The Girls of Amagami SS (Rihoko, Tsukasa, Sae, Kaoru, Haruka, Ai)

I’ve been holding off on doing this one because Amagami SS isn’t technically a Fall 2010 series; it started in Spring 2010 and is continuing its run this season. But I still like this show enough to give it a nod and, unlike many other shows, you don’t necessarily have to start at the beginning to enjoy it because of its particular format.

Amagami SS is based on Amagami, a PS2 dating sim produced by Enterbrain in 2009. If you liked KimiKiss Pure Rouge, you’ll like this one too since Enterbrain also produced the KimiKiss game. My review comes with a bit of context: I’ve played at least one route in both games as well as watched both series (though Amagami SS isn’t finished its run quite yet). So now that I’ve proven to you beyond shadow of a doubt that I’m otaku through and through, let’s talk about Amagami SS!


Junichi Tachibana hasn’t been the luckiest in love, though that may be in part because he has been scared of it since he was stood up for a date on Christmas Eve two years ago.

To give some context, Christmas Eve in Japan could probably be considered more romantic than Valentine’s Day. While Valentine’s Day in Japan is pretty much a fabrication by Japanese chocolate companies to drive domestic sales (seriously), Christmas Eve is considered a holiday for couples rather than for family… couples and cake.

Junichi was really looking forward to this date, she never showed up, and he thinks that she must have actually hated him and decided not to come. He drifts along and broods for the next two years — sometimes shutting himself into a closet that he has drawn stars and planets on the inside of with glow-in-the-dark markers — supported by his little sister Miya (who can be all kinds of trouble when she tries) and Masayoshi Umehara, who is the stereotypical odd-and-slightly-perverted best friend character from every dating sim ever (can you think of a dating sim game that doesn’t have one of these? I can’t).

Two years after that fateful Christmas Eve, Masayoshi convinces Junichi that maybe he should give the whole love thing another shot and find himself a date for Christmas Eve. Of all of the girls in his life, who will Junichi spend his next Christmas Eve with? Will she actually show up this time?

What I like about it

Amagami SS is cute and adorable without also being incredibly over the top. That’s fairly standard for dating sim adaptations, particularly ones with a normal high school setting. But what makes Amagami SS stand out is the format that the producers have decided to use to tell the story.

The game has a route for each of the six girls pictured above. Haruka is the “main” one but you can, of course, choose to go after a different girl instead or replay the game over and over to see all of the endings. There are even multiple endings for each girl, depending on the relationships you build and choices you make throughout the game. Usually, dating sim adaptations pick one route and ending or tell a story that kinda integrates elements of a couple of routes into one plot but still uses one ending for one character (or some ending of its own creation to support the mish-mashing of elements from the game). The other girls show up, but they end up as supporting characters rather than as the heroines they are in their respective game routes. They get a nod and then they bow out so the main relationship that the writers want to focus on can bloom.

Amagami SS is told in an “omnibus format” and includes arcs for all six girls from the game. Each arc is four episodes, so that makes 24 episodes, standard for a two-season run. Though some fans may disagree, I personally like this style. It gives a chance for each of the girls to shine in their own way instead of just focusing on the main one like many dating-sim-turned-anime shows do.

Compared to KimiKiss Pure Rouge, I feel like the characters are more compelling and less cliché. They each have their own peculiar quirks rather than being entirely flat stereotypes. For example Rihoko is Junichi’s ditzy childhood friend who often tries to go on diets but can never seem to reach her weight loss goals. She’s a member of the Tea Ceremony Club and although her arc hasn’t ended in the anime yet, in the game she becomes an idol and there’s a hint that she might aspire to become one in the anime as well. I’d say she has much more flavour than KimiKiss’ childhood friend character, Mao Mizusawa.

There are neat touches in each arc where another of the six girls shows up and you get a glimpse of what she’s currently up to, which is an interesting analogue to how events sometimes unfold in the game.

What I don’t like about it

Like many dating sim heroes, Junichi doesn’t have much of a personality and can sometimes be annoyingly vacant. There are a couple of episodes where he’s actually interesting in his own right but most of the time I just want to throw something at him. He can also be rather perverted (also standard for dating sim heroes), which makes some parts of the series very awkward. This is another show that you’ll probably want to watch either by yourself or with friends who appreciate the genre.

The omnibus format has its advantages, which I outlined above, but it’s not without disadvantages. It’s difficult to tell a very complex story in just four episodes, so the story is definitely distilled compared to the game. If you’re not particularly interested in an arc it’s over soon enough, but if you’re really interested in an arc it can feel like it finishes way too soon.

Sometimes the writers have chosen to take elements from other endings from the game for the same girl and mix them in. They usually end with the “best” ending from the game with a few exceptions (described in this page of TV tropes). I didn’t find this jarring but if you’re a hardcore fan of the game, you might. It basically suffers from the usual problems of a dating sim adaptation, only this time repeated over many smaller stories.


If you like dating sims, see this one. As mentioned before, you don’t need to see it from the beginning because each arc is completely independent of the others. The arcs that have currently aired are (in order): Haruka, Kaoru, Sae, Ai, and Rihoko (currently 3 of 4 episodes aired). Of those, I really liked Ai’s and Kaoru’s, and Rihoko’s is looking very good so far as well. Haruka’s arc is a good start but I find her to be way too childish for my tastes (which is ironic, since she’s actually the oldest of the six).