This series. This healing series is one that is perfect for the Summer. Taking place near an aquatic setting with fun, waters, and diving. Amanchu! is a show that I can safely recommend to just about anyone.
Adapted by the manga of the same name, you may find some similarities between this and Aria with its atmospheric setting. Also, it’s co-directed by Junichi Sato and his talent is easily recognizable in this series. Transforming a slice of life story into anime form isn’t always easy but he gets the job done with this anime. And I have to say, that is an achievement not to be
The series has a relatively small cast but is very colorful in establishing their personalities. Hikari Kohinata (nicknamed Pikari) is the most cheerful girl you’ll probably meet in recent years as she spends her days being happy and diving. On the other hand, her classmate Futaba Ooki (nicknamed Teko) is a bit more on the timid side. Unlike Pikari, she lacks self-confidence and doesn’t have many friends. However, she is a sincere girl with a gentle personality. And through her growing relationship with Pikari, Teko begins to show more confidence as a person while also making valuable memories.
In general, the show is pretty much a golden slice of life. What I mean by that is how the show is able to focus each episode like an episodic adventure of its own. It’s a series that doesn’t rely on complex storytelling but rather with its themes and characters. A major theme in the show is also friendship with Pikari and Teko’s relationship being the most prominent. The two are almost always seen together and they later join the school’s diving club. This opens up new possibilities for Teko as she learns about the mechanics of diving, as she didn’t even know how to swim prior to joining. Their teacher Mato Katori may be a strict person but she is also caring and really wants the club’s members to succeed. Furthermore, Teko meets new friends such as the Ninomiya siblings. In essence, Teko experiences new possibilities in her life that really makes a change in her character.
If you want to experience some laughs and fun, this is definitely a show for you. Its comedy is well timed by the character expressions, dialogues, and reactions. I can also safely say that Amanchu! never relies on cheesy lines that may throw the viewer off. It comes out rather naturally with how the characters express their thoughts. Even though Teko can be quite timid, her dialogues in the series also feels fitting for her character. Of course, there’s Pikari who is hyperactive so expect tons of eccentricity out of her. The Ninomiya siblings fits somewhere in between as Ai resembles more like Pikari while her brother resembles more of Teko. These four makes the core of the diving club and their adventures is the reason why this series can be so exciting.
In the meantime, the anime adaptation handles the show faithfully despite rearranging some chapters. I think the main point is that they are trying to construct the series to capture the important elements. The mechanics of diving, the relationship between Teko and Pikari, and making valuable memories are just a few to name. Background storytelling is kept at minimal although there is one episode that really gives the viewers an insight on Teko’s character. There’s also some subtle yuri vibes as the show likes to play around with Teko and Pikari's relationship. In retrospect, Amanchu! relies a lot more on its slice of life aspects that expresses excitement and fun.
Anyone familiar with Kozue Amano’s Aria will easily find that the character designs from this series are also similar. Indeed, character designs looks very fresh that accurately adapts them into the story. Hilarious and super deformed character expressions seems to pop up often that are infectiously amusing; especially Pikari. In the meantime, the backgrounds feels natural and rich that depicts the ocean and other aquatic features with realism. There’s very minimal fan service as the show doesn’t rely on skin to deliver what’s intended. To easily sum it up, Amanchu’s visual quality can be easily described as visual porn.
Character voice mannerism and soundtrack also deserves praise in the show. In particular, Pikari is like an energetic light bulb that never stops shining. Their teacher is also able to carry out her role with a mature voice that is very easy to understand and listen to. Soundtrack is quite atmospheric and smooth with a light touch for its OST. The OP and ED theme songs possesses a light voice tone that is exactly fitting for this series.
Honestly, this is one of those shows that can almost make anyone feel relaxed after a stressful day. I mean, even if you plan to watch it on a random occasion, it will still induce you with its feels and heals. Amanchu’s story may not always be so appealing or complex. However, each episode has a life of its own that is valuable. The characters are represented quite well that comes together to share their love of diving, school life, and the joys of living. It’s just like the tagline, “fun for all, all for fun”. And you’ll get a lot of that.
Iyashikei is a sub-genre of slice of life that I've started being aware of after reading the critically acclaimed manga series named "Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou", one that I still love and consider not only one of the best additions into the respective sub-genre, but of the slice of life genre itself in general. A great female character, a really interesting take on the future landscape of Japan and AIs, episodic stories that are no less than charming and a very powerful ending make it one of the most fascinating experiences that come to mind when it comes to this industry. Following that, I had the
pleasure of coming across the all famous Aria, which is one that I really liked, taking place on planet Aqua (Mars after colonization and inhabitation), with a main character from Manhome (former Earth), that travels to Neo Venezia in order to become a successful Undine, making new encounters and experiencing happiness all over. Getting progressively better while focusing on both characters and worldbuilding in the first and second entries and finally unleashing all of its emotional prowess in the Origination, the whole franchise was nothing less than a ride. Home to powerful themes, both of the aforementioned series are optimistic in nature, and are very enjoyable at that. However, what I would consider their stupid little sister comes in. That stupid little sister definitely is not as good as the big ones, as implied, but definitely managed to be as fun, and of course, has a lot of room to improve. And maybe become better than the other two.
Amanchu! is yet another anime project adapted from the manga of the same name, written by Amano Kozue of Aria fame, and directed by Satou Junichi, the master of the sub-genre. The latter has directed many works that I consider some of the best, including Princess Tutu and Tamayura, another underrated iyashikei gem. It takes place in a rural area very close to the sea somewhere in Japan and is about a girl named Ooki Futaba aka Teko, that came to live there from a city. A girl full of worries and anxieties, Teko does not know what to do and where the path named "life" will lead here. That's until she meets Kohinata Hikari aka Pikari, a very energetic, fired up and all gung-ho girl, who happens to be a scuba diving enthusiast, maniac even. The latter drags the former around and into the world of scuba diving. Teko experiences many new things that take a toll on her coming of age, meets new people including her homeroom teacher, an indecisive upperclassman named Ninomiya Ai, and her quiet brother, Ninomiya Makoto. All of them together dive into the sea of happiness and fun and learn how important these two things are. After all, this is exactly what this anime series is about.
As previously implied, the plot itself is very simple. In fact, there is no definite plot to speak of, as the series take the episodic approach and is about random happenings in the characters' lives, as well as others that emphasize Teko's development mostly. On another hand, Amanchu takes advantage of its simplicity and gives it yet another touch, that makes it even more fun than what normal iyashikei seems to me. That touch can be found in several scenes, such as the one in which Pikari chases after the teacher, as well as the easily recognisable yet sometimes overused chibi faces that are quite enjoyable to bestow. Another positive point is that, despite it being a series that takes a really optimistic point of view in life, it does not completely discard the sadness, worries, and implications that a person might experience in life, something that can be seen through Teko's face. Her development is significant and another really important plot point that reinforces the amount of good things Amanchu has, also coming into perfect contrast with Pikari, who might get lost sometimes, but indeed does think positively all the time.
Nevertheless, as people say, there always is the positive and the negative side of things. To say the truth, more scuba diving would be plausible. Sure, the basics were introduced eloquently at the start, sure, Teko did not know how to swim and learnt how to later on, but I was not able to fully take a taste of this beautiful world of scuba diving. This is not as much a negative, as a personal complaint of mine, but I felt like expressing it. Now to truly start with them, Amanchu sometimes might seem to stick its arse into repeating the same messages over and over. In different ways most of the times, but the fact that it does repeat them still is there and is one that can not be ejected. Unfortunately, a second shortcoming is the pacing which sometimes strikes me off as inconsistent. The transition between the scenes might seem random in some cases as well. However, as repeatedly indicated throughout its length, Amanchu has this message of positive perspective, which might make us look at negative things as a double-edged sword. The way it portrays everyday things such as "fun" and "entertainment" is subject to savour, something that can not make me fully well dislike it. Even as I am writing this review, specific scenes come to mind, ones that made me happy helped me full well realize that yup, having fun is very important for a person, especially when he or her is undergoing peer pressure.
In addition to the simple yet charming plot, Amanchu hits home with a vibrant cast of characters, that all are different yet share some of their worries. From Teko to Pikari to the teacher to Pikari's grandma, all of them seem to worry about life, because they are humans. What I truly loved about the section though, is that every single character seems to be true to themselves. What is meant by that is Pikari will always be the energetic person, Teko will always be the worrywart, Onee-chan will always hit Outoto-kun and Outoto-kun will consistently worry about her. How Amanchu handles archetypes, whilst managing to be consistently pleasant, is something I could appreciate to the fullest. Letting alone that those characters are always involved in wacky and unforgettable scenes, I was finding myself caring about them, and especially Teko, whom the spotlight will shine onto for a seperate percentage of this review.
