The Spring 2018 Anime Preview Guide
How would you rate episode 1 of
Amanchu! Advance ?
What is this?
How was the first episode?
Amanchu shares both its director and its original creator with the Aria series, and the inevitable comparisons between the two don't do this title any favors. It lacks Aria's fantastic setting, and that firmer grounding in reality makes it harder for Amanchu to capture those little moments of magic that made Aria special. That said, the first season was a perfectly competent slice of life show, and this direct sequel looks like it will at least be able to continue carrying that genre torch.
This episode adopts the series' usual leisurely pace, taking plenty of time to bask in the atmosphere of each scene. The mild comedy returns as well, most of it courtesy of Pikari's antics and Teko's reactions to them. The jokes tend to be amusing rather than hilarious, but they do benefit from solid timing. Teko's last-second intervention during Pikari's hot spring dilemma is executed well, and the group chemistry between them and the rest of the diving club remains pleasantly strong.
There's a brief recap here for returning viewers, which is thankfully unobtrusive but will probably be insufficient for anyone who hasn't seen the first season. Once that's out of the way, the episode gets to work setting up its mostly harmless storyline. There's some sense of conflict (or at least minor concern) as Teko contemplates the possibility of being separated from Pikari at some point in the future, but it doesn't quite rise to the level of genuine drama. Instead, it acts as a convenient excuse for the heroines to reflect on their relationship and reaffirm their friendship. While it's not what I'd call a compelling storyline, it works reasonably well as a starting point for the new season.
The priority here seems to be easing the audience slowly and steadily back into the show's familiar atmosphere, and that goal is accomplished by the end of the episode. The good and bad news is that not much appears to have changed from the first season, meaning that viewers who aren't already fans of this particular niche will likely be bored to death by the slow pacing and low stakes. If, on the other hand, you're looking for a show that specializes in taking in the scenery and talking about friendship, Amanchu Advance looks like it'll be a nice continuation of the series.
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