Weekly Digest 01/28/17 – Seiren, Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujou Ou-hen

Seiren – 04 

We’ve reached the end of the Tsuneki Arc of Seiren, and it was an ending that stands out as quite different from the ones we typically got in Amagami SS. On balance I’d say it was pretty realistic, but if you asked me whether it was satisfying I’d have a harder time affirming that.  Of course not everything that happens in life has a specific point – most things, in fact, don’t.  But since this is a piece of narrative fiction I do think it’s fair to ask: what was the point?

In point of fact this was a rather odd final episode in many ways, starting with Hikari’s muted reaction to the way her “friend” ratted her out to the Morals Committee (living in the times we are, that phrase sounds especially ominous) in order to shoot down her chances with Araki. Frankly that kind of “all’s fair in love and war” bullshit annoys me, and given how much piss and vinegar Hikari has generally displayed thus far, she disappointed me there.  There’s also the larger question of the way she’s treated Shouichi, which on the whole I think has been pretty lousy.  I expect the male MC to be hated by the fans in series like this – it’s basically a given.  But Shouichi has done an awful lot for her, and he deserved better than to be cold-shouldered to protect her reputation.

In fact I give Shou credit for being rather persistent in his understated pursuit of Kaneki-san, and even a bit forceful at times.  I think their courtship has been halting and clumsy in an endearingly realistic way – they’re typical kids who don’t really know what they want, except that they’re hot and bothered about each other.  I though when things ended up at the beach we might be in for something a little more definitive, but before Shouichi could even properly confess Hikari cut him off and told him she’d be going “far away” (she wasn’t kidding) to study cooking.  As such, she didn’t want to start a relationship that would be doomed to break up when they graduated in a year anyway.

So there.  It was an interesting way to end the arc – no romance at all apart from an undersea kiss.  You could call the flash-forward an open-ended conclusion, but using those is kind of a cop-out – the arc properly ended with Tsuneki going to away to Spain.  Again, realistic enough but ultimately unsatisfying – for me at least.  I sort of liked Hikari (I’d put her in the middle of the pack of Amagami heroines) but I hope in the next round Shouichi finds someone who treats him with a little more respect.

 

Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujou Ou-hen – 05

Meanwhile, on Ao no Exorcist, some stuff actually happened this week.  And that’s a good thing, since the first three episodes have felt something like an extended rehash of the first two-thirds of Season One.

I’m not certain at this point if I’m going to continue with either of these series, but AoEx seems to be the more in jeopardy.  Essentially I see two major issues.  First, there seems to be very little progression with the major themes of the story.  Rin is still struggling to control his Satanic side (at least he managed to light the damn candles) and his friends are still for the most part showing a disheartening lack of loyalty.  And second, there’s too much treading water in terms of the plot.  The character development just isn’t subtle and complex enough here to merit the actual plot progression being as slow as it is – there’s no way it should have taken us four episodes to get where we are right now.

That said, there were a few encouraging signs in the second half of this episode.  While it was galling to see Rin lose his cool and erupt in blue flame yet again when he knows the consequences (this show really takes the trope of the hotheaded teen boy doing dumb things out of youthful passion too an extreme), the moment when he confronted Bon over his condemnation of his father was the strongest of the season so far.  I’ve always thought the stuff involving Rin and Yukio’s relationship with Shirou was the most emotionally effective element in AoEx, and he spoke with real moral authority when he chastised Bon for his disloyalty (though of course, we still don’t know just what Bon’s father is up to).

Plus, Kuro was really cute.

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12 comments

  1. I was disappointed in the final episode of this Seiren arc. Whats the point of a romance anime that pretty much has no romance and ends badly? That little bit at the end in the restaurant must have been put there to keep fans from putting their foot thru their TVs….

  2. I

    So would you consider Takemoto’s story in Honey and Clover pointless? I often compare romantic pursuits to a Voyage and Return story. You voyage into the world of someone you fallen in love with and through the hardships you return wiser, with or without someone on the Return to your world.

  3. To me, that’s apples and oranges. Honey and Clover is a complex human drama – AmagamaSeiren is effectively a dating sim where romance is the whole raison d’etre.

  4. With respect to Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujou Ou-hen, A-1 is doing a faithful adaptation of the manga with some minor flashback flourishes included for refreshing watchers’ memories. The first 3 episodes may have felt like an extended rehash of the first 2/3 of the first season for you because it is very simply a follow through from that point by following the manga storyline – something you should be very well aware of. The Ao no Exorcist manga series is written to set itself up for a very long run. The first couple of arcs are establishment arcs with the first setting Rin on the path of no return and now with this Kyoto arc, to set the others on their path.

  5. Anime and manga are different mediums. Good directors and writers take that into account.

  6. I am sorry but the last part of Rin’s eruption had shown that even though he was trying to oppress himself from erupting, he did anyway, but I loved the execution of that scene so much that it immedietly jumped to one of my best execution moments for a scene. Beatifully done :p He knows he shouldn’t use his flames, but for his friends he seems to not care (even if they openly ignore him and treat him like shit) lol

  7. Blue Exorcist… So many priests and students were shocked when Rin erupted in blue flames but did not care or notice he has a tail?

  8. I think it has to do with what Kamiki said in the first episode about lots of people having mixed human/demon heritage, including exorcists, so there are probably other people with tails around. The blue flames are a Satan exclusive thing though which causes the shock.

  9. they do take notice to tails, like Izumi sad, half demos are not a “rare” sight, Rin’s problem is that he is Satan’s son, if you notice Rinzou’s bros do stop, look at tail and then ignore it

  10. Y

    I also think the pacing of this adaptation of Ao no Exorcist is too slow. As a manga reader, I don’t remember the Kyoto arc being this dull. I also found the places where they decided to end each episode as odd.

  11. rock on train scene would have been nice lol

  12. N

    Yeah, Seiren felt pretty pointless. Was there ever any real romance between them? I don’t actually think so. This was basically the story of Tsuneki figuring out what she wanted to do with her life, and Shouichi played some minor part in that, but not as a love interest. I never got the impression that they really cared much for each other, and Shouichi’s decision to apparently dedicate his 20’s for her sake felt to me completely unauthentic.

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