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.
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 ✘
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.
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.
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.
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!
In many ways Amanchu represents the path that the Iyashiei genre is headed down; To many, the direction seems like a good path for the genre, to others it seems like a major step down in terms of quality from previous entries in the genre. One would be hard pressed to call Amanchu an actively bad show, but when compared to Aria the quality of Amanchu is put into question. Aria is the definitive iyashikei show, so when comparing Amanchu to Kozue Amano's previous works, it can easily be called a major step down from Aria and Aqua. But, none the less, Amanchu represents the
type of Iyashikei that becomes popular in the contemporary anime community; It's neither a replacement for Aria or a culturally significant out side of the slice of life genre. So in many regards it becomes necessary to examine the similarities between Amanchu and Aria, as well as their differences.
Amanchu like Aria has a fascination for the sea; But instead of the high-concept science fiction setting of Aria, it is replaced by a restrained, relaxed, high school setting. This is normative for the iyashikei genre, and most slice of life shows; Yuru Camp, Flying Witch, Non Non Biyori, Gochiusa, and almost every single iyashikei and slice of life show of the past five years all share the same introduction episode. Amanchu, like most other slice of life series, start with the main character moving to an new town, and subsequently finding a new passion within the first episode; This holds true for Amanchu as much as it holds true for any other modern slice of life show. The main character, Futaba, moves to a new city, far away from her hometown with all of her friends, and she feels anxiety due to this fact until she sees Hikari scuba diving. Seeing Hikari scuba diving inspires a new found passion and helps her overcome her anxiety. As a conceit, having the main character be as unfamiliar with her newfound environment as the audience is quite powerful. It is a powerful means of characterization in any story, it can establish character arcs and inform the audience of character traits. In Amanchu it is used to establish the characters of Futaba and Hikari respectively, Futaba's goal throughout the first season is to fit into her new school, Hikari's goal is to relate to her classmates and to show Futaba the beauty of the town. This is the central dynamic of the show, and makes for a relatively unique dynamic and a compelling premise. The introduction that the audience has with Aria is in many ways much weaker than the one that they have with Amanchu; It establishes the characters and character motives well enough, but the audience doesn't get the same predisposed emotions of anxiety that comes with having the main character enter an unfamiliar setting for the first time. The character of Akari from Aria is already relatively familiar with the setting and as such her feelings of anxiety are lesser than that of Futaba. Intrinsically the first episode of Aria is weaker, but functionally the first episode of Aria is extrinsically better because it avoids having to establish every aspect of it's science fiction setting; Amanchu however, necessitates Futaba learning all of the idiosyncrasies of her setting. The setting of Aqua from Aria is conveyed through displaying information, Amanchu's world is explained to the audience more or less. The scenes of Futaba learning how to scuba dive is in general a lot less interesting than seeing Akari, Athena, and Alice explore the world of Aqua as they learn how to become true undines. The emotional impact that the viewer is supposed to have during Futaba's learning scenes are heavy handed, unlike the subtle beauty of similar scenes from Aria. To be fair to Amanchu, the introductory episodes hardly could be called bad, in many ways they are above average, but that speaks more so to the overall quality of most iyashikei first episodes rather than the strengths of Amanchu's introduction. But in many ways, Amanchu is more fit for the modern audience as it doesn't waste time cultivating subtle character arcs, it instead is instant gratification in iyashikei form; It's hard for new anime to separate themselves from the crowed, and when the average series length is 12 episodes long, it is in some ways better to be rushed than it is to be slow.
