Tooru and Run have been best friends forever, so when Tooru learns that she's managed to get into the same high school as Run, she runs to tell her... only to find Run in a compromising position with yet another girl, Yuko. Needless to say, that makes things a bit awkward at school, with Tooru fending off those who might be interested in Run while Yuko and their other girlfriend, Nagi, have to deal with Run's own penchant for drama.
For any slow paced slice of life series, there is always a challenge of not being boring. A-Channel does manage to stay above the boredom zone (most of the time) making it a decent slice of life anime. It is a nice series which makes for a very relaxing watch
A-Channel revolves around 4 high school girls and their everyday lives. The setting itself is a bit overused but that doesn't mean that it's not good. The slow pace combined with the setting gives it a light and relaxing atmosphere. Despite the slow pace, rarely does A-Channel feel boring. The comedic moments are up and
down, some are pretty funny while others don't seem to work. Considering the setting, it's pleasantly surprising that only a few of the events are cliche. However there is hardly anything memorable in A-Channel because the setting is not unique and it's missing that wow factor
Being a slice of life, A-Channel is mostly character driven. There is the Run, who is an airhead, Tooru, who is overprotective of Run and reckless, Nagi, who is level-headed and Yuuko who is very timid. The contrasting personalities of each character really makes A-Channel fun to watch and it injects life into the series. Individually the characters aren't very diverse which has it's own pros and cons. On the upside it prevents the series from being confusing and makes the it a relaxing watch, not making us think. Also, because this is a slice of life series, it is really not necessary for the characters to be complex. However on the downside the characters aren't very memorable and makes the characters seem two dimensional. It would've also been nice to see a bit more of the side characters as they hardly made appearances at all.
The art is very nice. The characters look very cute, the animations are fluent and the backgrounds are nicely drawn. The art matches the the lighthearted mood of the series and also gives it a certain charm.
The sound is also pretty solid. The OP, 'Morning Arch', is very catchy and upbeat. The ED is alright, it did feel like a proper closing though. There are also numerous insert songs which are sung by the seiyuus, which was a nice addition. The voice acting was solid, each seiyuu did a good job voicing their character in every given situation.
Enjoying a slice of life anime is something not everyone can do, and A-Channel is no exception. If you are not into the slice of life genre, then the slow pace of A-Channel can make the series feel boring. However, if you are into the slice of life genre, A-Channel is enjoyable, relaxing and can clear one's mind if they had a rough day.
A-Channel has it's flaws but overall it's a nice series. It fails to be something really memorable but it was fun while it lasted
Does a good anime need to have a good plot? The answer is: NO! Take a certain over-the-top mecha-robo anime with plenty of drills (and thus male Freudian artifacts) for example; it's plot wasn't the most original storytelling, but that didn't stop the anime from being explosively entertaining.
But does good anime need to have ANY plot? The answer is undoubtedly: NO. If otherwise, the slice-of-life genre of anime wouldn't exist; and hits like K-On, Lucky Star, and Hidamari Sketch would never have gained the popularity that they did.
So is A-channel like Lucky Star, K-On, or Hidamari Sketch? The answer is still: NO. The latter
three anime, although plotless, have some extra premise or setting in which the contents of the anime revolve around; K-On has the pretense of forming a band, Hidamari Sketch has the setting of an art school, and Lucky Star has an otaku as the lead. A-Channel, on the other hand, has nothing.
But is that a bad thing? NO! That just means that A-Channel is a slice-of-life in its PUREST form.
A-Channel portrays the easy life of four ordinary high school girls. The main focus if this anime is undoubtedly the characters and their interactions with each other. The biggest concerns or conflicts that the characters have are simple things like their weight, jealousy over different body proportions, or being over-protective of each other. The characters do ordinary things together like going to festivals, walking home in the rain, eating at fast food restaurants, singing karaoke, or playing in the snow together. There is no storyline at all, major, minor, or subplot; all A-Channel portrays are the sweetest moments amongst the smallest actions found in daily life. It's like someone cut out the most boring 23 hours and 40 minutes of the characters' days and turned the most lively 20 minutes of each day into a show.
The characters are what drive this show; they are indeed a good group to be friends with, being diverse and varied and yet not straying too far from the norm. We have Tooru, the clever troublemaker, Nagi, the ordinary one, Yuuko, the nice-bodied scaredy-cat, and Run, the airhead of airheads. Taken individually, these character may not seem like the most interesting ensemble. But when put together, it their interactions that make this anime shine. Character development doesn't come from the growth of the characters themselves, but rather that the viewer learns more about the characters as he or she continues to watch them, just like in real friendships. The diversity and depth of the interactions are astounding, and often it's the littlest of interactions that can send the viewer the biggest signals. (i.e. Yuuko showing slight interest in the idea of Run not wearing any panties.)
