This is review number three hundred and eighty eight. This anime is part of the Winter 2017 lineup, and it’s called Seiren. This means “honest” in Japanese for some reason, but this twelve episode anime is something else. It is f*cking something else, that’s for sure. You can tell I already love it, so let’s read on.
It’s about a guy talking to a girl, and then they fall in love in the most awkward, focusless and unnecessarily weird way. Don’t forget that this is the spiritual successor to Amagami though, so yeah. Wait, what’s the story about again?
Taking the Pants Off
This is a torture to watch. This anime is created by a guy who seriously loved Amagami too much, and he decided to create an original one of his own. Following the same format as Amagami, Serien features three different routes of four episodes each, and each route features a different girl. This is the aspect of Yosuga no Sora I actually liked, since it explored the visual novel much more effectively, I was actually pretty intrigued in watching this show. I haven’t seen Amagami, but it looks like your standard dating sim game. After finishing this anime though, I just can’t believe this f*cking thing exists. It’s like that alien in John Carpenter’s The Thing. The alien in that movie mimic humans, but deep down it’s a being from another world. Seiren is just like that. It feels like an alien with a weird behavior and a very stupid thought pattern. It’s like it knows exactly how to make a VN love story anime, but it isn’t really doing a good job of it. In a very clichéd route of just being with a girl, it’s actually very hard to mess things up. You can even follow Yosuga no Sora’s steps. First you start with the introduction of the two characters that’ll intensify into something else, then a conflict, then resolution to the conflict that’ll lead to sex. I mean, it’s a formula for a reason. The sh*t works. Seiren is off by a huge f*cking mile, and there are so many things wrong with.
It has downright weird dialogue that comes out of nowhere:
It has badly executed “Ecchi” scenes:
And the romance is dead. I understand there should be a boy-girl dynamic here, but the entire thing is awkward. The characters just talk and then they are just required to become a couple by the end of their final episodes. It’s so forced and unnatural that it honestly feels like an alien is mimicking a human to blend into the world, but he’s doing a bad job of it. Of course, I’ll now proceed in great detail as to why this anime really sucked. Before I do that, I would just like to say that this is a very bad anime. I honestly do not want to do this review, because this anime is a mistake. It shouldn’t exist. It honestly does not deserve a review, and it’s actually shows like these that make me want to quit reviewing altogether. I would settle for a romance cringefest, but this show is actually worse. It’s boring and bland, and that’s a toxic show to review. To talk about elements of a show that barely even tried to be decent is absolute torture on my part. I can’t even laugh at this anime, because it’s just so damn dry.
This is actually the worst part of a lot of original anime. Some of them are awful from the moment it was conceptualized. Oh yeah, you thought up a million dollar premise here but can you actually execute the sh*t out of this? Did you actually plan for a twelve episode script or did you just create a brilliant idea? It’s because a solitary idea can’t fill a twelve episode anime. Most original anime fill it up with filler, and filler isn’t brilliant. So your shows about awesome mecha transformations, vampires piloting mechas, Oda Nobunaga piloting a mecha, and three cute girls adapted from a mobile app won’t really mean damn much without a good solid foundation to back it up. It’ll just be a giant waste of time for everyone, and original anime often feel like that. They’re a waste of time on the creator’s part, the animation studio’s part, and the audience’s part. So this really needs to stop. If you can’t commit to expand your idea to be an actual show, then why make a show out of it? What the hell is wrong with you?
