Seiren Episode 4: Starry Sky
Just a friend.
Wait, what? A ‘let’s just be friends’ ending? You know, if there’s anything that Amagami fans collectively disliked about the Amagami SS adaptation, it was the end of Rihoko’s route, which involved Junichi and Rikoho just staying friends. That was it. After four episodes of build-up, it sort of deflated and fizzed out. It was disgruntling, and the discomfort was brought up for two years until Amagami SS+, when Rihoko finally got the proper ending she deserved. Maybe she’s not my favourite Amagami girl, but a proper conclusion is just basic courtesy within this ‘franchise’ (loosely defined). Hikari’s ending is arguably not as bad as Rihoko’s, in that there were romantic undertones everywhere and the two clearly liked each other (one more than another, evidently) complete with a kind of happy epilogue, but it was a clear cop-out by Amagami standards. Seiren is an anime-original production, which means there is absolutely no excuse for doing what they did.
I don’t even understand why. Everything was going well until after the underwater kiss. I was actually quite happy with the episode up until then, and suddenly Hikari wanting to go abroad to study cooking was just sprung on us out of nowhere. As nice as the midnight snack scene was, that’s hardly enough to foreshadow that she wants to pursue some sort of career in it. Then they went full Rihoko. To an extent it’s even worse than Rihoko, because the whole issue with Rihoko was that Junichi never really saw her romantically as they grew up together as childhood friends (which is why lots of people are terrified of a friend end for Kyouko in Seiren). With Hikari, a substantial part of her interactions with Shouichi were full with sexual tension. It honestly didn’t even cross my mind that her route would end with them not properly getting together, and even after the five year time-skip it’s all left ambiguous. It’s like she wasn’t serious about him at all, or at least, not serious enough to try to compromise or find a solution. Meanwhile, Shouichi is clearly still hung up over her if he’s working at the shop she used to work at and aiming to become a dietician. This ending is actually awfully similar to how Hikari’s been treating Shouichi throughout her entire arc – she flirted with him on and off, and although Shouichi was obviously interested in her the extent to which she reciprocated was never certain.
The scene with Yukie, the girl who snitched on Hikari was also really confusing. At least to me it was. I’m not a girl, but… the way they talked it out was not how I imagined conflicts between girlfriends to go. In fact, I’m pretty sure they’re meant to be more catty than that. If nothing else, I expected Hikari to be more hurt over Yukie having betrayed her trust, instead of only being after an explanation and then treating it as all water under the bridge. Well, it’s not like Yukie didn’t get her comeuppance. We’ve known all along that Araki-senpai was a furry, but him being into rabbits in particular was new information. The more you know.
The only one other than Araki-senpai to get a happy ending was Ikuo, who sounded like he got himself a girlfriend. I’m glad he’s happy, he deserves it. I wonder if Ai approved of her. I’m also glad that we’re onto a new girl, Tooru, next. She looks really, really cute, and after a bumpy first route I’m looking forward to switching things up a bit. Here’s to hoping they don’t mess with the Amagami format any more than they have, that’s not a good thing. I’ll leave you with this picture of Ai to cheer you up if you’re equally as disappointed as I am.