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?