Teko is your everyday shy high school girl who does not stand out and does not have many friends. Her inside is full of worries and questions, about what to long for. Her encounters truly make her a character of wonder. This sense of empirism that always is present in the series manages to flesh her out exceptionally well. From her grade school days to her high school ones, the concept of changing is always evident when it comes to her character. She herself realised that she is the one that does not look at things positively enough, she is the one that realised that she can not appreciate things to the fullest, and finally she is the one that understood that both her past and present meetings are ones that belong to her and ones that only her can treasure. In the end, she had a lot of fun and so did I. Her coming of age, which will continue till the end of the whole story I presume, is something that is a sight to not miss. It is simple, it is fun, coupled off by the wacky adventures of our whole cast of course, it is easy to relate to, and it is something that does not try to be more than it is. What a great character Teko is. She also is super cute, with her chibi face and stuff. Her relationship with Pikari is a really enjoyable aspect of Amanchu, them being polar opposites and fitting the deal ideally.
To get on with the other characters, Pikari, Ai, Makoto and Sensei and her worries about the weather which should be mentioned, all get seperate episodes throughout the series' length, but are characters that I feel like need more introduction, after me loving Teko all that much. Even if they do not get developed more, I would not mind it, that being exactly one of the main characteristics of iyashikei itself, but I would definitely count it as a positive. The chibi faces each and every of our significant characters have are mottos and work as additions to their character and, most of the times, are really cute. Advisor Cha/Aria deserves a special mention because he is the best character in the whole series after Teko. Teko is a masterpiece herself.
The art section is, for the lack of a better term, beautiful. The character designs are highly detailed and aesthetically spot-on, the landscape and sceneries are intricate and a really pleasant sight, the character designs are charming, especially the girl's bodies and uniforms which are given enough attention to detail, and the expressions are no less than wondrous. The chibi faces are sometimes annoying, other times work perfectly, but the characters' facial expressions when things get emotional is when shit hits the fan. The animation, as expected of JC Staff and its animators, is smooth, with some exceptions of lower budget that could as well be passed by unnoticed.
The soundtrack is a really strong counterpart of Amanchu, the exact same going for its predecessor, Aria. The music pieces create an atmosphere of wonder that fits the setting, with its calm and healing songs for the longest run, and ones that share a more playful tone when it comes to the wackier scenes. The opening piece is sung by Maaya Sakamoto, voice actor of Shinobu from the Monogatari Series. With her calm and soothing voice, and the lyrics that befit the series quite well, the song itself made me look forward to watching the content that followed it even more. The ending song is quite cute, though one that I did not give that much attention to.
I wholeheartedly enjoyed Amanchu, in a way that it almost made me forget about all of its shortcomings. To be taken in such a fun ride of both style and substance, one that is definitely not something that deep, but really relatable was my pleasure. I feel like I am way too biased, especially towards Teko and all the things surrounding her, but I do not care as much about it, because the series managed to take me on a trip, a small one, of conviviality.
To conclude, Amanchu brings all mundane aspects of life together and, along with the interesting setting and its vibrant cast of characters, manages to become one of the most fun anime journeys that come to mind. It has its fair share of shortcomings, I am aware of that, but as long as I was left satisfied, I am content with it. The final episode was easily the best one out of the bunch, but I work by the phrase "The journey always is more important than the destination" and I can assure you, this particular one is worth it. Anime of the Season.
Can you make something interesting about the mundane aspects of life? This series tries to be relaxing and soothing which is typical for any anime that follows the Iyashikei format. There is no actual progression in this show making it a genuine timewaster. If you’re the type to enjoy a common prosaic structure, then this may be the show for you.
The starting point of this show is very banal, here we follow the journey of Ooki Futaba (aka Teko) moving to a coastal location in Japan presumably due to her parents being transferred or something. It is known that she has moved from the busy
city life and has to immediately adapt to her new surroundings. She later meets a peppy and energetic girl in Kohinata Hikari (aka Pikari) who has a burning passion for diving. Teko is encouraged by Pikari to join the high school diving club, only to find out it’s on the brink of closing due to a lack of numbers. There we find out the other members are the Ninomiya twins, Ai and Makoto respectively. Katori is the club advisor for the club who also happens to be the teacher for both Teko and Pikari.
The early episodes were actually interesting due to the basics of diving being explained in a way manageable for newbies. Concepts such as pressure increasing along with depth is relatively easy for anyone with common physics knowledge. The appropriate use of wet-suits and dry-suits being determined by the water temperature is just another example. It looked promising until we find out that Teko can’t even swim for sh*t once she gets into the training pool in episode 5-6. This is just deplorable writing, as it doesn’t make any sense for a non-swimmer in equipment to just plunge into the water. My anticipation for her to dive turned into dread when she needed swimming courses to participate. This is the last time we will see Teko diving for a while, which makes the rest of the show an everyday slice of life focusing on minor philosophical themes such as preservation of memories.
Teko being the main character at first looked like another dull and simple-minded teenager but after moving locations it is hinted she grew more despondent, considering she had far less contact with her middle school friends. There was even a time where she mentioned she had a personal ‘void’ before starting middle school and that it was her old friends that enclosed the hole. Teko is an individual who resets mentally every time things don’t go in her direction. I guarantee you once she moves on to the next stage of her life (into higher education) she will be more dejected than usual, hence she is very flawed as it is inevitable the same process will occur periodically. This time it being with Pikari, who she has formed a very close and intimate friendship after her recent move.
Teko does have some redeemable factors though, despite being timid at times she is very keen to experience new things with the help of her peers from the diving club. She is not extremely ambitious as she does give up at times probably due to a lack of confidence resulting in her low self-esteem. Despite that she does make solid progress from a fitness standpoint, by making more regular jogs and being able to fulfil the swimming requirement assigned by Katori. This causes no problems for Pikari, who is understanding of her circumstances and is willing to patiently wait until Teko is capable of doing so. Pikari enjoys the prospect of having a diving partner to accompany her which is a testament to the promise they made earlier.
The art style for me is gorgeous, exquisite and really pleasing from an aesthetic standpoint. The female cast who make up the majority are very attractive looking and are a delight to look at, and then you have Makoto being the anomaly who gets some screen time. The character designs are intricate with them being highly detailed which suggests the animators have been quite meticulous with this project. Everything from the scenery backgrounds to the hair of the characters being colourful and dazzling just adds to my own immersion to the series. There are huge references to the Aria series with the Undine outfit being incorporated into the school uniform, as well as other things such as the chubby cats more or less looking the same. The use of puppet faces in the animation is new from the original creator Amano Kozue, which to me adds spice of variety to prevent things from becoming dull due to repeated use.
The sound is very befitting for a SOL with the calm background music gradually setting the mood for the show. It really creates an atmosphere that would suit a quiet, plain town which is the setting for Amanchu! The music is being performed by Gontiti, a veteran group that haven’t worked on a TV series to date and for me did a fantastic job with their experience. The voice actors have done a spending job performing as their respective characters and they all more or less matched what was expected of their personalities.
Great and heavily detailed art style (damn them girls are stunning and Makoto) ✓
Nice complementary soundtrack ✓
Iyashikei theme ✓
Somewhat average characters that need more fleshing out ✘
Pacing is lethargic (a marathon would be detrimental) ✘
Can be repetitive at times ✘
200+ reaction faces by Episode 2 and over 3500+ Reaction faces towards the final episode. (This includes groups, background characters & teachers.) I excluded previews for the next episodes along with flashbacks. 38 seconds is the longest time a character spent holding a reaction face. The title of most reaction faces and time spent making time is... Hikari, or “Pikari.” With all that nerdy stuff out the way, let’s get to my review.
Perhaps one of the most underrated shows this season, Amanchu is a chill slice of life anime. The story focuses mainly on character Hikari and Futaba’s high school life, and their love
of diving. Hikari the lovely, energetic, frog faced angel has a love, hobby rather of diving. At some point in the beginning of the story Hikari and Teko are introduced. Hikari then initiates a conversation with Futaba at school. It’s their first “real” interaction until Hikari encourages Teko to join the diving club… and well you know the rest.
Narratives, transitions, character introductions, were fine. The settings where certain events took place were great however, when it came to backstories and proper explanations the story falls flat. It took 9 episodes to finally get some information about Futabas’ past. Futaba being the main character, or the character that the story focuses on the most, you would expect the writer to go into more details about her. This simply was not the case for a long duration of the story. The lack of any proper backstories made me feel like important information was missing or that perhaps the writer had been planning to wait until the last moment to drop an important & dramatic scene. It’s like there was always a sense of some sort of build up that never seemed to be released.
