NOTE: Be sure to watch the original Amanchu! anime before watching this OVA as this is a direct sequel. Watching at least one season of ARIA would be nice too but is not necessary. This review won't have any major spoilers for any series.
Amanchu! is one of the uncommon Iyashikei / healing / relaxing / feel-good slice of life anime. These shows are light on comedy and drama compared to other episodic shows but still find a way to create situations that provide character development and events that make the main characters happy which in turn makes the viewers feel warm inside.
If you haven't
watched the original Amanchu! anime, it's a show about a shy girl named Futaba who's moved to a new city and has trouble making friends. An energetic girl named Hikari (nicknamed Pikari) gives her a nickname Teko and introduces her to the diving club which causes Futaba's life to slowly change.
As for the OVA itself, it is a worthy sequel and feels just like every previous episode. Without giving away too much of the plot it relates to how Futaba/Teko's childhood friends from her original hometown visit her since they're worried about how she's been adjusting to her new life. It's a really nice story about the importance of old and new friends.
For those who have watched ARIA series (Aria the Animation, Natural and Origination) you may or may not be aware that the original author, Kozue Amano, wrote both the original manga for ARIA and Amanchu. Futaba/Teko's childhood friends are based on Akari and Aika from ARIA and have similar personality traits, character designs and even the exact same voice actresses! The characters are different enough where you can differentiate from them the originals and they have their own interesting personalities that relate to Amanchu's story.
As someone who considers both ARIA and Amanchu two of his favorite series ever, having a cameo like this was a really nice treat! Hearing the original voice actresses was nostalgic. The characters/story was different enough that this episode would still be very enjoyable even if there was no reference to the original ARIA characters here. It helped to make this one of my favorite references/cameos in anime/manga I can think of.
The art style is nice and bright, fitting for the relaxing/healing nature of the show. Anytime the characters go diving the animators show how nice it would be to dive that deep underwater, showing all the cool surroundings and how everything looks really nice.
The OP and ED are the same as the original anime, really chill and fitting for the series. The BGM within the series is also really good and fitting for the series. Lots of light instrumentals that fit a relaxing show about a diving club.
If you liked the original Amanchu! (and possibly ARIA series) be sure to check out this OVA as it's one of my favorite episodes in the whole Amanchu series to date.
Honestly, unlike most OVAs I have watched, I felt like this one was better than the entire original anime series.
It covers only two days in the life of Teko, Pikari and the two middle school friends of Teko, Chizuru and Akane, who came over to visit her during the summer vacation. This short period of time, however, was enough to well develop the two new characters we are introduced to. I fell in love with both of them, mostly Chizuru.
The story also focused more on the characters feelings and the time they spend together other than diving (although it was also part of
it), which I liked a lot, since the girls are all really cute as a group. The way they share their feelings and talk things out made my heart really warm.
All in all, it was one of the best OVAs I've ever seen. It was pretty good both as a complement to the previous anime series as it was as a story of its own. Definitely recommend it.