Seiren – 11
「桃乃今日子 第3章 カクセイ」 (Touno Kyouko dai 3-shou – Kakusei)
“Touno Kyoko Chapter 3 – Awakening”
Damn this was stupid, and problematic to boot.
Let’s talk about being friendzoned.
As a wise man once said, “friendzoning” is an imaginary misogynistic way of looking at relationships (watch the whole video), and if you want to argue with me about that, kindly piss off. I have no interest in getting into it with some dumb ignorant MRA, so let’s not waste any of our times. However, it’s true that a lot of people (particularly men) still believe that friendzoning is a thing, possibly including the man who wrote this series. Why do I bring this up?
Because as much as I think the friendzone is bullshit, it sure feels like Shouichi is getting relegated to it. Why? I think the reason is two-fold. One, that’s probably what was intended. Like I said, this was written by a guy—not that a woman couldn’t have done the same, but c’mon—and he probably thought that’d be a good conflict. The problem is that he was wrong. The difference between this and the Kaoru or Rihoko arcs—yes, I’m going to bring Amagami SS up again, because it’s way better—is that neither Kaoru, Rihoko, or Junichi were ever friendzoned. They were friends. That’s different. Their struggle was moving from their current, comfortable relationship to a new, romantic relationship. Here the struggle is that Shouichi already wants to make that move, but Kyouko does not. Which is totally fine, except we know it’ll happen! Which ends up making it feel like her “fault.”
That’s the second issue, by the way. We know they’ll get together, not only because she spent the whole damn episode throwing out conflicting signals, but as a basic conceit of the genre. That means the writer’s key job is to avoid, wherever possible, it seeming like it’s one or the other’s “fault” that the relationship doesn’t progress, as opposed to both of them/the situation. Think of Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun—if Nozaki being dim was the only problem, it would have been his fault and we would have hated him, but since Sakura was also a wuss, it worked out and we could love them both. Here, that’s not the case. The Amagami girl who fell most into this trap was Haruka, which is why I’m told some people didn’t like her initially. The difference there is that Haruka could skate past on pure charisma, and Junichi is a good main character, whereas Shouichi and Kyouko are as interesting as empty pizza boxes.
They even dragged Ikuo into this. (Side note: it’s Tooru who suddenly, inexplicably, and pointlessly entered the plot this time. Way to go, guys.) He’s tired of being “just friends”—and well, I can sympathize with you, bro. Only it’s not your decision alone! If you want it and she doesn’t, that’s it. You’re single on Christmas, my man. Have a good whine and then get over it.
And look, I get the frustration—not only does it suck to be denied what you want, sometimes a little determination is rewarded, and that’s how you get the girl! It worked for Junichi and Haruka, and it’s worked for plenty of real life couples too. The issue is that being persistent is a dick move outside of romantic comedies—or really, even then, though it’s often rewarded. This is one of those parts of dating that’s utterly confusing, most definitely in real life too—I’ve run afoul, and screwed it up, myself.
Alas, we’re not getting anything like an interesting treatises into the vagaries of modern dating. Instead, Kyoko is going to realize that she loved Shouichi all along because the plot demands it—and because he saved her from a truck, what is this crap, the most flawed episode of Ore Monogatari!!, but way worse?—and Shouichi is going to be rewarded for being pushy, and the linchpin is going to be a pair of wool underwear, and just because she put a hole in the front he feels like giving it another shot and SHE DOESN’T THINK YOU’RE BIOLOGICALLY A WOMAN, YOU DAMN IDIOT! SHE JUST THINKS YOU’RE COMFORTABLE TO BE AROUND! GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS, GODS!
Whatever. Let’s get this farce over with, and if there’s a second season, I’m not even bothering. Ample chance has been given; let’s do one more episode, then take this series out back and put two bullets in its skull. It’s already dead, now let’s bury it.
- Amagami SS rewatch update: I only got one episode into the Rihoko arc since last week. That one episode did make it clear how different the Junichis are—he was oggling a Rihoko-esque nudie models, which would presumably conflict with his end girl choices in other arcs (though all people contain multitudes, and that includes their fetishes). Really though, it just reminds me of how utterly likeable all the Amagami girls are, and how failed the Seiren ones are. Rihocchi would crush these girls under her not-actually-that-overweight big butt.
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