「常木耀 第2章 ヤマオク」 (Tsuneki Hikari 2-shou – Yamaoku)
“Tsuneki Hikari Chapter 2 – Deep in the Mountains”
Houston, we have flirting. And fetishes!
Seiren is, if nothing else, clear in its purposes. It’s not trying to be subtle, nor clever. It’s trying to be the vehicle through which viewers, and primarily male viewers, live out a fantasy where cute girls with exciting, varied personalities pursue them and/or give them plenty of opportunities to do the pursuing. The leaps of logic that make Hikari keep putting herself into situations that titillate poor Shouichi are often contrived. Why does she delight in wearing his sweats and pretending to be a “bitchi”? Why did the deer attack? Why must the midnight snack be eaten at midnight? Some of these can be explained by character (she likes to flirt, she’s bored), but for others, the reason is more mercenary: the fantasy must continue, by any means necessary. Subtlety is for people who give a shit. Seiren does not.
All of which would be a harsh condemnation if that wasn’t what the series is clearly going for. I feel like storytellers should probably always reach for greater heights, and not be content with a lesser goal when something greater is within reach . . . but, well, sometimes it’s okay, right? Sometimes it’s fine to go for the comfort food, the bowl of ice cream, the slice of pizza—or the sandwich made with white bread, rather than the healthier rye, wheat, or pumpernickel. Is this the bigotry of low expectations—or rather, or low aspirations—to be satisfied with this?
Maybe, but fukkit. This is what we’re here for, so we might as well judge it on those merits. Long live the fantasy! The fantasy must go on!
So this episode consisted of Hikari plenty of contrived Shouichi x Hikari time, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. She’s the flirty one, and flirting is fun, even if it’s vicarious. Shouichi is still largely uninteresting, though when Hikari and Ikuo were agreeing that he’s fun to tease, I found myself liking him a little more. At least there was something to separate his character from other male romantic leads, even if it wasn’t much! And, yes, this was mentioned last episode too, but repetition is important in these things, as is showing rather than telling.
If I had any criticisms, it’s that it isn’t clear which fetish this arc will center on, if any. Is it scents? Is it navels? Is it feet? All three? This is inexcusable! If I know anything about fetishes—and I don’t, because I’m not the ecchi author—it’s that clarity is needed. Don’t muddy the waters with conflicting fetishes! Besides, we already did the navel fetish in Amagami SS—though, well, I could go for round two. Bring it.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m hungry. My omelette will not be Spanish, but it will be yummy, and you don’t get any. So there!
- Rapid fire disabusing of weird, pervy, and/or problematic young boy things: abduction isn’t sexy (without consent), there’s nothing good about girls bathrooms (they’re bathrooms), it’s illegal to molest a vending machine in 87 countries (I made that up), and it’s impolite to impose your will on someone (refusing to let her leave) for selfish reasons, navel boy. Stop propagating the patriarchy! (Also, she could probably outrun your lazy butt.) Oh, and really, while he’s on the toilet?? Gross.
- This. This is important. Very important. (And this? Only time will tell.)
- Or maybe it’s Hikari who has the scent fetish, and she’s deflecting by claiming that Shouichi has it. That sounds like someone else we all know. (No puppet, no puppet, you’re the puppet!) Here it is, our post-truth reality—for fetishes. What madness have we wrought?! *falls to knees and weeps*
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Full-length images: 02.