Seiren – Love Stories

In Seiren, we get to watch three separate mini-series style storylines featuring the school life of protagonist Kamita Shoichi as he gets involved with our three female leads: Tsuneki Hikari, Miyamae Toru, and Kyoko Tono. Over the course of three 4-episode arcs, you’ll get to see his relationship with each of these young ladies develop in pretty standard slice of life form.

If you’re afraid that you might be stepping into harem territory here, fear not. There are no harems here, only pure slice of life. You see, the show’s writers chose a unique format… each 4-episode arc occurs in the same year, but on a slightly different timeline. Essentially, each four episodes assumes that the other episodes haven’t happened and won’t happen and provide a complete story.

What fascinated me here is that, even though the show assumes the events didn’t happen, it utilizes each timeline to make each subsequent one a bit richer by giving you a greater understanding of the characters. While the events of episode 3 may not have happened when you watch episode 6, you still have that understanding of the characters from episode 3. It works well to give you a strong connection to the characters, although a lot of that has to do with the show’s relatively strong writing. I particularly enjoyed the Toru arc, as you got to see some amazing growth both of the two leads in that arc. I think Hikari and Tono were, overall, weaker characters… but their arcs still worked very well.

While the show’s main characters were very strong and well-defined, the show suffered from a problem with weaker side-characters. When all you’ve got is character development, it is important to have a strong cast to bolster matters. Seiren has mostly mediocre side-characters, but there are two strong ones. The first is actually the female lead of the first arc. During the second arc in particular, she plays a supporting role in a great way. The other side character worth mentioning is the main character’s sister who is simply a great character for the show. She has this fascinating mentality that makes her an interesting character to get to know… to the degree that, despite the obvious creepy incest aspect, I almost wish they’d had an arc for her too.

As far as visuals go, the show is pretty ordinary. There are a few scenes that are quite pretty, particularly in the second arc, but for the most part it’s just ordinary school life. There isn’t a particularly interesting use of colours, visual style, or the like. It’s not bad looking, by any means, it’s just… normal. The sound design and voice acting is like that as well. While the ending and opening themes are quite pretty, the overall voicework and sound design is largely unremarkable.

In the end, I think Seiren is a relatively strong romantic anime. I enjoyed the mundane and believable ways in which the relationships developed, along with the fact that each character got an ‘ending’. While many aspects of the show were unremarkable, the relationships, the three strong heroines and the distinct storylines each arc featured ensured that Seiren was a pleasure to watch.

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