Shoichi Kamita is an ordinary high school boy, who is faced with the university entrance exam and worried about his future. This campus romantic comedy, "Seiren", which means honest in Japanese, depicts his pure relationship with three different heroines. Each story is the unique and mutual memory between him and the heroine.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Brace yourself, this is basically a long rant. My beliefs and score are subject to change as the anime goes on.
First of all, I WAS excited for this anime, just as I was excited watching Amagami SS. They both follow the Visual Novel-esque story telling that allows each main girl to have their ending with the main character. Unfortunately, Seiren disappointed me throughout the entire first arc, and I will probably drop it if the second arc doesn't impress me. I'll be reviewing in order of (personal) importance, as always spoiler alert.
ART- 4: The art is fairly standard. Warm colors with light
tones for the characters and backgrounds. The main male characters look fairly generic and the female main characters actually seem pretty pleasant, if a little bland. There's nothing off about the art, but nothing "great" either.
MUSIC - 3: The fact that I don't remember any of the music/didn't stop during scenes to comment on it means it wasn't really memorable in the first place. Nothing really stood out.
STORY/CHARACTER (Their problems go hand in hand) - 2:
Here's where it really starts to fall off. Amagami SS explains the protagonist's backstory, it helps sets the pace for his intentions. There is no "backstory" for any character whatsoever, motivations are set as "I'm a high school student who doesn't know what I want to do in life." It's a fairly bland and common story, nothing super unique. The story seems to be the MC learning what he wants in life through his experiences with his love interests. Although this isn't a bad story in and of itself, it is presented terribly. Most of the MC's initial aspirations come off as half-assed. Not only that, the influence from his love interest is minimal (at best), and hardly pointed out throughout his supposed "growth". As for "growth" I'll separate it as best I can, "character development" and "relationship development."
For character development, the female lead (Tsuneki) gets absolutely no development whatsoever until the last episode of the arc. At this point she suddenly decides that everything she went through for the MC helped her figure out her calling in life. The MC, on the other hand, is completely inconsistent throughout the story, and many of his actions hardly make sense until the very end.
In a romance anime, the relationship development aspect of the story is the most important. Their interest is made expressly clear throughout the episodes. The progress they make is mainly shown through random outbursts the MC has that make Tsuneki blush, and Tsuneki randomly flirting with the MC and doing things for him a mother or wife would do. They do have some cute moments, but nothing I could consider "progress" until the very last episode where they kiss and talk about the future.
If the main progress in a character (Tsuneki specifically) AND a relationship comes in the last episode, it spells a recipe for disaster. That is simply what the story and characters are. The premise is bland, the development is close to nonexistent, the MC is inconsistent and I see no reason why she falls for him.
The worst part is, by far, the "closure" of the first arc. Seiren threw Amagami's "closure endings" out the fucking window with a friend-zoned MC and a "Fateful encounter years away with no real conclusion." I understand the whole "open-ended, you make your own ending" thing but it literally throws what little progress they made into the air and crumbling back down. It's an entire reset to their relationship, which rarely works (Kimi no Na Wa is an example that DOES work.)
ENJOYMENT - 3: You really think after coming this far I'm gonna say I "enjoyed" it? Nope. I've enjoyed medical procedures more than going through this cringe worthy mess of a story.
OVERALL - 3: Absolutely nothing in the anime goes above what I can describe as "decent", and the most important aspects of a romance story ended up as the worst offenders. I'm dreading continuing it and may change this review depending on the future stories, but at the moment I can't say anything good about this anime.
I felt compelled to write a review simply because of all the negative reviews. The negative reviews are absurd for this anime. Most sound entitled simply because the characters and plot didn't go according to how they wanted them to go or meet their benchmark expectations.
The reality is, if you can't go into a new anime without expectations or comparing to some of your other liked anime, you'll never enjoy it. The anime is still on-going so I'll provide the critique I have so far.
Art: Nothing special, but nice. The characters do have a unique look to them, a little sharp on the
edges, but nothing to complain about. It's enjoyable art.
Plot: The plot has been nice. It's a High School Romance setting with a sprinkle of Slice of Life. The story develops smoothly and naturally. The protagonist is a cringe-watching character that gets nervous around girls. His main focus is on graduation exams but encounters a girl that playfully teases him. Due to pretty realistic events that could be seen in real life, both characters are put in situations to develop their relationship. They slowly, but naturally began to develop feelings for each other. First as friends and then as something in between a confession and friendship. The plot highly focuses on the development of their relationship so that's what's special about the first few episodes. Although it does not lead to anything, I think that is the uniqueness of the plot.
