Much like this arc.
All good things must come to an end, and fortunately, so must all bad things. There was a marked improvement in consistency in recent events compared to prior episodes, but even so such a mild counterattack was far from sufficient to turn the tide for this arc. The school festival was given its most comprehensive treatment so far, but while this primary setting provided a sense of consistency it failed to address the core issues with the Ai arc. But on the positive side of things, it did feature several appearances by both Ayatsuji Tsukasa and Takahashi Maya, though failed to shed any more light on previous indications of a Tsukasa-Ai confrontation. With this arc over, the world is also left to ponder the implications of the breakdown in storytelling and presentation on future arcs.Now with our final report, the THAT Amagami Monitoring Group presents our findings and predictions.
- The school’s Founder’s Festival proceeded smoothly, in large part to the organizational efforts of Ayatsuji Tsukasa in checking up on preparations, hosting, and by using her personal paramilitary forces to ensure order. Meanwhile, Haruka continues to make her presence felt far from her arc, the latest in a long demonstrated ability to project power far from home.
Don’t you wish your girlfriend had a good arc like me?
Ein volk! Ein reich! Ein seitokaichou!
- Also spotted at the festival was a new model mobile suit, on display in its first public appearance. While the development of a mobile suit by Ayatsuji Heavy Industries has been suspected for some time, this is the first time this has been confirmed in open-source reports. The design shares several similarities with several late-model Earth Federation Space Forces designs, including the ground-battle Gundam and the GM Command, as well as design elements possibly related to Union or perhaps the police model Ingram.
Also features an innovative security device to deter Zeonic remnants and angsty teens from stealing the mobile suit: a key.
- Tsukasa was not the only participant in the festival to field a personal security detachment, with Hibiki’s elite all-female security force known as the ‘Swim Team’ also in attending in force. We are aware of no threats to her at present, so it must be assumed that they were deployed to help in the eternal task of keeping tabs on Haruka.
Each ready to die for their mistress at a moment’s notice.
- Once relieved by Hibiki’s team from the oden stand, Ai led J4 to an undisclosed location some distance from the school. Taking a public bus, they arrived at a mountain said to be owned by Ai’s grandfather. This remote location was an odd choice at first, but it was confirmed that the mountain contains hot springs and a combination of fanservice and the final confession of the arc took place there. Swimsuit tanlines filled in for this arc’s supply of kink, while Ai’s confession came after both were already naked and in the water, followed by a kiss. The wisdom of staging this scene before even confessing and beginning a proper relationship will be left up to the reader.
This episode was more consistent than previous ones, with things being a lot less out of nowhere. Unfortunately it was too little, too late to even partially redeem this arc. A very strong showing in the final episode could have been something memorable, but as it is we only got a ‘good’ episode when to cancel out some of its past failings what it really needed to be was ‘excellent.’ The festival was a decent setting, and while it was strained a bit in delivery, the part where the tea club members challenged Ai and Junichi was fairly funny. The part with Takahashi-sensei was also a bright spot, mostly because any moment with her makes an episode better. Ai’s grandfather conveniently owning a mountain with an onsen within a relatively short distance from school also stretched believability a bit, but after the WTF moments last episode I wasn’t too picky. Something a little more jarring was the fact that Ai would get naked with Junichi before ever even confessing her feelings to him. But then again, Amagami for the most part hasn’t turned out to be the realistic romance drama that its forebearer KimiKiss: Pure Rouge was, so perhaps I’m asking too much of it.
Though I have to hand it to the writers for including this as the last of the daydreams J4 had while climbing the hill with Ai. As soon as they came off the bus it was the first thing I thought of, indeed, that I hoped for. This fourth iteration of Junichi has been, as comrade Crusader would say, most unworthy and a contemptuous harem animu lead. Which brings us to another point, the possibility of any sort of less than GOOD END ending. When the show started, myself and others speculated about this, and I had hoped that the writers might end one arc in something less than the ideal ending. While I wasn’t asking for or desiring a Nice Boat ending, it would have been interesting to see a ‘just friends’ ending or having one of the girls overcome Junichi’s being stood up without falling for him. But with 2/3 of the arcs now complete, that possibility can be firmly put to rest.
Two arcs remain, two I’m anticipating greatly, especially Tsukasa’s arc. But I do worry about the course of the show overall. The Haruka arc was superbly done, but overall I’d have to say that it’s only gone downhill from there. Kaoru’s arc wasn’t bad, but was clumsily executed. Sae’s took a different, comedic turn, which was definitely fun but started to show some of the problems in storytelling and consistency that came back in force with this arc. In the Sae arc they didn’t matter so much, because it was supposed to be silly, but in the Ai arc they completely disrupted things. I’d like to think that we’re at the nadir, and that things can only go up from here, but that’s what I’d like, not what I’m seeing. Given current trends, I’m seriously worried about how the last two will play out. From what you’ve told me in the comments, the Ai arc in both VN and manga form had a lot of good points and scenes, material that would have made this arc very good. But the choices of which to include and exclude in the anime were beyond questionable. I sincerely hope that Amagami rebounds after this arc, but right now I worry. Is this the bottom from which recover begins, or will it follow the Russian saying “we thought we’d finally hit the bottom ’til we heard someone scratching from below.”
Opinion (guidance beyond our analysis)
Even drunk, she’s still <3
I swear that was one of the kids from the park/the beach. Wouldn’t be surprised that he’s got a date to the festival since he seems to know more about relationships than Junichi.
Tsukasa had another ‘Ironside’ moment with Ai and was watching from the window, but we’re still left to wonder what it all means. The simple explanation would be a crush on Junichi, but if that was the case, why does she focus solely on Ai?
I approve of this pairing.
Deer are perverts.