Home > Amagami SS, Episode Reviews > Amagami SS Episode 6 – Enforced Intimacy

Amagami SS Episode 6 – Enforced Intimacy

When I started my review of Amagami, I made a point of clarifying that while the show was based on a dating sim game, that game was not pornographic. I based this solely on wikipedia page on the game, which listed its rating as being the equivalent of T (teen) in the American game rating system. So I figured there would be some mature-ish or suggestive scenes, but nothing particularly outlandish. I’ve seen plenty of shows that were based on pornographic dating sims and by and large their anime adaptions were completely clean.

Had I done a bit more research, I would have known that while the game itself never had actual sex scenes, it did heavily employ extremely risqué situations—and these, unlike the pornography that serves as the “reward” for successful completion of adult-rated games, can make the transition to the TV. That means that what happened with Morishima in episode three, happened (in a slightly different way) in this episode. I’m now expecting at least one bit of naughtiness per character arc. I hope it will only be one.

The episode starts off with Kaoru ripping Keiko's crush a new one for treating her so poorly. This is a marked difference from last arc, but I don't think there's a reason aside from plot necessity

As I don’t typically get much interest out of such things, I’ve been quite happy to let my co-blogger take the shows with the more titillating content thus far. It might have been naive on my part, but I wasn’t expecting this show to fall into that category. But while Amagami still doesn’t have the obscene humor of a Mitsudomoe or the easy sexual exploitation of Asobi (and just about every other nudity-heavy show on the market), it finds its own way pushing the envelope. Like with the last time, this seems to me to be accomplished only by sacrificing consistent character and plot development.

Of course, the characters don’t shift that too much from what was established last time. Kaoru is still coming to realize that she is in love with Jun’ichi, although she is still working to deny it on any explicit level. Jun’ichi is still not quite feeling anything special for Kaoru, although he is still willing to treat her as a woman when given the opportunity.

Just having their lips touch is enough to get them both to freak out. What's the logical follow up?

That their behavior shifts somewhat is expectable. That Kaoru starts roughhousing with Jun’ichi in a way that is latently sexual is also expectable. That both of them get very unnerved when their lips accidentally brush together during said roughhousing? Still expectable. That Jun’ichi, using the excuse of getting payback for having his first kiss stolen, asserts a right to kiss her abdomen? Not expectable. I don’t really think it’s very acceptable either, but Kaoru goes along with it all the same.

Is she just happy that Jun’ichi is actually expressing interest in her for a change? Does she really want some form of romantic advancement with him, however she can get it? Or has the show finally given up on trying to provide in-character reasons for why the girls allow Jun’ichi to perform whatever bizarre advances he can think up of for each girl? At the moment, I’m leaning toward the last option. It doesn’t speak well of Amagami that I am.

According to Amagami, this is. With Morishima Jun'ichi was inspired by her love of puppies; here he targets an area he knows is ticklish

And this event doesn’t even make Jun’ichi more inclined to view Kaoru romantically. It’s only toward the end of the episode, watching her smile as she bids farewell, does he come to realization that Kaoru is sort of cute. Kaoru, for her part, seems intent on preserving her modesty in some areas (she’s still worried about inadvertently flashing her panties), both before and after allowing him unprecedented access to her exposed body. Without the offending scene, the narrative actually might make sense. But the scene, no doubt, was also a selling point of the original game.

I suppose by this point I might seem hard to please, as my main complaint from last episode was how closely it stuck to formula and how likely it seemed to fall into predictable patterns. This episode, obviously, was not what I was predicting. But one of the things I was predicting was that Amagami would continue its (semi-)realistic portrayal of the awkward self-discovery of two friends and their growing feelings for each other. About the only thing this episode gets right is the awkwardness.

It's not a passing kiss or a forced embrace or even licking her navel that makes Jun'ichi's heart flutter. So why does a smile he must have gotten a dozen times before do the trick?

