Sep 23, 2016
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 underestimated.

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.
Reviewer’s Rating: 8
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