Amanchu!
Episode 5

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Amanchu! ?

In the wake of episode 4's emotionally charged second half, this week's Amanchu! takes a turn for the silly. As much as I enjoyed exploring Futaba's personality in greater detail, I think this show is most charming when it avoids taking itself too seriously. I'm looking forward to seeing more character drama before all is said and done, but a comedy-focused breather is a great way to break up some of the palpable tension we all felt at the end of last week's installment.

Episode 5 introduces us to the Diving Club's other two members, Ninomiya Ai and Makoto, the fraternal twins we met in the first half of last week's episode. None too pleased with Hikari and Futaba's unauthorized entrance into the club room a few weeks back, the headstrong Ai viciously pursues the girls all over campus after becoming aware that they're her kohai. Fortunately, Ai is just as quick to forgive as she is to get angry, ensuring that the borderline break-in is water under the bridge in the episode's second half, when all four club members attempt to make a long-term plan for their club moving forward. Although a good portion of the meeting is spent creating an intricate diving-themed mural on the chalkboard, the group decides that Futaba needs to obtain an entry-level Open Water Diver Certification—presumably paving the way for some major hurdles in the coming weeks. The mural is actually the closest thing we get to an underwater sequence this week. Despite the group's best efforts at holding a serious meeting, Makoto and Ai don't hesitate to join in the fun when they catch Hikari doodling on the board.

For the most part, Ai and Makoto are an effective comic duo and make interesting additions to the main cast. The extended chase sequence in which Ai doggedly pursues Pikari and Teko all over school grounds is easily one of the show's comedic highlights. Whereas Hikari is consistently loopy, Ai is unpredictable—sweet one moment, seething with rage the next. Additionally, her long-suffering brother Makoto is a serviceable comic foil, though there's nothing particularly noteworthy about him at present. His sister constantly treating him like a doormat has already started to wear a little thin, but given this show's track record, both of these characters are likely to be given more depth in the near future. I doubt they'll prove to be anywhere near as fascinating or complex as the main duo, but Amanchu! has surprised me before.

Despite being completely bereft of underwater scenes, episode 5 is among the series' stronger entries. The absence of in-depth diving lectures gives the main cast plenty of time to strut their stuff and put their individual quirks on full display; the addition of Ai and Makoto helps expand the show's world and makes things a little less insulated. While Pikari and Teko are still undeniably the main focus, I love that they now have some like-minded peers to interact with.

Rating: A-

Amanchu! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Amy is a YA fantasy author who has loved anime for over two decades.


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