I do have some hopes that, now that this arc has the odd fetish scene out of its system, it will go back to having a decent excuse for a plot. The episode ends with Kaoru accidentally observing her mother leave on what seemed with a romantic excursion with a random man, so I expect there to be some fallout from that for next episode. Kaoru’s relationship with her mom, specifically with a sense of the two of them facing the world, was clearly established in episode one, and she reacts to this secret date as a form of betrayal.

Seeing Kaoru trying to balance her own feelings for Jun’ichi while accepting (or finding appropriate fault) with her mother’s relationship, and having Jun’ichi come to realize his own feelings for her as he helps her through this: I can see that as a story worth watching. For all my complaining, there’s still something about this show that makes me want to like it, given a decent excuse. I just hope that, as Kaoru’s path has made the same missteps that Morishima’s did, it will follow the former arc in other ways and promptly move on and forget about it.

Given her tears, it's safe to say that Kaoru isn't happy for her mother to be dating again

  1. Fidelis
    September 21, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Hi again, I would have posted this earlier but my Internet connection is erratic. I have yet to prepare comments for the last two episodes though.

    The kissing fetish scenes (and other fetishes) make the franchise what it is. One just has no choice but to play along. The navel stuff was contrived, and I’m more intrigued by their willingness to let the other bite or tickle him or her – that says a lot about them. These are also fetishistic, but milder and certainly more believable compared to navel kissing. And given they’re open to these, it’s somehow believable she’d go along with his mad whims. It’s still the weakest link plot-wise though – ironic that’s her “iconic” scene. Getting the idea from an anatomy book was just random. (I would have written it so that he actually tickles her, but she dares him to kiss her; but he can’t do it conventionally just yet, and since his hands are on her sides… Also, he goes for her stomach rather than specifically her navel.)

    Anyway, this story’s strength does not lie in highly unusual and random hijinks, which makes it stand out from the others to date. Rather, it’s in the stuff friends like them might do. These actions may be largely ordinary, but being there for each other is the point of their relationship. Extraordinary actions featured in the Christmas Eve prologue and the whole of next episode only reinforce this. It was also very sweet of her to help those kids, getting them both involved. Being there for others extends to other people as well (I doubt the other arcs have acts of random kindness to strangers).

    >>Just having their lips touch is enough to get them both to freak out.

    Based on the audio, they kissed. Skimping on the animation was very apparent in that sequence. We hear, not see, them struggle and fumble – set to shots of scenery, which in retrospect prefigured the still-frame ending of the last episode (though it wasn’t really going to end that way; more on that on its own page). Also, he’s clearly lying when he claims he doesn’t have eyes for anyone, so why isn’t the scene directed so that we see more close-ups of his (their) faces to better convey uneasiness? Perhaps a manga version unbound by animation/time constraints will have a better portrayal of the scene.

    >>And this event doesn’t even make Jun’ichi more inclined to view Kaoru romantically. It’s only toward the end of the episode … does he come to realization that Kaoru is sort of cute.

    As I said for last episode, I think some romantic feelings on his part were established by his simple fantasy of kissing her, which goes hand-in-hand with his more outlandish horny thoughts. Also, his reaction of disappointment in the garden was cartoonishly over-the-top but it’s consistent. So I think his blushing, heart-pounding reaction is more of a cumulative result of the day’s events. She admits she’s attracted to him as well, he affirms his own attraction to her, and they’ve crossed borders of physical intimacy.

    Though as their nibbling and tickling shows, they’re already unusually intimate – given they’re teens of the opposite sex and have only known each other for three years. They must have really hit it off. (He doesn’t seem to treat his actual childhood friend the same way. Perhaps it’s puberty talking.) The next episode shows even more remarkable bonds between them.

    But… see my quibble about conveying his feelings above, and as we know the next episode features him contemplating about their relationship in the tub just as she does here. He just seems more hesitant than her, or less charitably, slower on the uptake. Hah.

    • threeheadedmonkeys
      September 24, 2010 at 8:51 pm

      I think it’s fair to say that Jun’ichi is always going to be slower on the uptake … but your points are well-taken overall.

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