Now, is the show bad? Yes, damn straight. Why is it bad? Well, let’s start with the main premise. It’s a show trying to be Amagami SS, which is a visual novel. Hence, this original anime is trying to be a visual novel anime. From one bad idea to another, but visual novels aren’t actually bad. The reason VN anime sucks is because they are complex to adapt. The games themselves are often rich with dialogues, a healthy school experience with stats balancing, and it knows how to tell a story. VN anime often have the trouble of fitting all of that in the show, and they mostly fail. Now let’s think about it hard. Why exactly would you want to create a show of a specific genre when you know most anime of that genre outright sucks? Is it because you directed a good one? I haven’t seen Amagami SS, but is it really so damn good that you want to try creating another one? The director is clearly under estimating visual novels and how complex they can be. Instead, he just boiled the entire complex process to three things: a girl to talk to, fan service and romantic confessions. What about backstory? What about conflict, or climaxes? What about basic stuff like character introduction, chemistry between the potential couple, or even attraction between them? Too complex to set that up? Ok then. Let’s start with the stupidest basic thing about a visual novel. What about the premise? That’s easy. It’s like Amagami SS. No! That’s not a premise. I’m talking about the actual premise of the anime. Amagami’s premise is about a love wary boy realizing love can be his again after a romantic encounter with a girl on Christmas Eve. What about Seiren’s premise? What is it?
Nothing. This show doesn’t have a premise, and that’s a big problem early on.
As I read the plot of Amagami though, I realize it does have similarities with Seiren. In fact, the show is promoted along Amagami so that’s weird. I guess you really have to watch Amagami first to enjoy Seiren, but that’s a bullsh*t excuse. You can do callbacks and references to another anime with no big problem, but the show’s story is its own. It doesn’t need another anime to explain how good it should be. F*ck that. The UFOtable Fate series didn’t need the previous Fate/Stay Night anime to hinder its awesomeness. There’s no excuse for an anime to lack a premise, and yet one f*cking exists. But, actually, Seiren’s premise, as stated in its wiki, is about the main character interacting with different girls. Yeah, ok, name a dating sim visual novel that doesn’t have that as its premise. That’s not a premise. That’s a required function for a VN game. What the hell is wrong with the people that created this sh*t? How is that a premise?
To be fair, the first girl is actually pretty interesting. The show has three girls, and the first one is actually the one that feels like an actual VN anime. It follows the main character being stuck in a hotel with another girl, and they ended up just flirting with each other on their stay there. It has a gradual buildup of the romance, and it has decent comedy. I actually enjoyed the weird deer references, because it’s a weird novelty for the show. See, there’s character introduction and there is also conflict. When the characters return to their normal lives, the girl began avoiding the guy for no reason. This leads to a resolution where the guy confronts the girl, and this naturally leads to a romantic payoff. It’s actually good, so you might think my unnecessary rant above is uncalled for. Well, f*ck you, I finished the anime and it was awful. Why? Because they clearly only made one good story, and the rest was half baked garbage. It’s like they really only made an anime about this Tsuneki girl, since she also appears in the other routes. Unfortunately, they aren’t as good as the first one.
When I finished the first story, I thought the premise would be about the main character realizing his career in life after being with a girl. That was the general plot of the first story, so I thought we’d just rewind time and do something else on summer vacation with a different girl. That’s a f*cking premise, but the anime had something more clusterf*ck-ish in mind. Ok, so the second girl is a huge gamer. She first meets the main character playing an online game about deers. It leads to them playing arcade games with a couple of kids, and this leads to them playing the same game at the girl’s house. All of this eventually builds to an event where the two attends a convention where the girl is dressed up as a deer character from the online game. She was objectified for the entire episode, and then it ends with her sucking on the guy’s Adams apple which eventually leads to the two of them becoming a couple.
No, seriously, that’s the story of the second girl.