The pacing of the story is slow. This is a good thing because it lets viewers absorb little details, and really take in the beauty of the settings that the characters are in. Not only that, because Amanchu has an awful lot of dialogue, this keeps things fresh, and allows viewers to understand the characters current situation better. If I had to say what my biggest concerns with the story were, the lack of any major developments in the plot and the story. The plot… it’s iffy. Sometimes there is a plot for an episode for example the writer was like “The plot for this episode… well I think I’ll have an entire episode focus on Teko and why she can’t delete pictures on her phone.”
Sometimes a majority of the plots for certain episodes came off as uninteresting. Understanding that the manga is roughly 50+ chapters it’s sort of understandable that the story lacks a bigger goal for the characters. I believe that maybe if the was an ultimate goal for the characters, for example, Hikari and Futaba want to become professional divers and win some sort of trophy for their schools’ team. Then I would love to stick around and see the resolution. The plot itself is so simple, that’s why I mentioned earlier that there were no major developments, and honestly it makes the show, feel almost incomplete. All of these, and I want to be nice and say “minor” but all of the problems are what ultimately led me to give the overall story a lower score.
The show is very well animated, good quality and details all around. The opening animation was beautiful although I did have one problem. There is a scene where they’re all on the boat right. They jump off the boat wearing the diving gear and then the next scene they’re all in bathing suits. After that, towards the ending of the song, Hikari and Futaba are shown wearing their diving gear again. I’m sitting down thinking to myself “bruh, is this a joke?” I don’t know if this was done intentionally or if that was planned out. Either way that scene sort of ruins the moment a little. I mean I understand if they were doing it for fan-service bu- Oh! look at me, I’m rambling.
I honestly love the anime’s character designs and background settings. The character designs, the school uniforms were certainly unique. One of my personal favorite things in school anime is seeing unique uniforms. This ranges from colors, designs, etc. I like that with the girls school uniform shows the shape and figures of their bodies. It leaves a lot to the imagination so to speak. The appearances of the ladies were pretty interesting. To me, the girls look like re-mastered 90’s anime girls. The eyes and hairstyle kind of make me think this way. The backgrounds like the beach, the ocean, clouds and pools. All of the background settings were amazing. Albeit they weren’t as great as I thought they would be.
I’ll be honest, in time I would love to see a more romantic relationship between Pikari and Teko develop. However, at the moment I am fine with them simply being best friends. I mean Hikari is so energetic and Futaba has such a calm personality. I believe that opposites who attract make better partners.The two are obviously my most favorite characters in the series because they have the most welcoming personalities. It’s fun to see them interact with their classmates and teachers. It makes me feel like I’m involved in some way. A majority of the characters with the series are inherently funny, friendly and likeable. However, I don’t think they are on the same level as Pik & Tek. Character development in Amanchu isn’t the shows strongest point. Although character growth does happen and personal changes through the story do occur. It does in fact take some time for the characters to realize their changes and accept it. It’s almost like a moral of the story feeling. I personally enjoyed seeing characters absorb new knowledge and make changes to their lives. The characters were great and I have very little complaints about any of them.
The opening song was pretty good, it was catchy sweet and mellow. The ending song was nothing special, it was catchy but not as special. I think that catchy songs tend to work better with slow-paced slice of life anime.. the voice actors were pretty good. I think that the female cast did an amazing job bringing their characters to life. I would’ve liked to have heard less “Gyops” and “Upyo’s” however; I did think it was kind of cute. The background songs were light-hearted, well composed, and did an excellent job setting the mood for certain exchange of dialogue.
Enjoyment/Overall score 8/10
As I may have mentioned earlier, the show is pretty chill. It’s full of dialogue which makes for very interesting conversations between characters. The art style, maybe the atmosphere makes it even more of a relaxing title. Now what do I mean when I say relaxing? To put it simply, Amanchu is a title that if you need to take a break from watching a bunch of action and fantasy titles. You could put it on and admire the beauty & quality that it has to offer. The only downside is that it has an awful lot of dialogue so if you’re transitioning from a title with lots of action and violence then you may want to skip this title. Now, when it came to my enjoyment with the show I’d have to say that the characters are what made this show fun. Overall I enjoyed the title very much and would probably recommend it to anyone who likes to take things slow.
“I realized that the ocean reaches far and wide. Perhaps this vast ocean might have something may have something my significant self doesn’t. I might be able to find my true self” –Teko
Every season, there will always be that one show that gets overlooked by a lot of viewers due to various reason. Amanchu is one of them. First of all, it is a slice of life anime, that alone is enough reason for a lot of people to overlook this show. It seems that a lot of slice of life anime nowadays are just about high school girls and drinking tea. Another reason is
that people Amanchu doesn’t seem to appeal with a lot of viewers. Viewers tend to watch shows that they think are much better or those that are much impressing in their opinion. Honestly, at first I also thought twice on starting this anime knowing I might end up dropping it later on coupled with the fact I didn’t like SoL that much. But turns out, as I go pass a couple of episodes, I fell in love with the beauty that this show has to offer. This show is something much different than most SoL that I have watched. Before I dig even deeper, let me formally start the review.
The story mainly focused on two of our main characters Hikari Kohinata (nicknamed “Pikari”) and Futaba Ooki (nicknamed “Teko”). Pikari is a very cheerful and energetic person who loves scuba diving while Teko is a shy and timid person who has a lot of problems concerning herself. On the start of their high school, Pikari dragged Teko into joining the diving club which triggers the start of this wonderful story about scuba diving and soul-searching. As I mentioned, this anime is about scuba diving which is something you won’t hear every day. Upon seeing this your initial reaction would be something along the lines of “sounds boring” or “sounds interestingly original”. But I’ll tell you right away that the beauty of this show is not from its aspects involving scuba diving. In fact, we were introduced to the scuba diving parts on the first few episodes only to be set aside midways and to reappear at the very end of the anime. Although the scuba diving aspect paved way to a very magnificent ending, still it doesn’t feel like it’s enough for a lot of people such as myself. For something that makes the anime unique or original is also something that is not emphasized so well. So now we’re thinking “If it’s not the scuba diving, what makes this anime good then?” Well, a while ago, I mentioned one of the main character as that type to faces a lot of personal problems, and I also mentioned the word “soul-searching”. This show is mainly about the characters and their relationship as they go through each other’s difficulties. Such difficulties that are too simple and too small and yet bares a very meaningful life lesson on its conclusion. Difficulties that makes you define who you are or what you want. This features are executed in a very relaxing and lighthearted manner that anyone could find it very sweet and adorable. This along with the atmosphere of the show reveals a very beautiful show that a lot of people would love only if they paid attention to it.
Regarding the art, the character designs looks different from the typical look of a character. I don’t see it as something bad or something good although I can say it fits the atmosphere of the show. They also made use of some wacky faces in order to portray most comedic parts in which for me adds more vibe into the show. For me, the way the setting looked made the art stood out. The way they showcased the overall setting such as the ocean, pool and the beachside is something that is done right. This adds up to the overall beauty and atmosphere of the anime.
As you’d expect from a SoL anime, it made of use of relaxing and lighthearted music which fits very well with the show. It made use of rhythmic acoustic music on most part of the show which is very fitting for this kind of anime. But if I could point out which really stood out when it comes to the sound and music of the anime, it is the opening and the ending theme of the show. I loved both of them specially the opening which did a very good job in setting up the mood of the show.
As I mentioned, this anime is all about character relationship and interactions. Although it mainly focused on out two main characters, the show also features three more characters to mention. The siblings Ai Ninomiya and Makoto Ninomiya which are co-divers and are schoolmates of out two main characters and Mato Kotori which is the adviser of the diving club. All three of them were given a huge amount of screen time and importance. In short, these characters doesn’t feel like they were left out through the whole anime even if the focus is on our two main characters. Halfway through the show you’ll see a lot of interactions between this small cast of characters giving way for character development. Now speaking of character development, let’s talk about our two main characters Pikari and Teko. They are very dynamic and is the perfect representation of how SoL main characters should be. Through the course of twelve episode, both of them are well developed specially Teko. Character development is always important in every show and yet it is something that a lot of shows nowadays lacked. But Amanchu surprised for having such dynamic characters which lead me to say that this is a pretty good anime.
Overall, this show is a great watch. Though it saddened me that a lot of people overlooked this anime. I remember the sudden drop of viewers after the first episode. But yeah, I totally liked this anime and I would recommend it to anyone who is in need of a need SoL to watch. Thank you for reading.
Amanchu! is what the Summer 2016 slice of life anime as to what flying witch was for Spring 2016.
