DVD Review: Amagami SS – The Complete Collection

Amagami SS offers not one, but numerous types of romance stories but what can one expect to receive from MVM Entertainment’s DVD release of the series? Well let’s find out!

Synopsis:

Junichi Tachibana has never been lucky in love. Ever since his date stood him up on Christmas Eve two years ago, he’s pretty much given up on the whole idea; however, there are quite a few girls who would all make wonderful partners for Junichi if he would only open his eyes. Could he have struck up a meaningful relationship with any of them if he’d done the right things and said the right words?

Well, it’s time to find out as Fate steps in and decides to see what would happen if Junichi were to snap out of his funk and take a chance. It’s a whole new twist on the idea of love at sixth or seventh sight, and if one boy and a whole lot of different girlfriends-to-be sounds like a lot of wishful thinking… well, it is! But wishes have a habit of coming true and the statistical odds are definitely on Junichi’s side as the guy without a date’s luck with the ladies goes from bad to multi-verse!

Our View:

Based upon the Japanese exclusive PlayStation 2 dating simulator game of the same name Amagami SS is nothing short of a large selection of episodes that retell the events of the game in anime form. Naturally this can be considered a good thing, as – as far as my knowledge goes at least – it accurately recreates the individual routes playable within the game in anime form; however despite this the product as a whole failed to catch my attention and get me caring for the characters involved. There is of course multiple reasons for this; but the biggest reason would be the way the story is presented to the viewer; but alas that’s just my own personal view.

In the PS2 dating simulator players take control of the protagonist, known as Junichi Tachibana, in an attempt to secure himself a girlfriend with the various female characters on school campus and depending on the ‘female character’ the player wants to go for will depend on the scenarios that are played out. In this anime adaptation however each female character within the game has their own story arc, each of which last four episodes; with each events from the game quickly being retold within these four episodes. That’s not all either; as the each arc starts completely from fresh with viewers (once again) being introduced to Junichi Tachibana’s troubles and he loneliness he suffers from; that is until fate brings him the chance of hitching up with a girl.

This is where, in my mind at least, the series begins to fall down slightly as the start of each story arc is always the same, with Junichi Tachibana suffering from loneliness and depression after being stood up two years prior; that is until a fateful encounter with a female character appears to change his stance on the opposite gender. Sometimes it can be the arrival of a new female student, while others can be being alone with them at school or even helping them land a part-time job – but whatever the scenario within the four episodes it leads Junichi to helping each the female character, going out on some sort of date and than an overall conclusion to that character arc; with some character arcs even offering ‘a look into the future’ whereby Junichi Tachibana is married to the girl he previously assisted during high-school.

Generally speaking it is a great-way of adapting a dating simulator game in to an anime series, as it means we get to view everything (so-to-speak) the game had to offer in anime form and it does provide that romantic experience with a beginning, middle and end. However each arc not only feels rushed, so you never truly connect with the characters as originally intended within the game, but it also feels repetitive. Additionally as each arc feels rushed we miss out on the occasional ‘I am embarrassed’ moments that other romantic stories offer and because of this it makes the questionable scenes (such as can kissing the back of the knee or belly-button of the female character) even more questionable and unbelievable. A realistic romantic comedy may be what is offered; but in reality it does nothing but redeliver the romantic stories found within the PS2 game albeit in adbridged format. It’s good; but not the type of romantic story that I’d want to watch.

Extras:

As this particular anime series is adapted from a PlayStation 2 game you’d think a variety of supplementary materials would be included; but sadly that is not that the case as the only bonus features are a selection of trailers for other Sentai Filmwork releases and the different variations of the opening and closing songs in textless form – all of which are spread across numerous discs.

As mentioned previously Amagami recreates the events of the PS2 game in anime form and as such each character arc (or character route) receives their own type of textless opening and closing song. In most cases the songs and animation style is the same but occasionally these are different slightly. As part of this six disc set the textless songs are included on the first, second, third, fifth and sixth discs and each relate to the episodes contained within that disc.

Naturally the final selection of bonus materials on this DVD release of Amagami is the various Sentai Filmwork related trailers; some of which have had a UK release at some point. For instance Maid Sama! And Hidamari Sketch are available through MVM Entertainment whereas Angel Beats is available through manga Entertainment UK. The remaining titles on the other hand have yet to receive a UK Release.

Of course it is not a wide-range of supplementary content; but it is nice to have all the various opening and closing songs included as well as a few trailers promotion other releases. It’s not much; but it is as expected so no real complaints here.

Specs:

Media: DVD 9 x6
Region: 2
Running Time: 1:42:48 (Disc 1), 1:43:17 (Disc 2) 1:43:02 (Disc 3), 1:42:58 (Disc 4), 1:42:58 (Disc 5),2:36:57 (Disc 6)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 480 (480p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 30 fps

Overall:

Amagami SS re-creates the events of the Japanese exclusive PS2 game Amagami in anime form by way of exploring each characters route through the eyes of Junichi Tachibana. Most anime series adapted from a visual novel would create a lead female character and adapt a story around them; however with Amagami SS we instead see Junichi Tachibana conqueror all six (if not seven) love interests in individual story-arc styled episodes. It’s a clever way of delivering the entire experience of the game; but due to its rushed and repetitive approach to storytelling it doesn’t feel as good as it should.

This aside the stories found within each character arc are different and unique; with each female character having their own style personality as well as their own quirks. For instance one particular character requires help from Junichi in order to become more confident in herself while another is simply attempting to seduce the most popular girl in school. When you weigh up the pros and cons of this series they seem to balance themselves out; personally I would have enjoyed watching a series that focused on a single character and create a mini-harem around them; but alas here we have six individual love stories that are quickly rushed to conclusion. It’s good; but not as as I had hoped.

In regards to this DVD release by MVM Entertainment then it is business as usual; with disc assets being produced by Sentai Filmworks for that optimal viewing experience. In this case each story (or character) arc is split into individual discs and each disc offering the bonus features related to that character on the same disc. Its an extremely nice touch as not only can we ‘binge watch’ a single story arc within one sitting but it means the wide-spread episode content results in a constant quality throughout. Speaking of quality the DVD’s are (as you’d expect) NTSC format and thankfully this romantic story is Japanese only with English Subtitles (so no English Dub) with subtitles presented in the traditional Yellow font format with backgrounds and translations in white. As mentioned previously everything is ‘as expected’ from a Sentai Filmworks authored releases so no complaints here.

Overall Amagami SS is not something I personally enjoyed watching; however personal views aside it does offer a large amount of episodic content in a relatively short space of time and (from my perspective) manages to adapt the PS2 game exceptionally well in to the anime series – even if the content itself may feel rushed. DVD product wise MVM are opting to use assets produced by Sentai Filmworks so we receive the same high-quality-content as with most releases of this TV with constant video quality, a relatively simple selection of bonus materials and readable subtitles throughout. An unexpected series but an as expected presentation; but if you enjoy romance styled shows then Amagami SS may be worth checking out.

Score: review-stars-3

Amagami SS – The Complete Collection is now available on DVD and Blu-ray within the UK.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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