Believe it or not, I’m having difficulties deciding whether I liked this first episode or not. And it really is surprising that I’m having difficulties, because this show’s genres – comedy, slice of life, school – are ones that I am greatly lenient toward, because I don’t expect shows like this to have a complex story, characters or anything like that. And that’s the case here as well. The show is about the members of an art club, but it’s not a serious show about art. The art is used as a vehicle for jokes and references (pleasantly surprised to see references to historical artists), but other than that it doesn’t really matter that it’s an art club that the characters are in.
And on one hand, and as I already said, I don’t mind that as long as the humour is good, which it was. To boot, the animation was also quite good, and it made some of the funny scenes even funnier. On the other hand, the show is not all humour and references. It actually tries it hand at serious scenes (even though the seriousness may sometimes just be the setup for a later joke), and I really didn’t care about those. Romance and/or drama is not something I’m looking for in this show. In addition, I think the character designs and backgrounds are really dull. The aforementioned animation makes up for some of it, but it’s never eye candy. And this unusual balance between pros and cons means that I can’t decide if this is a show I want to continue watching. I think I’ll give this show the benefit of the doubt and continue for now, but it’s definitely on the chopping block.
Verdict: Some good elements, some bad elements, hard to decide. For now, though, I’ll give it a second chance.
Yeah, it turns out my expectations for Amanchu were not set too high, because this first episode was about as wonderful as they come. It reminded me a lot of Aria, but not so much that they feel same-y. The music naturally reminded me of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou (I say “naturally” because the music in both shows is done by the same artist), but I was surprised to see that some of the visual details, such as the bike Futaba rides as well as the whirling leaves in the first school scene, felt like they were taken straight out of YKK. On closer inspection the bikes aren’t even the same colour, but I made the comparison in my head anyway.
The story of Amanchu is not the most unique: It’s about the meeting of two girls, one who has always lived where the story is set and one who is new in town. This element is common to Kozue Amano’s other notable work, Aria, as well as Tamayura, which is an original work by director Junichi Satou, and it sort of exists even in Princess Tutu (also by Satou). The specific details of this story and setting really work for me, though. I love the sea, and I feel like this show puts more emphasis on the open sea than Aria ever did, so I’m excited to see (no pun intended) where this story goes.
Well, I mean, I know where it’s going to go, Hikari will take Futaba scuba diving and a relationship will form between them. To be more specific, I’m interested in seeing how the story about these characters and this setting will be told, because if the first episode was anything to go by, the storytelling is going to be topnotch. The first episode was basically just a long character introduction, and I think it was a very good one. It made it very clear that Hikari and Futaba have very different personalities, but it also gave them enough time to interact with each other in order to bridge those differences. In that sense, parts of the first episode felt very “show, don’t tell”, so that was good. Well, ok, the teacher’s speech was pretty unsubtle, but that’s ok. Not everything needs to be subtle. My love for this show certainly isn’t.
Verdict: As expected, this was one of my favourite premieres of the season so far. Definitely continuing and finishing this.