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Seiren – 08

「宮前透 最終章 モフモフ」 (Miyamae Tooru sai Shuushou – Mofumofu)
“Miyamae Tooru Final Chapter – Fluffy”

This was better, but it was still a second draft, tops. Refinement was needed, which it never got.

I’ve put forth this argument before, but here it is again. In fact, this is one of my chief criticisms of anime in general. It’s a flaw that’s in some ways baked into the medium, but it needn’t be. Here’s what I think the chief problem of Seiren has been so far: what we’re seeing isn’t a final draft. It’s a first, maybe a second draft at most. It’s not a final draft, though. It lacks the necessary refinement to be truly effective. A good editor would have plenty to say.

You can see it when events happen because the writers feel they need to happen, rather than them flowing naturally from the events before; think of Shouichi and Tooru showing up at the kissing spot at the end, and having a sudden date, because it was time for the ending. You can see it when characters act certain ways because the writers know they should, without adequate groundwork ahead of time; this is the entire story of each girl falling for Shouichi so far, though Hikari was worse than Tooru.

It’s really in the small stuff, which is what makes it so hard to pin down. It’s in Tooru’s purported brocon nature always being spoken of, but never shown. It’s in the romantic tension being weak in the first two episodes, when it needed to be stronger. It’s in the flash-forward epilogue, which made a certain kind of sense and I actually didn’t hate, but also felt tacked on. It’s in this arc working about 80% of the time, which is much better than the first arc, but it’s no classic.

Anime are big committee projects, and like big budget movies or video games, they can fall prey to too many fingers in the pot. Great stories often need an auteur, or a small group that together creates an amalgamated auteur, and many anime do not have that. That’s one of the better reasons why adaptations are desirable; they have the singular vision of the auteur in the source material, a vision that in some way fought its way to the top of the idea jungle, and therefore might just have something interesting about it. (Or it might be another generic magical-fantasy-action-harem anime; the theory isn’t foolproof.) Originals don’t have that, and if too many people have too much of a say in the story, the whole house of cards can crumble.

Which is only half of the problem. With Seiren, I suspect it might be time. Anime, like big budget Marvel or Star Wars movies, get a release date, and that needs to be met; there’s no chance to say, “No, we need another month to get this right.” You get it out then, or else. Which I think hurts Seiren, because if the script for the Tooru arc was refined a few times, it actually could have been amazing. Cut away the extraneous bullshit, amp up the romantic tension early on, improve the animation a bit, and you could have a classic.

But it was not to be. Instead, we got an arc that was pretty good. I enjoyed the Tooru arc more often than not. It just doesn’t arouse passion. It isn’t good enough for me to argue about who’s the best girl, or pine after a girl like Tooru. Part of that might be personal preference, I’ll grant you that; when I meet a woman, whether she games isn’t high on my priority list. (Though then again, I’m also 30 years old, so, ya know. Priorities change.) But I think it’s more a symptom of the total misfire of the Hikari arc + the lack of polish in the Tooru arc. 80% effectiveness is fine, it’s pleasant enough, but it ain’t memorable. That may be Seiren’s greatest sin of all.

BUT, the allure of the omnibus format is that Seiren has one more shot to right the boat before this season comes to a close. If the quality keeps on the trajectory it’s been on, the final arc could be the best. Crazier things have happened, right? See: 2016, 2017 so far. I rest my case.

Random thoughts:

  • Hikari was still in this arc way too much. It’s distracting for a former heroine to play such a big supporting role in another heroine’s story. Make new characters, ya gits.
  • On the adam’s apple: you’re doing fetish body part play wrong! Anticipation is the key. In the moments leading up to Haruka’s back-of-the-knee or Kaoru’s belly button, there’s all this hilarious romantic tension. Having it just happen denies us that fun.
  • Minor quibble, but not every arc needs a flash-forward epilogue. Letting us wonder is sometimes the best move. Just sayin’.

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: The Carcer Principle; Fire, further; Fire; and Starting a story with a bang—and when not to.




February 25, 2017 at 6:27 am
  • February 25, 2017 at 6:47 amu.l.

    Adaptations happen when stuff sells well and some suits somewhere decide to squeeze some quick additional profit off it. They have an incomparably lower chance of being someone’s passion project, compared to original anime. So that idea isn’t just “not foolproof”, but completely divorced from reality.

    Agreed on the rest, though.

    • February 25, 2017 at 7:22 amMediafag

      Well, Seiren actually IS a passion project of the original writter of Amagami (Kobayashi Tomoki). He’s the only one to return from the original Amagami staff, and Seiren was years in the making.

      I honestly think the production was troubled when they couldn’t get back AIC to do the animation and switched to Gokumi. And it snowballed from there.

