Recent events between schoolmates have produced a clear, but yet seemingly unlikely dynamic between J4 and Ai, with additionally unusual actions by both Tsukasa and Takahashi-sensei. Despite using all available information and applying both analytic techniques and the lessons of romance anime history, improbable events such as these still sometimes manage to occur. Currently the J4-Ai dynamic has evolved into one of deepening feelings on Ai’s part, because of (and we argue, in spite of) J4′s recent actions. This calls for a new framework for interpreting the mindset of the arc’s heroine.
- In response to news of a ‘Bungaku Shoujo’ beginning work in the library, J4 and his associates went to the library to investigate. While the viewer only obtained partial images and not enough to make an ID, this intelligence gathering mission initiated the first of three less than smooth encounters between J4 and Ai. However, as we shall see these seemed to produce the opposite of their logical effect.
She doesn’t have to be on-screen to steal the spotlight.
- After the library incident, it became known to Ai through Kaoru that Junichi is particularly adept at math. (Funny, I thought his best subject was anatomy. -Editor.) Ai then asked him to tutor her, which gave them more time together but also led to two significant events. Ayatsuji Tsukasa stopped by to say hello to J4, but then upon recognizing Ai gave her a meaningful and perhaps judging or disapproving look. Ai seemed to return this for a moment before Tsukasa returned to normal conversation. This was a very surprising visual exchange, given that there have been no indications that the two know each other. The second significant event was Ai telling J4 that he acts just like a little kid, before snapping out of her moment of candor. This second event has begun fitting into a newly developing pattern, discussed in the analysis section.
Image set to this audio.
- Upon being summoned to the teachers’ offices by Takahashi-sensei, J4 engaged in the first of two overenthusiastic outbursts. When asked why he’s been late to school so often lately, he launched into an obsessive speech about the manga series known as “Biibaa Sangokushi/Beaver Three Kingdoms“, a known favorite of both J4 and Miya. Takahashi-sensei was having none of it, and sent him packing, with a football coach-style slap for good measure.
- The second blunder by J4 which oddly led to deepening ties with Ai was when he met his sister, Ai, and Sae at lunch and through his lechery was drawn into a candid conversation about breast sizes. Understandably Ai was disgusted and left forcefully, making her displeasure clearly known. But for some reason this was later quickly resolved and she seemed to like J4 more afterwards.
Miya, however, was an eager participant in the conversation.
- The next incident involved J4 sneaking into the pool area during swim practice, combining his lechery with stealth and launching into another rant, this time about the virtues of Ai’s small (relative to Sae) breast. Despite this incredibly kimoi moment, neither team leader Hibiki nor Ai retaliated with anything other than a few surprised words. And yet again this seems to defy standard logic, as Ai reacted favorably to it later in the episode.
Not exactly a courtly ballad…
- The final event of significance was Ai and J4 meeting up after school, everything seeming better than ever between them despite recent actions. Sitting at the beach, Ai gave J4 a Grasshopper Mask transformation belt that her little brother didn’t want, seemingly insulting in that she implied that Junichi is a little kid, but received well by both sides. Some acting out of the transformation scene occurred, before giving away the belt to three appreciative children who happened by. This scene, lighthearted and fun, made much more sense in terms of being a genuine moment between the arc couple.
Nice, but not as good as Kamen Rider Ryuki’s Final Vent.
So despite Junichi’s best efforts, he seems to have endeared himself more to Ai. First the minor library disturbance, and then escalating into the breast conversation and to its peak with sneaking into the swimming club practice and acting like a complete creep in front of the entire team. And yet, at the end of the episode we have Ai thinking to herself about how much she likes him. This seems to boil down to two elements, one in-story and one on the part of the writers. In the events of the show we had Ai, who at first seemed set to be a girl with fairly high standards and possibly a somewhat initially cold personality, show more and more signs of having some sort of older sister complex where she likes taking care of boys. While it’s normal to do so with her brother, it appears to have been internalized into something affecting her better judgement in relationships. Junichi has done plenty to drive away any sane girl, but yet here Ai’s desire to take care of a “helpless” guy like Junichi is at the center of the developing relationship.
Ai actually finding J4 attractive has left me in despair!!!
Junichi’s fourth iteration has done a few things to seem like a decent guy, tutoring Ai in math and generally being fun for her to talk and play with at the beach. But he’s done some tremendously stupid and creepy things otherwise, and the balance is well to the creep side. This seems to result from a meta, creator influence. Amagami SS, as fun as it can be, has for the most part not panned out to be a romance series like its spiritual predecessor KimiKiss: Pure Rouge. It’s not unfair to say that there is a good bit of fan pandering to it. And unfortunately it seems to have exceeded my limit for suspension of disbelief here. In an attempt to pander to fans that a girl like Ai would be attracted by the pathetic, creepy actions of someone like J4, this arc is going way beyond something I can just accept and watch without complaint. It’s some pretty clear otaku pandering, for in real life Junichi would be dead to Ai by this point.
Opinion (guidance for interpretation beyond our analysis)
I want a girl with a mind like a diamond. I want a girl who knows what’s best.
I want a girl with a gaze that cuts and eyes that burn like cigarettes.
I want a girl with the right allocations. Who’s fast and thorough
and slaps sharp as a tack.
She’s doesn’t need any jewelry, and has great hair
She’s leading the faculty and punishing those who slack.
I want a girl with a short skirt
and a daaaark jacket.