Amagami is a Japan-only dating sim originally developed for the PlayStation 2 by Enterbrain in 2009 before being re-released in an expanded form again as Ebikore+ Amagami for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable in 2011, as well as the PlayStation Vita in 2013. Taking place in the fictional town of Kibito over the course of six weeks sometime during the latter half of the 1990s, Amagami tasks players with managing the daily schedule of the protagonist (named Junichi Tachibana by default) by choosing which of the six leading heroines to spend time with during each school day across four time periods each day. A spiritual successor of sorts to the developer's previous game, KimiKiss, Amagami inherits a streamlined version of its puzzle-based strategic conversation system while abandoning its semi-random encounter system for finding characters during the school day in favor of the wholly deterministic hex-based scheduling system.
Two years prior to the start of Amagami, on Christmas Eve, the protagonist, in his last year of middle school (equivalent to grade 9 in Western education systems), is left waiting for a date that never arrives. Distraught and embarrassed, from that point on until more than halfway through his second year of high school, he chooses to stop pursuing any romantic relationships with girls until a conversation with one of his close friends, Masayoshi Umehara, inspires him to give it another try. Thus, the pair agree to find a girlfriend to spend Christmas Eve that year with before their lives become increasingly occupied with graduation preparation. With six potential heroines to romance, plus an unlockable seventh one, it's up to the player to decide with whom they want to spend the holiday season.
Amagami features more than 30 possible endings that are determined by various factors depending on how players choose to spend the six weeks allotted to them.
Amagami's structure is broadly divided into two main phases: daily schedule planning and conversation sequences with the main heroines. During the former, players must choose how to spend each of four phases of their school day (defined as Break 1, Break 2, Lunchtime, and After School) by selecting an event from a hexagonal grid. Each event corresponds to a particular girl and is open for a limited time each day before becoming permanently unavailable by a predetermined deadline. Making relationship progress is therefore contingent upon players regularly interacting with girls in order to advance their relationship, the nature of which changes depending on the events chosen (or sometimes not chosen), as well as sometimes specific dialogue choices made during those events, which can in turn subsequently affect the events that are available to select later.
While most selectable events consist of pre-determined story scenes that unfold in a linear fashion, players can also at times choose to trigger free chat sequences once they've been unlocked. In these largely optional sequences, players have casual conversations with the heroine of their choice across five phases. During each phase, players are given nine potential topics marked by different colors to discuss, with the girls interested in discussing four of them during any given phase. Successfully choosing a topic they're interested in will result in a small exchange playing out and grant the player either an affection point or a friendship point. The correct topics to choose change with each phase regardless of success or failure but are broadly influenced by each girl's individual personality and overall relationship standing with the protagonist.
Once nine points have been accumulated using any combination of affection or friendship points, on the fifth and final phase for a given free chat session, players can opt to make a move on their conversation partner, which triggers an additional event scene, the specifics of which change depending on whether it's during the school day or after school. Although these events in most cases have no direct bearing on the overall relationship status and are not required in order to make progress with each girl's storyline, they contain many of the game's unlockable CG images and depict more intimate moments not covered in the main story events.
Gameplay Routes and Endings
As players advance through the six weeks allotted to them, their relationship status with each of the individual heroines changes depending on how much time is spent with them, among other factors. Relationships in Amagami can fall into one of six different levels. Every relationship initially at the beginning of a run starts at the Deai level (Japanese: デアイ, roughly translated in this context as "Introduction"). From there, relationships can either rank up to the romantic Akogare (Japanese: アコガレ, roughly translated as "Admirer") level if specific requirements are met by a predefined deadline, or transition into the comparatively platonic Shiriai (Japanese: シリアイ, roughly translated as "Acquaintance") level. After that, late in the game, players who are Akogare rank with a girl can once again level up into the Suki tier (Japanese: スキ, roughly translated as "Lover") if they meet the requirements for it in time; failure to do so will otherwise automatically place them in the Nakayoshi (Japanese: ナカヨシ, roughly translated as "Close Friend") level. Similarly, players who are in the Shiriai level can rank up into the Nakayoshi level by meeting certain conditions for it. Otherwise, their relationship will automatically advance into Soen (Japanese: ソエン, roughly translated as "Distant") status, at which point, a romantic relationship with them isn't attainable.
The ending that players get with each of the girls is therefore determined in large part by which of the final three relationship tiers they're in with them by the time Christmas Eve takes place, Suki, Nakayoshi, or Soen. Two of these relationship tiers, Suki and Nakayoshi, can result in good endings where the protagonist and heroine confess their feelings for one another and become a couple in earnest. Endings in the Soen level, meanwhile, depict what each of the girls do with their lives without getting together with the protagonist, ostensibly because the player failed to make enough of an impression on them to be romantically attractive. Additionally, while Nakayoshi level relationships only have one attainable ending depicting how the heroine and protagonist get together after having a more overtly platonic relationship over the course of the game, Suki level relationships have three potential endings, officially classified as Suki Best, Suki Normal, and Suki Bad. Which of these endings players attain depends on additional circumstantial factors beyond simply progressing in each girl's storyline sufficiently. Notably, Suki Normal and Bad endings require players to be at a Suki-level relationship with two girls simultaneously during the final stretches of the game and make promises to go out on Christmas Eve dates with them both. Suki Normal is attained if the player decides to confess their feelings to the heroine they ultimately choose to go on the date with, whereas Suki Bad is attained if, instead, they choose to confess their feelings to the heroine that they blew off.
