Our protagonist in this rom-com is Shouichi Kamita, and he’s in grade 10. He strikes me as a bit of a slacker, someone who doesn’t take much in life very seriously. His best friend Ikuo tutors him in classical literature because he sucks at it, but otherwise it seems like Shouichi can’t be bothered to try very hard. Then again I remember being in high school and having not a lot of motivation because I didn’t know yet what I wanted to do with myself either. I get it.
Shouichi has to retake one of those stupid “future profession” quizzes I feel like most of us have to take in high school, and his indecisiveness seems to give him a bit of a jolt. What does he want to do with himself? What kind of future does he want?
But Shouichi’s not alone; many of his classmates don’t seem to know what they want in life either. Some are messing around, while others have extreme ideas like mixing a career as an idol while simultaneously being a parent (?!). Ikuo encourages Shouichi to focus more on studying, because it will take his mind off his stress and keep him from overthinking something he doesn’t yet have an answer to.
In class one of Shouichi’s peers, Hikari Tsuneki, decides it’s her personal mission to tease him and drive him nuts. Seiren is going to focus on Shouichi’s relationships with three different girls, and Hikari’s the first one up, so get used to seeing her annoying smirk for the next few episodes.
As the episode progresses, Shouichi decides to get even more serious about his studying. Now Hikari’s tagged along to his tutoring sessions with Ikuo, and having them learn together actually seems to help Shouichi study better. When the results from his final exams roll in, Shouichi’s actually done pretty well. So has Hikari. Shouichi feels good, not just because now he doesn’t have to worry about pissing off his parents with his poor grades, but also because he’s learned that putting in lots of genuine effort can have a positive outcome. If he studies hard enough and really applies himself, he can do well on his exams, which can open doors for him later. Who’d have thought right?? *eyeroll*
Later one afternoon Shouichi sees Hikari working her job and is impressed by how hard she’s working and what’s she’s been able to achieve. Inspired by Hikari’s efforts, He decides to take Ikuo up on his offer of a two week summer cram school after all, instead of taking it easy over his summer break.
Unfortunately, Shouichi later regrets his decision when he arrives at the school and places last in the preliminary placement test. The summer school is open to high school students from all over the country, and Shouichi had underestimated how dedicated some of them were just because they were all the same age.
Dejected with the turn of events, Shouichi retires to his hotel room for the night.
However just as Shouichi’s about to get ready for bed, a girl hauls her twisted body over his open windowsill and into his room. As he freaks out, she crawls along the floor towards him…!!!
My thoughts: Man I don’t know. I was really excited for this show because of its format (each main love interest having an arc with Shouichi spanning a few episodes), but I don’t know what to think now. Shouichi’s kind of boring, Hikari’s annoying as fuck, and yeah. I don’t know if I’m expecting too much from the show given it’s only the first episode, or if Seiren is really as directionless as it feels. The animation is also kind of meh. But, Seiren has cute opening and ending themes, so that helps a little.
Did I actually like anything about this first episode? Actually yes. The board game Shouichi and his sister Tomoe were playing as weird as fuck (but hilarious!), and the final scene which (IMHO) was totally inspired by the Japanese horror film Ringu was awesome. Even though I can’t stand anything horror, I can still appreciate a well-executed creepy scene.
I’ll give this three episodes, if I last that long. For now I’ll cautiously get my hopes up for the next episode.
Possibility of Blogging: Medium
Possibility of Watching: Only if I continue to cover it
Not a Hikari fan. That’s my biggest issue with Seiren so far, and given how important the love interests are in an omnibus-format work like this, that could pose some problems in the long-run. Well, I suppose it works both ways – if I still don’t like Hikari, at least I’ll only have to put up with her for another three episodes.
In contrast, I absolutely love Ikuo. He’s such a best girl. Maybe it’s just because I can’t help but see Ai-chan whenever I look at him (which is not surprising, as she’s the older sister he was talking about) but it’s amazing seeing him all grown up and studious, especially as I only remember him as a crybaby who liked action figures. I think we’re supposed to assume that Seiren is set in a timeline where Junichi never found any success with one of the Amagami girls, although it might not really matter if there’s no more than a passing relation between that and this. I doubt they’ll go any further than giving an Amagami character a cameo or two, but it’s nice to know that the writers have as big a hard-on for Ai as I do.
Anyway, not liking the first girl is not a great start, especially as I loved all the girls from Amagami. Some more than others, but I never openly disliked any of them. Maybe that’ll change, but it’s hard to shake first impressions. Is it strange that I don’t like her? Maybe. Hikari is very similar to Irohasu from Oregairu, not least of all because she’s also voiced by Ayaneru, and I loved her. But no matter how attractive Hikari is, it rubbed me the wrong way to realise that she’d actually lied about wanting to be tutored so she could go on a ‘family trip’. I have no idea why she’s actually at the summer seminars as well, but I hope she has a convincing explanation for it all. Ai was probably wrong in thinking that Hikari was dating that older guy with a beard – he’s just most likely her boss and nothing more, but my first thought that Hikari was actually doing enjo kosai.
Other than that, Seiren is like Amagami all over again, except we have a totally new cast of characters and we’re 9 years in the future (although it’s still set at the same school, as the Santa contest indicates). The fetishes are also still here, unsurprisingly. I’m not sure how far Shouichi will take things with Hikari (I vividly remember the bellybutton-licking with Kaoru and the feet play with Haruka all those years ago) but rest assured that he’s a pervert. He must be, if he’s the main character.
Will I blog this? Mm. I’m not sure. If Hikari is redeemed, and if there continues to be lots of Ikuo (he’s most likely the Umehara of Seiren) then maybe. I’ll see how things are next week.
Possibilty of Watching: High
Possibility of Blogging: Undecided