3 Episode Taste Test: Amagami SS (Gentle Bite SS)
Amagami SS parades hollow, vacuous simpletons around in a grotesque approximation of a romance plot; cretins drawn with all the grace of a gorilla with a crayon shoved up its nose, splattered wholesale into a story that is as if the plot of a romance novel were faxed to the writers but was horribly smeared and distorted in the process, leaving just a grim and disfigured estimate as to what was intended. These are not even characters but amalgamations of the most tired, staid and all-round tedious aspects of archetypes that have mutated into a hideous, cringeworthy diorama of what sociopaths believe realistic or dramatically engaging human interaction is. There is no merciful release from these mannequins pretending to be people, only the grim realisation that there are twenty four episodes of uninspired, stupidity inducing drivel to come.
“delights in emasculating her sycophantic barely-male toy that one day latched onto her like an unwelcome parasite”
The plot as it stands concerns Junichi who after being slighted by an as yet nameless girl doesn’t take the honourable and budget saving route of giving himself over to a psychiatric ward and instead constructs a pithy home made planetarium in his cupboard out of marker pen and tears of rejection. Through the abject failure of natural selection, the doddering halfwits he associates himself with haven’t murdered him out of boredom or compassion and continue to potter about their own superficial lives. His hormones eventually determine he should pursue a girl one year his senior but whose mind is the colour of bitumen and has all the personality of a long deceased lemming. While he kowtows to her every whimsical desire, humiliating himself in front of his sole male acquaintance in the process, she remains fickle and obtuse and, with any luck, is plotting a gory end to his pathetic existence.
Three minutes is how long it takes for the antipathy to form. The first scene is innocuous scene setting and the opening a lilting and frivolous montage of characters whose happiness is forged in the blinding light of stupidity. Then the grievously over-the-top kid sister emerges, replete with laser targeted quirks like frizzy hair and a sickening term of endearment for her belligerent, mentally retarded brother. As the first episode stretches inexorably on, questions bubble to the surface of one’s mind: did someone actually write these characters? Is this a romance or a wildlife documentary on the common pillock? Why hasn’t a benevolent deity taken it upon themselves to rid the world of this tripe? Through some cosmic confluence of misfortune, the succeeding two episodes are even worse by grinding the pace to a halt and giving precedence to what can only be charitably called dialogue.
Individually the stick-figures masquerading as characters could be stomached, but so many are gathered in one place it creates a singularity of unmitigated dross, spewing out the carcasses of once decent ideas and collapsing any hint of decency in on itself. Case in point, the primary romantic interest in this cavalcade of monotony is a fickle, capricious girl who lives in a palatial mansion and delights in emasculating her sycophantic barely-male toy that one day latched onto her like an unwelcome parasite. It’s mind-boggling that she could be desired, either by the protagonist or the audience who are, it is assumed, expected to root for their eventual congress or somehow empathise with their voyage of romantic discovery. Evidently the concern comes from her vacant and pliable mental state which is a boon were she to be convinced to somehow eviscerate the hapless protagonist.
Amagami SS is a crass, deplorable show that in three episodes proves how creatively bankrupt the writers are to produce a romance with a cast that is devoid of character, personality, empathy and interest. Each scene is a torpid examination of uninteresting people who are slaves to their lusts, their whims or their own self-interests. Beyond the fury such vapid and soulless creatures instil is an unending pity that youth has been distilled into clichés and naval-gazing. The series is reprehensible for what it represents: not the joy and exuberance of teenage years but a nostalgic, embittered adult wish fulfilment exercise. Excruciating, lamentable and pathetic, the series relies on a warped view of human relationships and is thoroughly undeserving of both the time lavished on its presentation and any modicum of praise laid upon it.