The trouble I’m having with Amagami SS+ is that while the experience of watching it is pleasant enough, I’m not really sure why it exists, apart from making money.
The Ayatsuji arc concludes in a very low-key fashion, which I think is both a strength and weakness of this season so far. The fact is, the dramatic imperative behind the first season – developing the romantic relationships with each girl in turn – is pretty much gone. I appreciated Ayatsuji’s somewhat sensible and low-key reaction to Kurosawa’s kiss ambush, which could have been a forehead-slapping cliché moment. But it does point up that there’s not much relationship drama here – the couple has already been established, and with two episodes to work with instead of four there isn’t time to throw any real obstacles in their path. We don’t even get the arc-ending consummation scenes, at least not in this one – the bath scene (school swimsuit? An unintentional metaphor for the watered-down nature of the season so far there) was very tame compared to some of the first season.
In place of this, AIC has seemingly decided to try and create “plot” drama instead, and I’d call the results so far mixed. The election story wasn’t unpleasant, but it didn’t have all that much kick to it. We had the usual extraneous look-ins from the other girls – including the God-Queen Haruka – that were loosely tied-in with the election plot. We had some light service and low-key humor. What we didn’t have was any real spark, at least for me. Ayatsuji herself was much more reasonable than she was in the first season, and again, while I like that in a way, that dangerous streak was what made her above-average among the heroines. And her winning the election can’t have come as a surprise to anyone.
Next week, we have Rihoko’s arc. I wasn’t wile about her first-season story, which was probably the second-weakest after Sae’s. This is one of the weaknesses of the omnibus format of course, as some arcs inevitably drag compared to the best ones. It’ll be interesting to see if the relative non-drama of Ayatsuji’s arc carries over to the others. I ‘d really like to see something more here – more slapstick, more sex, more angst, more something – to give this anime-original sequel an identity. Right now, there’s really nothing about it that stands out.