Seiren – Preview
Original Air Dates: January 7th, 2017 – ???
Synopsis: Shoichi Kamita is your average high school boy. He’s got an eye for the ladies, but isn’t sure what to do about it. With university entrance exams creeping up he’s begun to notice how everyone around him already seems to be growing up, especially the girls. He’s become worried about his future and wants to do something about himself, not only for his future, but maybe to actually get noticed by the girls? Seiren depicts Shoichi’s efforts to better himself as a relationship buds between him and three separate heroines in three separate story lines as part of an omnibus format.
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Seiren is very character centric, focused on building relationships between Shoichi and each of these girls who’ll form his romantic interests throughout this season. There’s a central story arc of Shoichi working to improve himself. He feels like he’s behind everyone else, as if he hasn’t grown up. But that arc seems to take a backseat compared to the antics involved with each of his romances, starting with Hikari, a perky, somewhat manipulating, playful girl who he currently has his affections aimed at. The show will supposedly utilize an omnibus format, meaning we keep the characters, but the story ‘resets’ between arcs, giving us a different time line between Shoichi’s interactions with one girl over another.
Linny: Seiren feels very laid back so far with the episode mainly choosing to focus on one girl, rather than having all the main girls appear or throw themselves at our hero in one way or the other. Compared to other harem heroines, our first ‘candidate’ is already showing some originality by being outright strange. Yes, strange and not quirky. And yes, this isn’t actually a harem but I shall use that word for lack of a better term. The story also seems to be moving rather fast with our students already off to a ‘study retreat’ at some resort, which is usually an event saved for mid series or fan service filler in most anime.
Tom: All the girls so far are out there, weird, strange and seemingly just for the sake of it, as if that oddball, no idea what’s coming out of their mouths next nature is part of the show’s charm. They tend to say some pretty outrageous stuff in the first episode alone and, if nothing else, lets Seiren feel a bit more unique compared to the rest of the romance anime around. It’s great for anyone who wants a slightly more off the wall romantic comedy.
Linny: The rather unpredictable and off the wall personalities and behavior of the girls is definitely going to help Seiren feel like a show all of its own and if it can keep up that quirkiness, even if the show never rises to amazing levels, most viewers seeking a fresh feeling harem/romance story might appreciate it.
Tom: I actually find Shoichi fairly identifiable, a young man feeling like he’s not really growing up like everyone else around him. He wants to change that, he wants to be as adult as he sees his peers behaving, yet at the same time beneath all that is the simple desire to just pursue girls. That seems to be where a lot of his motivation lies, and for anyone who went through similar experiences as a teenager, or perhaps even still feels like that as an adult, Shoichi is definitely a character you’ll understand.
Linny: Shoichi is definitely the highlight of the story so far with his internal struggle to be better than he is currently and feeling like he is falling behind his peers. Almost everyone has had moments when they felt like that in today’s competitive world, and when we watch Shoichi struggle to follow through with his desire and plans to work harder, it might ring a bell with everyone who’s already failed a new year’s resolution or two.
Tom: Viewers should note that Seiren is tangentially related to another anime, Amagami SS, which was based off a dating/romance video game series in Japan. That said, the show doesn’t require familiarity with its predecessor as the only significant connection is that certain characters in Seiren are related to main and supporting characters from Amagami. Besides taking place in the same world Seiren seems self contained so far.
Linny: If you are averse to most harem and romance stories like me, you might not enjoy this first episode. While Shoichi is relatable, the episode felt rather lackluster to me in that things do happen, and yet nothing really grabs you. There are a few funny moments here and there and for those who enjoy quirky girls, there’s Hikari to win you over already, so it’s definitely got something to offer viewers. Maybe just not anyone who isn’t attracted to the genre in the first place.
Tom: Seiren is worth a look in if you want romance and comedy with characters a little more out there, a little more off the wall and not entirely down to earth. If realism isn’t what you’re after, but quirky banter then Seiren is shaping up to be a decent watch.
Seiren is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com