Amanchu! is the only show I was looking forward to this season. Coming from the same author of the beloved Aria, Kozue Amano, Amanchu! retains the quality of its predecessor’s gentle touch and added a slightly upbeat twist to it (probably why there’s an exclamation mark in the title). Amanchu! certainly looks great on paper. Directed by Junichi Sato and Kenichi Kasai, it’s no doubt we’re in safe hands from these two slice-of-life veterans. Additionally, J.C Staff seems to be getting the knack for this genre as they’ve already proven their mettle through Flying Witch‘s success last season. Surely, nothing can go wrong, aye? Hmm, so long as I see Choro Club or Takeshi Senoo‘s name he — oh wait, they’re not doing the OST! Yipes. You see, Choro Club and Senoo did most of the OST for Aria and they are undeniably one of the reason for the show’s success, and it would make more sense if they will be in Amanchu! too. Well, I’m glad to tell you that that won’t really be a problem. GONTITI, a group I haven’t heard of before, actually manages to bring the same level of atmosphere Choro Club imbued to Aria, and that’s a good thing. Honestly, I would’ve been led to believe Choro Club is still doing the OST given how familiar the BGM is until I checked ANN’s page. I’m kinda pedantic on this part given that the music is a very important aspect in this genre, though I guess from what I’ve heard so far, GONTITI’s tune deserves an A+.
Anyways, I’ll refrain from comparing Amanchu! to other similar shows (specially Aria because I haven’t finished that yet). As per usual, minor spoilers ahead! If you haven’t watched the episode yet, do it. Now. Okay? Okay.
Rejoice, yuri fanatics! The chemistry and balance between the energetic Hikari Kohinata (Eri Suzuki) and the introverted Futaba Ooki (Kayano Ai) is simply begging to be shipped (no pun intended). They are basically polar opposites of each other, and that’s probably what attracts them together from the very start. I’d like to think that Pikari is a crashing wave, whilst Teko is a gently receding tide; two sides of the same coin. I did say that Amanchu! is upbeat, but that’s mainly because of Pikari’s frenetic attitude. I wouldn’t say that having such a character is a minus for a genre such as this, rather, it’s actually a breath of fresh air. There’s an inherent peacefulness found inside almost all iyashikei show, but Amanchu! seems to be a bit different as Pikari reminds me of an entropy inside a system. However, regardless if we have an overly genki character, it doesn’t really sway or disrupt the quaint atmosphere the show is trying to convey – it simply adds to it. Amanchu! balances this through the use of its visual and audio nuances. Really, it’s no different from other iyashikei show’s formula and I’d just keep parroting myself if I delve too much about it. So anyway what is Amanchu’s selling point in this first episode?
So far, the pilot episode promises the makings of a great iyashikei show, however, I’d like to believe that we’ll see a bit more character progression here in contrast to the slow unraveling we often are treated to. Amanchu! starts off fresh: we have two characters who are new to the world of high-school. To Pikari, it’s simply yet another paradise she needs to conquer; to Teko, it’s full of uncertainties. Given this scenario, the plot left space for the two to build up a connection — to two of them and to us viewers — which is somewhat different from Flying Witch whose characters are already acquainted with one another. For all I know, Pikari and Teko is probably going to start a Scuba Diving club, and they’ll both experience hurdles managing the said club whilst developing their outlook along the way. This, I think is what’s going to be the meat of Amanchu!.
I do love the character designs here as well as the coloring scheme. The designs are rather alluring than aesthetically beautiful. It’s not everyday I see a school whose skirt for girls reaches ankle-length. Ironically, I actually find this a bit fan-servicey given that instead of showing an extra layer of skin, the uniform serves to enunciate Pikari and Teko’s curves instead. Well, I guess that’s just my corrupted mind kicking-in but it can be a bit distracting at times everytime they show a provoking shot. On that note, I’ve seen mixed reactions to the chibi-muppet faces the characters are doing. I didn’t mind this at all given that the ahoge and normal look is still balanced in-between, and that it didn’t really affect the playful/toned down mood the show is conveying. Again, balance is everything. I do think that things like this will take time for viewers to get used to. In the end, it may just be one of those features we’ll come to miss from our characters. Fun fact: Pikari is reminding me both of a kappa, and Yotsuba.
Short thoughts to end this post:
- I don’t know how to swim. I developed a trauma wherein I almost drowned in the pool — all because I wanted to impress my mom I can do dog paddle.
- How does that tub work under water? I mean, how can you trap the air in the first place?!
- Some of the VAs from Flying Witch are actually in this show. Well, we have to count Ai Kayano who voiced a freaking hamster.
I’m liking what I’m seeing so far. It certainly has that Aria touch to it which should be enough for me to keep watching. That reminds me, I should finish Aria soon. I guess I’ll do just that. See you guys next week!