The complaint I hear aimed at Amanchu the most is that it is boring, usually those who levy these complaints can't really point to any specific aspect of Amanchu. That's because every variable of an iyashikei matters, more so than other genres because the iyashikei is about making the mundane, interesting. This can be a herculean task for most writers, so most iyashikei series tend to fade into obscurity. Aria struck the perfect blend of each variable; Amanchu on the other hand had many lacking features, the setting was most likely the attribute that contributed to this perceived boredom more so than the characters, music, or animation. The setting of Amanchu is the most unoriginal aspect of the show, the majority of the screen time is spent on showing the daily school life of Futaba and Hikari, paired with the slow pace of the show, watching the show became a chore more so than an entertaining task. The interesting aspect of the show, the scuba diving, was unfortunately overlooked for the majority of the run time. I'm assuming this is for a multitude of reasons, the main one is that scuba diving in no way has any symbolic meaning for the characters. Had the central conceit of the show been replaced with any other sport or hobby, the show itself would barely change, and on a thematic level it wouldn't change at all. Scuba diving was most likely chose by Amano as the central conceit of Amanchu because she has a general affinity for the ocean. The ocean can be a beautiful set piece for an Iyashikei show, but it becomes emotionally exploitative if the audience is expected to feel the same emotions as Amano when we are shown an ocean. Oceans are pretty, but the lack of true symbolic/thematic connection that Futaba and Hikari as characters have to the ocean makes the vistas of the show lacking in emotional impact. Thus we as an audience is stuck between a rock and a hard place, the school scenes are lack luster because very little is done with the school life of the characters; The other option is to watch pretty vistas with very little symbolic relevance to the characters.
This directly leads into a new discussion that will eventually lead down an argumentative rabbit hole within the anime community. But why are highschool settings so popular in anime? They do allow for a convenient out for most writers in two regards, the first is that its easier to write the characters to be all in one place if they are all go to school together, the second is that there is certain emotional baggage that comes with highschool life that can easily be emotionally manipulated. In this regard, Amano decided that the former reason for the highschool setting was more compelling than the latter. The highschool setting of Amanchu is lacking because there is plenty that could be done with the setting, especially in relation to Futaba's character. But her interactions with other students don't extend passed the other characters within the Scuba Diving club. This is a major step down from Aria, a series where we got the sense of true community from Akari's interactions with clients, friends, and city folk.
The other big problem that Amanchu has in comparison to Aria is that the characters are overall, lacking in Amanchu. Futaba and Hikari are really well written, but lack originality as they are essentially Amano's take on Nazuma and Miyako from Hidamari Sketch, the other characters all have Hidamari Sketch counterparts as well. The characters in this show do have arcs, but as mentioned earlier they are both heavy-handed and rushed. It doesn't help that most of the characters seem to lack any depth outside of their character arc; what does Futaba do in her free time? With Hidamari Sketch, Aria, and Yokohama, imagining what each character does in their free time is relatively easy because we spend most of the series watching just that; Newer Iyashikei's prefer subtle excitement, and as such we rarely see the characters just sit around and relax, or have deep conversations with each other. So if Amanchu feels oddly unsatisfying to watch that would be the reasoning behind it. That being said, Amanchu is hardly the worst story based Iyashikei, it is above average, but the average now of days is so mediocre that it shouldn't be a comparison. If we want to look at the worst story based Iyahikei, we would merely have to watch Flying Witch, a show where nothing happens. The characters of Flying Witch were in every regard lacking, devoid of both character development, and traits aside from compassion. Flying Witch however, was a break-out success, leaving it's running mate, Amanchu, in the dust. This is all because in the modern Iyashikei genre, setting up a tone is paramount to the overall success of a show, and having any mixed emotions could be seen as a detriment to this cause. It would be impossible for most viewers to leave an episode of Flying Witch without feeling goodness in your heart. But now both Amanchu and Flying Witch are both fading from the collective consciousness; Even shows with relatively little going on, like Non Non Biyori, outlived the relevance of both the spiritual successor of Aria, and a smash hit.
The animation and sound design is where Amanchu is saved, very few shows or even movies can capture the beauty of nature of the ocean like Amanchu does. The cinematography and animation very much raises the overall quality of the show, and the sound design captures the feeling of the ocean very well. Having lived in a land locked state for the entirety of my life, Amanchu worked very well as an escape from reality. I've been to the ocean many times in my life, but those were mostly childhood memories; Thus Amanchu captured my nostalgia for the ocean very well. The character designs are all super sexualized, they are sleek, fit, and visually appealing. If you want an elaboration on the character designs of Amanchu, there is a Digibro video on the subject matter. The soundtrack was also quite good, but at the same time, it's clearly emulating Aria's soundtrack. It's coat riding on the predisposed emotions of the audience members from Aria, and in that regard, it works quite well despite being derivative in this regard. Shows should emulate other shows when they add onto the ideas of the original, in many ways utilizing similar music, effects the thematic identity of a series.
