Sep 23, 2016
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 ✘
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