Being a slice-of-life, the production value of the show need not be very high. Most slice-of-lifes can get away with mediocre animation with a lot of still shots and mediocre sound with just an opening, ending, and a handful of background tracks. A-channel does exactly that. The animation is fine; the four girls look satisfactorily cute from most angles and distances, and the sound is alright, with an upbeat opening, a winding-down ending, and BGM that doesn't find itself to be to obtrusive to the ears. There is one praiseworthy aspect of the production, and it's the number of insert songs sung by the seiyuu. Often times, when wanting to show a collections of events, the producers would display a montage of clips accompanied by an insert song often times sung by the seiyuus themselves. This technique was most apparent during the karaoke episode, and I thought it was a nice way of letting the episodes flow rather than trying to directly tell the story. Voice-action, however, is a totally different story; this is the area where slice-of-lifes absolutely cannot skimp, and A-channel here delivers what it must. Each of the seiyuus for each of the character does a splendid job of delivering the right performance at each given situation.
So is A-channel something you should watch? Well it really depends. If you want something action, drama, romance, story, plot-twists, thrills, chills, or the like, then look elsewhere. But if you're into cute girls doing cute things from day in to day out, a light hearted slice-of-life comedy for a few laughs, I suggest you give A-channel a try.
Questions, comments, criticisms and compliments are welcomed whether you found this review helpful or not.
A-Channel is like K-ON! or Azumanga Daioh if the characters sucked and there was no comedy.
It starts off well enough. It has a really nice OP to pump you up for the antics to come. Fukuhara Kaori is back in the fold voicing a character much like her Tsukasa from Lucky Star. Kotobuki Minako of K-ON! fame is here too. They've even got Madoka. This is a nice cast lineup. Four girls in a high school slice of life with a cast like this, can it seriously go wrong?
The major falling of A-Channel is that it isn't funny. It isn't a slice of life with
a gimmick, so you can't latch onto one. Most of it isn't moe, so you can't just D'AWWW at it. This is an Azumanga Daioh, where the characters are the driving point and the *only* driving point and they need to play off each other. When all of your characters save one are this uninteresting and simple, that leads to some serious problems.
You have Run, who's ditzy and spaced out. You have Nagi, who's literally an inferior Yomi from AzuDai. You have Yuuko, who gets scared easily and has big boobs. You have Tooru, who's shy but aggressive.
For each of those characters save Tooru that's all there is to them. Tooru gets a little bit more to her in that she really likes Run, she has this conflict where Run and the others are a year older than her, and she's moe. And she's the most interesting character in this show.
This wouldn't even be so bad if the show was actually funny. But it isn't. It makes some awful attempts at comedy every now and then but they all fall flat. Oh, Yuuko has big boobs so Tooru flips them up for some reason. Oh, Nagi's qq'ing about her weight. Oh, Run's talking to guys so Tooru's coming to scare them off.
The show couldn't stop there though. Bad characters and no comedy? They had to take it one step further. On top of that, they force insert songs into every episode. EVERY. SINGLE. EPISODE. And each time except literally once, in one of the later episodes, it's shoe-horned in so jarringly that it just feels completely out of place. And awful. With lazy animation. Most of the time it's just the music played to stills.
The best that can be said of this show is that some of the music is ok, the OP is good, and the characters at least look nice.
I'm going to be honest, it was a run-of-the-mill moe slice-of-life anime series that is supposed to entertain through hilarious incidents of normal day-today activities. Everyone is right when they criticize A-Channel. It lacks substance and is a subpar, repetitive slice-of-life anime with beach trips, summer festivals, school life and hang outs. It didn't make me laugh as hard as Yuru Yuri or Lucky Star. It didn't make me go "Awww!" for the cute touching scenes like in K-On! You possibly can't compare it to slice-of-life beasts like Lucky Star when it comes to uniqueness. Hey, at least
the A-Channel girls did not have a club like the K-On! cast!
So why did I like A-Channel?
