「猫と子猫のコト」 (Neko to Koneko no Koto)
“The Story of the Cat and the Kitten”
Many thanks to Zephyr for helping me with the screencaps this episode.
At last, in the 11th episode, the final member of the major character is added to the cast: the second cat. Yes, although I’ve made a big deal before about Teko being the protagonist of Amanchu!, in truth the most persistent, ubiquitous characters on any Amano Kozue work are feline. This tiny thing has been in the ED this entire time; it’s about time it introduced itself. And so, more cats. I’m sure cat lovers everywhere have no cause for complaint, especially when it comes to kittens. In anime, those things are nothing less than blobs of cute. In a less idealistic setting, though, I would caution against just picking up some stray in the wild and taking it home with you. Blobs of cute, maybe, but also blobs of loose fur, fleas, and rabies. Just let it die, girls. It’ll be good for the local ecosystem.
Being the 11th episode, though, it’s not really the time to look forward with new characters, but to look back. My view of penultimate episodes is that they should ultimately be holistic, to reflect on how far the show has come before drawing to a conclusion. And I think that’s what Amanchu! is trying to do here, right before Teko’s final step to at last being to go ocean diving with her friends. Certainly, Teko and Pikari’s little ad hoc outing is staged primarily for, besides prodding us to admire the work of the background artists, letting Teko ruminate a bit on her character development. I think it’s clear from her internal monologue that she’shas come a long way since she first moved to Ito. Her little adventure with the kitten just goes to reinforce that. It’s true that Teko has been more or less nurtured by a lot of good people ever since she moved to Ito, so that she may grow from being a frail and insecure thing to… well, a less frail and insecure thing. And that experience inspires her to do the same for another. It’s all part of Amanchu!‘s philosophy, about the positive energy that makes the world go ’round.
Speaking of which, there’s a story behind the cats. Long time ARIA fans will definitely remember that Aria and Hime were the presidents of the Aria Company and Himeya in Amano Kozue’s earlier work. She actually owned cats in real-life called Aria and Hime, and they did seem to have a thing for each other. Sadly, during the run of the ARIA manga, Hime died. Aria followed soon after. Clearly, Amano-sensei’s cats were a very personal part of her creations. And now, things have come around again. It may only be a small, even cheeky gesture, but I’m strangely pleased. I’m not sure why.
Due to personal circumstances, next week’s Amanchu! post will be late. Apologies for the inconvenience in advance.