I've seen the argument that we are living in the golden age of iyashikei shows, I see where they are coming from but the overall evidence that they raise are usually rather weak. It is true that in many ways the Iyashikei genre is growing, and iyahsikei shows are slowly becoming more popular than even shounen jump series. But the iyashikei and slice of life genre is now becoming more and more derivative of past successes. The iyashikei genre is suffering an identity crisis, Amanchu is a good example of this current trend. In many ways, Amanchu is genre-fare, it's not a bad thing for a show to be genre-fare but the ultra derivative nature of a series that was written by the same writer of Aria, shows that the general trends of iyashikei and slice of life shows has been refined to a point that every modern series are complacent to just emulate general trends. Amanchu encompasses every trend in the modern iyashikei genre. This makes shows like Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryouko all the more refreshing in the modern anime marketplace.
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.
(This review has been adapted from my blog/reddit thread. Spoilers ahead!)
Our “diving” in the Jamaican waters was worse than we expected. The shanty was rusted and beat up. The snorkel masks we used looked like they hadn’t been washed in weeks. The spot chosen did not let us see anything interesting let alone memorable.
Wanting only to get back on the cruise ship, we headed back its way. There, still sitting near the end of the dock, was the lady from before, continuing her chant as though it was her God-given destiny.
“Watah one dolla’. Two bucks for da big one!” That’s all she said in her
thick, native accent. Over and over. That, and a “thank you” when she was given her money in exchange for the bottled water.
I may have told this anecdote in the past, but it’s relevant to Amanchu!. Not just because of the diving but because of the situation. For, like Teko and Pikari, I choose to look at this one differently. I see it as a time where I tried something different and where I earned a quirky memory.
In contrast, and thankfully, Amanchu provided nothing but joy.
Amanchu stars Futaba Ooki, aka Teko, a young lady who has just recently moved into town. As she dreads the new, unfamiliar world before her, Hikari Kohinata, aka Pikari, takes her by the hand, guiding her towards fun, the thrill of diving underwater, and an outlook on life that comes from the heart.
While watching Amanchu, it’s almost impossible not to compare it with its sister series (provided one has seen said sister). Indeed, the anime in question is none other than the famous Aria anime. Known for its soothing atmosphere, the tranquil world of Neo Venezia, and those lovable, hilarious Undine.
Keep in mind, this comparison does not only stem from the iyashikei (in English, “healing”) tone. For Amanchu goes out of its way to make such a connection more than obvious. The water-related premise. Nearly identical brands of comedy (silly faces, catch phrases). Erino Hazuki, the voice of Akari from Aria, voices Teko’s childhood friend (who has only a couple of speaking lines). Cha, the squat cat that lazily moves about the school, has a real name: Aria.
The premise and the comedy are the biggest indicators, but, clearly, the anime has the Aria series in mind the whole time. This emulation (not replication since the anime is not an exact copy) results in two negatives.
One, it prevents Amanchu from being what it wants to be. Appeasing the audience of Aria is a nice gesture, but when people describe the show as “like Aria but…,” its fundamental identity has been lost.
Two, it does it to a fault. Since Amanchu wants to be similar, it pushes the comedy upfront a lot. Almost to the point that it drowns out the drama. Often, the anime follows a high-emotion scene with a funny one due to some misplaced sense of need rather than letting the emotions play out in full.
However, the sisters diverge on a definitive point: character focus. Where Aria is mostly about the world it crafts and how the characters interact with it, Amanchu is mostly about the characters and how they interact with themselves.
An important distinction seen through the content itself. Take Amanchu’s premise: diving. Besides the first couple of episodes, the final episode, and sparingly throughout the middle, it’s hardly focused on. Arguably, the anime choosing to (largely) ignore its own premise seems as though it were a foolhardy decision. But, in exchange, Amanchu emphasizes its cast. More monologues on their internal thoughts and feelings. Focus on what they do and like and perceive.
