. Velvet Kiss did a similar ending that had a lot more impact compared to this.

    For example, I’m not particularly fond of this particular scene:
    http://randomc.net/image/Seiren/Seiren%20-%2004%20-%2022.jpg
    Though the follow up kind of prevented it from being a terrible.

    Hopefully they’ll do the next arc justice, as I quite liked the first three episodes of this arc. Spice things up a wee bit perhaps, but they also need the proper spices.

    ps. Did Ikuo actually hook up with Mako? Or was it with someone else?

    • January 29, 2017 at 12:41 pmSK

      I don’t know if it was Mako, but it did seem like Ikuo got with someone from his past. Could be foreshadowing for something in a different route?

  • January 29, 2017 at 10:42 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    Can’t really say much that hasn’t already been said.

    There was definitely potential, but it was just squandered by poor execution in various areas…we can only hope the next arc steps things up.

  • January 29, 2017 at 4:42 pmOkabe_Rintarou

    Shouichi = NTR’ed (probably while discount!MorishimaHaruka/Not!MorishimaHaruka/TheyWastedAyaneSakuraOnThisArc was overseas “tasting the local cuisine”). Junichi FOUGHT and FOUGHT HARD for his love, while Seiren’s 1st arc gives us a crappy X-years-later epilogue that reminds me of sucky Filipino soap operas.

    • January 29, 2017 at 8:43 pmhaseo0408

      From what I hear this is going to be a two part show so all the girls routes are going to be cover but if they´re investing so much in this story I sure as hell hope they give a romantic resolution to all the other girls because this felt lacking.

      • January 30, 2017 at 4:21 amAex

        I really hope they don’t give all the girls “Normal Route” endings like this one to bait viewers into buying this series’ SS+ or OVAs that have the “Good Ending”. Cause that would be just about the stupidest move ever. They can’t bank on Amagami’s success that much to keep the audience interested.

        We’re here for real romance with really cute girls, damnit!

  • January 29, 2017 at 11:21 pmstardf29

    I feel like, had the arc been written from the start to focus on Hikari’s, and by extension, Shoichi’s struggles with deciding on their futures, the ending wouldn’t be as bad as it was. Ditch the whole gossip-related stuff (because that clearly didn’t work), have Shoichi try out Hikari’s food in the first episode, and then from there work out how Hikari goes from being a carefree spirit to someone who’s seriously passionate about something to the point where she doesn’t want to date frivolously, as well as how Shoichi approaches his own future and how they influence each other. Maybe also make a better case for the two of them actually waiting out for each other. (Making Shoichi less of a wimp would probably be necessary, too.)

    What we had was just way too little to work with, and ended up feeling outright contradictory with Hikari’s earlier established personality as someone who was fed up with the stifling atmosphere of the cram school. The leap from that to “I want to pursue this dream so much I don’t even want to date” is just too much, and the end result feels like this arc’s been Rihoko’d, but without any room for a plus-arc to resolve things better.

    • January 31, 2017 at 4:43 amAex

      Rihoko’s arc at least made sense. It fit with his and her character and there was plenty of room for a ton of hope by the end since it kinda felt like they were just going slow but still getting somewhere. There was no whiplash, just a lot of endearing hesitation that made me yell “Just kiss already” with a stupid grin. Plus it was easy to understand that she didn’t want to take a chance on ruining what they had since she already had most of his attention, she was already quite happy with that, and didn’t want to take a chance that changing that might ruin it. We’ve all been somewhere like that so it was understandable.

      There was nothing to understand here, just a lot of forced “atmosphere” and “drama” that went nowhere and didn’t work.

  • January 30, 2017 at 12:06 amSandy

    Pretty much agree with all of your points and i sense NTR Doujin coming for this one. (not going to complain shouichi’s beta as fuck)

  • January 30, 2017 at 5:36 pmlunascha

    Both the girl and the guy character sort of reminds me of the character from My Sassy Girl. One of those where the girl is more outgoing and knows exactly what she wants and the guy just really likes the girl and he decides his future based on her.
    Okay, maybe it’s not too similar but I am glad they met at the end. It was sort of cute how they met again after many years later. Now, I just want to make sure that this series is still ongoing series and it is not really over.. because I got a bit confused at the end..

