Random Curiosity

Amanchu! – 02 »

Amanchu! – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「Million Clouds」 by 河野伸 (Sakamoto Maaya)

「少女と海のコト」 (Shoujo to Umi no Koto)
“The Story of the Girl and the Ocean”

I can’t find any subs for the last of ARIA right now, so let’s go for another Amano Kozue manga adaptation instead: Amanchu!. Now, I noted in the preview for the series that Amanchu! is definitely not ARIA, and I stand by that. It should have been evident immediately in this pilot when the OP didn’t melt into the episode as it does in ARIA, and so even though the two series share the same director there’s definitely a conscious decision being made here to distinguish Amanchu! from its predecessor. I think the most obvious sign, though, that Amanchu! is not a earthbound clone of ARIA is the exclamation mark in its title. ARIA is not really an ‘exclamation mark’ sort of series, while Amanchu! may prove itself worthy of its punctuation yet.

I imagine that, despite my insistence otherwise I will probably be comparing Amanchu! to ARIA! quite a lot anyway. Partially it’s because you should do what I say, not what I do, but also because while Amanchu! may not be a genetic copy of ARIA it is at least a distant cousin. Stylistically, one can easily spot the the same love of unique, super-deformed faces for every character. Thematically, it’s similarly easy to spot that Amanchu!, like ARIA, talks of natural wonder and of zest for life. Ultimately, though, every Amano Kozue work is about only one thing, and that is cats. Amano’s on true love, blob-shaped cats. Sometimes, I wonder whether the soul-healing properties attributed to Amano-sensei’s manga and subsequent anime are the product of any particular magic, or whether it’s just because everybody likes cats.

The most notable difference between Amanchu! and ARIA, though, is something I think is made clearest in some adaptation decisions for this pilot, so I should probably talk about both at once. Overall, Amanchu! looks to be a fairly faithful adaptation of the manga right down to the art style, as I’ve noted, but manga readers may notice that this episode’s proceedings do not match source exactly. I personally don’t have a problem with this, partially because as far as I’m concerned director Satou Junichi can do no wrong, but mostly because I can see why it was done. You see, in the manga, the first few chapters had more focus on Kohinata ‘Pikari’ Hikari (Suzuki Eri), but that was scaled back somewhat for this episode. I’m glad they did this, because it shows that our good director and his team gets it. While Pikari does tend to attract more attraction, she’s not the protagonist; it’s, really co-star Ooki ‘Teko’ Futaba (Kayano Ai). And of course she’s the protagonist; in class she’s seated second from the back, next to the windows, which is traditionally reserved for protagonists everywhere. Familiar dynamic? Perhaps. Point is, though, that much of Amanchu! is from Futaba’s point of view, and she’s really the inverse of ARIA‘s own protagonist, which changes some of the dynamics. Amanchu! is in large part the story of Futaba’s growth from the insecure introvert she is today.

Amanchu! won’t be getting into it’s other big thing—SCUBA diving—with any real depth (pun!) until next week, so be sure to at least stick around for that as well, if this week interested you in any way. That’s right, Amanchu! is a sports anime as well! I personally knew very little about diving before Amanchu!, so this angle, which Amanchu! is surprisingly technical about, was rather interesting for me, and could be for you as well. Healing, and educational. Amanchu! really can’t go wrong.

As is our custom now, Random Curiosity won’t be settling on which shows its writers will be picking up full time until the waters have been tested a few weeks into the season. If you have any particular views about coverage of Amanchu!, please be sure to let us know in the comments.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「ふたり少女」 (Futari Shoujo) by てこぴかり: 茅野愛衣, 鈴木絵理 (Tekopikari: Kayano Ai, Suzuki Eri)

Preview

July 9, 2016 at 9:58 am
31 comments »
  • July 9, 2016 at 10:22 amAlec Cortez

    I was comparing this series to Aria as I watched it, and I felt bad for doing so.
    This isn’t Aria, and it’s fine. We don’t need a spiritual successor to Aria (I doubt we will even see one ever) I’m fine with this anime being just one of those awesome and unique SOL animes ever made.

