Amanchu! Came out in 2016 completing its first season with 13 episodes and it is currently in its second season. It’s a slice-of-life anime that contains something that everybody is sure to relate; from trying new things, to going new places, and to mixing friend groups.
The story follows 15-year old Futaba Ooki, an introverted girl who just moved from Tokyo to this small island on the Izu peninsula. The next day she starts high school, where she’s understandably anxious. New school, new town, new people all of it can be overwhelming. At the school, she meets Hikari Kohinata, an extremely enthusiastic and outgoing girl. From there a beautiful friendship (and something more) blossoms. Hikari (nicknamed Pikari) shows Futaba (nicknamed Teko) around and takes her to show off her favorite thing to do: scuba diving.
With Pikari leading her around, Teko gains a new friend and a new activity to try out. Teko takes a tentative try at scuba diving, joining the scuba club that their school offers and hanging out with Pikari who scuba dives regularly. As she dives (forgive the pun) deeper and deeper into the world scuba diving she encounters some obstacles, some physical and some mental. She questions her ability to do this, whether she’s bothering Pikari and the others with her slow progress. She constantly psyches herself out and grows more and more anxious, but Pikari is always there to help her out. Together they overcome every obstacle and learn important lessons along the way.
This is a beautiful anime in terms of visuals and emotions. The characters are well written and fleshed out, each could take on a life of their own but together they make for a relatable narrative. Not with scuba diving in particular but the feelings we get when we try something new that we like. Wanting to excel at it right away and the heart-sinking feeling we get when we mess up. Watching Teko overcome the anxieties with the help of her friend, only to become anxious about relying on her too much is indeed an incredibly human thing.
The show is a wonderful metaphor about the troubles and and terrific experiences that are intintic of growing up, without being too metaphorical that you become lost within it. It stays grounded (despite being about scuba diving) and doesn’t get in its own way like a lot of animes do with their metaphors. Along with that, it’s also refreshing that the show doesn’t rely on pointless fanservice, oversexualized outfits and such. The show is an emotional journey that needs no cheap clicheés to keep your attention, the fat that I feel the need to say that at all says a lot about the anime industry but that’s for another article.
All in all, it’s a wonderful little show and it’s a pleasure to watch Teko overcome her fears. And maybe this is because I’m too empathetic but I almost cried at one point in a episode, not to anything sad that happened; indeed it was a moment of such love joy that it almost tears to my eyes, but I’m tough so I stuck it out (I did have to pause it though, to wipe my eyes). It can be found on Crunchyroll along with the episodes of the current season that come out weekly. I hope you dive in and enjoy it!