You’ll be asking yourself the same question while watching this episode. Nya optional.
THIS. EPISODE. Shockwaves from it have reverberated across the community over just how lulzy this episode is. And debate continues over just how intentional it is. But I think it’s too easy, too much of a cop-out, and belittling of the writing to ascribe to this episode to unintended effects of the writing. Simply put, there have been few episodes in all the anime that I’ve seen that have so constantly and effectively implemented a mix of hilarious, cute, hot, and crazy within a single episode without being a parody or comedy. Even with all of this going on, the episode somehow doesn’t lose sight of the fact that, however messed up and funny, this is a relationship between the two characters. It’s great entertainment all around. And what a second kiss for the couple as Junichi asks for more and Haruka plays around with him by making him sneak them somewhere private, then ups the ante to great results. To quote the often used form in Penn and Teller’s Bullshit it’s hot. But crazy! But hot. But crazy! But hot.
It’s springtime for Hitler and Germany! Err, wait, springtime for Junichi and Amagami! Also, it’s Haruka’s arc so “it may be destiny but Kaoru wants to GET THE CHANCE!“
I liked this seamless transition to the episode title, everything just kept going on around it.
Junichi’s practically begging this episode, like the puppy Haruka describes him as. But it works and he’s playing her game of getting them somewhere private without being seen. OPERATION START!
OPERATION WANKO WAS A RESOUNDING SUCCESS. C/O AND ASSET ‘HARUKA’ PROCEEDED QUICKLY AND SAFELY TO SITE ALPHA TO CONDUCT THEIR ACTIVITIES UNINTERRUPTED. HQ COMMENDS C/O ‘JUNICHI’ FOR HIS QUICK THINKING AND ABLE EXECUTION.
An undisclosed location somewhere in Japan.
Once they arrive at the pump house we have The Moment of the episode, the one that has spawned numerous excited blog posts and tweets. Haruka keeps the game going by insisting that Junichi kiss her somewhere other than on the lips or forehead, but that it has to be somewhere interesting or she’ll just go back. Putting even more pressure on she teases him about the time left for their lunch break. Junichi’s answer? Back of the knee, his rationale being that Haruka likes puppies so much and he will imitate them. Nay, he shall become the puppy and understand its point of view as he does so. It’s so awkward and funny but undeniably cute and pretty hot too when we see Haruka’s reaction. It’s also something that seems to be derived from Amagami’s predecessor KimiKiss, as I will address in the images for this portion. It goes on with both of them enjoying it, but Haruka keeps it from going farther when Junichi starts to move up her leg. The back of the knee kiss has earned its place in the history of anime romance, and it’s left quite the impression on Junichi as well. For the rest of the day he can’t stop thinking about doing it again.
She teases but underneath lacks confidence, Junichi acts submissive and begs but yet takes the initiative. They certainly do play off well against each other.
This is the dual nature of this episode: for as laugh out loud funny as this is, it also makes sense. The hilarious and the cute coexist side by side with Junichi’s choice, which is a pretty good one since it’s a fairly sensitive part of the body and fulfills Haruka’s requirement of being unconventional.
Just as Mao-neechan is the predecessor of Haruka in many ways (being the older girl, throwing in random English words, being worried about hurting the younger guy), the KimiKiss: Various Heroines manga was the prototype for the behind the knee kiss. She even says that Koichi looks like a puppy.
The reactions of both are also very, very similar. The context differs however, as in the KimiKiss manga Mao is letting Koichi practice kissing but won’t let him kiss her on the lips since they’re not yet in a relationship (though by the end of the chapter they are.)
You’re sweet Rihoko, but it’s going to take more than that to snap Junichi (and the audience) out of the buzz caused by what just occurred.
Don’t stop till you get enough.
Haruka is still unsure about letting herself depend on Junichi, of letting herself show her true, silly side to him, but luckily her keeper/wingman Hibiki is there to listen and advise. Her narrow, calculating eyes like that of her spiritual forbearer Oberstein, she recommends a course of action that will train Junichi like the dog he’s been acting like. At first it is slightly difficult for Haruka to swallow such Machiavellian words, but Hibiki rephrases it in terms she can understand: use a ‘meow’ next time she sees him. Which she interprets as pouncing on him in the hallway acting like Black Hanekawa from Bakemonogatari. Her speech patterns were just like her, da nya?
Which brings us to the second, far more WTF moment of hilarity from this episode when she asks Junichi to prepare a “stimulating” lunch for her. Since he’s at school and on short notice he only has shio ramen for her but decides to make the situation stimulating instead of the food…by roleplaying a kidnapping scenario. What? It’s so romantic you know, being tied up and fed by an uncaring captor simply to keep you alive. WHAT? *Sigh* I guess some people do have those fetishes. Junichi feeding Haruka just brings out more lulz, especially when some of the soup is left behind on her cheek. But the show is so fully conscious of how funny and cliche this looks that Junichi even comments on it himself. It really takes the humor and awkwardness of it to another level. Where most shows might just feature this blatant fanservice and expect the viewer to get all hot and bothered, or a comedy series would break right through the fourth wall like a bulldozer, there’s some oddly deft writing going on here that keeps it in bounds, something few show manage to do.
Hibiki wearing her Spike Spiegel pajamas while dispensing advice to her thrall, I mean, friend.
HELL YEAH MECHA! It’s definitely from the Gundam universe, but it’s hard to say what exactly it is. It seems like it could be either a One Year War variety of prototype Gundam like the RX-78-2 or Alex, or possibly a GM. If the shot went up just a little further I could tell if it was a Gundam or GM variety (the Gundams have a small blister in the upper shin area while GMs do not) and prove what a nerd I am.
As if there wasn’t enough seme/uke going on in this relationship.
“Haruka… You fear to go into that mind. Junichi delved too greedily and too deep. You know what he awoke in the darkness of Haruka’s heart… fetish and issues”. – Saruman the Senpai.
The doujinshi writes itself!
You think they wouldn’t notice all this?
Nanasaki is struck by the loose morals of today’s youth while Hibiki just thinks to herself “keikaku doori!”
Final Thoughts: - What can I say? This episode was the best entertainment I’ve had in a long time. From start to finish I was either laughing, grinning, or laughing through a facepalm. And the show knew exactly what it was doing the whole time. It didn’t try to cover up the hilariously awkward or fetish-tastic parts with a super serious atmosphere nor did it break down into gag jokes around them either. Junichi, Haruka, and everyone who saw them all knew how weird everything was. And the episode was more entertaining for that.
- In being so deliberate about it the show also kind of kept it inside the bound of something that could conceivably happen in this relationship. Both characters are showing some really odd tendencies, so it’s not out of character for them to act so strangely. Honestly, who hasn’t had some very odd moments in romantic relationships, especially ones in high school when both people involved are inexperienced and/or confused? I’m not trying to say that this episode was Serious Business; it was ridiculous and rolling on the floor funny. But it would be a mistake to dismiss it as only ridiculous and funny.
- Haruka always struck me as very similar to Mao from KimiKiss, and the fact that the behind the knee kiss obviously evolved from the KimiKiss manga that I mentioned earlier seems to confirm the influence of the previous material on Amagami. While the anime KimiKiss: Pure Rouge was a more serious romance series by this point in its run, there’s definitely overlap. And in the Various Heroines manga there exists a perfect template for how Amagami is turning out. I’m actually surprised that I didn’t notice it earlier. Various Heroines does exactly what Amagami promises to do, having the male protagonist fall in love with each of the girls, resetting the premise after each volume. Each girl has her own volume to get together with Koichi in that series, and looking at it now it seems that Various Heroines was the prototype for Amagami.