Amagami SS Episode 25 – I’ve Got My Eye on You
While technically Amagami SS wrapped up with last episode, there was a bonus episode that aired a week after the official finale. It’s a one episode arc which is technically disconnected with any of the others, but it captures enough of the spirit of the show that I felt it worth talking about.
One problem with harems shows, dating sims, and even ordinary anime romances is that the relationships don’t quite make sense. Most often, the audience is left puzzling over why such an ordinary guy, who at best possesses no notable qualities and at worst is selfish, clueless, or otherwise unadmirable, should have a bunch of women falling at his feet.
The simplest explanation is that the girls have some mental disorder. Whether deliberately or not, this episode does a great job showcasing that.
One of those unhinged relational tropes is having a girl fall in love with the protagonist for some random act of kindness that he did years before, one which he has long forgotten, and which he has yet to repeat. Despite being so attractive men should be volunteering to crawl over broken glass for them, apparently only the protagonist has given them the time of day.
Risa Kamizaki is exactly this type of girl. Because Jun’ichi was nice to her back in grade school, she’s been pining for him for over a decade, but without even the friendship that Rihoko had with Jun’ichi to sustain the feelings. Somehow she’s kept up her crush on him without any direct interaction since then, just watching and pining from afar.
You might think that this was an unhealthy, almost stalkerish form of behavior for her attraction to take, and you’d be exactly right. What makes this episode of Amagami interesting is that it basically admits this, clearly showing both how obsessed Risa is, and the lengths she takes to keep Jun’ichi romantically unattached for her own benefit.
Front and center this episode is her work to sabotage Jun’ichi’s relationships with the other story arc’s love interests. Under the pretext of privately letting the girls know that Jun’ichi already has a girlfriend (using a doctored photo as “proof”), she successfully drives them all off, one at a time.
She does all this while convincing herself that it’s for Jun’ichi’s own good; the other girls would just wind up hurting him again, just as he was hurt two years ago, so by killing the relationships before they happen, she’s just “protecting” him. Of course, she’s also lying, and portraying Jun’ichi as something of a two-timer to the girls who were already attracted to him, but she’s doing it for him, and that makes it ok.
Only after she’s driven off all six does she come to the conclusion that Jun’ichi might have recovered from his junior high heartbreak if he’s become such a player with the ladies, and put herself forward as another option for him. Thanks to a very forthright and out of the blue confession, she convinces him to date her.
Having become his girlfriend, she asks him to keep their relationship a secret. She can’t reveal it, of course, since she just convinced six different girls that Jun’ichi’s dating someone else, and being with him in public would allow them to put two and two together. It’s a nice way of letting her lies catch up with her, although the fact Jun’ichi isn’t more curious about it doesn’t speak well of him.
Risa’s creepy behavior dates back much earlier, however, as she was the cause for the previous heartbreak in the first place. Based off what seems to have been a groundless supposition, she came to believe Jun’ichi’s then girlfriend was going to humiliate him on their date, so she tricked the girl into thinking the meeting place had changed. Both wound up thinking the other had stood them up.
Now, given they had a semester left before they graduated and went to different schools, it seems odd that neither of them ever cleared up the deception, but that’s not important right now. What’s important is that Risa does feel sort of guilty about her actions, at least to the extent they keep her from having a public relationship with Jun’ichi. Seeing as keeping things private is bothering him too, she confesses what she’s done to explain why she can’t be his girlfriend anymore.
Now, a sensible person, hearing about the remarkably dishonest behavior Risa just admitted to, might be upset about all the emotional damage she caused to him and to others. He might wonder if there was something else she wasn’t admitting. If, on the theory that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, he decided to stay in a relationship with Risa, he should probably at least register that this was a remarkably unhealthy way to start a relationship and there are some issues they will probably need to work out.
One thing a sensible person does not do, however, is to tell a girl he’s been quasi-dating for a few weeks that all is forgiven, that he really likes her and wants to be with her, and that her behavior wasn’t indicative of some deeper mental problems that she needs to get looked at if she’s ever going to have a healthy relationship with anyone. Of course, that’s exactly what Jun’ichi does.
To his credit, Jun’ichi does insist that the two of them do explain to all the other girls what happened–although they’d have to do that eventually anyway if they wanted to be together in public–but that’s the extent of his concern. Even the idea that Risa should own up to her actions by herself comes from her, not him. It’s as if the mere existence of a cute girl whose willing to date him obviates all common sense.
Of course, the entire point of the series has been that Jun’ichi is oblivious to a half-dozen cute girls who want to get with him if only he would ask; he’s thus eager to get with the first girl giving signals too obvious to ignore. It’s just, of all the girls he’s hooked up with, this was responsible for causing him significant mental anguish as well. And it doesn’t matter to him at all.
So, this single episode arc both does and does not subvert the basic premise of the show, properly depicting that a girl who acted as Risa did had a few screws loose, but not realizing that the same could be said of Jun’ichi for being so blase about it all. Amagami is at its best when the girl is interesting and both she ad Jun’ichi are somewhat admirable; like most everything else about the show, this episode gets that formula half right.
I’ve give this episode credit for at least being enjoyable to watch, even if I was banging my head against the wall as Jun’ichi waves away two years of suffering for a chance to get a kiss. But if there have been times that I’ve thought the Jun’ichi of a particular arc wasn’t good enough to win the girl in the end, here I’m thinking the opposite. And he really had to work to do that.