***This is a spoiler free review***
One of my favorite genera for any form of entertainment is romance and when romance is done right, it can be a beautiful thing to encounter. There are however discrepancies between romance anime as some borrow too much from each other and thus become 'generic' or 'stale'. What Amagami SS has done may be too direct of an adaptation from a video game but I beleive that something amazing has been done. Amagami SS takes our male lead Jun'ichi on a trail to relieve his broken heart with many different females to chose from. Where this anime sets off on a different path than others is instead of choosing one female and leaving out the others or in quite the opposite form a harem, the story will reset itself after one successful life has concluded for Jun'ichi. It is quite literally like a dating game in the aspect that you are resetting and starting over. This might be a turn off to some people as each arc covers 4 episodes, resets and starts again but for me it worked very effectively. You might be thinking, "Well that's awesome and everything but wouldn't this fail if the characters were not interesting?" The characters will make or break the show for some people as it is entirely up to them to make the show interesting to the audience. I found myself liking all but one of the female leads so in mathematical terms, I liked 5/6th of the show. Each arc is much different in the way the story is approached. One of the arcs had the narrator and the main character conversing together while another arc had a more serious tone. You can quite literally just watch the arc of your favorite character and end the show there.
The animation is about average but stays constant throughout the entire show. Although night scenes seem to stand out more, every arc has the same amount of detail as the one before or after. There are moments however that really shine when they need to such as the moment when Jun'ichi conquers his fear of heights with Kaoru on an observation tower. When the scene continues, it begins to snow and the artwork is stunning. These momentary moments however great do not make up for the sub-par animation the rest of the show presents. The character models are quite good as each female lead has a distinctive look and style that is not repeated for any other characters.
The sound is not amazing but gets the job done. Each part of the city is matched with the correct sounding background music that sets the tone for the scenes. The voice acting (Jap. Dubbed) is fairly good with each actor matching the characters well. There is one character however that I just could not stand and thus ruined that particular arc for me.
What romance feeds off of are the characters and how well the audience feels the characters worked with each other. Since each character arc only lasts four episodes, there is a very limited amount of time to set up a back story for each female and make it believable. Every lead in this show seemed like they would actually fall for Jun'ichi and did not seem 'fake' at all. Each character also had their own unique personality which for the most part I loved. Haruka is the school idol and beauty, Kaoru is the childhood friend that has a kinky attitude, Sae is the typical super shy girl that talks with a very soft voice (the character I could not stand), Ai who is the Moe swimmer, Rihoko who is also Jun'ichi's childhood friend has a happy and aloof outlook on life, and Tsukasa who I cannot talk a lot about without spoiling anything. Each character offered something different than the rest.
It's a romance anime biased off of a PlayStation 2 dating sim that in my opinion was done very well. The characters were designed and voiced just right and offered six different high school romances that I loved. It is very hard for me to choose which arc I liked the most which makes it very good overall. To be able to distinguish which part of an anime you like the most is not necessarily a good thing in my opinion. To have an entire show be interesting from start to finish is a pretty hard thing to come by and thus is why Amagami SS receives a 9/10 from me. I strongly recommend this anime to all romance geeks out there. The whole time warp thing that happens at the end of each arc might turn off some watchers but I think if you stick with the show you will not be disappointed. The show is super accessible to anyone as you have a choice of what romance to watch.
If you watched and enjoyed this show move right on to its second season, Amagami SS+ which offers closure for all the characters in a two episodes per character episode arc instead of the four episodes per character arc format in this season.
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