A-Channel Review

This is review number one hundred and fifty five. It’s still part of the Spring 2011 lineup. I’m trying to get all episodes of Sket Dance but that will take me awhile so in the meantime, I’m done with this lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is A-channel. It’s a twelve episode anime about the everyday lives of four school girl. I know, it’s not really original but this anime really impressed me. Let’s read on.

Story

The anime is about the everyday normal lives of four girls. There is Run, Yuuko, Nagi and, a first year named, Tooru. The episodes mostly revolve around the group doing stuff together like going to the beach, hanging out at someone’s home or walking home from school. There is some comedy in the way the girls interact and the show basically draws strength from that.

Taking the Pants Off

A-channel is an anime about four girls living their normal lives. I admittedly had a negative reaction to the anime when I first saw it because it looks like just another one of those Lucky Star clone about four girls. There were so many of those out there that they really just look alike. Seriously, they all had the same setup. It starts with a slice of life setting and then some Comedy. Rarely do the concept look original. KyoAni has a knack for really drawing you in to something like that because really, they started it first. A lot of studios soon copied that very successful  show that ultimately sparked the moe revolution. Sure, there is nothing new in this anime but I really admire at how well it was executed. I kept telling myself that I wasn’t going to like this anime, and I remember dropping it back when it first came out, but it’s pretty solid. All of its components work together and it kept me watching until the very end.

My reaction to the first episode was a bit sour because the four moe girl anime is so overdone at this point that nothing new will ever surprise you. The slow pace of the anime was also a bit of a hurdle. Slice of Life anime are generally slow and they’re saved by the characters. The characters were still being introduced though so you’re basically watching a clone of Lucky Star. It’s probably the only hurdle in the anime though. The first episode is really not impressive but thankfully, the rest of the anime makes up for that.

There was something really impressive at how the show executed its elements. The anime had the same format as Lucky Stars. The characters do a lot of jokes, they act cute and they go about their everyday lives. The episodes are mostly composed of skits about the characters and they usually end with a punchline or a gag. This anime had a more technical setup though. The anime is still consisted of gags but there was a progression to them. Along with the various skits, the anime also had a stable story per episode. Most of the episodes usually revolve around the story of the girls going to school. The anime usually starts with the characters walking to school then some gags during the first period, then some scenes during lunch time and then it would end with the characters walking from school. It basically tracks the entire day of the characters while never forgetting to serve up some laughs. It may not sound impressive but because of this simple presentation, only took two episodes for the anime to fully deliver it’s appeal. It is also pretty easy to follow the anime. Admit it, watching Lucky Star the first time was confusing. It was about different scenarios strung together to create one episode. A Channel was progressive and easier to understand so it’s Slice of Life charm and the Comedy effectively comes through.

The thing that really sets this anime apart though is that it is very deep rooted in its Slice of Life that it made sure everything else comes after it. It may be boring at first but after the first episode, the anime is pretty much delivering strong episodes afterwards. The simplicity in the scenes and the relatable skits are one of the strong aspects of the anime. The Comedy was always second before the Slice of Life. I love that in the anime because nothing is over the top. No one is suplexing goats and no one is suddenly learning how to play the guitar after being introduced to the instrument two episodes prior. The jokes are simple and it adheres to the slice of life nature of the anime. The jokes are usually stuff like playing in the rain, getting your hair caught in the doors of a train, procrastinating instead of studying and characters tickling each other. Some of then are scenarios that even the viewers can relate to.

It’s a very refreshing approach to the overdone concept of the “four girls in a school setting” that really made me want to watch it more. The Slice of Life aspect is more prominent so you’re really more tuned into watching the girls, with their often eccentric personalities, go about their normal routine. The anime was able to capture the everyday life element of the show that the comedy really comes in second. You’re often more drawn to watching the girls walk to school, eat lunch or hang out at a restaurant. Now I understand that the idea of watching girls go about their everyday routine is boring. it’s basically the biggest flaw in Slice of Life anime. If you can’t stand laid back often slow paced anime then this really isn’t for you. Of course, with the addition of moe, I don’t think the slow pacing can hurt you.

The characters are the main selling point of the anime. They started out generic with the ever so familiar archetypes you found in a four girl anime. There is the airhead, the sexy yet shy one, the loud type and the quiet one. The characters uses these archetypes to deliver some laughs at first but as the anime progresses, they eventually get a more deeper introduction. As the characters are introduced further and certain skits are focused on them, you eventually get to know more about them. This airhead girl is actually a caring big sister, this shy one is actually a very a kind hearted girl, this loud one is actually concerned about her weight and the quiet one is actually a prodigy in her class. The wonderful part about the characters is that they aren’t over the top. They’re familiar, a bit relatable and they almost resemble one of your friends. The characters are also very much leaning towards the Slice of Life aspect of the anime than the Comedy aspects. If it was Comedy then you can expect one of them to slap the other hard as she overreacts to a joke. There’s nothing like that in this anime. They’re just simple characters, using their cuteness to their advantage, that you eventually want to see more of.

