And so we finally arrive at the end of this season (hoping there will be more) of Amanchu, culminating in Teko completing her certification as an “Open Water Diver” and showing us her first foray into the ocean proper with Pikari, the twins and Katori-sensei … and the two kitties on shore providing moral support. XD For several episodes now I have been “talking up” the anticipation I had for seeing the anime staff’s animation work of the world beneath the ocean, and sure enough it did not disappoint. To be truthful I still kinda prefer the hand drawn lovely style of the manga artist and creator, but hey – seeing such a lovely result by J.C. Staff animation wise I have very little to complain about!
The previous episode ended with Katori-sensei picking up Futaba early, early in the morning for the “ocean side” of her certification. Pikari, the twins (and the cats) were already in the car, meaning Futaba was the last member in the queue to obtain before heading out … incidentally it is here that we discover the kitten, now sporting a tiny red polka-dotted ribbon, has been given the name Hime (which is “princess” in Japanese for those who do not know). Apparently it was a fairly lengthy drive, and necessitated an early start, as everyone (except Futaba, who was too excited) in the car conked out en route to the chosen location named Osezaki, which is a cape sticking out into the Suruga Bay and is apparently a very well known spot for people just learning how to scuba dive.
Unsurprisingly as the Diving Club unpacks the car and Futaba begins to take in all the surroundings she expresses her normal nervousness and even a little fear, but the difference between who she is as a person now and at the beginning of the anime is quite different. If at the beginning of the anime her reflex was to shrink and shy away from anything new, almost like a wide-eyed doe, now she still experiences some fear, yes, but it is more of a nervousness combined with an excitement in anticipation to try something new. Pikari was the main catalyst for this, yes, but the friendship and kindness of the Diving Club as a whole undoubtedly has contributed to this little hermit crab peeking out of her shell and beginning to explore the shoreline. After an initial “official” diving gear check with their buddies Katori-sensei and the diving club make their way out to a buoy of sorts with a rope that stretches down near to the ocean floor at the point (and leaping a teeny last minute hurdle when Futaba accidentally loses a flipper that is recovered by a friendly fellow diver for her), and their descent to the depths begins….
Needless to say – the trip down to the ocean floor and the time spent therein, both during the official underwater test portions and especially after the tests were over, was absolutely lovely. The very image of descending the rope while being guided to the bottom by the “pillars of bubbles” made by the breathing regulators of the divers already far below was breathtaking. The OST kicked in high gear as Futaba and Pikari explored the latter’s newly discovered wonderland and became positively atmospheric, and in a way only the direction of Sato Junichi is able to pull off (at least for me). In was almost as if I could see Futaba slowly unfurling her petals and blooming before my eyes.
After a wistful farewell from Futaba and all the members of the Diving Club returning to the surface world Futaba was … ecstatic, and as she eagerly began to try and record her experiences in her diving log she was interrupted by two things – the first was a message from her middle school friend Akane (she showed up in episode 09), if you remember, and the second was Katori-sensei arriving and officially announcing that Futaba had qualified as a Open Water diver! Much applause and huzzahs all around to be sure, and I was doing so inside as well. Finally, for the closing moment of this episode and the season as a whole we had a sunset-soaked scene of Pikari and Futaba thanking one another in a heartfelt way for the support and friendship the other had given to them – it was not touched upon much in the series, but Pikari was also very glad of Futaba’s presence and acceptance, and also received quite a bit from her.
As a parting, “farewell shot” for this episode (I will have more thoughts in the upcoming series review itself) I would like to share a video with you all of some underwater footage of real life scuba diving taking place at Osezaki Cape filmed a few years ago. It is absolutely lovely, and is but another testament to the wonderful adaptation and animation this series was able to produce. See you all at the final review!
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