©Kisai Takayama/Seiren Partners
While anime Seiren’s story is stand-alone, it actually does have connections to two previous anime: KimiKiss: Pure Rouge and Amagami SS—which, like Seiren, are romance stories featuring a bland protagonist being doted upon by a harem of perfect, beautiful girls. The stories technically take place in the same world at different times—as is made clear with the existence of Ikuo, the little brother of Ai Nanasaki from Amagami SS who has grown up enough to be in high school. However, despite this, there’s one point that makes me doubt the connection of the worlds just the teeniest bit, and that’s the existence of two doppelganger characters.
First appearing in KimiKiss: Pure Rouge, two side characters had a tendency to pop their heads into the story once in a while. These names of these characters are Kaoruko Yuzuki and Manami Hiba, and they are members of the “Udon Appreciation Club.” While the short-haired Kaoruko is strong-willed, Manami mostly keeps to herself, with her long black hair always falling on her face (unfortunately, neither of these characters are in the image featured in this article). As minor characters, the two don’t do much aside from providing exposition or comedic banter in order to support the hero or the main heroines.
While characters like this usually disappear after an anime’s done, Kaoruko and Manami didn’t—three years after the airing of KimiKiss: Pure Rouge, Kaoruko and Manami were reborn as Ruriko Yuzuki and Manaka Hiba, members of the high school’s tea club. Even their voice actresses are the same: Izumi Sato and Hitomi Harada.
Not stopping there, the two girls got two more doppelgangers, now with completely different names: Nao Tokioka (Hiba) and Koharu Uno (Yuzuki). While their past clones had a passion for udon and tea, these new versions of the side characters are in the home economics club. Although their appearances make them undoubtedly doppelganger characters, there’s just one change: while Tokioka’s voice actress Hitomi Harada returned to play her role, Izumi Sato did not, instead being replaced by the younger voice actress Yuka Otsubo (The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls’ Kanako).
©Kisai Takayama/Seiren Partners
According to series illustrator Kisai Takayama on Twitter, the two are the franchise’s “poster girls,” so it’s no wonder that they show up so often. However, there are two much more minor characters from KimiKiss and Amagami that have showed up in Seiren as well, and you probably didn’t notice them—heck, I didn’t until the illustrator mentioned it. Remember Yukie Takato (seen above), the member of Hikari’s clique with a crush on the rabbit-loving Tatsuya? Well, it turns out that she appeared all the way back in KimiKiss as a friend of heroine Mao.
In addition, the minor character Manabu Isomae, who is a fan of Hikari’s, was actually a character who appeared not in the anime Amagami SS, but instead in the game—as a background character who only showed up in one illustration within the game in the corner.
According to Takayama, there will be no more “reborn” characters, as he calls them, so this is what we’ve got. But in terms of nostalgia, just these few characters are a blast to the past for me, even if they aren’t the same characters as their past life counterparts.