by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 11 of
This week's Amanchu! tells a story that's been told on countless sitcoms, but it does so in a manner that makes the well-worn material feel fresh and original. Although next week's finale promises to place a strong emphasis on diving, the show's penultimate outing is very much disconnected from the overall plot. Fortunately, if you've enjoyed the last few installments or are simply a fan of all things adorable, episode 11 is likely to strike a positive chord.
After coming across a newborn kitten with no mother in sight, Futaba and Hikari make it their mission to find the pint-sized feline a new home. Unfortunately, Teko's apartment complex has a strict “no pets” policy, and Pikari's mother is allergic to cats, ensuring that neither girl is able to keep the kitten long-term. Futaba is particularly sympathetic to the animal's situation, since it has no one to look out for it, while she has a litany of people to depend on now. Luckily, the school's hitherto-unseen principal, who also happens to be Cha's (er, “Aria's") owner, has been looking for a companion for his pet and agrees to take in the kitten (later named “Ohime”). The episode ends with the entire club (both cats in tow) setting off on their long-awaited open water course.
Episode 11 uses its boilerplate sitcom story to emphasize how much Futaba has grown as a character. For example, at the beginning of the episode, Teko is genuinely excited to explore a new path with Pikari—to discover something new together instead of simply following her friend's lead. No longer content with always having the more outgoing Hikari take the reins, Futaba now wants the two of them to embark on new adventures on equal footing.
Teko's growth is also apparent in the way she approaches Ohime's situation. Throwing caution to the wind, she defies her complex's pet policy and evades her parents' watchful eyes when she hides the kitten in her room overnight. She even stands up to an authority figure when she spells out her situation for Katori-sensei. While it's a little late to be making additions to the main cast—even if that addition is an animal—it makes perfect sense for Ohime to be introduced at this stage of the game. After placing so much emphasis on Futaba coming out of her shell and taking life by the horns, this proves the perfect opportunity for her to put her newfound confidence to good use.
Heartfelt, adorable, and evenly paced, this week's Amanchu! is an entertaining almost-finale to a consistently solid show. While the plot is far from original, it primarily functions as a backdrop for deeper character development and helps bring Teko's arc full circle. Although their relationship dynamic may be in for some big changes, the two main characters have grown closer than ever, and I can't wait to see what next week's finale holds in store for them and the rest of the Diving Club.
Amanchu! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is a YA fantasy author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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