Amagami SS - Ai: Nanasaki Ai arc (episodes 13-16)

Title:Amagami SS
Episode:Ai: Nanasaki Ai arc (episodes 13-16)
A friend and classmate of Miya's. She is part of their school's girl swimming team and strives for participating the a forthcoming competition. She also shows housewife abilities and contributes to her family's household by shopping. She appears calm and reserved but shows her playful side every now and then. She is very fond of her younger brother but recently had issues with him.

Ai needs a partner with two contradicting traits: He must remind her of her little brother, and she also wants to look up to him. So the Jun'ichi in this arc is a strange guy, acting very childishly at times but occasionally mature when accepting the leads Ai gives him. Ai needs to educate Jun'ichi according to her own needs, and finally hugs him nude to achieve the ultimate result.
Devil Doll:
Nanasaki Ai arc ep. 13-16 (Rent+):
  • girl's character: strong-willed kouhai
  • girl's character development: none
  • avatar's character: childish, spontaneous
  • avatar's character development: slow
  • story focus: Romance
  • additional BluRay footage: 53 sec [side story] (Hibiki's wall)
Now that's exactly what a dating sim adaption is meant to be like! The childish Jun'ichi isn't easy to accept but allows Ai to shine, being down to earth and not patronizing, thus combining the best traits of Haruka and Kaoru. She's actually too good for the boy but happens to like him exactly for being what he is; consequently she has to be the driving force here, and she delivers.
Starting their relation from scratch they have a long way to go; the reboot format of the series pays out now, allowing more time for the leads by not having to introduce the characters for later arcs. The new OP song from episode 14 on is a clear improvement as well. Episode 14 suffered a bit from the whole talk about breast sizes; episode 15 was nice (most notably the event at the swing) despite the scene in the pyramid not being explained (what had the creators smoked there? ;-) and Jun'ichi's idiotic behavior at the swimming pool (plus how can he then even be faster than Ai in the water with his clothes on?). And the final episode wrapped it all up even though its first half had me wondering where this were going to (well, it had to end in the water where that swimming club girl feels most secure, right?).
So despite nothing outstanding happening here (being the most "normal" arc besides Kaoru's), this is the arc that made best use of its resources (being only four episodes and dating sim characters after all), and thus got my highest rating within this series. I'm not surprised that an active girl like her (someone the average otaku would love to be conquered by) became a fan favorite.

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