Unexpectedly the storyteller of this week’s episode this week is Ai – the lovely, short tempered sister of the twins. But even with her sort of being a fly on the wall, she seems to “go in and out of the room” where the narrative is taking place some of the time. Even with this, though, the overall theme being discussed in the episode is both introduced through her experiences and in an unexpected way addressed, even if she is not involved in the immediate discussions at hand – usually the discussions center around Futaba and the specific struggles she is going through at the time.
Much of the content of the episode itself was entirely taken from chapter 21 of the manga, but there was some anime-original content as well (at least as far as I can remember) but while the main focus of the source manga chapter itself was on Ai, here the main focus was swung to Futaba “asking questions” and Pikari “giving feedback” while Ai looked on and also got answers tangentially from Pikari’s feedback to Futaba. This episode’s focus on Futaba and the anime original content included both the conversation between Futaba and Pikari’s grandmother at the beach and Futaba’s expressing her doubts to Pikari about being able to be a responsible “buddy” to Pikari.
The subject at hand under discussion is primarily … indecisiveness. This is something Ai says she suffers a lot from – but suffers from it in the sense of deciding not to do anything when she is presented with several choices or has many things she wants to do but does not know where to begin. This may come as a surprise to many (I know it did for me when I came across it in the manga) given what we know of Ai up until now, but in some ways it gives us the deepest look we have of her thus far – this is some of the background of why she has such a respect for those who are driven and focused on a goal and who are able and willing to give it their all towards it (as touched on in episode 08).
With Futaba, however, the indecisiveness is a little different. In her case it seems she becomes indecisive because she has a lack of faith in herself as an individual, whereas Ai becomes indecisive not so much because she doubt herself, but because she does not know where she should begin or proceed in the first place and so occasionally (as she says at the beginning of this episode) falls into the pattern of “just not choosing”. Needless to say, for both of them Pikari is just the sort of thing they need, although again, in different ways. For Futaba Pikari gives her the encouragement and support as a human being and tells her it is okay to make mistakes. For Ai it is the happiness that results from Pikari’s freedom to “not figure things out ahead of time” that is more of a inspiration for not “sitting still”. Of course Pikari is not an enlightened, ascended being or such, she has weaknesses and problems of her own, but there are certain strengths she has (one might even call it “simplicity” in the best sense of the word) which are quite helpful and perhaps even are not so easily found these days.
The episode ends both with Futaba encouraged to dive alongside Pikari and Ai cheered (and even encouraged) by Pikari’s example. Everything (both source manga material and anime-original material) was arranged together quite nicely, and ends with Futaba finally passing the swimming requirements for her diving license that she first tried way back in episode 06. Which means that the viewers are probably looking at the first attempt at ocean diving will be shown in the final episode, episode 12 – this is especially likely as the preview footage for episode 11 look like it is going to finally focus on the kitten that has been steadily showing up in the ED of the series.
I have found myself wondering if the selection and arrangement of the manga chapters thus far have been pointing towards another season in the wings? Things are different now in the anime production process than in the past, of course, but often in works like these Junichi Saito directs for three seasons’ worth of material. Hopefully that will be the case here, as the overall work of this season of Amanchu continues to be excellent! And … before I forget, special thanks to Passerby over at random c dot net once again for the screenshots – see you all next week for the kitties!
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