Winter 2017 Anime Preview: Seiren

screenshot-2017-01-07-03-47-12Seiren strikes a debut so bland that it’s almost offensive. Unassuming characters in overdone situations bog the slice of life episode down, and everything else on screen does little to redeem it.

Shouichi is a second year high school student undecided about his future. He gets his friend, Ikuo Nanasaki, to tutor him is classic literature so that he can pass his final exams before the summer vacation. He passes and then decides to attend a two-week summer study camp with Ikuo. After bombing a benchmark quiz on the first day, he mopes in his hotel room and a soaked girl climbs through his window and crawls toward him like a ghoul from a thriller. That’s the cliffhanger ending, which is immediately spoiled by images in the post-credits episode preview. That’s the gist of the premiere, and it was not impressive.

jan-07-2017-03-55-39The weak pulses showing that Seiren is alive aren’t interesting. Shouichi fantasizes about Hikari Tsuneki, a girl in his class who likes to tease him, but his daydreams are tame and her antics aren’t very gripping either. When she’s introduced, she’s sitting on Shouichi’s desk and she laughs at him for asking her to get off when he returns to take a seat. And when Hikari and her friends catch him blushing while gazing at the heat marks her butt left on his desk, the character tension between them, romantic or otherwise, is as dull as a pencil at the end of a Scantron exam. Which is another way of saying that it was all wholly believable. From the mundane back and forth between Hikari and Shouichi or him and Ikuo while studying, each scene felt like a slice of life from an exceedingly average teen’s life that wasn’t worth cutting.

Seiren is a slice of life not worth cutting

Seiren briefly introduces several other characters who’re also doing very normal high school student things. Some of them are the listed heroines from the show’s opening theme and promotional material. Others are supporting characters, but you’d be forgiven if you couldn’t tell the difference.

Jan-07-2017 04-02-09.gifWhen Shouichi passes his classical literature test, he mentions to Ikuo that he hasn’t been that proud of himself in a long while. It’s an indication that Seiren might be invested in the character growth of its cast, but when the show’s transitioning montages (complete with forgettable background music) consist of Shouichi studying with earphones on, it doesn’t exactly compel you to find out what happens next.

Seiren is officially described as a “campus romantic comedy” about Shouichi’s “pure relationship with three different heroines,” so it’s possible that one of three discrete arcs within Seiren’s 12-episode run will be more interesting than the others. But if you’re not enthused about waiting four episodes to see if the next story will be better, I’d give Seiren a wide birth this winter.

Seiren is streaming on Crunchyroll.

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