This is a sequel I’m not at all sure was necessary, but at least I’d say the first episode was pretty consistent with the first season quality-wise.
OP: “Check My Soul” by azusa
While I found S1 of Amagami SS to be fairly average for the most part, what set it apart was the relatively unique omnibus format the anime used, with each girl taking a four-episode turn in the spotlight. Besides the novelty factor, this provided some interesting differences with the typical VN adaptation. I enjoyed the way Junichi was portrayed as a significantly different character in each arc, for example. There were downsides too, namely that the watchability of the show varied wildly depending on the girl being focused on (I know it’ll likely be a chore to sit through a Sae arc again).
This time around the show is only one cour, so we’re getting two episodes per girl instead of four, and the order seems to have been roughly reversed. Given the shortened length we also seem top have generic OP and EDs this time, rather than customized ones for each heroine. Once again the two generally recognized top girls are the bookends, this time with Tsukasa batting leadoff and Haruka going last. Haruka was by far my personal favorite, not just because of her own character but because Junichi himself seemed most interesting in that arc. That means we start with the girl who seemed to be the fan’s choice, though she always came off as a little bit ruthless and hard-hearted for my tastes. Nevertheless, Tsukasa is an interesting girl with a whiff of danger about her, and a good choice to open the series.
Looks like each two-episode arc will pick up roughly a month after each heroine’s arc ended. Politics is at the heart of the first ep, with Tsukasa running for Class President. She’s still pretty much leading Junichi around by the nose – he’s fully in “uke” mode with Ayatsuji, though always ecchi. Sae is running too, goaded into doing so by Miya in an attempt to cure her shyness, in what’s no doubt a foreshadowing of her arc. There’s also a doofus whose over fondness for porn mags is his downfall, but the real threat is Kurosawa Noriko (Tauchi Natsuko) who seems to have designs on both the presidency and Junichi. Her Dad is in the City Council and her initial role seems to be general villain. She names Junichi as her VP candidate as a sort of perceived confession, and when Tsukasa erases her early lead in the polls, even stages a “random” meeting with Junichi that results in a kiss that’s witnessed by Tsukasa.
I’m not sure what Kurosawa’s ultimate goal is here, the office or the guy, but her inclusion gives us more of a “conventional” conflict-resolution plot than we had in the first season. It was all played pretty broadly, right up to the sinister music and the secret meetings between Kurosawa and her evil underlings, and I wonder if Amagami isn’t better served sticking to romantic misunderstandings and situation comedy. But you have a fundamentally different scenario this season in that the arc starts with the relationship already in place, so you’ve got to generate a different scenario to finish on and do it six times. This is pretty much all anime-original territory from my understanding, so it’ll be interesting to see what series writer Kimura Noboru can come up with.
ED: “Nikuhaku” (告白; Confession) by azusa