Amagami SS, Collection 2 – DVD Review

Review by: Kiki Van de Kamp

Publisher: Sentai Filmworks
MSRP: $49.98 US
Running Time: 350 minutes
Genre: Romance
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now

Into each life some rain must fall but there’s always a sunny day in every multiverse.

There are a number of theories concerning alternate universes or multiple ones where we live out the infinite possibilities that pop up in our lives. In one alternate reality, you may find the love of your life among a group of strangers while in another you find love with your childhood friend or perhaps a number of other possibilities will pave the road to happiness or more heartbreak. This is what happens to Junichi Tachibana as Collection 2 of Amagami SS offers other possibilities that close the chapter on this series.

As we saw in the first collection, the series finds Junichi – a Kibitou High School student – nursing a broken heart after he was stood up by the girl he liked … on Christmas, no less. Two years later, however, Junichi finds himself taking alternate paths that lead to a different girl that will change his life. In this second half of the series, Junichi explores a number of other possibilities that leads away from the heartache and on to happiness.

In the first story arc of Collection 2, Junichi finds himself walking back home on that fateful Christmas evening when his date didn’t show up. He suddenly runs into a cute girl who excitedly clutches a present that she announces is a toy her little brother always wanted. Junichi remembers the girl’s happiness so when he sees her again two years later he recalls their little encounter. When he and his best friend, Masayoshi Umehara, checks out the girl she playfully accuses Junichi of being perverts.

As it turns out, the girl’s name is Ai Nanasaki and she’s a sophomore on the swim team and a classmate to Junichi’s little sister, Miya. Junichi comes to befriend Ai and helps her carry her shopping bag as they both go grocery shopping and getting to know each another. He finds out that Ai is the kind of girl who cares that her city is clean and has a fondness for her little brother. As they spend more time together, Ai’s feeling for Junichi begin to change to the point that her lap times in swimming are suffering since she finds herself thinking about Junichi. Meanwhile, Junichi finds himself helping AI and her swim team out during the Founder’s Day Festival where confessions are finally made.

The second story arc, surprisingly, is seen through the eyes of Junichi’s childhood friend, Rihoko Sakurai. Rihoko has always loved Junichi even as kids but her love has always been one-sided seeing as her friend never realized how she felt. She loves him so much that she even helped him pick out a gift for the girl that stood him up. Two years have passed since Junichi was dumped and finally, Rihoko’s classmate, Kanae, as well as her two seniors from her Tea Club think it’s time that Rihoko make a move on Junichi.

Rihoko might be a bit on the clumsy side and she’s a handful at times but she’s a sweet girl who doesn’t want to push Junichi in hopes that one day he will come to realize her feeling for him all on his own. Until then, they hang out more often as Junichi helps Rihoko learn to ice skate as well as accept a position in the Tea Club to keep Rihoko’s club from being shut down. Unlike the first story arc in this second collection, it doesn’t end the way we expect it to end.

In the third story arc, we find Junichi romancing the Class Representative, Tsukasa Ayatsuji who was a constant fixture in Collection 1 and links the stories here by way of the Founder’s Festival that Junichi participates in in each alternate reality of Collection 2. It is Tsukasa who volunteers to head the committee that oversees the festival only this time Junichi volunteers to help the likeable and seemingly sweet girl. In doing so, however, he learns the girl’s true nature. Oh yeah, Tsukasa is not as sweet as everyone thinks.

However, this doesn’t change the way Junichi comes to care for a girl who slowly begins to change because he has become a part of her life. In fact, there’s a moment where everyone in their class turns on her so Junichi has no choice but to protect her.

Collection 2 also includes two OVA episodes, both of which are two highlights in this series. One of the revolves around a mystery girl named Risa Kamizaki who has always watched Junichi from afar because she has fallen deeply in love with him. In fact, she is so in love with him that she is responsible for a number of incidents that change the course of Junichi’s love life. She’s the only one who makes a confession of love right from the beginning and Junichi actually accepts to go out with her. This episode also introduces us to Makihara – the girl who stood Junichi up.

In the second OVA, we take a closer look at how Miya Tachibana sees her big brother Junichi. She clearly loves her brother but just can’t understand why a boy surrounded by beautiful girls is still single? Miya also doesn’t have a special person in her life either but her concern for her brother has her too busy for romance in her own life.

Like the first collection, not all the story arcs are winners. While there are interesting developments and scenes, the Tsukasa story arc doesn’t have a satisfying finale nor once that is convincing. Only the Rihoko and Risa stories have surprising twists that make them stand out. The Ai Nanasaki romance actually has a very kinky moments.

Collection 2 of Amagami SS does change things a little but it still has its few weaknesses that hold it back but that doesn’t stop it from being a different kind of romance series worth following. In fact, there’s more than enough here to keep it a refreshing anime series filled with good drama, sincere humor and a lead character who has a good heart. If you’re a fan of the genre, you may definitely want to check this one out.

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: B+
Still nursing a broken heart, Junichi meets a girl from the swimming team named Ai who he comes to befriend and fall in love with as the Founder’s Day Festival comes along. In another reality, Junichi gets a bit closer to childhood friend, Rihoko, who has always been in love with him. Then, Junichi finds himself drawn to the class rep who shows him her true colors and her growing feelings for him. The two OVA episodes include a girl who has been stalking Junichi as well as one about Miya, Junichi’s sister.

VIDEO QUALITY: B+
Junichi’s a lucky guy with all the cuties around him and this second part is no exception. There’s more fan service but it never gets too detailed and the animation is still just as colorful.

AUDIO QUALITY: A-
The voice acting has been consistently good and even more so seeing as talents such as Yukana, Ryoko Shintani and Kaori Nazuka handling the roles of Junichi’s love interests as well as the closing theme songs. The music is lighthearted and fits the series well.

EXTRAS: C+
The extras come in the form of the clean opening and closing theme songs for all five story arcs and there are even a few Sentai Filmworks trailers as well but the best extras are the two OVA episodes includes on the third disc.

OVERALL: B+
Much like the first set, Collection 2 of Amagami SS has its shining moments that make the romance stories with an alternate twist a genuinely entertaining one that is far from perfect but still good enough to do right by the genre. Add two really great OVA episodes and this second collection will not fail to make you fall under its charming spell.

Review copy provided by Sentai Filmworks

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