One of the main things people forget nowadays is the appreciation for the little things and learning certain lessons form a variety of experiences. Of course A-Channel is not a Clannad in terms of an emotional roller-coaster, but when in real life will your spouse come back because of a wish that turned time back and fixed the death? What I'm trying to get across here is that different anime can teach a variety of different lessons that we can apply in our lives. I've learned many deeper life lessons from Clannad about family and from Ano Hana about moving on, but I've also learned some general lessons about daily life. This is especially true after seeing Tooru progress through the series. Although development for Tooru is rather flat and lacks dynamic, she did remind me of myself at many times. Her cold attitude and distrust toward everyone in the beginning is pretty much how I am toward new people or just people in general. I share her same work ethic, get things done efficiently, respect older people, and help people where ever you can. Seeing Tooru all over Run definitely hit a soft spot for me. Why? Like Tooru, I only trust people who've I've known for a long time and learned to trust. It's hard for me to make new friends because of distrust of people that bullies instilled in me during my middle school life. Learning to make new friends and making new experiences is a vital part of living. It is something I always forget to do, yet Tooru's journey in this short series reminded me about that throughout life, you need friends, you need to have a lot of friends to live a happy life. Every time she learns some sort of lesson, I have this feeling of warmth inside. Even Run taught me a lesson. Despite the fact someone may be a bit torpid or even mean, there sometimes may be some goodness inside of that person. At many times I want smack people like Run upside the head at times, but in the end those people can be the most warmhearted people you can ever meet. Lessons like these, I know, remind me to do something trifle, yet so important to the actual living of my life. I liked the series not because it was entertaining, but I was able to take something from it and make that lesson mine.
I can't say I would recommend this to people who are familiar with the slice of life genre because it isn't amazingly funny or entertaining when compared to K-On! or Lucky Star. It will be repetitive to those who have seen many slice of life high school series. I can say though, if you try A-Channel out, you might learn a thing or two like I did. On the same token, you can say it's boring and move on to the next series: one that actually will entertain you.
Onward with the review:
Story (6): Most slice-of-life anime series have no plot. Just a simple get together and do something episodes that give a few laughs and may make you say feel fuzzy inside at the end. Again this is my standard for these types of moe slice-of-life anime series. This is not the judgement of entertainment I had from the series!
Art (10): What really blew me away here was the amount of detail put into this slice-of-life series. Most of these types of series are cheaply made and quickly released as a means to keep the audience's attention on the moe moe kawaii characters in the series. The amount of detail in A-Channel really added to the depth of connection I had with the protagonist. I know I'm exaggerating here, but I felt as though I was really in and feeling the setting. The details, especially depth perception and movement, were sharp and smooth. This was probably one of the most important factors in my actual learning from and enjoyment of the series.
Sound (9): This was the second aspect that really took me home. I really loved the background music, OP, ED, and Character Songs that were played during A-Channel. It really did add on to the mood of the series. I can't say the soundtrack was compelling here like in the soundtrack of Clannad, but the music was a major contributor to the emotional connections I was able to make throughout the series. In terms of character voicing and SFX, they were the same to me as every other slice-of-life anime series. Nothing special, just following the mold of slice-of-life high school comedy.
Character (7): "Wait! I thought you were able to learn lessons from these characters!?"
Yes I did say that. I also said I thought one of the above said characters was flat (no pun intended) and was not dynamic or interesting in any way. These characters fill in certain slice-of-life archetypes like Yuuko being the Mary Sue of the series and Run, the nice girl who is unfortunately the oblivious airhead. This is much like Mio and Yui respectively from K-On! Not that I have with said archetypes, sometimes it can get a bit repetitive. Yes, it's true. Girls do bicker and talk about the most trifle of things such as body weight, homework, or cute things, but I see and hear that already in real life. Yes, when exaggerated in anime form it can be very humorous, but this still doesn't dismiss the fact that I have heard these petty conversations that can get old and boring in a heartbeat. A-Channel pulls the character interactions and archetypes well, just like every other moe slice-of-life blob I have seen. There is no complex character development. Even Tooru, who goes through the most change, doesn't really go through THAT much change. Simply put, the characters were good, but not amazing or spectacular.
Enjoyment (7): While the comedy was humorous and managed to steal a laugh from me here and there I wasn't laughing hysterically like I did with Yuru Yuri or Lucky Star. The main selling point for me was the warm and fuzzy scenes in each episode. I was able to make a lot of connections and learned a few things from A-Channel. The entertainment level as a comedy was pretty low since I've seen many slice-of-life moe series already, but the everyday lessons learned from this series is something unique that I seldom get from most anime series.
Overall (8): No point in beating the dead horse. In short, if you like slice-of-life moe series despite the lack of depth the series presents, then by all means watch it. Maybe you'll take something from it like I have. If you're here find nonstop fits of laughter, this is not the anime for you.
Ever fallen a little bit in love with an anime character? That's "moe" you're feeling! Characters that are particularly cute—or "kawaii"—get lots of affection, whether it's for their looks or their actions. Here are 15 "moe" girls you'll wish you could give a big hug!