Home > Amagami SS, Episode Reviews > Amagami SS Episode 3 – Co-dependency

Amagami SS Episode 3 – Co-dependency

One complaint that I’ve noticed other reviewers make about Amagami SS is that the show is, well, bland. There’s no major comic asides, lapses into super-deformity, particularly bizarre character designs, or the like. The show has mostly been content to provide a normal depiction of a doomed romance (at least, I think that it’s doomed), and this isn’t always that exciting.

(I’ve actually been taking this as a point in Amagami’s favor; it’s a show that is willing to let, for its first arc, a depiction of an unwise relationship between a supremely self-interested girl and a desperate-for-attention boy speak for itself, without any unnecessary gimmicks outside of good direction and acting.)

Well, whatever else the third episode of Amagami is, it’s not bland. Sketchy, awkward, and occasionally just plain odd, yes, but not bland.

Jun'ichi's happiness and energy level seems directly tied to his romantic progress. Expectable, but not healthy

Last episode left Jun’ichi in a odd position re: Morishima. Technically speaking, the two aren’t dating, but she does seem willing to spend a lot of time with him and, as of where we left off, occasionally express some physical affection. This is more than enough for Jun’ichi, however, who is obviously elated at his “progress” in wooing her.

This episode Jun’ichi tries to further his relationship with her, which leads to some of the most … unusual scenes I’ve ever seen in a romance anime. Whether because she’s not quite willing to accept that they are dating, or—more likely—because she is just a sucker for novelty, she isn’t willing to accept just any type of romance. She wants something unique.

Having watched anime for over a decade, it's not often that I come across a new fetish. This qualifies

So Jun’ichi is allowed to kiss her, but only under a specific set of conditions. He’s allowed to share meals with her, but only if he can keep things “interesting.” Her permission for him to act as her boyfriend (even if she hasn’t used the word) is dependent on how well their relationship entertains her.

This leads Jun’ichi to come up with bizarre and borderline perverted ways of spicing up what should be fairly normal romantic acts. On being told his kiss has to be placed in an unusual spot, he decides to imitate a puppy and picks the inside of her knee. As he can’t find a particularly exciting meal for her to eat in the cafeteria, he asks that they roleplay out a little fantasy (that Morishima is a kidnap victim being fed by Jun’ichi) in order to make it special. And Morishima, rather than finding this all weird or twisted, loves every moment of it.

Half the cafeteria can hear them, but Morishima is completely unconcerned. She can't conceive of herself being viewed negatively

While the episode makes their public relationship much more established—particularly when Morishima’s enthusiastic acting can be heard throughout the cafeteria—their emotional relationship hasn’t moved an inch. Granted, she clearly enjoys spending time with Jun’ichi, but all of it is predicated on the novelty of it. Early in the episode, she seems sort of jealous that Jun’ichi is talking to girls other than her, but that doesn’t seem to be rooted in any deeper affection.

About halfway through the episode, she’s on the phone with her friend Hibiki, and it comes out why she doesn’t want to date younger guys: She’s not sure it’s appropriate for someone younger than her to spoil her. While Hibiki notes, correctly, that guys typically love to spoil their girlfriends, the more important part of that conversation is that all Morishima is really looking for in a relationship is to take, not give. That Jun’ichi has gotten as far as he has is a testament to his determination and creativity, but Morishima loves only what he does for her. She doesn’t love him.

In addition to being beautiful, Morishima is also from a wealthy family if her house is any indication. She really is a classic school idol

At least, that’s my reading of the whole situation, which is perhaps why I found myself increasingly uncomfortable as this episode went on. Of course, the sketchiness of the couple’s situations might also have had something to do with that; while everything stays at least in the pg level, hearing Morishima moan slightly during the kissing scene or enthusiastically plead with her “captor” during lunch still felt a little risque. A show doesn’t have to reach the level of a Strike Witches or a High School of the Dead to feel exploitative.

The greater problem is with Jun’ichi’s increasing rising hopes about the relationship. From his perspective, every physical advance is an emotional advance, and his mood is dangerously tied to however his romantic situation is fairing. For the better part of two years he spent his nights sleeping in a closet as a result of his failed junior high romance; what actions he’ll take when Morishima finally gets tired of him, I shudder to think of.

Another expectable but unhealthy development for Jun'ichi's is his ignoring his other friends. He was much more considerate to Rihoko before Morishima kissed him

And Morishima will get tired of him, even if this doesn’t happen on camera. If this weren’t a harem show, were Morishima the officially designated love interest for the next 20+ episodes, I could hope that eventually she would mature and come to place some affection in Jun’ichi himself; as unrealistic as that might be, it would put a more positive spin on the current proceedings. (It’s one of the reasons I tolerate Usui’s more over-the-top antics in School President is a Maid.)

That’s obviously not the setup here, but the longer I watch them together, the less I would want that to be the case anyway. Jun’ichi’s earnestness, devotion, and general neediness is a perfect combination for feeding Morishima’s self-absorption and immaturity. Both of them need to grow up a little, and they won’t as long as they’re together. I can only hope the show will take some steps in acknowledging this.

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