A quick recap to start with: Amagami SS is an anime based on a game, allowing the player to follow different routes to establish a relationship with any one of several different girls. For the anime, this was adapted very literally, with four episodes devoted to each girl, making it an anthology series of sorts. Amagami SS+ Plus is the second season, which revisits the relationships between main character Junichi Tachibana, and nearly all the girls from the first season.
It’s actually quite rare in anime for a relationship to be explored in this way. Most romantic seasons don’t go beyond the two characters getting together, or even get to that point at all. That’s a shame, because there is a lot of fun to be had seeing characters we have rooted for get together and then stumble through the early, awkward stages of a relationship. This series is a treat, because we get to see that in six different ways. Two episodes are devoted to each of the six main girls, and in each case the writers find something different and interesting to do.
First up is Tsukasa, who is running for Student Council President. Her main rival is quite a piece of work, and conspires to derail her campaign by attempting to split up Tsukasa and Tachibana. It’s an interesting examination of a relationship facing its first major challenge.
Rihoko was the odd one out in the first season, because it was the one unrequited love. They never quite got to the point of being a couple, so it’s a treat for the fans to see that story reach its conclusion in these two episodes. It’s probably quite a shrewd move on the part of the writers, because this makes the second season an essential purchase for anyone who enjoyed the first, to see Rihoko’s arc concluded, apart from the myriad of other reasons to buy this.
Ai was probably my least favourite of the original girls, a bit too tomboyish and sporty with little to distinguish their relationship from any of the others, and that extends to the second season. With Junichi heading off to cram school for much of the time and Ai cutting a slightly melancholy figure on her own, this one didn’t really appeal, but it does stand as a competent representation of how two people in a new relationship can struggle when they first have to be apart for a while.
Kaoru’s two episodes are probably the most fun of the whole series. They go off on a cheap bus tour holiday, and everything imaginable goes wrong. This puts a strain on their relationship and they end up arguing. I liked how this series went beyond just showing us idealistic romances and instead explored the reality of many relationships, that a couple can argue like bitter enemies, and then resolve that and still love each other if the relationship is strong.
Sae was my favourite of the six main girls, but she was really such an ideal match for Junichi that it was hard to imagine where they could go with her character. The answer the writers came up with is a good one, if not especially memorable: she has been overcoming her shyness and becoming more and more confident with Junichi’s help, but does that mean she has outgrown him and no longer needs him? The story relies on a very silly misunderstanding but it’s quite fun.
We end with Haruka, who presents a problem for Junichi because she is in the year above him, so what happens when she graduates? Will their relationship be able to survive? The ending to this one is probably the most romantic of all arc endings, a fitting climax to the series.
There’s one additional episode to end the season, which very much feels like an OVA episode, and is in fact a sequel to the Miya OVA arc (Junichi’s little sister). Don’t worry, this is still not an incest series. Junichi is virtually absent from the episode and Miya goes to a newly opened hot spring leisure facility with her friends, meeting all the other girls while she’s there. It’s just a silly excuse for fanservice, but it’s quite a fun way to round off the season. My only big disappointment was the absence of Risa, the “bonus” girl in the game and the subject of an OVA story from the first season. She makes a cameo appearance in the final episode, but she was such a great character with such an interesting storyline that she deserved her own dedicated episode, and that would have been preferable to the fanservice shenanigans we got at the end. That leaves the series feeling slightly unfinished, despite a solid conclusion to each of the main storylines.
Watching one character follow different possible paths in his life and explore six different romances might sound like an odd concept, and it’s probably something you would only ever find in an anime, but it’s an idea that works surprisingly well. For any fan of romances, six for the price of one can’t be a bad deal. RP