Episode 6

by Nick Creamer,

How would you rate episode 6 of
Seiren ?

I was happy to see that Seiren kept things weird this week, continuing to invent new ways of making hobbies and conversations sound as bizarre as possible. This episode's weirdness highlight was definitely the conversation between Toru and Shoichi about deer mating, which was full of lines so direct they wouldn't even qualify as double entendres. Seeing Shoichi blush at the prospect of, in his own words, “producing offspring with Miyamae” is entertaining in its own way, and other embellishments like the “take your picture in a milk bath” craze that's apparently sweeping the nation were endearingly quirky as well. If nothing else, Seiren continues to be the strongest source of subtitle non sequiturs over any show this season.

The actual narrative here was a lot less entertaining. Plenty of the blame for that rests at Shoichi's feet, since jumping to a new love interest really hasn't done anything for his personality. Shoichi virtually never acts of his own accord, and he isn't particularly good at reacting, either - he mostly just spent this episode mumbling and blushing and feeling vaguely insecure about Toru having other male friends. Romance requires chemistry, chemistry requires personality, and personality is something Shoichi lacks.

Toru didn't really help things, either. Our new heroine has turned out to be a significant downgrade from Tsuneki, who could generally carry a conversation even if Shoichi was just moping and making bewildered faces. By contrast, Toru's personality is basically just “I take videogames very seriously.” Her hobby is videogames, her conversations all revolve around videogames, and her personal conflict is “what if videogames, but too much?” All this episode really added to that character sheet was a vague promise of future complexity, as her past with Tsuneki and her reflection that “games are less important than the people you play them with” imply we'll be running into some more multifaceted emotions down the line.

That said, there were things aside from the weirdness to appreciate this week. Seiren continues to offer an odd mix of bizarre one-liners and otherwise grounded dialogue, making scenes like Shoichi's reunion at the rabbit house with his friends feel distinctly realistic. Their mundane conversations are simultaneously refreshing and an example of how realism in fiction isn't always a valuable goal. Having Shoichi's fears about a love triangle resolve as a simple misunderstanding is “realistic,” but it doesn't really make for satisfying drama. Having Shoichi and Toru's relationship be entirely based on a common hobby is how such things often go in real life, but doesn't make for steamy romance.

The most conventionally effective sequence was definitely the big duel between Toru and Tsuneki on the GusGal battlefield. The scene leaned successfully into the game's super robot drama, combining energetic direction with some of the show's strongest animation to offer an exciting robot duel. Even the show's sense of humor felt more purposefully applied there - scenes like the deer offspring dilemma are mostly just weird, but leaning into how seriously both Toru and Tsuneki were taking the fight made for some very natural comedy. “Mostly just weird” may stand as Seiren's epitaph, but there are still other pleasures to be found along the way.

Overall: C

Seiren is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Nick writes about anime, storytelling, and the meaning of life at Wrong Every Time.

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