by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 3 of
Amanchu! slows things down a bit this week—which isn't to say that its previous two episodes were particularly fast-paced. Even though Pikari is still very much present, her soft-spoken sidekick is the star this time around. Instead of using Futaba's shyness purely as a vehicle for comedy, episode 3 digs deeper and emphasizes how much Teko's life has been affected by social anxiety. Fortunately, the show treats this issue with just the right amount of importance and adeptly walks the fine line between “too silly” and “not silly enough.”
With the Diving Club's trial period looming, the prospect of interacting with new people has left Futaba shaken. Upon sharing her concerns with her new bestie, Teko is surprised to find that Pikari doesn't respond with her usual nonsensical ramblings—though she does assume Muppet form. With the help of her grandmother's homespun wisdom and a willingness to listen, Pikari is able to assuage Teko's fears—for the time being, anyway. I'm curious, though—if Futaba is now cognizant of the fact that she's been overly passive when it comes to making friends, isn't it kind of strange for her to get a best friend through no effort of her own? Even in this newfound friendship, she can still assume a largely passive role, although I suspect we'll see her confidence grow in the coming weeks.
When the first day of club activities rolls around, the girls are surprised to find that they're the Diving Club's only provisional members. After sitting through an informative lecture on air pressure, courtesy of club advisor Katori-sensei, the girls are ready to hit the water. In light of all the encouragement she received from her new friends, Futaba is now confident that she made the right choice in joining the club and befriending Pikari.
After an emotionally resonant first half, the latter part of episode 3 is almost like an instructional video for first-time divers, with humorous commentary courtesy of Pikari. Even as a fan of the character, I thought her antics started to wear a bit thin throughout Katori-sensei's lecture, though I'm not sure how entertaining this segment would have been without Pikari's trademark zaniness. Viewers with a genuine interest in diving will probably get a lot out of the lecture, but those who are raring to see more underwater sakuga may feel a little let down.
As usual, Amanchu! is a treat to look at. When the girls ascend a large hill to see the sakura on their way home from school, the scenery and colors pop off the screen as the audience is treated to a gorgeous view of the city. For a few moments, viewers actually feel like they're in the quaint seaside hamlet. Given the show's consistently strong visuals and crisp animation, I can't wait to see the diving sequences alluded to in the post-credits preview.
While not quite as energetic or funny as the previous two installments, this week's Amanchu! delivers a solidly entertaining half-hour. In light of the first half's subject matter, I'm not really bothered by its introspective tone and slow pacing. If nothing else, the fascinating rapport between Pikari and Futaba (or Pikari and Katori-sensei's amusing tsukkomi/boke routine) are always worth tuning in for.
Amanchu! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is a YA fantasy author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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