An additional relationship tier known as Tekitai (Japanese: テキタイ, roughly translated as "Hostile") can also be triggered under certain circumstances. As the name implies, Tekitai is a level that relationships enter only if players engage in specific actions that make the girls resent them enough to end the budding relationship prematurely, cutting off access to them for the rest of the game. Most typically, a relationship enters Tekitai status if a girl at Suki or Nakayoshi status catches the player philandering with another heroine multiple times, triggering what's known as a Namida Event (Japanese: 涙イベント, roughly "Tearful Event"). Activating two of these Namida Events in one run with a heroine will make them enter Tekitai status permanently until a new run in Amagami is started. Tekitai status can also be triggered with most heroines while pursuing the secret seventh heroine, as well as under certain other conditions depending on the character, such as failing to meet them for crucial story events at specific times.
Beyond the core five endings split across the final three relationship levels of each of the six main heroines, multiple other endings can be unlocked depending on the player's choices in specific scenes. Many of these simply consist of making bad decisions in certain situations that get them in deep trouble with authority figures, while others can involve pursuing (or at least attempting to pursue) romantic relationships with characters outside of the main cast. Some of these alternate relationships are expanded upon in the Amagami: Chotto Omake Gekijou series of fan discs released for Windows after the game's initial PS2 release.
Voiced by: Kaori Nazuka
Tsukasa is the cover girl for every release of Amagami. A second-year student at Kibito High School, she shares the same homeroom as the protagonist and serves as its student council representative, as well as its representative in the school's upcoming Founding Festival set to take place on Christmas Eve. A diligent person with excellent grades admired by her peers and well regarded by the school's faculty, on the surface, she appears to be the model student to which many aspire. Her long nights spent working and studying inside the school building suggest that her home life is, perhaps, not as picturesque in comparison.
Voiced by: Ryoko Shintani
Rihoko is the protagonist's childhood friend, having known each other since they were in kindergarten together. As a result of this long history together, she and the protagonist are on a first-name basis with one another when they're alone, attaching no social titles to their names, as is typically the case in Japanese culture. Often clumsy, but well intended, she serves as a member of the school's tea ceremony club. Like many characters of her archetype, while's she had feelings for the protagonist for a long time, she struggles to find ways to express that affection, worried about potentially jeopardizing the relationship that they already share.
Voiced by: Rina Satou
Kaoru is a second-year classmate of the protagonist's, sharing the same homeroom with him. Friends since their middle school years, their relationship at the start of Amagami is one of friends who routinely get into fun, lighthearted trouble together. While not a particularly exemplary student, she works at a local diner after school, which the protagonist visits from time to time. As an only child, she comes from a single-parent household, raised by her mother after her father passes away prior to the start of Amagami. Over the course of the game, she becomes more forward and flirtatious, but struggles to understand her feelings for the protagonist in light of their previous history, having never had any romantic experience.
Voiced by: Hiromi Konno
Sae is a first-year student who's enrolled into Kibito High School after a life spent almost entirely at all-girls schools up until that point. Because of this, when players first meet her, she's extremely shy and reserved due to her lack of experience socializing with boys and has few friends, save for the protagonist's sister, fellow first year student Miya. As time passes, however, she slowly learns to open up and becomes more comfortable around both the protagonist, as well as her new school life in general.
Voiced by: Yukana
Ai is a first-year student and a rising star on the school's swim team. In contrast to her classmate Sae, Ai, though evasive initially, has little trouble talking to the protagonist. Witty and a quick thinker, she often manages to playfully turns the player's words on their head, unafraid to tease him and otherwise put him in his place should he step out of line. She lives with a younger brother at home, Ikuo, a grade schooler she regularly looks after who gives her an unending amount of grief.
Voiced by: Shizuka Itou
Haruka is a third-year student close to graduation. Admired by many of the guys at her school, she regularly receives love letters and confessions from them, although she turns all of them down for reasons unknown. At the start of the game, the protagonist, too, counts himself among her many admirers, with a chance encounter that can unfold in one of several different ways providing the impetus for him to finally get to know her. Charming and highly independent, yet highly spontaneous and quirky, her mannerisms often throw those around her off balance. Ethnically, she's a quarter English by way of her maternal grandfather and is therefore relatively proficient at English compared to many of her peers as a result of her time spent with him. The second of four siblings, she lives with one older brother and two younger brothers at home.