Usually, the thoughts and the focus come from and go towards Teko. Whether it’s her appreciation of Pikari and all that Pikari has done for her or how she loves taking pictures on her phone, the anime makes it clear that this story is Teko’s.
Along the way, Teko has many friends that give her simple yet heartwarming events. A street lined with cherry blossoms. A chalkboard chalk full of colorful pictures. A sincere treasure that holds more value than mere gold.
Teko isn’t the only one treated this way, though. Pikari shows Mato a glimpse at some marigolds while on a moving train. Ai reminisces about her and her little brother Makoto’s time in the diving club through his saved items.
The ocean and the diving may not play a huge, central role in the proceedings, but these two ideas tie into almost all of Amanchu’s (and therefore Teko’s) thoughts. The dark, murky water that gives way to a dazzling, clear blue. The buddy system and how the two partners fully support one another. The gentle invitation to try something different.
Those events and these ideas culminate into one of the anime’s biggest themes. The ocean is a vast, unknown world all its own, hiding secrets for people to find, for people to seek out. That is, like the bottom of the ocean, there are new sights, new adventures, and new experiences worth discovering.
One just needs the right mindset and a willingness to try.
Amanchu takes place mostly in an unassuming town and at a local school. Occasionally, it ventures elsewhere, like at a public pool or the mall. Regardless, the anime isn’t given much of an opportunity to show off any locations with extravagant detail. Lush greenery and blue waters are emphasized whenever possible, but, for the most part, it’s usually forgettable.
However, Amanchu does not hold back with its scarce diving moments. Teko and Pikari floating in a pool filled with cherry blossoms or Teko looking up at the shining light as it dances across the ocean water gives these scenes the spectacle they deserve. Their contrast with the “duller” art makes them that much more powerful.
One cannot not mention (a weird way to phrase that) the comedic artistry. More specifically, each character gets their own reaction face (more emulation of Aria) for situations in which the mood is lighthearted, silly, or otherwise funny. Teko gets swirly-scrawled eyes. Pikari’s pupils take up her entire eyeballs. Ai receives a monkey-like mouth that matchers her monkey diving cap. Combined with the squat figures and even rounder heads that they each morph into, these faces are a simple yet effective way for the anime to achieve its brand of comedy.
They also help to mask the actual animation that goes on. In the beginning, Amanchu has a lot of movement. Teko’s eyes and hair move with fluidity, Pikari and Mato race against each other, and Ai kicks Makoto with undue force. Usually, when movement is restricted, the anime leans on the comedic faces since the reaction is more important than the movement. Of course, this isn’t always the case, like when Teko expertly dodges all of Ai’s slaps in their collective game of red-light-green-light. But it’s often the norm.
Unfortunately, as the anime continues, it relies less and less on actual animation and more and more on the comedic faces. Not that it ever plummets to unacceptable levels, but much of it isn’t notable. Even its most important segment – Teko diving in the ocean for the first time – doesn’t include much in the way of actual diving. Arguably, it’s more about Teko being there and beholding the splendor of that new world, but, even so, the show doesn’t keep its animation levels anywhere but within an average range.
Above anything else, though, the character designs shine. Pikari sometimes wearing a ponytail that takes the shape of a starfish when seen from the back. Ai’s unkempt twin-tails. Cha and Ohime having the same eyes as that of Pikari and Teko (respectively) when they enter comedy mode. The long, light-purple dresses the female students wear. The different casual outfits they don, and the diving suits they put on when, well, diving.
But Teko’s design reigns supreme. Pikari describes Teko as a “beautiful mermaid” and rightly so. Her thin physique, flowing black hair (with a multitude of styles), and ocean-blue eyes complete with long eyelashes and those one-tenth eyebrows, give her a mature, charming design that carries her scenes with ease.
As was said earlier, Amanchu is very much Teko’s story. Subsequently, the anime gives her a lot of time, exploring who she is, where she wants to go, and why she feels the way she does. Ultimately, Teko’s journey is more than satisfying.
