So this week on Seiren, Tooru asked Shouichi if he wanted to mate, and then she took his cherry. Needless to say, things are happening quickly in this arc.
No question about it, the Tooru arc is a lot more natural than the Tsuneki arc so far. There’s an unforced ease about it that puts me in mind of the better sequences from the first two series, and while I wouldn’t say the romantic chemistry between the two leads is off the charts yet, they make great on-screen friends and that’s a very solid basis to build on. And I like the way the conflict is being introduced – it too feels very natural and unforced.
If I’m using words like “natural” and “authentic” a lot here, it’s because that’s one of the aspects of the Amagami universe I’ve always liked – it strikes a nice teen romcom middle ground between super-emo shoujo stuff and irreverent/inane or ecchi shounen or harem shows. Indeed, the way the kids are focused on trivialities that feel like the end of the world to them is quite authentic, and this arc in particular has a sense of silliness that I appreciate. A good example – Shouichi being forced to search for a cheaper alternative to “Gusgal” because he can’t afford to keep playing it with Tooru. That’s a real problem a high-school boy would actually have to deal with. And then the game he chooses – driving a bus!? And the really funny part is, Ikuo and Araki end up getting into it.
There are other problems creeping into this idyllic not-yet romance too. Some are imagined, like seeing Tooru and Ikuo go into cram school together (the explanation is innocent enough, but Shouichi’s consternation is proof of his interest). But some are real, like some unsettling hints about Tooru’s past. These come mostly through Tsuneki, who’s re-introduced in a meaningful way that’s quite rare for the former heroines in this franchise. She turns up at the arcade with Takeshi, the boya that Shouichi gave Tooru’s bag strap to after thumping him at “Gusgal”. After some misdirection it’s revealed that Takeshi is her boss’ son, and she’s here to take revenge on Shouichi and Tooru for that beating.
The arcade scenes are interesting for a number of reasons. Tsuneki drops some hints that Tooru is trouble, and as they used to be gamer buddies in middle school she might be an expert witness. And the misgivings about their new partnership from Ikuo and Araki suggest at what the issue might be – Tooru being obsessive about gaming once she gets into it. Girls and gaming is a touchy issue to be begin with, and it could be that Tooru has broken up friendships with her gaming obsession. There’a also the presence of the Disciplinary Committee members (both the milk-bath girl and the President), which eventually lands Ikuo and Araki in deep (bunny) shit. Yeah, I think high schoolers should be free to go to arcades in their free time without the brownshirts narcing them out – but this is a thing in Japan. I did love the “pump shed” reference, though.
The crown jewel of the episode was definitely the “mating” scene. This was pure win from start to finish – I’m not sure I’ve laughed harder all season (though it is admittedly a bleak one for comedy). So many great moments here – Tooru’s “Harsh! Do you see any antlers?” when Shouichi admits he thought her deer was a boy. And then the whole “Do you want to try mating? Hai!!!” interchange. Shouichi agonizing over “power, speed, technique” as the steamy BGM played. Best of all was Shouichi’s exhausted afterglow and “Does it always take this long?” followed by Tooru’s “Don’t ask me – this was my first time too. Hey, can I have that cherry?” That’s how you write a scene like this – hilarious, sweet, and even a little sexy. It’s a good microcosm of why, at it’s best, this franchise really works.