Amagami SS+ 08 – Onsen’s, Arguments and Relationships
February 25, 2012 2 Comments
This weeks episode was a very nice end to Kaoru’s arc, and while it didn’t end quite as romantically, or as definitely as Tsukasa’s or Haruka’s original arcs, it was s till a great way to finish. We continued on from last week’s mishaps, with Junichi and Kaoru stranded at the bus station, and beginning to argue with each other. Luckily a friendly lorry driver gave them a lift to a mountain onsen that was apparently near a train station so that they could spend the night there. This episode further enhanced the problem with Kaoru’s and Junichi’s relationship; they are so close that they cant quite see each other in a sense.
That is not to say that their relationship isn’t a great one, which it is, producing numerous entertaining scenes and demonstrating that you don’t need to act like your madly in love to be a proper couple. Seeing Kaoru and Junichi argue almost endlessly was quite interesting to watch, showing their clear frustration at the problems that they have encountered. Kaoru for example is perhaps frustrated because she suggested this trip in order to get closer to Junichi, but because of her decision to eat and Junichi’s willingness to follow along with her whims they are now stuck. From Junichi’s part, it seems that he is frustrated because the trip has not gone as planned, and he feels a little useless, but unfortunately takes some of his anger out on Kaoru. Seeing their faces when the lorry driver finally dropped them off at the onsen was great, it clearly was not what they were expecting.
The impromptu trip to the onsen was a good chance to see the normally incredibly active Kaoru clinging to Junichi for dear life, clearly frightened by a building that has a certain haunted look to it. That she is unable to admit to being scarred of such things demonstrates how strong willed Kaoru is, with the Tsundere element of character showing through. The onsen also provided us with some brilliant fanservice, although technically it had started with Junichi’s mad delusions about going to an onsen with Kaoru – all of which ironically became reality in one way or another. Having Kaoru yell at Junichi to come into the women’s bath because she is scarred of mysterious, and imaginary ghosts was great – especially when Junichi unwittingly embarrasses Kaoru and gets pelted with wooden onsen buckets. That scene provided some brilliant fanservice along with great looks of embarrassment from both Junichi and Kaoru – the latter suddenly jumping up with a monkey steals her bra, only to then realise that Junichi is watching.
Kaoru’s ability to bounce back from negative situations, finding the positive in most things in life is awe-inspiring. In fact she is so quick to change from being scarred to happy, back to being scarred that it can tricky to really tell what she may be thinking at times. But this also feeds into her character and relationship with Junichi, which is a problematic one for her. The relationship between Kaoru and Junichi is a playful one, which goes back to the first series, with both acting more as good friends than as a proper couple. It has also carried over to this sequel arc, although in this episode we see another side of it. The arguments that they get into over things like missing the bus, forgetting a coin purse suggest that they can’t quite understand what their relationship is to begin with. At the onsen Kaoru admits as much, asking Junichi what he thinks their current relationship is – whether it is merely good friends or a proper couple – something she is clearly taking seriously. Perhaps her anger at Junichi is more Kaoru being annoyed at herself or not being able to make her feelings for Junichi clear.
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 her mother had betrayed her. The same can be said for her relationship with Junichi – she was unwilling to acknowledge her feelings for him in the first arc, thinking that it was silly to have romantic feelings for a childhood friend. Kaoru wants to take things further, having already acknowledged her feelings for Junichi, but because of their already close relationship is unsure as to how she should go about doing so. The whole purpose of the coach trip to begin with was to get closer to Junichi, and make it absolutely clear that she not only loves him, but that they are a proper couple.
Miya didn’t really help the situation this week – as usual she is more of a hindrance than anything else, just look at Rihoko’s arc – spending so long talking on the phone that the last of Kaoru’s money runs out and they aren’t able to say that they are stranded. Miya in a sense is the character who puts the final obstacle in the way of many of these heroines, thus forcing them to think about their situation and come to some sort of conclusion. While the beach scene at end may have come across as a little clichéd (ok, very clichéd), but it was nice to see how both Junichi and Kaoru seem to come to a mutual understanding about their relationship. The kiss on the beach did however come across as a little cheap, its like they had only just realised that they were a couple, and still remained a sweet little moment.
The very final sequence summed up the relationship between Junichi and Kaoru however. We effectively finished this arc the way we began, with Kaoru deciding to sit on Junichi’s lap (well in between his legs) and help him finish off his art homework. Her final comment about how that is the kind of couple they are summed up not only this arc, but also their arc in the first series. Junichi and Kaoru are certainly a romantic couple, but unlike in Ai’s arc there is less emphasis on being incredibly romantic. Rather, with Kaoru, you have a playful and fun loving girl, who dearly loves Junichi, but they act as if they are incredibly close friends – they are the ‘Bakappuru’ through and through, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.