This is not a plot that jumps around or with a random sudden romance.
Characters: The two main characters are the stars here obviously. The characters eventually develop romantic feelings towards each other, but what's nice about it is that's it's pretty realistic and natural through continued interaction and getting to know each other. Unintentional and unexpectedly, the female character develops these feelings. The guy already had some kind of feelings for her with low expectations, though. A friendship seemed as his expectations. As hints and signs develop, things seem like they're going to go somewhere, but they don't. People might be upset about that, but is something that can definitely happen for the reason it did happen.
Everyone else does a good job in their roles. Characters show humor, kindness, jealousy, interest, etc. It's a fun watch and would recommend so far.
I was looking forward to this show. Not because of the content, the content seemed to be your standard toolkit for escapism and wish fulfillment for a certain subset of the viewer base (the opening makes that very clear), but because of the fact that this is the only original anime that I know of to adopt the omnibus format. The omnibus format is essentially where the anime diverges from one point in time to show multiple 'what-if' scenarios. In Seiren's case, the format shows us multiple arcs, each independent from each other, where the MC becomes involved with a certain girl in each arc.
is more or less an indirect sequel to Amagami SS (which I dropped), an anime that adopted the same format. I have to admit, Seiren is better than I expected. The story was compelling enough to make me want to watch it; watching it didn't feel like a chore. The tone is quite lighthearted and considering the tone of Amagami, we can safely assume this will continue to be the case. I also liked the direction the fourth episode took (the concluding episode of the first arc).
The characters actually had some semblance of depth to them. Sure, a lot of the moments had me rolling my eyes, but hell, I feel like rolling my eyes when I think of my teenage years, so it's only natural i'd feel the same when watching an anime set in high school. If anything, i'd say that is a sign of good writing.
The fan service wasn't as off putting as I thought it would be. It actually didn't feel that tacked on, which was surprising considering they seemed to have (if memory serves) ramped up the fan service from Amagami
The character designs have the same problem as Amagami. Some girls, particularly the minor characters, are drawn so similar sometimes that it is hard to tell them apart (especially since you don't see certain characters often). The art is good otherwise.
The music hardly had a presence. It might be this series' weakest point. The OP and ED are nothing to write home about either.
To conclude, I think that Seiren might turn out to be better than Amagami. I don't think it'll be anything that special, but I hope it leads us to getting more original anime that use the omnibus format.
Recently, I read a manga about a geezer becoming young again through "magic". It was essentially a pseudo-reincarnation. Easiest way to spot a power fantasy.
Anyway, geezer decides to drown us in nostalgia by setting up and ruling a dungeon like in RPGs of old. He summons a hot demon to oversee the construction. The hero (female) arriving to stop him is won over within a chapter. "Ugly" slave girl given to him as tribute is made beautiful in one fricking panel. Sounds typical? It is. Except he bangs all the girls.
And boom, best harem MC ever. This turd is essentially Kirito in every form,
but that one is bland writing, while here we have 'nothing but respect for this MC'. That is honestly the top comment on a chapter on Kissmanga. With 200+ upvotes. Just because, sex.
This just shows the mentality regarding bland MC's. If you want to check out the manga, I don't blame you, honestly.
So, Seiren. I could say it is a sweet romance. I could say 4 episodes is just right, without pointless rivals and irritating love shapes. I could say the art is decent, and the girls cute.
On the other hand, I could say it is nothing new. The girls all fall neatly into tropes we've seen before. I could say the characters are inconsistent wrt personality. I could say there is no romance or drama for a lot of the runtime, potentially making this a snoozefest.
I can say a lot of things, but most of them would be invalidated by the herbivore of a MC.
Dull, self insert MC's are the cancer of today's anime for many. Not the self-insert part, mind you. Onii-sama has 4k favorites. No, having a dull MC is the death knell of a show nowadays. Seiren is no different. Hard to care about his romance when the character is the definition of 'boring'.
Apparently, this sells in Japan. So we'll get more of such shows. There's nothing we can do. Or is there?
You got me, this is not a review, but a petition for everyone to buy 10 copies of Inferno Coppu. If it succeeds, studios take notice of it and we get more MC's on the level of Inferno Coppu. If it doesn't, you have 10 copies of the greatest thing to ever come out of the anime medium.
It's a win-win honestly.
Till this revolution occurs, the only winners will be the studios making money of average titles like Seiren.