After the very first PV, I think a lot of people were excited due to this show’s yuri potential, and now that it’s wrapped up, does Amanchu! make waves or does it tread water? Let’s find out~
After moving from Tokyo, Futaba Ooki is starting a new life at a new school in a new town. After leaving her friends behind, she’s like a fish out of water in this quiet seaside town, but on the first day of school, Futaba meets someone who not only changes her outlook on this new life of hers, but also opens her eyes to the wonderful world of diving. Amanchu! is a story of the bond that forms between these two girls and the experiences they share together as members of the Diving Club.
Coming from the same author and director of Aria/Aria The Animation, Amanchu! holds a similar love of the water as Aria, yet it’s very much able to get by on its own merits. And let me just say that it’s nice to have a slice of life anime that revolves around something different like scuba diving. Even though the setting happens to involve a school club, this isn’t exactly your typical cute girls doing cute things anime. In some ways, Amanchu! reminded me a little bit of Aoi Hana. Obviously, this isn’t a pure yuri anime—and unlike Aoi Hana, there’s some actual comedy involved in Amanchu!—but the personalities of the two main characters, the emphasis on the strong friendship between said characters, and the down-to-earth, character-driven entertainment definitely gives me some mild AH flashbacks.
I like the more comical and silly slice of life shows as much as the next person, but I think it’s refreshing to get something like this every once in a while. While the story itself isn’t very original, I’d say it’s the growth of Futaba and Hikari that makes the story, and overall, there’s a sense of heart that’s missing in many other slice of life anime. I expected the diving-related portions of the show to be more prevalent, but I was pleasantly surprised that that wasn’t always the case and that there were plenty of other things going on as well. So even though the story in this anime mostly centers on the newfound friendship involving Futaba and Hikari, a healthy dose of comedy and a rather unique scenario helped make the story a little more novel and enjoyable to watch for me.
There have been a few mentions of them already, so who are Futaba and Hikari? Personality-wise, the two of them fit into familiar roles as the shy and quiet introvert (Futaba) and the cheery and outgoing free spirit that helps Futaba open up and build new relationships with others (Hikari). Given how sweet she is, Futaba comes off as very likable character that’s easy to root for, and even though she’s quite different, Hikari complements her nicely. Hikari can be a little grating, but these two are adorable together, and when you consider that there are only about six or so characters that play a significant role, we see a whole lot of them.
Of the supporting characters, Katori-sensei heads the list, and other than Futaba, she may be my favorite character in the show. She’s almost seems like an older sister to the two girls, and watching Hikari get under her skin was probably one of the most enjoyable things for me. The Ninomiya twins, Ai and Makoto, were also entertaining, even if I found the former to be much more so than the latter. These other characters are all well and good, but we all know which duo people were tuning in to see, so let’s get back to them.
Although there isn’t any actual yuri in Amanchu!, I think it’s impossible for any person in their right mind to not ship Futaba and Hikari. As Pikari helps guide Teko along towards her goal of becoming an open water diver, the two are nearly inseparable, and the subtext is very obvious. That’s what kind of bugs me about this show. Based on the overall tone and the themes presented, it would’ve been absolutely perfect as a pure yuri anime. By the end of the last episode, a little kiss wouldn’t have felt out of place at all, but all their love talk should already be enough to make a lot of yuri fans happy. Despite having to settle for just subtext (albeit a lot of it), Amanchu! was a nice treat that gave us something to hold us over until the next anime shows up that deals with the yuri relationship in a sweet—and mostly serious—way~
When watching this anime, what immediately stood out for me was definitely the faces that popped up during the more comedic moments. I mean, just look at that screenshot. That happens quite a lot (especially with Hikari), and it just adds to the charm of the series. Other than that, this is generally a nice-looking anime that I feel benefits somewhat from the seaside setting where it takes place. Also, I enjoyed the fact that the levels of moe don’t hit critical levels like they do in other anime in the genre. By that I mean that proportionately, the characters look more like actual people, rather than four-foot-tall lolis (if you overlook the numerous moments of super deformedness). And while the show wasn’t at all bad to look at, it’s the music that I thought overshadowed it.
I think that arguably the biggest contributing factor behind the easygoing vibe of this anime has to be the background music. It’s kind of amazing the effect a simple acoustic guitar can have, and you’ll find it used extensively in this show. Once you throw in the piano music interspersed throughout, you have what amounts to a extremely pleasant-sounding soundtrack that reallly suits what’s happening on-screen. And how about that OP?! I don’t know how anyone could listen to that and not love it. For me, it’s just one of those uplifting songs that makes you feel good and perfectly embodies what this anime is all about. All in all, the music was very well done, and I feel it definitely adds a lot to the viewing experience.
As charming as it is calming, Amanchu! is a tranquil slice of life whose substantial yuri subtext strengthens its appeal and makes this a more heartfelt take on the genre. While not perfect, I think it’s a welcome addition for those who enjoy cute girls doing cute things and just yuri-ish anime in general.