She starts off depressed. Saddened that she has been put into such an unfamiliar world. She’s afraid of what she may encounter and worried that she won’t have a place. All the while, she longs for her old life, her old friends. Wanting nothing more than to go back to where its comfortable. Fun. Familiar.
In strolls Pikari, the girl with a whistle and a whoop. Pikari is the first to reach out to Teko, guiding her towards happiness. Not just in the literal sense when she leads her to their brand-new classroom. But also in the figurative sense when she talks with Teko and gives her that one-tenth nickname.
The anime makes it immediately apparent how contrasting Teko and Pikari are. Especially with one of Pikari’s best moments in the whole show. Before they leave school on their first day, Pikari asks Teko which of their new books smells the best. Teko, quizzically, responds “Japanese?” To which Pikari agrees and smiles her big, beaming smile.
This moment perfectly captures Pikari. She’s energetic, loves life, and does whatever she can to stay happy and, more importantly, bring happiness. In other words, Pikari is Teko’s foil. Teko’s quiet nature, negative thoughts, and general lack of enthusiasm form a dichotomy between the two, bringing with it the chance for Teko to grow through Pikari.
And, expectedly, that’s what happens. Pikari gets Teko to break some rules and enter the diving-club room without permission, something she never would have done before. Pikari then alleviates her with that trip down the cherry blossoms. And she even motivates her enough to officially join the club (getting her to perform a demonstration of blowing out air from her ears).
Teko slowly starts to open, trying new outlets and seeing life in a better light than she had when she first moved to this town. Her first true trial, though, comes with her first diving excursion (in the school’s pool). The water in her eyes and difficulty breathing scare her to the point that she just about gives up. But, thankfully, Pikari is there. Holding her hand, encouraging her on. Being the perfect buddy for her newfound friend.
As Teko continues to adjust to her new world, she finds further comfort in diving. Their new clubmates – “Big-Sis Senpai” Ai and “Little-Bro Senpai” Makoto – are (always for the brother, usually for the sister) kind and inviting, giving Teko the goal she wants to now achieve: become an official Open Water Diver.
Before she can get there, though, she must learn how to swim. And, when she can’t, she feels as though she’s bringing everybody around her down. But, and as she clearly states, she does not want to give up. Having found something that she herself wanted to take part in, she wants to see if the ocean contains something that her “insignificant self” does not. Her sincere gratitude towards Pikari, for everything she has done up to this point, is also not lost on Teko.
While Mato gets some time in the spotlight, providing wisdom to the audience, and Makoto talks about his older sister, Amanchu puts Pikari at the center for a bit. To her, Teko is a mature, beautiful woman – who can sometimes, contrary to her usual self, act like a helpless doggy. She also notes how Teko hates to lose (from their school’s endurance exercises) and how learning about new sides to loved ones makes one want to love them that much more.
Most importantly, Pikari imparts wisdom of her own. She tells Teko, “What matters is your approach and mindset! That “you don’t have to let things you don’t like get you down!”
With these words in mind, Amanchu provides Teko with her greatest character moment in the following episode. Her phone fills up with pictures, preventing her from taking new ones until she moves the old ones away. She doesn’t want to, and so she reminisces about her old friends and the negative way in which she took her leave.
Thankfully, and per usual, Pikari is there, giving Teko two amazing treasures. The first is the actual gift: the digital picture book. The second is the most important: reaffirmation of their friendship. Together, Teko realizes that she has been approaching it wrong the whole time. That the memories of her old life and the experiences in her new one are equally worth cherishing. As she best puts it “The places I cherish, and the places I love… Be it back then or right now, they only grow more and more beloved with time.”
Thus, her mindset shifts permanently from that initial, overbearing sadness to appreciating her life and the newness within it. Yet, still, Teko goes through even more. Pikari teaches Teko that being at a loss is fine since “it’s a wonderful chance to have more fun” (and to “let’s-a-go” even more.) And, when the two save Ohime, the tiny kitty, Teko wants to do for the pet what Pikari has always done for her. That is, be there for her in her time of need.
