Seiren Episode 9
by Nick Creamer,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Today's episode marked the beginning of Seiren's third arc. After the energetic Tsuneki and game-obsessed Toru, our third heroine turned out to be Kyoko Tono - childhood friend of Shoichi and fellow appreciator of magical girl manga.
Having this arc's heroine take the role of Shoichi's childhood friend meant this episode could move squarely into Seiren's comfort zone - rambling, occasionally strange, and oddly grounded conversations. There was no need to spend an episode establishing some sort of connection between Shoichi and his new love interest, and their conversations possessed an instant rapport that felt more comfortable than basically anything he established with Toru. Additionally, the childhood friend angle offered a clear dramatic avenue to start the arc. Both Shoichi and Kyoko are still treating the other like a kid in some ways, naturally unable to notice the ways they've grown into high school.
As usual, a substantial amount of this episode's laughs came from the various bizarre one-liners scattered throughout. Early on, there was an extended conversation that was likely intended to establish Shoichi as someone Kyoko sees as “one of the girls,” a boy she can talk to about personal stuff without any romantic baggage. Of course, the subject matter they chose to express this point was a lengthy reflection on Shoichi's sister's panties, specifically regarding whether she wore strange panties because Shoichi liked them. Because, you know, this is still Seiren.
Still, strange subject matter aside, I liked the overall dynamic established by this episode. The conflicts didn't feel either as artificial as Tsuneki's narrative or as nonsensical as Toru's - the idea that their close friendship would be slow to adapt to the changes of high school is a natural issue, and this episode established the fundamentals of that conflict in as graceful a manner as Seiren likely could. Shoichi's thoughtlessness in describing Kyoko as “childish” felt understandable, and Kyoko's insecurity and subsequent actions felt natural as well. Seiren's reliably weird conversations felt more believable coming from a pair that have been friends since childhood, who likely would have developed their own intimate ideas of propriety over that time.
Overall, this may have been Seiren's most successful introductory episode, although that's not the highest of bars. The writing is still more weird than good, and the execution is as bland as ever, but Shoichi and Kyoko already have a solid amount of chemistry. Seiren is still a somewhat tedious watch, but as far as initial platforms go, it's certainly done worse. We'll just have to see how Seiren's latest whirlwind romance plays out!
Seiren is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Nick writes about anime, storytelling, and the meaning of life at Wrong Every Time.
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