Fascinated but unsure about scuba diving, Futaba observes Hikari and others as they prepare for a short ocean dive. Hikari’s goal is to become a professional diving instructor, and working as an assistant at the dive shop is just her first step towards that dream. Soon, she’s helping teach Futaba the basics alongside their club supervisor, Ms. Katori. In spite of her excitement, Futaba becomes afraid and comes close to stopping her diving adventure before it’s even begun.
Is that it? I mean… I guess? Frankly, there’s not a lot to say about episode 4, since Amanchu! has decided to take such a leisurely pace. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, and it’s nice to follow something so relaxing. At the same time, it doesn’t really leave us a lot to talk about here, since we’re usually digging down into how the story is progressing or what’s been most interesting to us, and there’s just not a ton of substance to dive into (pun absolutely intended).
Watching Futaba go through the initial wonder and disenchantment with her new hobby makes for a fine low-key episode. Her concerns and fears come from more than just her timid nature, as anyone who’s ever tried something new and risky will know. Luckily, she’s got Hikari by her side, who’s energetic as ever and happy to help. Their growing friendship may not make for many surprises at this stage, though it is nice to watch, especially since Hikari’s antics are toned down for most of the episode.
Like the others, I find the Muppet-Vision Amanchu! throws up now and again off-putting. It does allow for a few funny moments in retrospect, but it just doesn’t jive with the otherwise semi-realistic character designs. Combined with that awful butt-faced cat, it drags me out of the experience whenever it happens. Even so, it seems to be a little less intense this time around, so at least it seems like they’re improving.
When the episode starts to get down to business, the actual technical details on display seem spot-on, at least from my limited perspective. I’ve never been diving myself, though I do know someone who has been certified, and everything at least looks well-researched. The emphasis this episode is on the buddy system, whereby each diver double-checks their partner’s weights, air tank and other gear. Diving can be a pretty dangerous sport, and the show makes it clear that such precautions are crucial.
The gradual pace of Futaba’s learning matches the slow but steady way new students absorb their lessons, and minor details like washing out the suits and clearing leaking masks lends weight and realism to an otherwise lighthearted show. The reward for all our protagonists’ hard work comes when the production values kick up, and we get to see the world from a new and beautiful perspective.
There’s not much more I can add about this episode or the show in general. It’s a lightweight, slow-paced show exploring a friendship between two girls as one tries to show the other the thrills of an unusual hobby. Hikari’s oddities have been somewhat explained, and Futaba is slowly coming out of her shell and finding joy in her exploration. The show even manages to frame a joke around underpants in what may be the most tasteful manner I’ve ever seen an anime pull off, so take that for what it’s worth. For now, it’s easy to enjoy our relaxing aquatic adventures, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of that as we follow Hikari and Futaba on new dives.