Come time for their first official ocean dive, Teko is the most excited. Her buddy check with Pikari goes swimmingly, but, as they prepare at the buoy to dive, Teko sees the fading light and the swathing darkness that engulfs it. She’s scared, but, when she sees the columns of bubbles from the other divers right below her (after losing her left fin), she becomes reinvigorated, wanting nothing more than to see the new world directly below her.
Which she does. The various sea life, the rocky formations, the brilliant light that shines from above. This new world, something that she has never seen and could never see before, is one that she loves. In her own words, “I’m so, so glad I got to come here! See you soon.”
She records in her diver’s diary what she saw on her first dive, and she passes the exam, becoming an official Open Water Diver. But, appropriately enough, it’s not quite the end, for Amanchu gives Teko and Pikari one last scene together.
Pikari tries to put into words how thankful she is to Teko for going along with her and being her friend and loving everything that she loves. In return, Teko thanks Pikari for giving her “…so many new things to love,” a far cry away from who she was at the beginning of her tale. The final words from Teko ring out, she takes Pikari by the hand, and together they walk, awaiting the bright, amazing, and fun-filled future before them.
And so, Teko’s tale concludes. Arguably, the twins, the teacher, and even Pikari (no matter how much of a foil she is) do not get a lot of attention and time thrown their way individually. A small blemish on the overall experience.
But Teko’s small, gradual changes. Her transformation from a person scared of the unfamiliar to wanting to explore the new. The thoughtfulness backing it all. Everything comes together for Teko, creating in her a beautiful, heartfelt character journey that won’t be forgotten for a long, long time.
The opening track of Amanchu is quite the calming piece. It starts off with soft, quiet singing and a host of dainty instrumental work that each refuse to overtake the listener but rather invite them in with a warm hug. The middle section picks up the tempo and the passion, coinciding with Teko’s own change over the course of the story. By the end, it reflects the beginning, letting the audience know that what they are about to see is soulful indeed.
The original soundtrack aims for that Aria emulation one last time. Heavy use of acoustic guitar and emotional piano keys almost create a sense of nostalgia. Or, if nothing else, feelings of happiness, sweetness, and togetherness. Like Aria, it relies a bit too much on one singular track, but, like Aria, the tracks stand strong in their purpose and their execution.
Interestingly, it also has a similar problem to Aria when it comes to its lyrical-based tracks. In particular, Teko’s ocean dive is overlaid with such lyrics. Rather than bolstering the moment, the track detracts from it since (subconsciously or otherwise) the singing forces the audience to focus on that rather than Teko’s big experience.
The ending track of Amanchu mirrors many of the tracks in the OST. Shakers, a lot of acoustic-guitar playing, and soft singing lead the audience out of each episode with as warm and friendly of a goodbye as its hug was in the beginning.
And the voice-acting is top-notch, too. Ai Kayano as Teko musters her courage with a soft, refined speaking voice. Eri Suzuki as Pikari brings enough whoopity-whoops to fill an ocean. And Saori Oonishi as Ai fires herself up and agitatedly reacts to victory.
There’s a lot I can say about this one.
I can talk about how hilarious and cute it was to me. Teko bowing while saying thank you, but the tank of air on her back causing her to fall forward. Pikari saying that they “found the treasure that is you” to Ai, and Ai subsequently kicking the laughing spirit of Makoto out of embarrassment. The tiny kitty cat that made me squeal.
I can talk about how much I liked Teko. How she always got super red out of embarrassment, her audible “Hehhhh…,” the way she floated in the water during her swimming test, and the kindness she always displayed.
I can talk about some of my favorite moments. Pikari’s wish being that she wanted Teko’s wish to come true was so unbelievably nice that, in my notes, I wrote it down (with the same wording) in capital letters.
I can talk about how, after many of the scenes, I said out loud, “I like this one!” I couldn’t contain my excitement over the show because it filled me with elation no matter what it did.
But all I need to talk about is episode nine.
Teko’s heart-wrenching realization on the phone with her soon-to-be old friends. Her thoughtful words on those friends that gave her more than she ever had. The amazing gift that Pikari and the others got for Teko. Teko’s shift in mindset, the full-circle phone call, and the final shot of both sets of “treasures.” Everything backed by the right music, the right timing, and the right execution.
