Initially, I wasn’t planning on watching Seiren. For some reason I felt like it would be like Makura no Danshi only the female character would be a real person and not a pillow. Turns out I was wrong. It just a regular romance anime, only during the duration of four episodes the male lead falls in love with a special someone, then pulls a Higurashi and resets with a different girl for the next four episodes. Who needs a harem when you have a reset feature?
But then I noticed the low score on MAL (as of writing this, it’s at 6.66) and some of the commenters there said this show paled in comparison to Amagami SS (which is kind of like Seiren’s prequel). I haven’t watched that show either, so I thought to myself, “Why not watch both and then compare them?”
What a perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday.
Since Seiren has 12 episodes to Amagami’s 25, I decided to have a three way battle. Morishima Haruka (Amagami SS), a popular sempai, vs. Tsuneki Hikari (Seiren), a popular classmate, and Kaoru Tanamachi (Amagami SS), a friend of three years.
Guidelines I’ll follow:
The Girls – how are they and do I like their personalities
The Romance – did I feel the love and did it feel authentic
Was it a satisfying ending – was it a nice payoff
Overall – who did I like best
Her middle name, Lovely, is cringe-inducing, but other than that I quite liked Haruka. Despite her sempai status, she’s still a bit clueless about the world of romance. After catching Junichi helping out a first year, she starts to take an interest in him not realizing that this was the start of her blossoming love. She still turns Junichi down a bunch of times, but because she still finds him interesting it never felt like a definite no.
One thing I enjoyed was the fact that she’s into role-playing. If you tell her that she’s a cat, she’ll go the cat route. If she’s acting like she’s in a hostage situation, she’ll go all out. She’s fun, goofy, and you can understand why so many people in the school admire her. I’d want to be her friend.
Hikari has a bit of a strong personality and doesn’t really care about what others think of her. Even when people started talking about her back, she didn’t let it bring her down and when her own best friend betrayed her, she quickly forgave her friend. The latter might make it seem like she’s a pushover, but she never came across that way. She seems to respect people for going for what they want, which shows her strong mindset and chill personality.
Other than hearing a certain character’s name, she doesn’t allow people to get her down or ruin her happiness. You don’t really see this kind of personality in romance animes and if you do, then they’re written as falling apart once they fall in love. But Hikari isn’t like that, so that was refreshing to see.
……she’s nice to her friends and is willing to stand up for them when she sees something wrong. That’s admirable. But unfortunately that’s pretty much the only thing I like about her. She’s the typical abusive tomboy, who is a good friend to the male character and likes to punch them every once and while when she feels embarrassed or hurt. Some may like this overused cliché of a character, but the moment she swung her fist is the moment I couldn’t like her.
I just really don’t like female characters who are like this. I think the only exception was Inami from Working!! and that’s only because violent behaviour was due to her androphobia. It was never seen as a cute quirk and all of the men were rightly terrified of her. But in romance animes it’s seen as cute. Maybe guys like this though. I dunno. All I do know is that I don’t, especially since Kaoru mentioned that she once kicked Junichi in his private region. That being said, she does treat her female friends well.
Haruka, because I think she’d be a fun friend to have and that there would never be a dull moment with her. And Hikari, because I admire her strong personality that doesn’t come off as a typical cliché. She knows what she wants and goes for it.
She fell in love after seeing Junichi help a first year and it grew due to his perseverance. We learn that Haruka has been confessed to by countless of people, but she’s turned down each one. Even though she also turns down Junichi, the fact that he continues to confess his love and try to be around her really opened her heart to him. Once she realizes this, she does naively go through the romance thing in ways that most people would be embarrassed about, but not her. I mean, hugging the person you like from behind and acting like a cat, or pretending that you’re tied up so your love interest can feed in you a packed cafeteria would have me blushing from ear to ear, but not Haruka.
When she fully commits herself to her romance with Junichi, she does go all out, which we can see at the end of the arc where it’s heavily implied that the two had sex in their private hotel room. I felt like it moved a bit too fast, especially since this is her first time and everything, but it also shows that if she likes someone she’s willing to commit 1000%.
There’s a lot of tension right from the start between Hikari and Shoichi. Even though we see Shoichi start to become more and more aware of Hikari and fall in love with her, I kind of felt like she liked him for awhile. If you watch Shoujo animes, Hikari felt like the red headed bishie who likes to tease the heroine. The heroine doesn’t understand why they always get picked on, but we all know it’s because the red headed bishie likes her, but he’s just too shy to say it.