Amanchu! may be a show about "diving" but it shows us more about friendship and youth in a more subtle way, it's a slice of life anime, it's too be expected these kind of these will show up and even the atmosphere of the anime knows it.
This is two for two for JC Staff making a great slice of life anime isn't it?
Amanchu!'s characters are slightly unique for the most part from the hyper eccentric Hikari "Pikari" Kohinata voiced by Eri Suzuki a soon to be friend
of the shy Futuba "Teko" Ooki voiced by Ai Kayano and centres around Teko opening up to everyone with Pikari helping her and subtley showing the messages of youth, friendship and memories. Ai Ninomiya voiced by Saori Oohishi, a senior member of the Diving club and a hot-tempered eccentric student and her brother Makoto voiced by Yuuichirou Umehara as well as LA's favourite character in the anime of being the Diving Club's advisor Mato Katori...why?...well LA will talk about that in the animation section.
Where Amanchu's strengths comes from the diving as well as it's character chemistry which lurks upon yuri undertones a la friendship substitute with Pikari and Teko, nonetheless Amanchu's strengths are slightly unbalanced with these two elements, because of Teko's obstacle to become a full fledged diver the majority of the time Teko and the gang are outside the ocean, but that is where the character chemistry works into this. For a slice of life anime, the majority of the cast is easily likable and easy to get invested in, even when they are really doing nothing but goofing off. But for character chemistry for what a small cast it has, for a comedic standpoint Mato and Makoto are essentially the tsukommi in most of the skits with Ai and Pikari easily being the boke. Teko at best is either the spectator or boke at times, because of this, the characters really bounce off one another as they are easily. In terms of character development the newer senior characters of Ai and Makoto gets their own episodes so we get to know more about them, as for Teko, her own grips with shyness, memories and youth comes into detail for her with Pikari opened her up to this and in terms of relationship between the two, it actually ok to see this kind of character relationship dynamic of the shy character paired with the genki one, for as much character and theme focus we do get in Amanchu, they do pretty well on this front. The diving strengths comes mostly from the animation and even though the animation and the Amanchu anime itself won't get LA to do diving, the animation is a HUGE highlight in Amanchu.
The plot of Amanchu does tend to go more into the friendships between these characters than the actual diving, sure the diving moments are relaxing on their own, but LA can kinda see why they put the diving element in the backburner in terms of plot.....Teko couldn't swim and that kinda takes a while to learn, so they put more of the friendship and youth themes as compensation for it and even the themes aren't as "in your face" attitude thus isn't as annoying in that department either and really, LA can't fault Amanchu! for that, however the little flaw LA came into this was that LA thought this was a slice of life DIVING anime and it was touted as one, there's very little in the characters ACTUALLY doing it (unless the technical features in diving count but still).
In terms of animation, the animation is absolutely gorgeous from it's beautiful backgrounds especially the "diving" sections but as well as the rather detailed character designs, except for the comedic moments where the character's facial animation goes full chibi emoticons and really because of this was why LA loved Mato Katori's reaction expressions especially (￣Δ￣∥) whenever Pikari did something odd. As for the rest of character favourite emoticons...
Teko - (〇o〇；)
Pikari - (⊙ᗜ⊙)
Ai - (◯ω◯)
If anything the emoticons just brings out when it wants to be comedic in it's more relaxing times throughout the anime. Sure you can bring up the fact that these *ahem* muppet chibi faces can distract you or just be awkward in some beautiful scenes it brings you into and LA even felt that, but as a stylistic choice as derpy as the faces were, the REACTION based on the other characters namely Mato's reactions quickly change that to comedic moments.
There are some flaws LA did notice for Amanchu, as much as LA is praising Amanchu, they had some problems, LA already said about the plot majority focus on characters instead of diving as well as some of the animation, but LA will pretty much dive *drum beat* into both of these flaws in a better detail. LA KNOWS that Pikari can be rather annoying due to her hyper eccentricities and even the anime and Pikari herself knows this and yes even she got a bit grating on LA especially on the "whimsical" side of things and her "derpy muppet" facial animation doesn't help that either. On speaking of which, the animation along with it's derpy chibi faces can be a mood whiplash from the more sombre moments to be going straight into those faces can break that. Finally yeah, the majority of the anime being focused on the characters instead of the diving can be VERY boring to those who just want to see the diving. But these flaws can be defended with the above statements LA said about these flaws, LA KNOWS about these flaws but can also defend it at the same time.
In terms of voice acting, LA at first thought that Ai Kayano as Teko was rather grating with her shyness, but she quickly got better and became ONE of LA's favourite voice actors in this anime. Pikari's voice actor Eri Suzuki can get very grating with her "WHOOP WHOOP" noises to her eccentricities in general and for LA, she was "just ok". Ai's voice actor Saori Oohishi was the "right kind of genki" than what Eri Suzuki did and Makoto's voice actor Yuuichirou Umehara probably had the least screentime thus not much to talk about him. LA's favourite voice actor?...Shizuka Ito as Mato Katori as the straight man to Pikari and Ai, Ai Kayano comes in as a close second.
Amanchu's final episode FINALLY gets to the diving and really the payoff of 9 episodes was worth it with it's beautiful ocean animation and scenery to a catharsis of seeing such "wonders" Teko and the rest of the gang sees and we get to see Teko's resolution to open herself up to everyone and break away completely from her shy side. The themes of friendship, youth and memories also go full circle by this ending. The ending was a great payoff by building upon the easily investable and likable characters who development themselves and their relationships with one another as the compensation to it (if you "can" see it).
Amanchu is just another great slice of life anime of 2016 AND done by JC Staff, and just as much as there are some great strengths of Amanchu as well as it's flaws that can either cripple the experience or bore you, LA just can't hold any anger from its flaws to Amanchu as it ticked all the boxes for a great cathartic anime and the payoff for the ending was SOOOO worth waiting for.
Simple yet beautiful, that is how I would describe Amanchu. There are a ton of slice of life shows out there and many of them fail to differentiate themselves from the rest. However despite this huge obstacle, Amanchu does successfully manage to differentiate itself from most by being something simple yet beautiful.
Amanchu takes place in a rural town that is close to the ocean where the main character, Teko (Ooki Futaba) has recently moved to. Very soon after, she meets a strange girl, Pikari (Kohinata Hikari), who gets her to join the scuba diving club at school. From there, more characters are introduced (who are
associated the scuba diving club) and we follow the events that happen in these character's lives as Teko learns more and more about scuba diving.
Like almost all slice of lifes, Amanchu doesn't really have a plot, instead each episode shows the events that happen in these character's lives. The events that happen in this series are rather simple such as finding a home for a stray cat or playing a game of red light-green light. However, one of the reasons why Amanchu is so great is because it manages to transform those simple events into something beautiful. The series does this through a combination of different factors, one big factor are the conversations between characters and/or thoughts of characters. Through these dialogues and monologues we get to see why each of these simple events hold a much deeper meaning than what it appears to be on the surface. Another factor is the calm and relaxing atmosphere the series manages to create through the characters and their relationships, production values and the light hearted comedic moments that are sprinkled in. Those comedic moments rarely feel out of place and many are funny (although that differs for everyone).
Another great aspect about Amanchu are it's characters as hearing their thoughts and conversations during each event allows us to see how each character views things which teaches us a lot about them. The character that sticks out the most is Teko, who is gentle, shy and withdrawn, but that's just the surface, her character actually has a lot of depth to it. As the series goes on we get to see many different aspects of her personality. Also as the show goes on we get to see Teko come out of her shell more and more. The catalyst for the majority of Teko's development is Pikari. Pikari's personality is opposite that of Teko's, she's very energetic, a bit out there and always wants to try new things and have fun. Although we don't learn as much about her as Teko, we still do learn a fair amount about her character and she is also the main reason to why Teko tries new things. They compliment each other very well and one of the best parts of Amanchu is the friendship between Teko and Pikari. This friendship is what drives a lot of the events and enables Teko to develop as a character. The other characters (the Ninomiya siblings, Katori-sensei) also play a role. We may not get to learn much about their personality beyond what's on the surface but they do get their time in the spotlight so we do get to learn a bit about each of them and how they see things.
The production values are also top notch. The visuals themselves can be pretty beautiful at times, some of the scenes in the events that happen just look amazing. The characters are also very detailed. The backgrounds, while they don't look spectacular typically, aren't badly drawn either.
The sound is also pretty good itself. For a series that leans on it's atmosphere as much as this one, the sound is very important for setting the correct mood. A lot of the time the music that plays in the background is very light , not overly complicated and does a good job at complimenting the mood of the event taking place. However there are some times when the music in the background is really captivating and becomes a major reason to why some scenes are mesmerizing. The VAs also do a good job voicing the character they play. The OP and ED also don't seem out of place and fit this anime very nicely.