Even the side characters are nicely presented. I was a bit bummed that the anime focused too much on the four girls that the side characters didn’t get that much screen time. They’re a bit generic though because they weren’t able to develop further but their interaction with one another was pretty fun to watch. I personally enjoyed the child like nature of the teachers of the school and Tooru’s first year friends were also pretty awesome. They all have this stand out personality that made me wish they would interact with the main characters more.

The Comedy in the anime is pretty simple. They took advantage of the archetype of certain characters to deliver the jokes most of time. It was a great way to feature the girls though so I couldn’t complain. The Comedy aspects of the anime, like any other of the genre, varies on the viewers. I laughed at some of the scenes like Run pointing towards an adult sex shop when Tooru was looking for a toy shop so she can buy some toys for her cat. There are some jokes that go by me though. I understand the joke and the execution was pretty nice but it didn’t really make me laugh. It’s not a big deal though because like I said, the anime was more concerned of its Slice of Life aspects.

Despite the awesome execution of the anime, it does have one glaring flaw that I think it can’t recover from. It’s still another anime about four girls in a school setting. How many anime have I seen with the same setup? K-on, Lucky Star, Hyakko, Tamayore Hitotose, Moritasan, Yuru Yuri, Soft Tennis, Acchi Kocchi, Upotte, Natsuiro Kiseki, and many f*cking more. It’s basically a clone of that other famous anime and the stigma alone will make people not look at this anime twice. I don’t blame them because this one doesn’t really offer anything new. It just has a much better execution of the elements but some people want more than that. This anime doesn’t have much more to offer so people will just see it as it is. It’s an anime about four girls going to school.

Don’t let the overused concept fool you though. This anime is one of the very best I’ve seen that uses that overdone idea. The execution of the elements is amazing. It has a story per episode while sticking to its Slice of Life appeal, delivering some strong Comedy and making sure the characters look good. Some anime have admittedly f*ck up such a simple concept but this one is just perfect. The anime never gets boring, there’s always something to keep you tuned in and the characters are fun to watch. This anime is very underrated and I feel that it’s a major crime. This anime is great.

Sight and Sound

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The character design is moe. It’s the ever so familiar big headed types with the bug eyes and the slim body. It’s another attribute that makes this anime shadowed by its stigma. As the anime progresses, you basically get over the moe design because their personalities are the ones that keeps you watching. They are nice characters designs though. The hair of the characters and their different styles are really great. I love how Run ties up her bangs or how Tooru puts an oversized jacket over her uniform or how Nagi wear bright colored socks or how Yuuko has massive boobs. I suggest just looking past the familiar character design because the anime has a lot more to offer than that.

The anime also has very beautiful backgrounds. Some of them are real places turned anime like the same technique KyoAni uses. The backgrounds are often highly detailed painted scenes with very clean lines and a very interactive feel to it. I love how the trees are painted. They all have different kinds of green to them and they often stand out in some of the simple scenes. Almost every scene in the anime is real places though from the shopping district to the beach they went to. The details are always there though. Some scenes really come alive because of how detailed they are made. Not as impressive as KyoAni’s but the slice of life appeal of the anime comes through pretty strongly.

The animation is pretty awesome as well. There are a lot of movements in some scenes of the anime. The characters run around a lot or fidget over all over and they are all pretty smoothly done. The animation is detailed that it really enhances the appeal of the anime. The facial reactions are where the animation really comes through though. I especially love it when the airhead girl would talk. She would often be happy then normal then confused which is pretty fun to watch.

The anime has a ton of insert songs. Each episode has an insert song to it. They are all sang by the characters and some songs are specifically about the scenes they are played in. There is an upbeat song about summer while the girls are playing around in the pool and there is a mellow cute song about friendship while the characters are about to make up after a fight. Some songs pretty awesome and I love how the songs really capture the mood certain scenes.

The anime’s OP is “Morning Arch” by Marina Kawano. It’s a simple song that features the slice of life aspect of the anime. I hated the part where the album of the singer was flashed though. I’m not going to buy it so hide that please. The OP is pretty flashy. It features the four main girls acting all cute and it captures the laidback feel of the anime. It’s pretty nice with all the zooming transitions of the sequence.

The ED song is “Humming Girl” by Kaori Fukuhara, Aoi Yuuki, Yumi Uchiyama, and Minako Kotobuki. It’s a song sang by the four main girls. It’s a very cute song about friendship and walking home from school. It’s a pretty song especially with the stand out voices of the characters. The ED sequence is about the girls going form school and it follows their basic routine. It’s also pretty sweet especially when you’re drawn to the characters after a few watching.

Overall Score

8/10 “An amazing slice of life anime about four girls and their everyday life.”

I really admire this anime because of how well thought out it is. There were no boring moments to it despite being slice of life and it was able to deliver some awesome laughs along the way. If you like cute girls in a comedy and slice of life anime then you’ll love this anime. I highly recommend it. 

2 thoughts on “A-Channel Review

  1. I passed on this one when it originally came out, but read the manga and gave the anime a shot. Glad I did. As you said, the characters have more to them once the anime gets past the archetype. The shy girl, for example, has some tsundere character to her, but she’s not the tsundere achetype.

Thoughts~

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