I had nothing better to do on Valentine’s Day so I decided to watch all of Seiren so far.
Seiren is a very romantic show. It is about horny teenagers who flirt awkwardly with each other and make sex jokes. The way it depicts flirting is actually pretty true-to-life, although the romantic resolutions could probably do with some work. But I am not actually shitting you when I say that it’s a generally good teen romance show.
Apparently, Seiren is a sequel to Amagami, another romcom show about horny teenagers who talk about their weird kinks instead of actually having sex. It’s written by Kisai Takayama, a Taiwanese-born man who drew the character designs for Amagami and Kimikiss. With the Amagami anime, he provided assistance with structuring the story, but Seiren is his first time handling the original screenplay along with the scripts and series composition. The flow and pacing of the episodes are a bit rough, but I’d say that overall the show actually outperforms Amagami in the most important department – the sex jokes.
Episode 3, titled “In the Men’s Bath”, is a masterpiece. In this episode, the guy and the girl go into the men’s bath because the girl feels like showing off her bikini. The bikini is great and all, but I love the episode mostly for the dude wearing the girl’s pareo.
Later on, we even get to see his boner through the pareo.
As you can see, Seiren is VERY GOOD STUFF.
Episode 6, the latest episode, is also notable because it had the “Hey, wanna try mating?” line. The guy and girl are just talking about deer, which is all nice and innocuous, but then a minute later the girl takes the guy’s cherry out of his drink and eats it. HMMMMMM.
At this point, I should stress that this anime doesn’t actually have that many ecchi fanservice tropes. I mean, sure, you do get to see the first girl in a bikini, but the camera angles are genuinely not sleazy. And when the guy gets turned on by the sight of her in a bikini, he fixates on her navel instead of her breasts. It’s not just a weird gimmick; the male gaze of the camera feels reflective of the boy’s sexuality as an individual. This makes the sexually charged scenes feel more intimate and particular to their relationship instead of just “fanservice” aimed at a voyeuristic audience.
Sex certainly isn’t the be all or end all of relationships, but it’s nice to watch an anime that doesn’t sweep sexual attraction under the rug. Pure, innocent romances can be cute, but I like the frankness in Seiren. The sexuality presented here is also quite innocent and naive, but that’s what it’s like to be a horny yet inexperienced teenager. In its own way, it’s very romantic.
It makes me sad that people have been dissing Seiren. It’s actually good, I swear! …with one big caveat, that is.
(SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 4: It’s a pity that the actual hookup part of episode 4 was poorly done. It beggars belief that two teenagers who awkwardly flirted each other for a few weeks and then parted ways from each other would still be madly in love five years later. But the flirting scenes are so good that I don’t mind that the actual romance is lacklustre.)
On the subject of teen romance, Scum’s Wish is also pretty honest and upfront about sexuality, albeit from a different angle, so it feels like this has been a pretty good season for teen romance generally.
When it comes to depicting sexuality, are there any anime romances you’d recommend?
The classic for me is Kimagure Orange Road. Criminally underwatched when it was one of the top anime of ’87(?).
Ah, I haven’t seen KOR. I’ll have to give it a watch!
Episode 4 of Sieren put me off to it, but Amagami SS was a bit hit or miss too. I’ll be watching more, but probably in 4 episode bursts. I don’t need characters to be realistic, but some kind of connection to them that doesn’t feel ridiculously naive is nice.
Scum’s Wish is something special for going all in to the degree it does. Both with the sex and the psychology. It kinda blew my mind when the story put us in Akane’s head for episode 4.
I’ve been working on my own “intimate” anime list since I started Scum’s Wish. I used to have a hard time watching this stuff so I know there some stuff I skipped back when I first got into anime. I always end up relating with the most terrible character in such stories, but I guess I’ve come to terms with that?
There are a few that I have seen that might be worth checking out. Ef a Tale of Memories stands out at the top of the list. Rumbling Hearts and Please Teacher come to mind off the top of my head. Neither blew me away, but that was probably why I was able to watch to completion. Ai Yori Aoshi comes to mind, but most of the series is dumb harem antics.
My own need to watch list is Koi Kaze, Saikano and Chobits.
I don’t think there has been much like Scum’s Wish in recent memory. The flirtatious side of Amagami or Seiren are why I watch them. It’s not a very common thing for a show to specifically focus on flirtatious romance. Most anime characters are too awkward for that. I can think of characters who are exceptions, but typically it’s one aspect of a very different show.
I can name a few stories with flirtatious characters that are constantly front and center and have a fun dynamic to them.
Spice and Wolf
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia
I could probably think of more if I put some effort into it.
This sort of thing is more common in manga. Gotta keep things more family friendly for the TV, I suppose. I’m surprised Scum’s Wish ended up on TV in the first place, and that it’s so explicit too! It apparently drew some complaints: https://jlist.com/blog/news/scums-wish-anime-gets-complaint/
Can’t open Jlist right now, but I’ll have to check that link later tonight.