In terms of enjoyment, Amanchu isn't a series that everyone would enjoy. It's a slice of life which is not everyone's cup of tea and on top of that, it also moves very slowly. However if you don't mind those things then this show is something you will enjoy and can absolutely captivate you with it's moments of beauty and calm and relaxing atmosphere.
In a sea of slife of life shows, Amanchu manages to stick out more than most because of what it manages to do. It sets up a great atmosphere, has great characters and manages to turn most of it's simple events into something beautiful. It definitely is a series I will remember for a long time.
Art/Characters: The art style of this show is quite nice to look at, and some of the scenes are so beautiful and so all-encompassing that it really makes one feel special. The look of the water and the and the style of each of the characters really make the show come to life. Each character has their own unique look to them (save for the twins) and have a unique personality. The one downside to this would be the faces that the characters occasionally make. For example, Pikari, when she gets really excited she goes extremely simple and kind of ridiculous and has a completely
different look on her face. I really was not a fan of this. It was funny the first few times, but after the episodes continued, and the episodes had this other face on Pikari, Futaba, and sometimes even Ai, the joke just gets old. As for the characters individually, I really love Pikari’s optimism. It isn’t like an overly bubbly and generic happiness, but it is legit optimism. Not very many times have I seen a character that is able to embody true optimism without seeming artificial. As for Futaba, she is almost the exact opposite, pessimistic with the best, but she balances out Pikari and makes things seem real. Having a character like Futaba, that plays off of the strengths of the other main, makes this show very watchable.
Sound/Music: The music isn’t something that I can get very excited about in this show and that really disappointing to me. While yes there are plenty of songs in the background and in the opening and closing animations, nothing really stuck out as being fantastic. There was occasionally a song the exemplified wonder and excitement, but it would quickly dissipate and it goes back to the generic background music that is repetitive and easy to forget. The sounds in the background could have been a lot better. I want to feel like i am underwater when I am with the characters underwater, but the sound is not quite what you are expecting and it just doesn’t deliver that rush that I know the characters are feeling.
Story: This story surrounds two students out on the coast of Japan, Pikari, a high school first year who loves to dive out in the open ocean and spend time with her grandmother. And on the opposite side we have Futaba, a nervous girl also starting high-school but she just moved to the coast from Tokyo and is feeling extremely out of her element. The two become fast friends and before they know it, Pikari has convinced Futaba to go into the diving club’s club room and use their diving equipment so that Futaba can experience the thing that Pikari loves so much, even if it’s only diving in a swimming pool. The show explores the incredible feat that is open water diving and the amazing things that one can see, but it also explores the nature of friendship and how moving to a new place can be scary and nerve-wracking; but that can all disappear with just one person’s kindness.
Personal Reflection: This show made me feel a lot of things over the summer, and I am glad it was over the summer that this came out because it gave me the opportunity to explore those urges I got to dive, in a way. While I wasn’t able to go open water diving, I got to experience something like it with this show. It gave me an interest that I have never had before, and who knows when it will happen again. When I watched Sword Art Online, something similar happened with MMORPGs, but that was a long time ago. Amanchu! may have had some hiccups and maybe it wasn’t the best when it came to music, and hey, so what if they used Pikari’s overly excited face as a way to say “HEY this part is a funny part”. The show made me feel warm and fuzzy, and made me want to jump into the lake I was living on and explore the depths that were just outside my door. The parts when Pikari’s face changed got pretty annoying, but only because I was so much more invested in the show when she was being serious. The faces made it seem really forced and it took me out of the world that they were in. If I could make a suggestion it would be to hold back when it comes to that sort of thing because it feel artifical, but when there is a real person (real in this context meaning not drawn awkwardly) laughing and showing excitement, it makes me want to get excited too, rather than just feel awkward. This is a show about two people becoming best friends and sharing a love for the ocean. If you love the ocean, love friendship, or just want a great story about someone overcoming their fears, check out Amanchu!
First of all i haven't read the manga that Amanchu is based off so as a result the first time that i seen the story, characters and setting was in the anime itself.
So then lets get started
The story for Amanchu revolves around the character of Futaba Ooki who i call Teko and her move from the metropolis of Tokyo to a new oceanside town and her attempts to get used to her new surroundings and make new friends. Part of this process is going to a entirely new school and joining the schools diving club.
Teko's character as a result of her personality
is quiet, timid and indecisive and as a result she has great difficulty in making friends. This is a problem that has plagued her since her primary school days. As a result she gets scared rather easily and as a result is reluctant to try anything new. At the start of the series the first friend that she makes is with Hikari.
As someone that shares some of her personality traits i know too well
what she is going through in the series. And im glad that she is able to make
new friends and find a purpose.
As the series progresses however her interactions and friendships with Hikari and the support cast and her introduction to the diving club allows her to experience many new things. These include normal events like hanging out with friends, swimsuit shopping and more importantly introduces her to the world of diving. Through this Teko is able to slowly break out of her shell and make new friends and more importantly start to enjoy her school life.
The character of Teko is voiced by veteran seiyuu Ai Kayano who is one of my favorite seiyuu's and i think she managed to portray Teko's character pretty well.
Hikari who is nicknamed Pikari by Teko and others is the other main character on the show. Hikari has a rather free spirited personality and certainly absent minded but surprisingly she can offer some really good advice at times. Hikari is also very energetic and already has a interest in diving before meeting Futaba so she helps Teko along in this.
In the story Hikari serves as both the second main character and also the first friend that Teko makes in the new school. In the story Hikari introduces Teko to the world of diving and provides a lot of support to her as she is trained by the other members of the club.
One aspect of Hikari that i liked was her facial expressions and faces that she makes from time to time. This i felt was for comic relief and i found them to be quite funny.
The central aspect of the show apart from diving is the bond that Teko and Hikari forge as they develop their friendship. In that i believe that it was successful as Teko can rely on Hikari for support, advice and speak to her about any problems that she has.
The Ninomiya siblings are upperclassman in the school that are also part
of the dive club that Hikari and Teko join. The pair have such contrasting personalities that i do question whether they were true siblings when i first met them.
Of the two the sister Ai is hot blooded and spirited and kind to her juniors while hard and violent to her brother. In the show she serves as the comic relief when she hits her brother. Interestingly enough though is that she actually has a softer side when she's exposed to issues of romance.
The brother is called Makoto which is guess is a unisex name and his personality is completely different to his sister. Makoto unlike her sister is not aggressive and is actually more calm and level headed of the pair.
The siblings role in the story in addition to providing comic relief also serve
to advice Teko and Pikari on matters related to diving.
Mato sensei serves as the homeroom teacher for Teko and Hikari and also
serves as the adviser for the dive club. Personality wise Mato sensei is earnest and strict but honest and doesn't hide the fact that she loves to dive. She also serves to stop Hikari and Teko from making any funny moves by providing rational advice.
The art and animation for the series i felt was well done and the environments especially the underwater ones were beautiful. The art for the cat and the kittens though was also pretty good and both looked pretty cute. Character designs i felt were pretty detailed and functioned as
The music for the show was well done and i felt appropriate for all scenes. The opening and ending themes i felt were actually pretty good and easily set the mood.
This show i felt had some strong voice acting on the part of the main cast especially Ai Kayano's
portrayal of Teko and Eri Suzuki's portrayal of Hikari. The Ninomiya siblings were also pretty good especially the sister who was portrayed by Saori Onishi of Ultimate Otaku teacher fame.
Overall this was a really good anime that had a great story, setting and excellent characters and voice acting and a interesting subject as diving is not a subject often encountered in anime.
A little disclaimer at first: This will be my first Anime review, so I know not everything will be that refined. Also English is not my native tongue so there will be some grammatical mistakes I think.
Why I want to Review this Anime ?
The reason I want to review this Anime in particular is that I think, it is one of the more overlooked Anime of this season. For a reference you can just look at the amount of Members it has compared to other shows. This and my second reason ( which you will find later on in my review) are what leads me
to write a review.
As most iyashikei(healing) slice of Life Anime the story is not the main focus of the show.
There are no major twists or complicated Plot-Lines. Still there is a definitiv end goal for the show, for which most of the episodes build up to.
The story takes place in a real-world setting and plays in a coast village in Japan. The majority of the story revolves around scuba diving, in particular the diving club of the Yumegaoka high school.
Which leads us to.....
In the show there are 5 major characters to consider. Of which there are our 2 main female leads and 3 more important side characters. The charakters are basically the "meat" of the story and should be one of the biggest selling points of the show.