    Junichi Sato is the king of SOL, so he can do whatever the heck he wants and nobody would question it

    • July 9, 2016 at 12:39 pmPasserby

      That’s the spirit. Amanchu! shall make its own case, whatever similarities or differences with ARIA it may have.

      • July 9, 2016 at 1:19 pmJayDrink

        Ha, suckers! I haven’t seen Aria, so I’m free to enjoy this show without the curse of automatically drawing comparisons.

        .. or am I the sucker for having missed out on Aria? Perhaps..

      • July 9, 2016 at 3:15 pmAlec

        You’re missing out on Aria.

        In my opinion, it’s the greatest “pure” slice of life anime ever created.

  • July 9, 2016 at 10:41 amLitho

    I liked this. Doesn’t need to hide behind useless terms like “mono no aware” (which really is just a weasel word for “monotonous”). Proper slice of life vibes.

    • July 9, 2016 at 12:38 pmPasserby

      That’s not what that means at all, I’m afraid.

      • July 9, 2016 at 1:39 pmLitho

        No, it really is. You’ll just in denial, constantly trying to convince yourself that Shinkai is worth a damn.

      • July 9, 2016 at 7:58 pmPasserby

        Er, I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else.

  • July 9, 2016 at 10:42 amWanderer

    While the early chapters focus on Futaba, there are plenty of other chapters where she is not the narrator. We have seen things from Pikari’s perspective more than once, from the teacher’s perspective, from SPOILER! NOT INTRODUCED YET’s perspective, and others. This isn’t a series that’s so simple as to have a single person that you can nail down and say “this is the protagonist,” nor can you say “Futaba overcoming her shyness and opening up more to the people and the wonders of life around her is the theme of the series,” because the series isn’t so simple as to have a narrowly defined theme. While the above is a thing that happens, it’s not the purpose or focus of the series.

    In other news, those creatuers people call cats look suspiciously like flesh eating aliens to me. Face splits right up the middle with teeth on both sides? That’s just horrifying. :P

    • July 9, 2016 at 12:37 pmPasserby

      I do overly generalise, definitely, but my main point was that ARIA was told mostly from Akari’s point of view, and that Futaba is her inverse, which makes for a different tale. I do think that Futaba’s growth is fairly central, though of course the main cast all have their own stories that are prominent as well.

  • July 9, 2016 at 10:46 amET

    I think I’m going to be in the minority when I say I didn’t like what I saw. I’ve watched plenty of slice of life anime over the years but Amanchu just seemed to rub me the wrong way. Hikari is a big part of the reason why. Far from being endearing, she has the personality of a muppet, which matches that face of hers which she shows 90% of the time.

    Probably going to give it another episode but it looks like this one isn’t for me.

    • July 9, 2016 at 12:34 pmPasserby

      She’s a bit manic pixie dream girl right now, I suppose, but 1) oi, don’t knock muppets 2) she has other dimensions too, but will of course only receive a lot of fleshing out later down the line. I would never go so far as to say that Amanchu! is for everyone, of course, and it may well be not for you, especially in terms of its unique aesthetics. Your own tastes will be the best judge, naturally.

  • July 9, 2016 at 12:53 pmWorldwidedepp

    Sorry, this “Low Budget” smiling face type is used to often and turned into Poison for me…

    • July 9, 2016 at 8:01 pmHanabira.Kage

      It’s not being used to save budget here. It’s the mangaka’s trademark; you’ll find them all over her works.

      • July 11, 2016 at 9:32 amWorldwidedepp

        i am so sorry, but if i would see this faces in the Manga it would be okay for me, but not in an Anime. Just a mouth line and 2 “alike ” eyes, are not an human face, okay for jokes, but here it is overused, and this “no harm” turned into “poison” for me

        I am so sorry

  • July 9, 2016 at 12:58 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    I actually loved the expressions XD

    “Pork soup!”

