Sukitte Ii na yo – 12

In the first half, Yamato and Momo go to Megumi’s house, but she won’t come out. Yamato tries his best, but it’s ultimately heartfelt words from Momo that coax her out. Megumi goes back to work, weathers the storm of hate at school, and gets a hair cut to represent her new life without lies or shallow friends. In the second half, the summer festival arrives, and Yamato and Mei go with Asami and all their friends. They part ways early, but Mei’s mom insist she put on a yukata and go back. She meets Yamato at the shrine, who is very happy to see her, despite their missing the fireworks.

Megumi’s catharsis, while important, didn’t need a whole episode all to itself. Nor did the summer festival. Realizing this, the series shrewdly combined them to make this episode. We like the choice, because it made both stories move quickly and efficiently, without losing any of their emotional impact. Megu-tan had simply had her fill of the way she interacted with people and swerved off the road. Yamato and her best friend Momo are able to restore her confidence and get her back on track. She can’t live her life concerned with what others think about her. And her wild new hair rocks, so there’s that.

The second half shows us how far this circle of friends has come, and it’s nice to see them as one big happy group simply enjoying the summer festival (also efficiently illustrated via montage). Asami is the glue that brought them all together, and when she eats to much and gets sick, everyone kinda drifts away, though the night is still young. Mei, ever going with the flow, misses the opportunity, but we’re glad her mom gives her a well-needed nudge back out to see Yamato alone. The sight of her in traditional dress utterly floors him, and they share a kiss – the perfect ending to an episode that is equal parts redemptive and feel-good.

Rating: 8 (Great)

Amagami SS Plus – 02

Ayatsuji rightly sees Kurosawa kissing Junichi for what it is; a lame trap, and forgives him, but makes him swear an oath never to kiss anyone but her from now on. Kurosawa is apparently out of tricks, because after a speech assembly in which Ayatsuji impresses everyone, she wins the election handily, making Junichi her VP. When Junichi leads a stray dog away from Ayatsuji on their walk home, he ends up in the river, and Ayatsuji invites him to her place to bathe and dry off, even offering to wash his back. When the new term starts, the couple are as happy as clams.

First, we must express relief for two reasons: one, Ayatsuji saw right through Kurosawa’s scheme; and two, both she and the show make it clear they know Junichi is as big an idiot as we think he is for falling for such an obvious trap. Frankly, Ayatsuji is more than Junichi deserves, and she doesn’t let him forget it. That being said, for all his thickness, he does love her, and emphatically agrees to swear he only has lips for her.

Considering these are the first two episodes of the entire Amagami SS series in which Junichi already has the girlfriend, this episode takes the proper steps to make their relationship realistic, without getting too graphic. In fact, the stuff that goes on off-camera between the two lovebirds is merely hinted at with a subtle wink, and it’s refreshing that Ayatsuji isn’t a complete prude (though it’s too much even for her when he leaps to his feet from thebath a little to eagerly). Hell, she smooches him to calm him down. They’re not a bad couple to watch. Alas, this is it for them; next week Junichi will be involved with…sigh…Rihoko. She eats a lot! Hilarious!

Rating: 3

Amagami SS Plus – 01

In the continuation of the 2010 PS2 dating sim-based anime, Tachibana Junichi is still involved with Ayatsuji Tsukasa, who is running for school president. She names him as her Vice President, but so does another girl, Kurosawa Noriko. Tsukasa believes Noriko will do anything to win, and she ultimately does, ensnaring Junichi in an intricately-planned trap to make Tsukasa jealous.

Ah, Junichi, the utterly ordinary, dull, boring guy who gets all the hot girls. Too bad he’s a complete lunkhead. Granted, things are pretty peachy at first; he and Tsukasa are taking things slowly but surely, and he wants to support her in everything she does, but still, did he have to fall for Noriko’s silly trap so easily? In high school, one can’t just be led into a situation like he did, getting ambushed by Noriko just as Tsukasa turns the corner. Welcome to the doghouse, pal.

Up to this point Tsukasa is very suspicious of Junichi as it is (perhaps she watched the episodes where he courted the other girls!) but throughout the episode she strikes a good balance between her outward Miss Perfect persona and her honest true self, which is considerably pricklier, but that duality has always made her endearing. I wonder if she’ll be able to overlook Junichi’s transgression as a temporary lapse of common sense and self-preservation, and foil Noriko’s plot.

Rating: 3.5