Starting of with:
Hikari "Pikari" Kohinata:
She lives near the ocean with her grandmother and helps her from time to time in her small diving club as a guide. She is already an experienced diver since she grew up near the ocean and always loved it. Besides that she graduated middle-school and has entered the local high school. Here she meets our second lead character Fuutaba Ooki, which she later just refers to as Teko. She instantly likes her and tries to become friends with her. This suits her character quite well, because she has a really outgoing personality which can be quite overwhelming for others sometimes. At the start of the series she is the main driving force of story progression. She is also kind and one of the most cheerful and upbeat personalities I have seen recently. Still, she is also a goofball in most situation and often has some childlike behavior.
Fuutaba "Teko" Ooki:
At the beginning of the story she just moved into town after she transferred to the local high school.
Because of that she is scared at first of the new enviroment and what will happen to her. She is also sad that all of her former friends enrolled in a different high school than her. When she first meets Pikari she is quite reserved, because of her shy and timid nature.She is also easy to dishearten, but still hates to lose to others.
However with the help of Pikari she starts to warm up on her new enviroment and tries everything to go one day scuba diving with Pikari as her "buddy". Without spoiling anything at this point I can say that Teko is the character with the most development and my favorite charakcer of the show.
The Teacher and the Twins:
The 3 main side characters of this show I don't want to spoil about. So I will only say about them that their role is mainly for some comedic relief and some mature guidance. However they are also shown as caring and kind hearted people.
Overall the characters and their characteristics and quirks are nothing that is new or exciting. However they are done quite well for what they are and their interactions feel genuine and not forced. Besides that each of the 5 has enough screentime to shine. Also they don't fall out of character and the development of the group has a good pacing.
All those things lift the cast of this above the average.
The OP is one of the highlights of the show. It captures perfectly the feeling of the Anime and tells you right from the start if you will like the show or not. The serene voice of the singing made me never skip the OP. The ED is although not as good as the Opening still enjoyable. The overall soundtrack of the show is best described as fitting. Like the Opening it gives the show a harmonic atmosphere and improves the show in that way.
The second big selling point goes to its art. As a typical feed of iyashikei Anime the backgrounds are mostly drawn with lighter colors compared to for example action Anime. The art especially shines here in still shots of some beautiful nature or the scenes which play in bodies of water.
The character models are compared to that rather generic, but still not bad.
OK at this point I try to tackle the elephant in the room. I know many people will be turned off by the sometimes goofy looking facial Animation. For me personally it wasn't that big of an issue, but I understand that some people may not like them and the overabundance on them.
I recommend this Anime to people that like:
charming character interactions
some beautiful artwork
scuba diving (obviously :P)
a relaxing atmosphere
all people that like iyashikei/Slice of Life Anime (especially Aria)
I would not recommend this Anime to people that:
dislike some goofy expressions
are more interested in a Plot-heavy story
don't like Slice of Lifes in general
"Good Anime but has not enough water." -6/10 IGN.
Jokes aside for me it's the perfect Anime after a stressful day at work. It is no masterpiece and no Aria, however it is definitely another great entry in the list of Slice of Life Animes and I enjoyed every second of it. Which is my second reason that I wanted to review this show, because it is fun and I like to share fun.
FUN For ALL and ALL for FUN
"The folly of youth, you see, is that you sometimes convince yourself that your world is confined to a familiar object the size of your palm. But it's all right. Look up and see. There's an endless world of fun starin' ya right in the face." -Kohinata Kino
(SPOILERS BELOW NOT REALLY MAJOR THO BC IT'S SOL)
It only took 7 minutes for me to realize I was going to love Amanchu!, these 7 minutes gave one of the strongest first impressions I've seen in a long time for sure. The relaxing, nostalgic background music, the quiet humming of a motorcycle and the gorgeous background art assured
that I was already relaxed and taking in that lovely healing SOL effect only 30 seconds in. But seeing the grandma smoking a cigarette was what really let me know I was in for a treat.
After the opening played (I'll touch on that later don't you worry now) a clumsy, shy girl rides up to the cliff by the ocean, right near a diving shop. Despite the fact that she's surrounded by natural beauty she's glued to her phone. While this shy girl (Futaba or Teko) sits on a rock there is another girl diving in the ocean below, diving. A girl who we will later learn is named Hikari (or her nickname Pikari). I love this detail because it establishes an immediate connection between these two without them even being aware of it, but it isn't just that. This scene creates a very important Dichotomy between Teko and Pikari: Pikari has a smile on her face because she is experiencing the world around her and doing something she loves, while Teko is glued to her phone and isn't smiling, she has closed herself off. And that is what Amanchu! is to me: a story about a girl who has closed herself off from the world due to being too timid, and her journey to escape that and learn to put herself out there and try new things.
It is while Teko is on this rock by the sea that a giant wave splashes, startling her, and forcing her to look up and pay attention to her surroundings. She was in awe of how amazing the ocean was, the ocean that she had previously been ignoring and taking for granted. And it is during this scene where grandma Kohinata imparts the words from the beginning of this review.
Story - 7
It is difficult to put a score on a sol story as the enjoyment of the series rarely relies on the narrative. However in this case (and there are several others similar) the story is what drives it. The story is quite simply about Pikari dragging Teko out of her shell and Teko learning to pursue interests and interact with the world she lives in. It's about personal growth and the sort of symbolic goal of Teko eventually diving in the ocean that filled her with such awe at the beginning of the series, but only if she is with Pikari, a friend that she will come to treasure more than anything. Teko has to overcome her shyness and learn how to dive (which also involves learning to swim). Despite the fact that it is goal driven and there is certainly a story present, Amanchu is still primarily SOL, episodic, relaxing greatness and it delivers on that every single time, believe me.
Art - 9
HNNNNNNNG the art in this series is amazing, in particular the character designs, they are detailed and unique and I just love them. The background art and the ocean look amazing too. I'm not really an art critic but I think that amanchu nailed it, and unlike a certain show this season it didn't fall off in the art department. *COUGH COUGH ORANGE
Sound - 8
The soundtrack in Amanchu! is very relaxing and serves its purpose well in an iyashikei. I wouldn't bump the OST, but as background noise for the series it works miracles.
The opening tho fam, the song gave me chills. It's soft and quiet and beautiful and then it picks up very suddenly. I really liked it it was far and away my favorite opening this season, and probably my favorite 2016 op. The ending was nice as well, no complaints.
Characters - 8
I really liked all of the characters, while many may complain about Pikari being annoying I think she is the perfect compliment to Teko, the complete opposite. Pikari being loud, enthusiastic and stubborn was the only way to pull Teko out of her shell effectively and they work together perfectly. Teko's development was really nice as well, watching her become less shy and more passionate was so satisfying. The twins (Ai and Makoto) entered later in the series and I liked them as well. Ai was insane and funny but she also served as a rolemodel for Teko and Pikari to look up to as she was older and more experienced. All of the characters just paired so well and all helped Teko's growth as a character.
Enjoyment - 9
I'm a fucking sol fag ok I loved every second. It's extremely chill and relaxing with some occasional comedy mixed in.
Overall - 8
My personal aots spring 2k16, it was great.
New experiences are both great and terrifying. They're a chance to go out of one's comfort zone, but at the same time, throw people into situations that they would otherwise see as dangerous or unfamiliar, and would therefore avoid them. Some people like new experiences and cherish the ability to expand their horizons whilst others prefer to stay with what's comfortable with them without venturing out into the unknown to see what's known. And so we have Amanchu, a story adapted from the original manga from Amano Kozue, telling the story of a girl in a town filled with new things to
Story: Ooki Futaba transfers to the port town due to her parents' work and is brought to a place where she had to leave behind all of her friends and precious memories that she holds dearly. Now in this new place, without knowing anyone, she is introduced to Kohinata Hikari, or Pikari as she's nicknamed in the show and is tugged along to the scary but beautiful adventure of scuba diving, sparking her new high school life and the journey out of the shell that she had previously enclosed herself in.
As expected from a story made by Amano Kozue, the general premise of Amanchu is simple, yet deep with subtle nuances of a deeper meaning. On the outside, Amanchu looks like any other slice of life high school series with a gimmick or something 'unique' about it in order to make it seem even remotely interesting to the audience, but in truth, the story follows Futaba's exploration with this newfound interest that she develops and her willingness to explore new things and get out there rather than hold onto the familiar. As a result, the story has a really gentle but clear progression from episode to episode that ultimately creates a smooth and delightful end that can only be described as pleasant and fulfilling.
The story is written in such a way that if you enjoy these kinds of things, than you'll like or REALLY like this show, but if you prefer something with more oomph, you will not find that here. Things are taken slow and to many, that may seem like a downside. Slow isn't bad, but Kozue's works tend to do this extremely often, so it's really more of a like it/hate it scenario.