      • February 25, 2017 at 3:40 pmStilts

        Studio doesn’t matter as much as people think. Staff does. Also, iterations do. I maintain that it’s the last thing that was most lacking, though staff + budget are also factors.

  • February 25, 2017 at 7:02 amMediafag

    I think it’s safe to assume that Amagami is proving to be a very tough act to follow.

    • February 25, 2017 at 7:17 amAex

      That’s just it: if you go back to Amagami you see that it’s really not. I love the show, but the formula is so easy to see you’d think they could make as many shows like it as they wanted. For whatever reason, though, they decided to trade some romantic tension for bits of drama that don’t go anywhere with a much weaker MC. The whole thing just gives a feeling of needing a final edit(or two in Hikari’s arc case).

      • February 25, 2017 at 7:38 amMediafag

        It really is. Amagami established it’s characters way before the anime even began, so fans already had an investment on their favorite girl/s (regardless of how bad their arc turned out *COUGHRIHOKOCOUGH*). With Seiren, it started from scratch, so it’s harder to get invested in their characters and stories.

        If you want a really good sequel to Amagami, just animate Hibiki and Maya’s extra arcs from the PC fandisk. And BAM, instant fanbase regained.

      • February 25, 2017 at 7:51 amAex

        Yeah, I forgot about the game for a second because I went into the anime cold. Having a game first probably helps a lot cause you’ve already got the feedback on what parts of each arc work. Didn’t help the Kimikiss anime, though >.<

        What's most annoying is how close Seiren gets at times, then has another hiccup. Not having a game should've been even more reason to pay more attention to the final polish.

      • February 25, 2017 at 11:12 amHalfDemonInuyasha

        I’d be racing back at light speed if they came out with a Hibiki arc and Maya arc episode(s)…

      • February 25, 2017 at 3:45 pmStilts

        Don’t underestimate how hard it is to execute. Ideas are dime a dozen; execution truly is everything, and it’s MUCH harder than you think. Trust me—I write books. We think we know it way better than we do, and then we try to do it, and it’s HARD. It’s way easier to analyze why someone else’s creation works or doesn’t.

        That’s not to say that it isn’t possible to follow up Amagami, or even that it is harder to recreate than most. It’s not, and the game isn’t a factor, aside from the iteration issue (it got more edits). Just don’t underestimate execution. It’s way harder than it looks when you’re just looking at the results.

    • February 25, 2017 at 8:10 pmsonicsenryaku


      Maaaan its not funny how true everything you said is. Im currently in the mists of writing my novel and i keep finding myself saying “huh, executing this simple conversation that is meant to tie in this simple plot detail naturally is a lot tougher to execute than i initially anticipated”. It’s always easier to critique than to actually do. Isnt that why human beings are the most hypocritical creatures on earth??? For example, it’s always easier to talk shit about how other people should run their relationships and yet for the most part, it’s those people talking shit who have a difficult time making their own relationships work. Such is the cycle of life

  • February 25, 2017 at 7:07 amAex

    Well the ending was 1000 times better than last arc, but Shoichi reverted to spineless crap again at the beginning and I’m so tired of Hikari showing up and being a brat I’ve gone numb. Things smoothed back out by the Adam’s Apple, though, so I’ll give it a “good”. Tooru was great and Shoichi finally had a few moments, but there just wasn’t enough.

  • February 25, 2017 at 7:41 amstardf29

    In the end, I think the title of this episode described well how I felt about this arc overall: nice and fluffy, though unremarkable. Despite the minor bits of drama, it played out more like a slice-of-life than anything else. As such, it was enjoyable enough, and definitely much better than the first arc.

    That said, I will agree that it’s not particularly memorable, and I say that as someone who does find many fluffy slice-of-life shows memorable for one reason or another. Maybe it’s because it tried to put in drama without going anywhere with them, or maybe it’s because Shoichi is such a bland character and Tooru is, while likable enough, not really “best girl” material. Whatever the case, it falls into the “enjoyable but unremarkable fluff” category.

    It reminded me of Sae’s arc in Amagami (or what I remember of it), as both were relatively drama-free and more slice-of-life-ish (though no lemony narrator here). Granted, Sae’s arc wasn’t anywhere near one of my favorite arcs, so that’s not really praise for this arc, but I guess if we’re going to be comparing this show to Amagami, it’s worth remembering some of the lower points of Amagami as well?