  • February 2, 2017 at 7:38 amReikakou

    Nope… that the successor to Amagami that I hope it would be. Just gonna rewatch Amagami for nth time instead.

  • February 2, 2017 at 7:39 amReikakou

    Nope… not the successor to Amagami that I hope it would be. Just gonna rewatch Amagami for nth time instead.

  • February 2, 2017 at 10:13 amKiritsugu

    Hikari’s ark was brilliantly done until episode 3! Unfortunately, by episode 4, it went down under the weight of the expectations raised by the cliffhanger from episode 3 (that glare at her friend and the senpai linking harms). In my opinion this was one of the key factors for the poor deliverance on this week’s episode; the other being the no-relation/await-five-years/hi-nice-to-see-you-again moment!

    First Issue: The idea that a conflict would arise between Hikari and her devious “best friend” was settled in deeply by the end of episode 3! Unfortunately, the whole thing was brushed aside with a mellow “Yeah, whatever, never mind!”
    Eventually, after meeting again with Shouichi, she suddenly brushes off her friend’s douchebag of a move! Why?
    She never cared deeply for her “friend” and values honesty above all? Possibly.
    Having fallen for Shouichi, she no longer cares for her former senpai love interest. True.
    The whole scene falls under the weight of episode’s 3 cliffhanger… Poorly solved, poorly explained.

    Second Issue (Big one): You had two possibilities here. Either, (choose one)

    (1) Change nothing and have a casual encounter later on, one due to pure chance.
    (2) Let them have their relationship during that remaining year, build up feelings of angst for the incoming time of their separation and then break them up with a bittersweet tone. “No matter what, later, we will have our forever, together!)

    What you can’t have is a guy pinning over for someone who went after her goal, working at the same place she did previously, with hopes of seeing her again; especially after all that talk about having found out what he wanted is future to be. Pinning over someone for five years, is not a career resolution.

    In a way, that resolution puts Hikari and Shouichi as polar opposites! She moved on, releasing herself from everything else, including love to pursue her goals. Meanwhile, he couldn’t move on! Shouichi was stuck in a moment for five years, dreaming about that beach and their underwater kiss; waiting for her, for as long as it may take.

  • February 2, 2017 at 11:20 amYanDaMan

    On one hand, yeah this is not as good as Amagami, but I’ll refrain from judging until I see every route.

    But second, at least this series gives us way more eye candy, first girl got some very nice shots. Hope they keep that up~!

  • February 4, 2017 at 4:50 pmruicarlov

    Man, today I just went to the cinema to watch La-la land (whose second half I didn’t particularly enjoy). I go for a change of pace and binge-watch the first three episodes of Seiren. “Ah, this is want I needed for wash away that unpleasant feeling”.

    I then watch the 4th episode…. This must’ve been my face https://i.ytimg.com/vi/q3tsHlxXejQ/maxresdefault.jpg

  • February 5, 2017 at 9:48 pmManly Tear

    It had a realistic way to end off things which happens more often than not but,rather disappointing overall given what has happened so far. Just one freaking kiss,come on…At least make it night of “memories” before splitting off for the next 5 years. The show got rather rather lazy here at the end, IMO. Also, to think that Shouichi really hoped and outgoing girl like Hikari would still be into him after 5 years when their time memorable time together was so brief. If we’re to talk about realism, most of the time one such girl would’ve found a boyfriend by then.

    Felt to me like they tried to strike a good balance between realism & a satisfying end but it got rather lazy towards the end and the execution suffered as result. Kind of a shame since Hikari seemed to be one of the more fun & interesting girls and the previous episodes had their charm with her & Shouichi’s flirting but it just didn’t wanna go the extra mile – or heck,just a few extra meters would’ve cut it – there to end things on an at least somewhat satisfying note.

    Aaaaaa, feelsbadman :(

  • March 22, 2017 at 2:03 amTopboy

    If I give Amagami average score for any arc 7/10. This Seiren arc get 5/10. Near the end of arc things get bad and badder. Everything that could go wrong just go wrong.

    I wonder when I was a kid there were too many good romance anime/manga Orange road,Maison Ikkoku, I”s, Ichigo100%, Love Hina. But for present-day why it’s so hard to find good romance anime/manga.