I cried. I had to reach for the tissues near me since tears were sliding down my cheeks. It was the first time in a long time that an anime got me so emotional, but it did so without a doubt. Her separation from her old life and the culmination of Teko’s words and the support she got from everybody else made the last five minutes of the episode simply wonderful.
I am very grateful to the show for letting me experience something so genuine, and I cannot wait to cry at another scene like it somewhere down the road, within this medium that I adore so much.
Amanchu!, like its spiritual predecessor, achieves its healing and happiness with ease. The story’s thoughtful events, the attractive designs of the characters, Teko’s amazing growth, the calming music, and the emotional resonance craft a beautiful anime worthy of praise. Water’s one dollar, and it’s two bucks for the big one. But this one is worth much more than that.
Story: Fine, while it emulates its sister series a bit too much, its comedy, thoughtfulness, and ocean-related themes provide a solid narrative
Animation: Fine, okay artistic direction, okay actual animation, and nice character designs with Teko’s on top
Characters: Good, almost all the cast don’t get enough attention, but Teko’s genuine journey from hating the unfamiliar to embracing the new makes her into a very strong character
Sound: Good, okay OP, good ED, great OST, above average VA performances
Enjoyment: Great, hilarious, heartwarming, and the first time in a long while that a tale from this medium got me crying
If there is a one thing I have a soft spot for, it's a slice of life anime. The chilling and mind healing atmosphere it brings is truly an unmatched feeling. With that said, it's actually been quite some time since I've last watched a well done slice of life, with great cast of characters. Maybe that's part of the reason I gave Amanchu such a high rating, but in my opinion, the show deserves it. Because it ended up being everything I wanted from it.
Amanchu! tells a story set in a small town area close to ocean. One of our two main protagonists, a
young girl named Hikari (also Pikari) is a local living near the ocean, who spends most of her time diving in it. She is an energetic girl, with a pretty weird mentality of always doing what would a normal person call "ridiculous" things. The other one is Futaba (aslo Teko), a way more quieter girl, who has just currently moved here and has problems with applying to new society aswell as some self-confidence issues.
Their first meeting comes when the new year of high school starts. Teko, struggling to talk to other people get's couraged by Pikari, who desperately wants to join a diving club together with her. Teko get's dragged around for a while, not knowing if she really wants to do it, but since Pikari is the only person she can talk to, and because she's charmed by her cheerful mentality, she decides to try it. And so starts the story of not just becoming hobby divers, but also of finding her true, happier itself.
As Teko finds out soon enough, ocean diving isn't as easy as it might seem, and to truly become one and fullfill her dream of diving together with Pikari, she must overcome the obstacles that lies in front of her. The main obstacle being her own self-doubting mindset, that makes her struggle a lot. The way Teko's presented and developped is one of the highlights of the show. We can see her changing from the first meeting with Pikari onwards, getting influenced by her behaviors and ability to enjoy every moment. A lot of things are thrown into her track, but she's able to overcome most of them, with the help of the friend she always needed.
While Teko and Pikari are the two most important aspects of the story, Amachu! wouldn't be the same without the other great characters. First, we have the diving club advisor, and the homeroom teacher of the two, Katori-sensei. She follows the classic track of a "cool" teacher, being really outgoing, friendly and saying mature quotes from time to time. In her case however, that mentality works very well. Having such a character really helps such an anime as Amanchu is, and without Katori, I almost feel like the show would be about half as good. Seriously one of the best sensei characters I've seen in anime.
Then, we have the club's two seniors. A girl and boy twins, Ai and Makoto. Ai is, as a girl, the dominant one in the duo. She's as energetic as Pikari, but she's a lot more violent than her. Makoto is the one seemingly getting all the hate her sister has in her, but he learned to live with it over the years. They both get a lot of screen time and work as an extended main cast, even though they were introduced a little bit later in the show. They both love diving and are helping Teko with her learning of it. Even though they are not the main driving force of the cast, they work well together with the others.
