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Amanchu! – 07 »« Amanchu! – 05

Amanchu! – 06

「ホントじゃない願いのコト」 (Honto ja Nai Negai no Koto)
“The Story of the False Wish”

If anime has taught me anything that anime has taught me—it being a font of infinite and practical wisdom, as cartoons are—it’s that women teachers are crazy drivers. Okay, that’s just mostly Azumanga Daioh, but I still somehow have this impression that there is something about Japan that compels their female educators to drive very bad cars very recklessly. Something in the water. I know there are those who think very poorly of the rigid gender roles in Japan, and the stereotypes enforced by media like anime, and I sympathise, but while a proper feminist would rail against social pressures on Japanese career women, Passerby just wonders what the deal is with their ladies and ad hoc motorsports. Japan certainly has an affinity with fast cars—hence the Tokyo and the drifting—but the men all follow the Initial D model of stoic, hardcore road kings while women are all lunatics.

Truth in television, I think they call it. *zing*

My real, slightly less sexist point is that Azumanga Daioh had conditioned me, as Pavlov’s Dog, to expect Sensei to drive off a cliff. A very scenic cliff, if you want (look, Amanchu! is pretty!), but I expected a cliff. When no horrific accident materialised and they all arrived at their destination safe and sound I suffered a split second of confusion. It just goes to show the difference between a pure slice-of-life like Amanchu! and a comedy (or a horror). In only a slightly different genre, the road trip would have ended very differently.

Not that this episode was really about driving around, of course. That was mostly to show off the town and some of its landmark locations. That’s important stuff, because Amanchu! does seem to want to inspire us to look around more (and not just to catch Pokemon), but we’re mostly here for the sake of Teko’s character development (as usual). Finally, her deep dark secret is revealed: she’s joining the diving club, but the only swimming style she knows is the brick-stroke. I had actually forgotten this little detail, since swimming ability is mostly taken for granted down here in Australia. Swimming is part of the school curriculum. It’s actually a citizenship requirement. At the ceremony everyone would get the certificate, sing the national anthem, then all jump into the pool. If you drown, you’re instantly deported. And those who don’t are witches.

It’s good to see how far Teko has come since the first episode, or indeed, since she was a sad little thing with no friends. Wanting to do diving but not being able to swim is a huge obstacles, and old Teko would have been dissuaded immediately. Now, she has the determination to soldier on. Having uncommonly supportive friends helps, of course, but it’s still heartwarming that Teko has found within herself a spark of positive energy. The moral of the story seems to be: everything in baby steps.

Indeed, Amanchu! the anime seems to be taking things even slower than the manga. For example, in the manga the ‘Teko is a sad landbound mammal’ problem is addressed and dealt with in the same chapter. I am completely fine with this, as Amanchu! is best enjoyed slow, with a gentle, almost idyllic pacing. And, as always, Satou Junichi-sensei can do no wrong. Continue as you are.

 

Preview

August 13, 2016 at 8:36 am
17 comments »
  • August 13, 2016 at 9:31 amstarss

    I think it’s also due to how the percentage of people who drive/own cars is much lower in Japan than in America, so not everyone is used to the idea that a character can drive competently unless they’re extremely rich or work in a government position.

    • August 13, 2016 at 7:35 pmPasserby

      Certainly, car ownership is not so uncommon in Japan that driving is a rare skill (especially outside of metropolitan areas like in Amanchu!, where public transportation isn’t as ubiquitous).

  • August 13, 2016 at 10:16 amBear

    I’m surprised at how much I’m reacting emotionally to the story. The power of friendship is strong in this one. My jaw dropped when Teko admitted that she couldn’t swim (hell, she can’t even float!).
    http://randomc.net/image/Amanchu!/Amanchu!%20-%2006%20-%20Large%2019.jpg
    Someone like that usually can’t even get their face wet let alone go underwater. Obvious thing to do is a crash course in swimming. Given that she’s already able to go underwater the hard part is over. Now all she has to do is learn how to move.

    Your comments about Aussies and swimming supports my theory that some Australians are in the process of evolving into an amphibian species.

