Amagami SS+ 07 – Close Friends, Summer Holidays and Coach Trips
February 19, 2012 Leave a comment
Kaoru, the middle school friend of Junichi with untameable hair and an equally untameable personality is back this week, bringing us more crazy antics in and out of school. Kaoru’s and Junichi’s relationship is one of the most natural out of all the arcs, similar to Rihoko in that respect; they both act normal, accepting each others little eccentricities, from Junichi’s perversions (courtesy of a squid man costume) and Kaoru’s easygoing personality (and her love for limited edition snacks). Considering Kaoru’s beautiful confession during the first series arc its hard to believe that their relationship is still a curious one it would be easy to forgive an outsider from thinking that they are just very close friends, as they hardly look like a couple.
It is easy to see why Kaoru and Junichi are seen as a ‘Bakappuru’ (Baka Couple), from their crazy antics in the classroom with Kaoru helping Junichi with his art homework, to the way in which they act on a day-to-day basis. This is however quite endearing and provides a fresh perspective on what a romantic relationship can be like. In their daily interactions they seem to be more like big kids who have yet fully grown up, messing around, doing the same sorts of things that they did before going out and generally enjoying their time with each other. This helps to keep the relationship quite cute and playful, with the knowledge that, unlike other arcs this relationship does not have issues such as abject loneliness or someone attempting to split them up. However, that does not mean that they are ultimately content to keep things, as they are, with Junichi being quite sweet, but also punishing Kaoru with a game of tug the chocolate nut, which naturally Kaoru accepts.
That scene on the bus was both awkward, but also great – it was brilliant seeing all the other tourists wondering what was going on and thinking that Kaoru and Junichi were passionately making out. It was only made better by the looks of surprise on the passengers faces when they realised what was going on – the embarrassment of both Junichi and Kaoru simply finished things off perfectly. The relationship between Junichi and Kaoru has always been a playful one, going right back to the first season we can see a certain element of intimacy in their interactions. This sequel has brought that back and it has really helped to lift the tone slightly. What this sequel has lacked so far has been more playful aspects of being a couple, instead focussing on more serious elements, such as loneliness, and the potential of having your partner stolen from you. Seeing Junichi’s wild delusions as to what they might do on their summer trip was brilliant, further emphasised by their ire financial situation.
In the original arc Kaoru’s main problem was being unwilling to have things change. Seeing her mother start dating another man, for example, caused a lot of emotional turmoil, since Kaoru was happy with her current situation, and appeared to feel as if something terrible would happen if it changed. The same can be said for her relationship with Junicho – she was utterly unwilling to acknowledge her feelings for him in the first arc, thinking that it was silly to have romantic feelings for a childhood friend. The idea of change scares her, and potentially stops her from being proactive about her current situation, fearing that if something doesn’t go as planned, the entire relationship would be put in jeopardy. Now in this follow-up arc things have moved on, and Kaoru has largely accepted her feelings for Junichi, however, it looks as if some of it still remains. Perhaps Kaoru is still a bit nervous about fully committing to a romantic relationship with Junichi, in case something goes wrong. She is content with the way things currently are since they allow her to be with the one she loves, but also maintain their current friendship as if nothing has changed.
This follow-up arc has however been a little random – the theme park scene for example was a bit strange, although it did give us some great shots of a victimised Kaoru, along with another aspect of the playful relationship she has with Junichi. It was almost too obvious that they would get left behind on the coach trip, partly down to Kaoru’s obsession with limited edition sweets, but also because of who they are. Much like the previous arcs there is a certain lack of drama or thrill of the chase since Junichi and Kaoru are now going out – however, that does not mean it hasn’t been enjoyable to watch. I like the idea of having a sequel take place after the confession, an element of most romance anime that is left to our imagination – essentially it is a happy ending, move onto the next – but, in this case we are seeing how these two people are coping with being a ‘proper’ couple, even if they act in the same way as before. I love Kaoru’s carefree attitude to life and her relationship with Junichi, much like Haruka, she is happiest when she is having fun, and doesn’t necessarily have the time, nor want to think too seriously about what a romantic relationship is actually about. I’m not sure how the second half will change things, but now that they are stranded there is any number of things that could potentially happen, all of which could be great. If anything I want something more intimate, since right now the major problem between Junichi and Kaoru as it were is that they are too close. As strange as it may seem, it is perhaps this that is stopping their relationship from progressing, they are too close to truly appreciate each other’s feelings. I look forward to seeing how things are wrapped up, and if they finally accept their relationship and become a proper couple, instead of being a couple that are more like very close friends.