Do you have any manga recommendations that are like Scum’s Wish? I’ll probably buy Scum’s Wish and read it all once the anime is finished.
Manga is somewhat of a blind spot for me. It can be hard to ask for a romance where people compete at giving in to their vices and manipulate others to get what they want, and you know, where the story still has a strong/interesting theme to it. Demanding requirements, I know.
Off the top of my head, try Himegoto (https://myanimelist.net/manga/43415/Himegoto__Juukyuusai_no_Seifuku) and Nana to Kaoru (https://myanimelist.net/manga/5994/Nana_to_Kaoru). Big focus on sexuality and psychologically messed up people. Oh, and anything by Inio Asano should give you a stark look at sexuality. A Girl on the Shore especially has a very similar premise to Scum’s Wish.
The Scum’s Wish manga is also being simulpublished on Crunchyroll, so you don’t need to buy the volumes to read it unless you want the physical books.
Thanks! I’ve read some of Nana to Kauro, but I’ve never heard of the rest. I’ll check them out. I should finish Nana To Kauro while I’m at it. The last time I read it I was current with the manga and I guess it’s all finished now?
I have an easier time investing in physical books than I do when I’m using an electronic device. I’m not sure why, but when I get really into a series I’d much rather have it on paper. Thanks for the tip though.
I agree about the flirting in general. I like Seiren because of its characters awkward flirting and quirkiness, and I LOVE that Tsuneki is a genuinely realistic girl. She’s not one of those annoyingly innocent/pure moe characters that have no sexual desires and are perfect in every way. She’s human. You can tell she’s lonely, and that she wants attention, and she acts and dresses like most teenage girls like that that I ever knew in real life. That was a bit refreshing. Like you, and most people have mentioned in regards to this show, the problem is 100% the resolution. I hated ep4. Loved the rest of the show, but that was just really not what I was looking for with Seiren. Amagami didn’t have an arc with that poor of a resolution in its entire run, so I am a bit let down by this. I’ll watch this one in chunks for the other arcs. I like these types of shows, shows that focus on weird teenage sexual interests and treat their characters like humans, rather than archetypal moe goddesses or blank slate dudes who you will never remember the name of, and I want more to be made. Anime historically has a pretty big problem with romantic conclusions, in my experience, so I’m not surprised by how poorly the first arc wrapped up, but since I’ve already seen Amagami, I know it can be done. Seiren has two more chances to get it right.
Really? I remember the romantic resolutions in Amagami were kinda cheesy too…
I remember the pacing being a little wonky in some of the Amagami arcs, but don’t remember anything outright bad or super cheesy like ep4 of Seiren. I’m not saying Amagami should be held up as a standard bearer, more just that the majority of the arcs had fairly satisfying conclusions, which is rare in anime. It helped that there was a second season that was almost entirely devoted to expanding on the conclusion for each arc too. It’s possible I’m remembering it more fondly than it deserves though.
My reason for loving Amagami and Seiren so much, is because we get to see the protagonist end up with each heroine. Only anime I know that does that.
You like the omnibus format? Heyyyy you should watch Yosuga no Sora!
(Don’t watch Yosuga no Sora)
You got me to laugh out loud with that one. Thanks.
Too late. You have spoken, and now I must act.
[…] Seiren is a very romantic show (Frog-kun) Speaking of podcasts, Frog-kun wrote a post about a topic we touched on briefly in the first episode of Chatty AF. “I should stress that this anime doesn’t actually have that many ecchi fanservice tropes. I mean, sure, you do get to see the first girl in a bikini, but the camera angles are genuinely not sleazy. And when the guy gets turned on by the sight of her in a bikini, he fixates on her navel instead of her breasts. It’s not just a weird gimmick; the male gaze of the camera feels reflective of the boy’s sexuality as an individual. This makes the sexually charged scenes feel more intimate and particular to their relationship instead of just “fanservice” aimed at a voyeuristic audience.” […]
Hopefully I’ll try and follow with Seiren. But Scum’s Wish hell yeah! What I think is impressive about the show however, is how it adapts the manga structure to anime format but exceed it in terms of execution and aesthetic. I love the manga and its one of my all time favorites, but anime takes what the author gives in the manga but execute it in such a way that leaves you breathless. Thats just my bias opinion however, blinded by a fan’s unadulterated love for the show. You said you read the manga as well, just curious what are your thoughts on scum’s wish as an adaptation?
I haven’t seen the anime, I’ve only read the manga. But I know it’s good stuff!
I didn’t know it was a sequel to Amagami, which is also a series I love, but I’m loving Seiren very much. I just wish each chapter were a little longer, so we could see more development between the protagonist and the female lead for that arc.
When it comes to depicting sexuality, are there any anime romances you’d recommend?
If you aske me, it would be Sundome.
Be warned, it’s very….unique.
And like Kuzu no Honkai, It’s a beautiful but twisted and tragic(?) story.
[…] Memes – Seiren is a very romantic show – We’re cool with some late Valentine’s love, right? Because Frog-kun sweeps one […]
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