Having been close friends for years, when young Tooru passes her entrance exam she immediately rushes to tell Run that they will be attending the same school. However, since Run is one year older, not only will the two girls be in different classes, but the air-headed second year has already made her own friends, Yuuko and Nagi. Now the small, volatile and overprotective Tooru must learn to share her best friend and get to know her new acquaintances, as the four girls make the most of each new day.
StoryWhile I may be one of Anime-Planet’s resident shounen whores, I do love a good bit of comedy slice-of-life. Sadly, I’ve been somewhat underwhelmed by several of the industry’s more recent offerings. As such, I didn’t go into A Channel expecting much, and even then I was still disappointed. As with the many moe adaptations of 4-koma manga, A Channel doesn’t have much in the way of an actual plotline. The series focuses primarily on Tooru, a particularly tiny and baby-faced girl starting her first year of high school, and her obsessive friendship with second year Run. The anime (very) loosely follows her progress as she meets Run’s other friends and interacts with them. In terms of narrative, to utter the immortal words of Porky Pig, “Th- th- th- that’s all folks!”. Though the lack of a solid story isn’t out of the ordinary for this type of series, what little thread of plot there is doesn’t grapple with the viewer’s attention. Part of the reason for this is that unlike other shows, A Channel doesn’t really have a ‘hook’ to make it stand out from the crowd. K-On! has its music; Working!! has the restaurant; GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class, Hidamari Sketch and Sketchbook ~Full Colors~ all have art,; Azumanga Daioh has wacky humour; and Kanamemo has the newspaper office; but while all of these have automatic springboards for fun and memorable situations, Tooru and the gang have to rely on the everyday occurrences that other shows only fall back on when they run out of ideas or want to pander to the fanbase (karaoke anyone?). Despite setting the mood of being a light and funny series, A Channel focuses more on the slice-of-life than the comedy. Certainly, had the anime bombarded the viewer with an abundance of laughs, the everyday meanderings of the girls would have been more bearable. Many of its more “humorous” moments tend to fall flat, and though Run’s naivety and idiocy means to serve as the central pillar for the jokes it barely manages to raise a smile. In order to pull off a successful boke, the character in question must either be forceful or in your face (think Tomo from Azumanga Daioh or Nichijou’s Yuuko), or should have enough appeal and verve to carry a scene (like K-On!’s Yui and Miyako from Hidamari Sketch). Unfortunately Run isn’t brash, nor does she possess that crucial vigour, and as such most of the show’s comic potential gets squandered. Now, many anime will have a scene where a song kicks in over the action (nine times out of ten it’s the opening) in order to heighten the emotion. Be it the latest shounen hero finally pummelling that pesky bad guy or the heart-warming and teary-eyed farewell in a shoujo series, these sections can be incredibly powerful. Unfortunately, A Channel decides that all the emotional impact that a decent bit of music can have is a pain in the bum, and instead just dumps a song into every episode; actively disrupting the show’s rhythm and detracting from any storytelling that it manages to scrape together. While the lyrics are generally matched to the action onscreen (such as “Crazy Love Cake” playing over the girls munching on homemade pancakes), the tracks themselves serve little purpose and feel more like an excuse to showcase the artist.AnimationHaving seen my fair share of moe slice-of-life anime, I’m fully aware that bodily proportions are never going (or for that matter, intended) to be accurate, be they stumpy-ankled creations from the likes of Manabi Straight or spindly-legged girls from K-On!. However, A Channel takes thin legs and tiny feet to a whole new dimension that drastically reduces the series moe appeal. With lower limbs that look like tapered chopsticks with a raisin impaled on the end and heads the size of over-inflated balloons balancing precariously atop their necks, it’s amazing that the girls don’t fall over – especially Run with her MASSIVE FOREHEAD OF DOOM! The show’s visuals can be patchy at times and generally don’t astound the viewer. However, the series does boast odd moments of impressive animation; for example, in the scene where Tooru is running down the street in the middle of winter stepping on the frozen puddles, some of the close-ups of her feet cracking the thin layer of ice are truly well executed, with cracks forming in perfect time and odd shards chipping off in a realistic fashion.SoundA Channel’s voice cast makes the show. With a lacklustre story and uninspiring characters, the series’ seiyuu do a stellar job of bringing the anime to life. Aoi Yuuki doesn’t stray far from her all-too-familiar path of the soft-spoken kuudere type; however her previous experience shines through as she nails each and every one of Tooru’s inflections. Likewise, I could listen to Daisuke Ono’s dulcet tones all day long as he gets the balance between creepy forehead-pervert and sickly weakling for the bizarre Satou-sensei spot on. The majority of the show’s background music makes little impact, but doesn’t affront. Only the aforementioned insert songs make their presence (almost painfully) known. The twelve tracks