  • July 9, 2016 at 1:14 pmSeedStriker

    It’s really amazing that you can found a level of animation so enormus in a premiere in an era where normally you couldn’t found something remotely close to that in a whole season run. The art work is something that just blow your senses. Not only Pikari and Teko look amazingly gorgeous, the whole setting is breathtaking.
    Having read almost 3 volumes of the manga, I’m pleased with the first episode of the series, which is clearly a ray of hope in a season that is clearly sub-par. Remember, this is not Aria, but that doesn’t mean that this story won’t get you into the same happiness feeling our beloved Undines used to do for us. Different approach, but glorious SoL.

  • July 9, 2016 at 1:17 pmJayDrink

    I expected this to instantly go into the scuba diving side of things, instead we get this slow, calming introductory episode which made me already fall in love with this anime. But it worries me at the same time.. If this is going to be a sports anime, and I enjoyed the first episode which was completely devoid of sports, then it all comes down to how that part of the show acts out starting next episode.

    Although I get the feeling I’ll be following this either way, I love the atmosphere! :D

    • July 9, 2016 at 7:59 pmHanabira.Kage

      It’s a sports series in the sense that it’s (mostly) about a sport, which is scuba diving in this case. It’s not at all like Free! or Haikyuu! where there is heavy emphasis on the sport of choice and competitions. Amanchu! is really just an SoL series about people who really like scuba diving as a hobby, but because it’s an SoL it isn’t always talking about diving. There’s more of an emphasis on the characters and just having fun in general.

  • July 9, 2016 at 5:15 pmmac65

    Nice, warm startup up to a pleasant looking series.
    Loved the ED (and the OP as well). Just my speed.

  • July 9, 2016 at 5:58 pmNaweGR

    “If you have any particular views about coverage of Amanchu!, please be sure to let us know in the comments.”

    Please, please, please, please, please, please cover this.

    Please.

    No really – please.

    • July 9, 2016 at 7:57 pmPasserby

      Noted.

      • July 9, 2016 at 8:17 pmBrahmaputrastt

        Too add to this, randomc has never done a full review on any series by Kozue Amano’s (aside from OVAs), so I think this will be a great opportunity to do so :3

        Oh how I dream for a proper episodic review of Aria the Origination…

    • July 10, 2016 at 1:19 amWanderer

      Please.

    • July 14, 2016 at 11:35 amzeroyuki92

      Super late comment just to add one more please.

      To add some more things: While it has a rather different feeling and direction, Amanchu has one same character with her older sister: You watch it first with skepticism, finished the episode with calm and positive mind. Healing of the season with Amaama.

  • July 9, 2016 at 7:11 pmNamaewoinai

    I would like to have an alternate title for this show:
    The Life of Barnacle and Oyster XDDDDDD…Oops…I Mean Look at those Facial Expressions Man!

    So Mr. Junichi Satou had it again Well…unfortunately for him he had a rival, you know the man who directing this show

    Still, It’s Good to be back on this one, so yeah, I’am looking forward to it…

  • July 9, 2016 at 7:35 pms_w

    This is the one series I was looking forward to the most this season. Amano-sensei’s artwork always looks good animated. LET THE HEALING COMMENCE!

  • July 9, 2016 at 7:48 pmLonghaul

    I couldn’t help thinking of a certain song by Sir Mix-a-Lot while watching this.

  • July 9, 2016 at 7:55 pmHanabira.Kage

    Technically both Hikari and Futaba are the main protagonists. They get pretty much equal screentime and focus, made even more evident by the two chapters that show them waking up and getting ready to go out in panels placed side-by-side

  • July 17, 2016 at 1:55 amJack

    For fuck sake Passerby stop comparing this to ARIA. Try to give a review without being a bias asshole, it’s maybe by a same creator but it doesn’t mean you have to overshadow it like that.

    • July 17, 2016 at 2:20 amWorldwidedepp

      for fuck sake, could be more polite?