In the end, what is Amanchu? Amanchu is a slow and calm show that details the journey of someone in a new place and struggling to learn and adapt to what is around them, ultimately becoming a different person that had grown out of their shell and blossomed into someone that has found true joy in the world. It's a character-based show that doesn't have a complicated plot and uses that free run time to build upon its characters and really hammer in the kind of positivity, appreciation, and good feelings that Kozue's works deliver. While it wasn't perfect, especially with its rather slow start, Amanchu picked itself up in its second half and gave us some good storytelling.
+ Good plot without feeling meticulous
+/- A bit too gentle at times
- Slow first half
Characters: As with all slice of life shows, characters are key in order to make the show interesting and draw in people to watch since the plot is for the most part, simplistic and generally uninteresting.
First is Ooki Futaba, or Teko as she's called in the series, and our main protagonist. As mentioned before, Teko is a girl who moves to this new town and is unfamiliar with what is around her. Initially a loner character who looks over her phone with longing desire, she eventually becomes the show's best character and the true definition of the show's themes as you gradually see her progress through every episode with gradual change that many shows could only dream of when creating any form of character development. Her story is for the most part completely fleshed out from her backstory to what she does in the series to improve as a person, taking up the majority of the runtime as a result.
Then there's Kohinata Hikari, or Pikari, as she's referred to. Pikari is the penultimate definition of "Happy". Her character is the classic happy and cheerful girl who likes to explore new things and blow on the whistle she keeps around her neck to express just how joyful and full of energy she has. She is for the most part the reason why Teko has her character development, as Pikari is the one who brings Teko into the world of diving and introduces her to her way of life and constant thirst for enjoyment and new things. All that said and done, Pikari is...lacking. As a character, we get how Pikari is and the kinds of things she does, but we never really learn about Pikari herself as a character. There's a tiny blurb at the end of the series giving some detail, but aside from that...we really don't get much of an understanding of her which is really a shame because she's the catalyst and the reason why this series exists, and it's so disappointing knowing that the reason for everything in Amanchu gets shafted most of the time.
The rest of the cast are side characters that participate in the series, but not really all that much. They're part of the collective of 'we seem important but if you think about it, you don't really know much about us', and as a result, they're background characters that when you really think about it, don't have much actual personality to them. The twins and their diving advisor are the biggest victims of this because they're constantly in the series, but aside from a few little facts, we don't actually get much information about them as characters, probably due to the fact that Teko takes up most of that character time, which is a shame because I do want to know about Makoto. He's a nice guy.
+ Great main character with fantastic development
- Other main character gets shafted in those details
- Side characters don't get anything aside maybe a few little details
Art: Produced by J.C. Staff, Amanchu is...well...average. J.C. Staff has a habit of only putting effort into a show that they think will actually be profitable (like Shokugeki), and gives the rest of their projects the butt end of the stick with meh animation. As a result, the art of this series doesn't particularly look all that great. While they did draw the series in Kozue's unique style (consisting of long, form-fitting skirts, a rustic, wide-eyed look to characters' faces, comedic 'second faces', and an odd way of drawing cats), the actual quality of the art is less than what I expected. The show appears like it was made in the early 2000's and doesn't have the quality that I would've liked to have for the series.
In addition, the color scheme of the show is muted and rather drab. Nothing about it really stands out and I really didn't see much of the show looking fantastic or stellar in any way. Which really is a shame because they're the people that made both Flying Witch and Sakurasou, both of which are shows that have really good animation.
+ Kept the original artstyle
- Animation and color are less than average quality
Sound: On the flipside, Amanchu has a really nice soundtrack. Complete with the gentle and flowing tones of the piano, everything from Amanchu's OP to its BGM, and even its cheerful ED are all nice and well-made pieces that fit with the show. In particular, I'd say that the OP "Million Clouds" is by far the best piece of music from this series.
Personal Enjoyment: I've like Kozue Amano's works. The entire Aria series (which is probably the only aside from this series) is among one of my favorite series and I was really excited when Amanchu was announced because I got to basically see what I referred to as "Aria 2.0" for another season of anime. Coming out of it...there were things I loved, things I hated, but overall, I still like this show.
Did I like this series?
Yes, yes I did. I think the message and the overall plot was well constructed and is the central reason why I like this show. It's a nice and gentle series with a deeper meaning that makes the entire experience just that much more satisfying to watch. The gradual character development, the characters themselves, and even the cheeky little Aria references that're sprinkled in every now and then. (The number of names you have for cats are VERY limited, Kozue-sensei.)
What didn't I like about this series?
Every character except Teko didn't get the character development they deserved, and the overall art quality of the series both really irritate me. Admittedly, the better art wouldn't have fixed the story problems since that's more on the way the story goes, but at the very least put more effort into your shows, J.C. I swear only 15% of their projects actually have decent animation.
Would I recommend this series?
If you're a slice of life lover like me or you want to watch a calm or meaningful story, than Amanchu is for you. Despite its problems, the show has quite a number of good qualities that make it worth the while to watch. I wouldn't say it's as good as Aria, especially since Aria itself has 4 cours of material compared to Amanchu's 1 cour, but it does have merit to it that really is worth watching.
Looking for an anime about a group of girls (and one boy) going through school and club life with cartoonish facial expressions tossed in and a pinch of yuri subtext? This one is for you. Looking for anime about scuba-diving, along with all its splendor and trials? You may want to look elsewhere.
Amanchu is a very laid back and easygoing show. The series will really show off it's well detailed scenery along with soft music to really set a relaxing atmosphere. The story focuses on protagonist Futaba Ooki and her companion Hikari Koihinata, along with their sempai a pair of
twin siblings and their homeroom teacher/club advisor. Each episode contains it's own story, even two sometimes, not building an overlying plot in the background. Yep, it's really just the cast going through high school, and learning important life lessons over time. Futaba herself is adjusting to moving to a new area and adjusting to going to new school and new people after leaving her old home and the friends she made in her previous school behind.
Through Hikari's persuasiveness and pushiness, Futaba decides to join the scuba-diving club. In the beginning episodes, the viewer is gradual introduced to the know how and basic info about the gear involved, the buddy system, getting a license, and measuring your air volume by depth and pressure of the water. You'd think it would continually keep expanding this, but it doesn't. Why? Because Futaba can't swim. Around halfway in, Futaba couldn't pass her pool course exam because the club advisor, along with the viewer just found out about this very key detail. Most of the second half is dedicated to more slice of life episodes with the characters just doing things with Futaba learning how to swim mostly offscreen.
And the shift is especially egregious with how out of focus the scuba-diving becomes afterwards, especially due to how it just cuts off. Even in the first half, Futaba wasn't learning about diving every episode. She really only starts in episode 3 when she first signs up with Hikari, and it continues in the next episode, but episode 5 was dedicated to meeting their upperclassman. And episode 6 is the face-palm moment when we learn she can't swim. The club still gets together, but they aren't going to do any activities until she can swim, switching the focus around and changing POV to different characters, telling multiple stories.
The main point of criticism is how this issue was never brought up before. You'd expect she reveal this fact the very first time she's expected to enter water. Also, it should have been the first thing the advisor would check for before starting to teach her. The advisor had the perfect opportunity to ask when she was drilling Futuba on diving basics when she and Hikari just applied to join, but didn't. This was either something that wasn't planned in advance and added on the spot, or was planned for the sole attempt at really shallow and cheap humor. On top of that, to make sure Futaba's first experience at diving is the finale, the episode before it was about taking care of a stray kitten, being after the one when she passed her pool exam.
Ai Kayano did an excellent job voicing Futaba. She conveyed the character's shyness and timidness really well.... to an annoying degree. I give special mention to her role, because it really needed a specialized care in handling.
Amanchu starts getting really preachy during the second half. It was preachy before in the first half, but the second half is when it really goes all out. There is no subtlety in it either; expect everything to be spelled out for you. "Don't be afraid to move out of your comfort zone", "How you view things is important; you can spin any negative into a positive", "Any setback can turn into an opportunity", "While school is important, the answers to life aren't in a textbook to be studied from", "It's okay to abuse your younger twin sibling"... wait, no, ignore that last one. Each episode will take every chance it can get to hammer it's life lessons into your head.
I was enjoying Amanchu at first, but got increasingly frustrated in the second half. In the end, it became something I just wanted to finish. The tone was really lighthearted, and the atmosphere was relaxing. Still, my main problem was how the series executed it's themes very blatantly. Someone would say something meaningful, and the target of it would be completely moved. The problem was that it happened so frequently that the impact was lost fast, and it just became annoying the rest of the time. Another point is that the cartoonish facial expressions were used entirely too often, often times killing the moment of important scenes.