It’s beyond a clusterf*ck, because it actually employed my most hated/favorite thing about an original anime: short sighted storytelling. This is a plot device where you focus on an episode instead of the entire series. This anime infuriates me more, because it managed to avoid this in the first girl’s story. It infuriates me even more because the second girl’s story is four episodes long. How can you lack material to tell a love story in just four episodes?! The anime obviously tried to cover the lack of focus though, and they did it by shoving a lot of side characters to the story. It isn’t just lacking focus, but it’s also a giant clusterf*ck. It had short plot points with the main character’s two male friends, something about an arcade tournament, setting up a booth at the convention and other worthless sh*t that distracts from the love story. The anime actually forgot it was doing a love story, because so much needless sh*t happened here. I do understand what it’s trying to accomplish though. It’s setting up a “school life” atmosphere with the other characters. That’s all well and good, but why didn’t you attempt that with the first girl? Why is her story better than this one? The first story also had side characters, but they never distract from the love story and a lot were actually being accomplished. It even had some good comedy, and the entire thing clearly dried up by the time the second story strolled along. The jokes here are absolutely stupid, characters would often spout weird unrelated things and the fan service is so f*cking awful. How is sucking on an Adam’s apple supposed to be cute?
The second story is still tolerable though, because it did have a theme of being a video game. It had subtle references to VN games, the animation tries to be different by featuring mecha battles and pixel games, and it had a novelty of featuring arcade games and the old SEGA game with its ridiculous add-ons. I’m fine with weird stories, because the video game theme still worked. I couldn’t say the same about the third story though, because things clearly rolled down a hill from there. Like whatever it is making the show tolerable clearly evaporated from here on out. So the third story is about the main character’s childhood friend. She just suddenly appeared, and she’s now a childhood friend. Most childhood friend stick to the main character like butter (what?), and I think this story would’ve meant more if we saw her on the sidelines of the previous stories. If she did appear, I know for a fact her being a childhood friend was never brought up, since that’s kinda an important bit about the character. Anyways, this story is absolutely weird and it jumps from so many places. Firstly, it started with the two childhood friends bonding over a manga they haven’t seen since they were kids. It’s also a weird manga because it inspired the main character to dress up as a magical girl, and also this:
This manga is apparently so childish that the childhood friend is being called childish by other people. She decided to donate her manga, but public places don’t want it. This led a little girl to ruin her innocence by picking up a manga, and this led to the childhood friend meeting a couple of people from her school. This encounter led her to join the Home Ec club, which led her to focus on baking or something. Afterwards, she decide to go panty shopping with the main character, they blush for whatever reason, and this led to him asking her out on Christmas Eve. To those paying attention, this is a callback to Amagami, since this is essentially the premise of the other show. She rejects him though out of a misunderstanding, but she knitted him some pants as a gift. Knitted. Pants. As a Gi- yknow, that’s kinda stupid, isn’t? Nothing really happens until actual Christmas Eve where the guy asks to meet on the roof. They saw two people having sex in a classroom, then they segued to a confession. They then kissed and the story ends. It might not sound as bad, but imagine this nonsense of a story stretched over four episodes. It will ruin your mind.
Talk about a test of patience, the third route really just died on the spot. There were very little time with the two characters to flirt as well, because the third story also featured the school’s Disciplinary Committee blackmailing the Home Ec club to build decorations for a Christmas tree, and we kinda followed on that for a while. There is also this odd snippet of a girl from the swim club asking the Home Ec for some soy sauce. Seriously, it led to nothing but a considerable chunk of one episode focused on it. There’s also this:
I think this was a joke, but it was executed so awkwardly. The main character even consoled the guy later on, after being rejected and then seeing the guy in a mask posing on the playground, and offered to wrestle him after all. What is this? It’s as weird as this sh*t:
The zipper was on the crotch, and the main character had to find it. It was so f*cking- no, wait. Let’s talk about this, because it’s actually a really weird aspect of the show: the fan service. This aspect of the show is forced that it comes off as insanely creepy. Along with the broken dialogue, the fan service just doesn’t feel right. It comes from two things. One is the low budget animation. With stock color skin and awkward movements, the fan service can only look pretty when the characters aren’t moving and they mostly need to move in order to do the fan service. The weird visuals don’t top the other thing wrong about the fan service though, because the main character comes off as an absolute creep. I understand that a guy needs to be in a perverted situation to give us some fan service, but most main characters just learn to shut the hell up. You don’t need to talk when some fan service thing is happening to you. You just freak out or enjoy it, the main character had to comment on everything and the dialogue isn’t really helping the situation.