    Anyway, next arc is do-or-die time for this series. I love a good osananajimi love story, so if they can at least do this one decently well, I’ll be satisfied. If they finally nail it, it could be my favorite four episodes of the season. If they botch it… well, let’s just say I do not want to live through the unpleasantness of Amagami S1′s Rihoko arc’s ending (pre SS+) again…

    • February 25, 2017 at 8:00 amAex

      Most of Amagami was drama-free, though, aside from Tsukasa and other little bits her and there. Seiren just needs a massive lesson in how to do romantic tension and still have fun. The staff should watch Haruka and Ai’s arcs a few hundred times, or memorize Tsukasa’s if they absolutely need drama.

      • February 25, 2017 at 3:55 pmStilts

        Aye. Drama is nice—Kaoru’s arc is my favorite, for she is truly best girl—but romantic tension is actually what’s needed. If this is to be fluffy, make it delightfully fluffy! No half-measures.

  • February 25, 2017 at 11:14 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    Definitely far superior to Hikari’s arc, but considering it kind of set a low bar with how it went, it wasn’t too hard for another one to be better.

  • February 25, 2017 at 1:26 pmNoel

    If this is junichi, he will kiss the same spot as compensation hahaha
    And That bunny rabbit scene with zipper was too kinky like seeing some opening for

  • February 26, 2017 at 5:47 amtheirs

    Guess it would’ve been better if they made a game out of this first. At least they’d have a chance in getting the characterisation right. Can’t really see Hikari blushing from looking at Moe-nee’s picture.
    Both KimiKiss and Amagami probably had several pass during the games development. They adapted it in a different way, but I think starting from a more refined base helped them a lot. Is it safe to assume that a dating game of Seiren may become a more refined product compared to the anime? If so, I’ll start thinking of getting the game. XD

    Not to up beat about the next arc.
    The girl on the right seem to be the most interesting future heroine.

    • February 26, 2017 at 6:52 amStilts

      A game’s just one way to get the refinement. Just going over the script more times could have done the trick as well. I just don’t think that happened.

  • February 27, 2017 at 12:42 amIncognito

    So the ending is basically decent, but not great.

    Or in dating sim terms, a “Normal” end. (Which still pales in comparison to Junichi and Haruka’s “10 years later” flash forward. And don’t get me started on how there wasn’t enough romantic moments compared to Ai’s arc…) Oh well, at least I did have a chuckle at those deer-related innuendoes…

    Next week, either it will be a “childhood friend romance” finally done right, or worse than Rihoko’s ending in the first season of Amagami SS. (Though I’ll give some bonus points for Kyouko being Shouichi’s kouhai as well, so he seriously has to man up and take the freaking lead for once.)

  • February 27, 2017 at 11:00 amManly Tear

    While the romance was there, it was so damn late, which makes it rushed. Like, the entire 1st half of this ep feels like something Amagami did in around the 2nd ep of an and built the romance and whatever light tension it had from there.

  • February 27, 2017 at 6:18 pmzrnzle500

    But if we skipped the epilogue this time, we wouldn’t have seen Shoichi becoming a bus driver, which made it worth it to me at least. Wonder if he cited his excellence at the bus game in his interview?

  • February 27, 2017 at 7:43 pmhjerry

    So here we go into the final arc, and the girl who I’d most looked forward to, or at least, of the ones being adapted, as I actually really wish they’d given arcs to more than just these 3 girls. I actually get the impression that some of these other girls have more character than our main 3. Oh well maybe next time. For now, I do think Kyoko has the most potential of the 3 that they chose. Whether or not they tap into it is yet to be seen.

  • February 27, 2017 at 7:47 pmhjerry

    Overall, so far, this series has been hit or miss for me. It feels enough like Amagami for me tp look forward to it each week, as that type of series really does appeal to me, but it never has seemed to capture Amagami’s magic. Both arcs so far have been rather mediocre, and a lot of that stems from just really bland characters. The heroine in arc two had more depth imo than arc one, but I also felt that our protag was far more of a milquetoast MC than in arc one, so it’s a bit of a wash for me. Hopefully arc 3 can give us the best of both worlds in a developed heroine and MC both.

  • February 28, 2017 at 7:55 amKiritsugu

    The only memorable things in this arc were the innuendos/metaphors, period! xD
    Deer to deer mating aka First sex experience.
    Band-aid used as a commitment ring.
    That kinky zipper excuse for a… well, Hentai-ish parting of… you get my drift.
    Asides from that, it was normal. Not very good, not bad. (Stifles a yawn.) NEXT!

    I hope this next girl takes the MC into an hell of a ride, or this show will be done as done can be.

  • March 22, 2017 at 7:07 amTopboy

    Second arc in better than First arc. At least we don’t end up in friend zone.

    What I expect before Seiren on air is much,much more than what I get after watch it. If I could make a wish 3-4 months a wish,I wish for just one good romance anime serie per season. Please god grant me my wish.