Also, I couldn't get invested in the characters (especially not Ai), due to there not being any overarching plot or stakes. Both Futaba and Hikari are very hit-or-miss characters. You'll either find them likeable or very annoying for different reasons. Futaba takes her role as audience surrogate and main POV character to an extreme where we will know her thoughts about everything in painstaking detail. Her shyness is ridiculously exaggerated; expect her to be embarrassed at the slightest thing and stammer a lot. Oh, she'll also have many long-winded monologues that will sooner or later put you to sleep. Hikari is the usual cheerful girl who can't stand still. Expect her to make random noises most of the time either by mouth or whistle, and generally act like a little kid instead of a teenager.
If you want to relax and enjoy a nice story involving the summer, then this easy-going anime "Amanchu!" is for you.
Why do I bother to write a review about not something so special? Because in its own way it stands out. I first didn't know what to expect of this. Is it some kind of slow burning romance between girls, a summer romance, an adventure, a diving quest, ... Nope just a nice summer story about a girl who finds herself in a new town and finding new friends and experiences along the way. Does is sound boring? Maybe at first? But the scenery,
the philosophical thinking and the journey of finding yourself and your path is something I didn't saw in a anime before. That was one of the reasons I just kept watching.
The second reason is that it's such a chill anime, just relax and watch the story. It's something different than all of the action anime out there. Just relax... ;)
Of course there was something that I didn't really liked at first. The art! Not the scenery! But the facial expressions. After awhile I was getting used to it, and it was more balanced further down the anime. But in the beginning I didn't really liked it sometimes. Oh yeah! The frustration was there! Because, come on! You've got two beautiful main characters and their lovely friends. And I get that it was sometimes comical, but ugh, sometimes I want to see their expressions "normally"!!! ><
Overall, I'm glad I found this rare piece this summer. When I just look at it, I just want one thing: please let it be summer soon again
Upyo! From the team who made Aria comes another yashiki with water theme. This time it’s about diving.
Our main character Futaba joins a high school on a seemingly distant region of Japan. At first she’s lost and sad because she had to move from big city and she lost all of her friends that she made. But then she meets funny energetic girl Hikari also known as Pikari and she discovers a brand new world of fun while also coming in terms with herself, her situation and her live outlook.
It’s a fairly simple but quite enjoyable story. It presents lots of metaphors for anxiety
and loneliness while also being funny and happy. It is not all around pure and happy anime like Flying Witch for example. But arguably because of those sad moments, the happy ones shine much more.
Characters are nothing special but once again they are very enjoyable. Pikari and her craziness, older sister Ai with her never-ending kicks and her younger brother Makoto who’s the victim of said kicks. Futaba is very relatable on pretty much all fronts. Her anxieties and her fears are something that most people encounter in their lifetime. As we see her overcome all of her weaknesses in return we also get to see her enter the exciting world of diving. Can’t forget Katori sensei/diving supervisor who functions as adult helping figure and is always there to help if needed.
Production is fairly great. Yashiki’s soft animation pretty much never fails. Characters look good, talk good, walk good. The CGI is not overused and even if it’s noticeable when used on characters, it’s small use excuses that.
Soundtrack is just like the show. Calming and relaxing. The opening has a fantastic song performed by Suzuki Eri, voice of Pikari.
Overall it’s a highly enjoyable show if you like calm happy slice of life series with lots of cuteness and funny faces. It’s not dull happiness because the series presents negative moments as well. I would definitely recommend watching this anime. Sadly however for me personally it doesn’t have much of a rewatch value.
I try my best not to make comparisons of shows before I even watch them, but a certain show couldn't help but immediately spring to mind when I first saw Amanchu!.
This is far from J.C.Staff's first ride with a slice-of-life series. However, in just the previous season, J.C.Staff had done another slice-of-life series featuring primarily cute girls entitled Flying Witch. This show was widely praised by anime fans as being everything a slice-of-life should be (a consensus I agreed with), while Amanchu! seemed to fall under the radar.
Maybe it's because Amanchu!'s premise doesn't seem immediately as inviting as Flying Witch's did. An anime about witches
is a much easier sell then an anime about a diving club...if you can even really call Amanchu! about a diving club. (More on that later.)
If you were immediately sold on the diving premise, you might be a little disappointed by what Amanchu! turns out to be. If you're more forgiving, or simply adore cute characters, you'll be pleased with this change.
Yes, Amanchu! doesn't really spend a lot of time in the water. Don't get me wrong; it's still focused upon in some episodes, and the show does a good job making you root for Futaba in the hopes she becomes an Open Water Diver.
However, the true charm from Amanchu! comes from how its two main characters interact with each other - Futaba and Hikari. While Hikari has a very bubbly, hyperactive personality, Futaba struggles with finding friends and being too hard on herself. Watching Hikari slowly bring Futaba out of her bubble and become closer and closer to her throughout the course of the anime is overall the most charming part of the story.
(Yes, there is yuribait. It's sanitized, family-friendly yuribait, but it's undoubtably present.)
On the polar opposite side, there is one character in Amanchu! that kind of brought the show down for me that I feel the need to talk about. That character is Ai. She drops in on episode 3, and immediately establishes her personality: she likes to abuse her kind-hearted brother for no apparent reason. If he says anything, her foot's on his head or kicking him in the side. In reality, this wouldn't be funny at all and would likely eventually lead to long-term damage both physically and of their relationship, so I'm not sure why it's supposed to be funny/cute here.
The animation and sound in Amanchu! are both pretty good. The show uses chibi faces a lot, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. The best animation is saved for when the characters are underwater, giving us beautiful scenery of the ocean and wallpaper-worthy images of Futaba and Hikari together.
Amanchu! also has a lot of use of Engrish and verbal tics ("Whoop!" "Let's a-go!") that were particularly charming and pleasant to my ears for whatever reason.
Overall, is Amanchu! as solid as Flying Witch? No, but it's very rare that a slice-of-life series can be. Does that make it a waste of time? Absolutely not. If you're looking for something that will fill the cute girl-shaped hole in your heart and you've blown through all the obvious choices, Amanchu! might be the show for you.
I vividly remember watching a series called Aria in my earlier anime watching days. It had me mesmerized with its amazing visuals, music, and character interactions. It told the story of 3 young women working on getting better at their craft. For 3 seasons it developed into an amazing series that I wish we had more of.
Amanchu is written by the same author that did Aria and while it does do a great job of hitting most of the marks laid by Aria, I feel that it missed its stride in a few instances.
What made Aria
great was that almost 100% of the time you had character interactions while the craft building was going on. In Amanchu however a lot of the character interactions happen outside of the diving portion of the anime. In fact we do not see a complete dive until the last episode of the season which really disappointed me. Yes the show is mostly about general character building like in Aria but sidelining the main activity in the anime was not the best move in my opinion. If we ever get more seasons of this show then maybe I'll get what I want but for now we have to judge what we have.
The characters do grow in this series (mostly Futaba) and the interactions are on point. I just wish we saw more of the diving aspect in action instead of being told about it.
Honestly breathtaking in some moments. For its time Aria had some of the best water animations in anime and in Amanchu it is so amazingly well done. The light reflections that beam off the water is impressive. The character models are drop dead gorgeous (as Digibro would say it's a new slice-of-life genre that focuses on super attractive women). The backdrops are so amazing they could be paintings on their own; just everything about the anime looks fantastic. I am however going to dock a couple of points for some scenes that did look lazy and simple. There were not a lot of them but some of the static dialogue scenes do look bad.
Just like with Aria the music for this show is simply amazing. It fits in with the very laid back tone of the story which is super important to get right in a slice-of-life show. The music that plays in the diving scene in the last episode is probably the best piece of music I have heard in an anime in the past 10 or so years. Voice Actors were top notch all the way through this season.
Again the chemistry is here; this cast provided a lot of great and fun scenes. Hikari in particular provided so many memorable moments that I will find hard to forget any time soon. It's just like I stated up above since the whole point of the show (diving) takes such a back seat I had a hard time enjoying this show like I did with Aria and you have to compare it to Aria due to the feeling of the show. This is a great cast; I just hope that in future seasons they mix in actual diving with character interactions.
I snuck this point into the character section of the review but it has to be hammered home; you have to compare this show to Aria. They try to invoke the same feelings, use very similar music styles, background shots, and character quirks. Because of this I feel that Amanchu is watered down (no pun intended) when compared to Aria. It improves the visual presentation 10 fold but everything else is either on par or lacking. You should totally watch this show but watch Aria first.
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