Seiren – 03

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“Seiren” means “honest” in Japanese, and I said in my first review that it’s a pretty honest show. Sure weird things may happen like a soaked Hikari climbing into Shou’s window, but there’s a logical explanation for it, however far-fetched.

More importantly, the show is honest about how Shou, from whose POV we’re watching most of the time, has no idea what to make of Hikari. Does he like her, or is he just reacting as programmed due to her popular princess status at school? Does she like him, or is she just messing with him in lieu of any other suitable boy at the hotel?

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Shou’s only at the study camp at all because Hikari inspired him to improve himself. He finds it hard to balance the need to actually study with the nervous but exhilarating fun he has whenever Hikari is around, being so “provocative” at least for a conservative chap like him.

This week Hikari gets Shou to cut loose, wearing the wrap that came with her bikini as they sneak into the boy’s bath after hours for a dip. Here the honesty is carried through: they don’t get intimate or anything; Shou is nowhere near that stage. But he does find out exactly what it’s like to have an illicit bath with a pretty girl, and the resulting tent he pitches comes in handy when scaring off the teacher, saving Hikari from being discovered.

Be it studying in his room with Hikari on his bed, sneaking into the bath, or sharing a nice night outside (finally, they went outside!) by a drained pool, Shou stocks up on lots of nice memories with this girl he can’t quite figure out, but is trying to do so.

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He feels it’s the proper time to ask her why she lied about the mixer being a “family affair”, but she claims she wasn’t lying, as it could potentially lead to her making a family. He also learns the older man at the restaruant was never her boyfriend.

And while she had a fair amount of fun with Shou in the mountains, Hikari still seems sore about missing the mixer, particularly when her friend says “it wasn’t anything special” but is then seen back at school hanging off the arm of Araki.

Meanwhile, Hikari and Shou haven’t talked since that memorable night at the inn. He feels a rift of sorts was formed when he delved into her personal life, like he’s on the outside, looking in; unsure how to re-engage with her.

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Seiren – 02

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Despite entering his window soaking wet, it’s Hikari who continues to her merciless campaign of messing with Shouichi. She borrows his sweats, but being seen by him in her skimpier outfit leads to rumors throughout the inn, which Hikari feeds into, because she likes watching Shouichi squirm.

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She eventually ends up cooking a midnight snack of a Spanish omelette for Shouichi (along with Ikuo and Hikari’s friend Mako), which along with the laundry, reveals domestic skills Shouichi didn’t know she had. He also protectively gets her to agree not to try to run away from the inn again, in case there are more killer deer or other dangers out there.

Speaking of out there, for being set in the mountains it’s a pretty stuffy episode, with no scenes outdoors and full of drab, monotonous in rooms and halls. Everyone feels a little boxed in, and if the characters were fascinating that could make up for it.

Alas…Seiren doesn’t really excel at much of anything, and with the emergence of Kuzu no Honkai, it’s the show I’m most likely to drop to get down to five total for Winter ’17. I could retain it as a guilty pleasure, but Fuuka is kinda already serving that role.

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Seiren – 01 (First Impressions)

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Kamita Shouichi is a second-year student who is always being messed with by Tsuneki Hikari, the prettiest and most popular girl in his class, but doesn’t think he has a chance, as she’s rumored to be going out with an adult.

Instead, he focuses on studying for exams with his friend Ikuo so he can get into college, which leads him to a summer course at a mountain inn. One night, to his shock, a soaked Hikari ends up entering his room through the window.

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Seiren is nothing if not earnest and straightforward. Characters are blunt in their banter and assessments, and they sound the way high schoolers might sound. Shouichi lives a pretty good life, and he’s commendably average and lacking in annoying quirks or gimmicks.

He calls his high school life “gloomy” and is starting to think about what comes next…but this show’s OP heavily implies he (or his friends) be going along several different routes with various girls, similar to Amagami SS.

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Seiren is also a very cleanly-animated, attractive show, whose creator, series compositor, and character designer are all the same person. It’s full of subtle expressions, gestures, and poses that wouldn’t be out of place in a KyoAni joint, albeit with less lushness.

That being said, Shouichi and his studying saga aren’t terribly compelling, as I’m sure they’re not yet meant to be. The best parts of the episode are when he and his would-be love interest Tsuneki are interacting. How exactly she ends up where she does at the end of the episode, I don’t know (I guess she went to the study retreat too, maybe on a different bus?) but it’s a good hook for the next episode.

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