So Hikari felt like this in the beginning with her teasing, but as the story grew so did her appreciation for Shoichi. It’s through her love for him that she decides to become a chef and while the romance doesn’t really take off in this arc, I do think both characters did have a sort of mature relationship that could only develop once they’re old enough to commit themselves to it. This arc had a lot of tension and build up, but the actual romance never really took off.
Junichi and Kaoru have been friends since middle school and even though they’re close, they never really thought of each other in a romantic sense until very recently. Once they start being open to the idea, they have awkward moments, shared secrets, and navel kisses, before finally confessing to one another and sharing a romantic Christmas Eve together.
The romance here felt very standard when it comes to this sort of character. It’s okay, but there’s nothing new here.
It’s a very straight by the numbers romance. The only reason why I picked Kaoru is because Haruka’s hotel room confession was cringe-worthy (why would you think that because someone didn’t peak it means that they’re not interested, when they’ve already confessed numerous times already?) and Hikari never really had a romance with Shoichi.
Was it a Satisfying Ending?
Yes and no. Yes, because we learn that 10 years later Haruka and Junichi are married and still madly in love with one another. They continue being weird with their role playing, but it’s still feels cute. It’s nice knowing that they stuck together and live happily ever after.
But at the same time, I really hated the final scene in the hotel where we find Haruka crying while confessing her feelings to Junichi. I appreciate her courage in putting herself out there, but it felt so forced. Instead of feeling touched by Haruka’s words, I found myself rolling my eyes and hoping that this particular scene would end soon.
After watching the ending for this arc, I think I understand why this show garnered such a low score on MAL. There was so much building up and tension between Hikari and Shoichi that you expected something to finally transpire between the two. After they share a kiss and show us that they both care and love one another, they then proceed to not talk for the next five years. After that, they both find themselves at the same place and greet each other. The End.
Was this satisfying? If you want romance then no it wasn’t, that being said this ending felt more realistic and I liked that Hikari followed her dreams instead of just jumping into a romance with Shoichi. Also, I suppose one could say that they both show their love by their respective career paths. Hikari became a chef after Shoichi enjoyed her food, and he became a nutritionist…because he liked her. So when I think of both of them finding their own path and then coming back to each other to maybe rekindle things, I don’t mind it so much. On the other hand this is a romance anime and I want to see a proper lovey-dovey ending!
I do think that if he had confessed before the summer cram school thing, then there would be more romance in this arc….but would they have found out what they wanted to do in their life? I don’t know.
The ending is pretty much what I expected to happen. I liked that Kaoru really took the lead here in setting up the date and asking Junichi out. I also liked the two of them together, once she stopped being violent. Dare I say, their personalities seem to fit better when compared to Haruka and Junichi, but I guess that comes with the two being friends before becoming lovers. Maybe it’s because of the personality type they gave Kaoru (actually it is the personality type they gave Kaoru), but I didn’t really care about this couple all that much. Plus her issues with her mom felt awkward.
I do wonder why we didn’t get a timeskip in this arc. Sure, we know that Kaoru and Junichi are together, but what about in the future. I guess we don’t really need it, since they’re together, but I kind of wanted one just to satisfy my own curiousity.
I know, I know. After everything I’ve said about it not being satisfying due to the lack of romance, I still found it satisfying due to how refreshing mature it was. Hikari couldn’t be in a relationship with Shoichi and instead of having fun for a year before breaking up, she did the smart thing in fulfilling her own dream and then coming home. Even though we don’t technically see them together, I’d like to think that they became a power duo in the restaurant world.
Unpopular opinion time, but I have to go with my girl Hikari. Maybe it’s because I watched Seiren first, but I really liked Hikari even though the romance never really comes into fruition here. She’s mentally strong, she’s straight-forward, and she tries her best when it comes to everything. She also felt more realistic; and therefore, more authentic when compared to Haruka and Kaoru. I know a lot of people hated the fact that nothing happened with her arc, but it fit with what we learned about Hikari.
Plus, their kiss scene was the best one out of the three.
And with that, the first battle is now over. The next one will take place once Tooru’s arc ends, but what do you think? If you’ve watched the Seiren and Amagami, who do you prefer out of the three characters mentioned above?
If you’re wondering about Junichi and Shoichi, then don’t worry. Once Seiren ends I’ll pit the two against each other as well.