vary between normal, inoffensive bubbly J-Pop and gratingly fluffy tunes about eating cake. While not my personal taste (I’d far rather sit down to the Celtic inspired rock melodies from Fairy Tail) the songs themselves do fit the anime’s overall tone.CharactersLike everything else, A Channel’s cast is mediocre at best and half of the main group feel like cheap K-On! rip-offs. While Yuuko bares an alarming resemblance to Mio all the way down to the long black hair, slender figure and excessive squeamishness towards anything even remotely scary, the worst offender is Yui-clone, Run. Now, as much as I find myself desperately wanting to punch K-On!’s lead idiot for being such a useless bint (sorry Patches), the hapless moeblob at least has some inherent charm, Run on the other hand simply fails. Not quite moe enough to actually endear the audience, the dopey teen spends most of her time standing around with a dumb (and highly slappable) look on her face. Meanwhile, Nagi is the most enigmatic of the gang and, despite that being her selling point, she still feels woefully underdeveloped. Undoubtedly though, the star of the show is Tooru. With her small stature and as the youngest of the group she naturally gets a lot of attention, yet when it comes to Run, she demonstrates behaviour more akin to a feisty dog protecting its master. Her jealous streak when it comes to Yuuko and Nagi alongside her tendency to wield a baseball bat whenever boys get too close to Run, means that the young pup not only has the charisma that everyone else lacks, but she also hogs the limelight in whatever scene she’s in. Additionally, Tooru is the only member of the group to actually develop over the course of the series as the girls gradually “tame” her, something that manages to redeem the show from its otherwise tedious cast. When it comes to secondary personalities, I’m not entirely sure that they get enough screen time to make their presence worthwhile. Certainly, the most prominent figures outside of the main group are the two teachers, Kitou and Satou. The creepy school nurse, Satou, makes a reasonable impression whenever he appears with his weak constitution, crazy shirts and unfathomable fetish directed at Run’s forehead. Meanwhile Kitou’s only “appeal” is her hot-blooded nature, a gag which soon wears thin, especially after you’ve seen her standing outside the school gates yelling “Good Morning!” at the top of her lungs for the third or fourth time.OverallA Channel is one of those shows that needs to rely on moe content in order to thrive. Sadly, like that pot plant in the corner you’ve forgotten to water for the last week, this series wilts from a lack of “HNNNGGGG”-y goodness. If you want something where you can switch your brain off while watching, then you could do worse than A Channel, but there are far better series out there for school-related comedy, slice-of-life and moe.
This is one I rather enjoyed. While its not my normal brand of show, I really did enjoy this. The sotry was above average and was really cute. The animation was good, better could have been done but good none the less. The characters were a real motely crew, but they came together quite nicely. I recommend this for guys trying to get their girlfriends into anime, and appear sensitive.
Story Tecnically there is a story, namely that Tooru-chan has got some difficulties accepting that her best friend Yun does not belong only to her. Apart from that it's basically four cute girls that could not be any more stereotypic doing every day things. What little story the Anime has, however, is okay. Let's say it works and that's fine. Animation and Sound There is nothing much to criticize here. Overally the scenes seemed a little hueless and personally I liked but one of the many songs sung during the Anime (yep, should be about 6-8) but other than that I was well pleased. Characters Let's see who we got there. First, there's Yun, the always sleepy airhead that gets distracted by everything and often gets herself in trouble due to that. Then there's Yuuko, the big boobed beauty/scaredy-cat that's always getting picked on by the tiny flat chest of the group, Tooru. We've also got Nagi, that glasses wearing book worm (she does read alot, it's just not so easy to notice). How often have I seen all of those characters already, I can't count. But wait, there's still Tooru-chan! While the three mentioned above are pretty cardboard, Tooru-chan is the only character in this series that has a little depth and is somewhat interesting. Oh, it's not the case that she is no stereotype. She's rather small and flat and envies Yuuko for her figure. She's very quite but is easily angered to the point she is becoming violent. What made me like her was how attached and protective she is when it comes to Yun. And caring for Yun is a full time job. Should you watch this? What has being said so far doesn't make this Anime seem all too attractive. However, above anything else this is comedy. And when it comes to comedy I don't mind the lack of a deep story or that most of the characters are uninteresting. What counts are the laughs and of those I had many. May it be Yun nearly falling out of the window while waving to Tooru-chan or Yuuko falling of her chair trying to prevent Yun from just that, scenes like those are there plenty. And those scenes and Tooru-chan are what really makes this Anime worth watching. I really had a delightful time watching this. And if you're looking for just that you won't be disappointed. 7.5/10
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