The main character is also just the worst. I’ve seen bland characters before, but the main character really comes off as unlikeable. He would say weird things to girls, think about weird things and he also doesn’t really know how to fall in love with someone. He also doesn’t know how to function as a normal person in general. He’s really like that alien in The Thing, and it bothers me. Again, it’s the dialogue and the lack of a better story that mostly makes me want to hate him. The pacing of the story is so odd that he really only just act the way the script needs him to act. There is never any character build up on his part, and it’s weird considering he appeared on all three stories. Instead, other characters had side stories and they had their own character arc outside of the main stories. I still remember all the offhanded Miss Santa remarks that actually builds up to an actual Miss Santa contest on the last story. A pageant had more build up than the main character, and it’s pretty pathetic. He also doesn’t really court the girls in their stories. He just talks to them, and they just kiss in the end. I know most VN main characters are bland as f*ck, but this character just rubs me the wrong way. He represents everything wrong with the anime, and yet he still ends up with a happy ending. What in the hell?
I felt like there is something behind the premise of the anime. It follows an entire school year with the guy. It really only needed to work on some things to make it truly decent, but I think I understand the main goal. The reason there were so many side characters is because it is truly trying to capture a “school life” with a bright cast. It could honestly work, because side stories can serve as a great way to break up the main stories but also bring them together. If the side stories were scattered among the three main stories, then it really could’ve helped the show immensely. They tried to do it here with how it mentions previous events from one story crossing the other. Of course, it’s too damn complex for the show but I like the initial idea. If they introduced all the characters early on and actually made this goal clear, then I would’ve tolerated the show more. This leads me to one thing: the first story, the best of the three, actually ruined the show. It gave us a straight up dating sim inspired anime, and then it followed up with the second story full of side stories. If the creators weren’t so in love with first girl, then this anime could actually have a chance. It’s a very minimum chance though, since the dialogue is still painfully awkward. Still, if it lived up to its VN inspired approach then they could offer each stories as routes. They showed us what happened in the route, but they should’ve also given us the option of what happens when we don’t follow the route. In most VNs, the unchosen girl ends up as an entertaining supporting character or even an important part of the other girl’s story. There were so many ways to make a good anime out of this one, and they clearly didn’t try. In the end, we wound up with total garbage with some stupid screenshots. I’ll now spam the rest here:
If you laughed at the screenshots, then that’s actually thanks to the show. Inadvertent or not, the anime does have some funny scenes. I think they were trying to make us laugh, and these are the rare scenes that actually work. Whether taken out of context or not, these scenes are absolute gold. Do I advise you to watch the show for the weird comedy? No, hell no. The funny parts are so far in between, and it’s sandwiched between the awful fan service and the forced dialogues. If you want to torture yourself, then why not give it a try? I doubt you can really enjoy the series though given how perplexingly unlikeable the main character is.
Studio Gokumi is a really good studio. I liked them ever since Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge, but I think they hit gold with Kiniro Mosaic. This is the latest show I’ve seen form them, and this is truly bad. A lot of studios have some notable misses, but this feels like Gokumi had a heart attack or something. Even their worst offering before this, The Atelier anime, is something I actually enjoyed because effort is still there. Effort can make a flash animated show look enjoyable, and I always stick to that belief. This anime lacks effort, and it also lacks a lot of basic things. I can’t believe Studio Gokumi is actually behind this. I’m now scared of what they’ll produce next, because it seems like the studio is going on a bumpy decline. I’ll have to see the rest of their works though, so we shall see. Tomoki Kobayashi is the proud director of Amagami that wanted this series to come out, but he is really barely involved with it. While he did direct, a lot of hands played with the storyboard and the actual script is done by the Amagami series’ character designer. The anime is honestly so low budget that I can’t really gauge how good the director’s skills are. For the script though, oh my gawd, it sucks. The pacing sucks, the series composition sucks and the dialogue sucks. It feels like too big of a project for a character designer, but he did shine through with the first story. Surprisingly, the promotion of this series actually focused on character design and the VAs singing the various songs. It’s kinda funny, since that’s the only notably good thing about the anime.