Overall, these 5 mentioned characters make a very good team. I really fell in love with all of them, particulary Teko, who is maybe a classic case of a self-confidence lacking character, but she's a one done to perfection. And the others are doing a great job of supporting her. Their behaving, personalities and development are having great impact on the anime itself, which just wouldn't be as good if only one of them had gone away.
Amanchu! is a slice of life of course, and with that genre, one question always comes to mind. Is it actually entertaining to watch? While I love slice of life, I also agree that some are just way too focused on being chill that they forget about the entertainment value. And I think Amanchu did a great job with that. The pacing of it is slow, there is a lot of dialogue and inner monologue. However, I did not feel bored by it once. It's not as intense as some action anime of course, and it's not a show made for marathoning. But if you manage your schedule well, you will see that Amanchu! really is a good, heart-warming watch, that doesn't stall behind like some other similiar anime do.
The art of Amanchu! is something you'll notice right from the start. It's kinda average, yet fabulous in it's own way. The character desings are beautiful and also unique, which is very rare nowadays. The whole animation of the characters is pretty damn good, especially when the camera gets close to them. But the world around them is just kinda bland, to be honest. From a ocean area, you would expect some more good-looking shots of the nature, or just a more appealing backgrounds. That however isn't really happening and despite the characters art being perfect, the area around them feels lackluster, atleast in comparison.
On the other hand, I can't complain one bit about the sound of Amanchu!. From opening to ending, from first track of the OST to last, from voice actor to voice actress. Everything fits the atmosphere and nature of the anime very well and the OST in particular is the driving force during the majority of it. And considering the qualities the OST has, it works just perfectly.
Amanchu! is really everything you would ever want from a slice of life anime. It has a great cast of characters, looks good and has an awesome soundtrack. And while it's mainly a mind healing show meant for chilling out, it has also a decent enough entertainemnt value, atleast to the point when you don't get actually bored by it. An underrated gem of an anime.
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.
-- sorry for bad english --
Watching Amanchu was a weird experiment, and after watching Aria, from the same author, i understand more where the creations of the author are a problem with me.
In both case the art and music was gorgeous, and in both case the character are a great creations. We encounter the same type of character but well, they are very good. All have been said about this in others review and i am 100% OK with this so i don't write more about this.
The main problem of this anime (and other creations of the same author) are that the autjhor just
don't understant what is an Iyakishei in Nature environement. Which is a huge problem for an anime of this type.
Take a classic "mushishi" for example, the anime is somehow a criticism of our society and present a nature environement, relaxing, that show that life is way more slow and relaxing in this environement. (I make this short with my bad english, but you understand what i mean), same thing for a classic nature iyakishei like "non non biyori" or for a "Barakamon".
Aria and Amanchu fails totally on this aspect. Ont the begenning of the two anime, the author show to us a new environment (the sea in both anime) that are going to change the relation of the main character with herself and the other. At this point it's cool ! But after that point it is less cool ...
After that point, the author fail to manage the speech of its animes. In amanchu for example, the author just "forget" everything about the sea after 4/5 episodes and the action move to a classic aseptic college. To compensate that the author introduce two new characters that are not very interesting in comparaison to the main relation between the two main character which was a key point at the begenning. So the author lost the two main good point of the begenning ot Amanchu : the relation with a novel environnement and the "fusional" relationship with the second main protagonist.
This fact push back the progression to the relation between sea and characters and we meet this again at the end of the anime whheeeeennn ... the character will make a descent in the sea for the first time and ... when we will see the magnificient bottom of the sea with more diver than fish that all make photo and selfie ~_~ .
At this point i just feel discouraged by this waste of good material.
Master of the main subject and rythme of the Anime : 3/10
Big failure ...
Art and music : 10/10
Really gorgeous !
Characters : 10/10
Like a mix between the main character of Aria for the first main and the main character of Kimi ni Todoke for the second one, a real success.
Relation between characters : 5/10
Very very good at the begenning and not so good in the main part of the anime. Not enough Yuri :p
Story : 8/10 -> classic Iyakishei, not really a "story" .
Overall : 7.5/10 -> I am not to nasty with the anime, but if you are a great fan of the nature/environmental aspect of anime like non non biyori, mushishi or Barakamon, you can substract two more point...
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.