This week’s Amanchu! is strikingly reminiscent of Aria. From the basic structure, tone, to composition, even the absence of a visually stunning scene didn’t impede the show’s ability to connect with the viewers.
Episode 6 is basically all about Teko as we see her come to terms with herself on what she really wanted to do. She literally was under the weather given at how drab and dreary the earlier parts of the episode were, but the change in atmosphere and color gradient to a warm and fuzzy feel had more impact to me as the audience than just a simple way to depict a character’s mood or expression. Within the iyashikei field of genre, being able to connect to a character is an important factor when it comes to bringing a sense of vicarious tranquility to the audience. Of course, the technical aspects of the show — visuals, music, directing, etc. — plays into that, but what stood out for me this episode is on how Aria-esque it felt like.
I’m not really saying that the previous episodes didn’t have that Aria touch to it, it’s just that this episode in particular is the closest Amanchu! feels like to its predecessor. The most obvious comparison is on how this episode’s structure/narrative panned out. It’s simple and straightforward: introduce a dilemma, subject character on the said dilemma, resolve issue as the climax afterwards. Episode 6 wasn’t divided into two parts — unlike the previous episodes wherein the first part is often upbeat and funny, with the latter focusing more on a gentle and soothing pay-off — and this allowed us to digest Teko’s uncertainties and struggles even further. We’re with her from the very start to the very end — it’s a single, continuous stroke with no disconnect in-between.
Surprisingly, the lack of visual eye-candies this episode also played a part in becoming an Aria nostalgia trip. Dated during the later part of the 2000’s, Aria isn’t exactly a visual masterpiece despite its famed atmosphere, though the show makes up for it through the use of its settings to depict a natural expression of mood. This week’s Amanchu! is a prime example of that, given at how the warm and reddish tinge of a sunset during the climax easily blanketed Teko’s initially gloomy mood. It wasn’t as elegant as with how they animate these scenes before, but given at how they managed to imbue an organic and natural level of atmosphere to it through the setting’s nuances, I suddenly had the urge to watch Aria after this.
As far as embarrassing remarks goes — something Aria is infamous for — episode 6 isn’t lacking in any of those as Katori-sensei actually managed to say something really, really cool to cap the episode off.
Wishes, hopes, and aspirations aren’t something you need to have. Of course, having them isn’t a bad thing, but not having them isn’t a problem either.
Oftentimes, we are hung up on achieving a goal we set upon ourselves, only to fall short in the end. However, just because we are so intent on making that wish come true, we lose sight of what was in front of us the whole time: possibilities. Something as broad as “I want to be a scuba diver because of Pikari” is in itself isn’t a bad thing, but then again it limits you to what you really want to accomplish. I can somewhat relate to this considering that I took a Major in Chemistry during university, and it never really occurred to me that my passion will lie somewhere else. Instead of following a certain predetermined someone opened up for you, why not explore the outskirts instead, and see where it will lead you? For Teko, taking it step by step is her answer, and that’s totally fine. Allowing yourself a time to grasp the situation, layer by layer, is a perfect way to deliberate whether or not you are on the right path — you don’t need to force yourself to something you can’t do just because someone told you to do this/that.
The character development doesn’t only extend to Teko, as we actually get a glimpse of Pikari’s own stance and mindset. I did mention during one of my Amanchu! post (or maybe not) that Pikari may have been a lone/casted out kid during her younger years. She did say that she has trouble speaking what’s on her mind, and needed the help of a whistle to express herself. This is somewhat unusual given at how bright and bubbly her personality is, and her search for a “friend” or a partner further makes sense in the context of her wish: I want Teko’s wish to come true. Perhaps she doesn’t really have a wish in mind at that time. Perhaps she’s just very selfless person. Or perhaps, she simply want to see her friend — her soul sister, soulmate — to be happy. After all, isn’t that what a true friend will wish for? Well, except from their usual pranks and hijinks, of course.
- The shipping undertone in this episode is a strong one.
- Pikari’s outfit is… chic.
- Normally, we cast ourselves out socially if we find it nigh impossible in making friends, though the longer we become secluded, the more we ache to have someone to talk to normally as a friend. That’s partly of how I came to the idea of Pikari’s back story.
- It’s all right, Teko. I don’t know how to swim either.
- In fact, I can’t even last a second when water gets in my eyes.
I guess that’s it for this episode! I’ll see you guys next week. And oh, I apologize for talking about Aria in length. Though I have to assume you’ve watched Aria too if you’re enjoying Amanchu! Otherwise, watch it. Now.