Sight and Sound
I’ll give Kisai Takayama credit. He can’t write a script if his life was depended on it, but he sure can create some amazing designs. The characters truly feel like Amagami characters in terms of design. The classic simple style with black hair and wide beautiful smiles actually work effectively for the series. It’s incredibly minimalistic, but it shouts out originality in how the designs come together. He also uses some wonderful skin color and some great facial expressions to set the characters apart. Of course, his design is most notable for the school uniform. I simply love it, because it’s a nice reference to Amagami as well. The sleeveless version of the uniform is a nice touch, and it compliments his simple designs. The anime ruins this though. The low budget animation ruined the simple character design turning it sh*t basic and the facial expressions aren’t properly presented. Whatever simple appeal Kisai’s characters have were not properly translated into the anime. Even still shots look awful, and it’s a great indication of the quality to expect from the anime.
Animation is just plain bad. It’s so awful that even mouth position, the only thing being animated in a scene, can still look awkward. Some of them aren’t proportioned properly and some are just not placed in a more decent spot in the face. It’s like the animators were using flash, and it’s kinda embarrassing to watch. The director clearly didn’t try in this anime, because dialogue scenes are beyond boring. He only uses wide shots and random close ups to make these scenes work, and it’s just hard to watch at times. As I said before, the anime also sucked at fan service and the romance isn’t properly created by the animation. Sometimes, bad dialogue can be saved by some decent animation since this component sets the mood or atmosphere of a scene. Hell, a KyoAni original like Tamako Market can have decent romance with just the animation, and that show sucked as well. Not as bad as this one though, but I just hate KyoAni in general. The animation also made every character look alike. I should blame the design, but it clearly has a great facial expression to set them apart. These expressions weren’t even considered when they animated the show, and you can see the director just didn’t put effort into this.
The anime’s OP is “Kimi no Hana” by Hanako Oku. I actually like this song, because Hanako’s voice is just a treat to listen to. The soundtrack is also the only reason why I like this anime, and this is its strongest offering. The song is about someone falling in love with someone else, and it features the little cute things they do as they fawn over the person. It’s wonderfully innocent, and it also paints a school life which is something I sensed the anime tried to do as well. The OP sequence is ridiculous though. Right from the first movement, it’s already awkward and it gets bad from there. The still art work is good, but then the animation looks bad. It features scenes that aren’t in the show, but you can tell the OP is deeply trying to sell itself with its Amagami callbacks and weird shots of the girls in a f*cking plain. It’s cringe inducing knowing how bad the actual show is. The anime has a lot ED. I think the girl featured in the story is singing the episode’s ED. They sing a different song on the last episode of their story though and, again, the soundtrack is a strong aspect of the anime. Every ED song nicely compliments the characters, and the VAs are actually talented. Each character sings a different style, and I like that little novelty as well. I won’t go into all the songs, but I do like the first girl’s song. I actually have the OST on loop as I finish this review, since it’s that fun to listen to.
3/10 “This anime is boring and weird, and that’s not a fun combination to describe a romance anime.”
This show has a lot of negatives to it. The animation, the stories, the dialogues, the weird side characters, the fan service and the romance itself just outright sucks. It doesn’t really have a lot to offer besides those weird comedy lines that barely give the show any actual value. This show is just outstandingly bad, and it’ll be a torture to push yourself to finish such a boring and bland anime. If you want to waste time, then try it. I do caution you though, because this anime wastes your time and doesn’t give anything of value in return. It’s just awful. I do not recommend this.