    Oh, and why is the cat (or whatever it is) wearing a diaper (or do you call them nappies?)

    • August 13, 2016 at 7:17 pmAoihoshikage

      “Your comments about Aussies and swimming supports my theory that some Australians are in the process of evolving into an amphibian species.” Lol.

      Just a comment regarding those in the states and swimming in Japan:
      Swimming “requirements” in the US differ by region and school. I know I had to pass a “swim test” (a.k.a. you did not drown in the pool test) back in high school. However, it’s by no means standardized as I know many people who don’t know how to swim. I personally think it’s a basic human survival skill (the world is 70% covered by water). Since I live near the ocean, I do enjoy open water swimming once in a while.

      I don’t know the stats for Japan regarding swimming ability, but I did watch an NHK world documentary that talked about the prevalence of elementary swimming pools (i.e. teaching kids to swim at a young age by requirement) and love of swimming by the Japanese. The highlight was this 100 year old lady who could back stroke a 1600 meters. Anyway, it makes me wonder if Anime simply exaggerates the inability to swim for comedic effect rather than Japanese reality, but lack of info from my Google searches, I’ll leave it as conjecture.

      • August 13, 2016 at 7:29 pmPasserby

        Australia is a bunch of islands. Japan is a bunch of islands. We should be swimming.

      • August 14, 2016 at 4:18 pmBear

        @Aoihoshikage

        DIdn’t have a swimming class till college, but I grew up on a river and swimming was what we did as kids. I was surprised at the number of other students in my college gym class that were afraid to even get their face wet.

        @Passerby

        Never thought of Australia as being a nation of islands. You’ve got one honking big main island! I’ve always looked at Australia as being a “coastal” country since the majority of the populace lives on the perimeter (as far as I know) and had well known surfers and sailors.

      • August 15, 2016 at 3:34 pmScruffy

        @Passerby & Bear

        If you want to be precise Australia is actually a continent not an island. It has it’s own continental shelf :)

    • August 14, 2016 at 1:28 amewok40k

      I was a self-taught swimmer – and actulaly first learned how to swim underwater – then to little surprise found out i can keep on the surface.

  • August 13, 2016 at 11:25 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    I think another important thing about the first part is how Teko was by herself with Katori-sensei without Pikari there to hold her hand the whole time. This really shows, considering how she started out (she would be freaking out and needing Pikari’s constant encouragement before), just how far Teko had managed to come.

    • August 13, 2016 at 7:26 pmPasserby

      Quite so. Even if Pikari herself doesn’t seem quite willing to let Teko fly completely solo.

      • August 14, 2016 at 5:18 pmBear

        I think that’s as much Pikari not wanting to fly solo herself. She doesn’t quite fit in with the kids around her and Teko is one of the few people that accepts her flakiness and all.

  • August 13, 2016 at 6:23 pmKarmafan

    I love this series (and Aria is in my top 10 all time greats) but I wish they would tone down the muppet faces a bit.

  • August 13, 2016 at 7:50 pmzztop

    Final Amanchu Bluray Vol 7 will come with a bonus OVA episode.

  • August 14, 2016 at 1:31 amewok40k

    I really liked how Pikari out of all things now gets to be all flustered and blushing… I wonder whats her wish?

    • August 14, 2016 at 1:56 amzeroyuki92

      Her wish is shown in the final scene of the episode, take a second look if you missed it :p

      • August 14, 2016 at 3:26 amewok40k

        OMG thats quite explainignwhy seh was so flustered about it… its almost an indirect love confession :P

  • August 14, 2016 at 7:38 pmKasper Hekmatyar

    “At the ceremony everyone would get the certificate, sing the national anthem, then all jump into the pool. If you drown, you’re instantly deported. And those who don’t are witches.”

    Gawddaymmit Passerby, I almost believe this one. ALMOST.

    …uh… or is it really a fact though?

    And glad to see Aria-sachou & Hime-sachou cameo in the amphitheater.
    (This episode seems full of easter eggs, including the Pokoteng Car & Ai-chan… monument?)