In dating simulation games, there is usually no right choice for the girl (or guy) you should choose–it’s all up to taste. But anime is usually forced to make a story with only one of those love interests as the object of the protagonist’s affection. Anime that feature the protagonist chasing after a different heroine every few episodes–called “omnibus” anime–give fans of each heroine (or hero) their share of the love.
One of the pioneers of this genre is Amagami SS, an anime adaptation of the visual novel Amagami that aired in 2010. The story follows Junichi, a fairly normal guy who attends school with a variety of beautiful girls. His schoolmates include Haruka, the playful upperclassman, Kaoru, the tomboyish classmate, Sae, the shy underclassman, Ai, the quiet swimmer, Rihoko, the “normal” childhood friend, and Tsukasa, the student council president who’s not as innocent as she seems.
The first four episodes of the anime focus on protagonist Junichi and his romantic exploits with Haruka. By the end of episode four, he and Haruka have a pretty happy and satisfying ending; come episode 5, however, and Junichi has no idea who Haruka even is. Their relationship never even existed–instead, he is pursued by his classmate Kaoru.
As an omnibus, Amagami SS is a collection of stories, with each story focusing on a different girl. However, these stories do not exist on the same timeline. With Junichi, a protagonist who is written to be the average Joe so the viewer can put themselves in his shoes, the person watching the anime can have the experience of romancing not just one, but a multitude of perfect girls.
This does create a dilemma, however: what are the people who only like one heroine supposed to do when the anime isn’t broadcasting their arc? The producers of Amagami SS seem to cater to these viewers as well, releasing separate Blu-ray collections of episodes only containing the story of one heroine–episodes from the first and second season of the anime included.
Just as a dating simulation game allows the user to choose their favorite girl and see only their story, the anime allows the viewer to pick and choose. While most anime based on dating games–for example, Clannad–tend to focus on the main heroine, while peppering in moments of the other heroines around her, as an omnibus anime, Amagami SS splits up its time to put only one of those heroines in the spotlight.
While it’s been a while since we got a romantic omnibus anime, this season’s anime SEIREN is a successor to Amagami SS. The anime is set a few years after the events of the latter–heck, the little brother of swimming club member Ai is in this show as the best friend of the new protagonist, Shouichi. And, like Amagami SS, the protagonist has his choice of gorgeous heroines to romance. No doubt will he reload his dating game every few episodes so he can go down each girl’s route separately.
SEIREN premiered in Japan on January 5, and is streaming with English subtitles on Crunchyroll. Amagami SS and its sequel anime Amagami SS Plus are available on Blu-ray in North America from publisher Sentai Filmworks. You can learn more about SEIREN and its many heroines on our Anime Basics page.