The driving spirit behind any production is the appeal it provides to others. What anime has done well over the past few years is provide a diverse selection of animated stories (although unbalanced) to those with a stubborn mindset. Every year, hundreds of anime titles spanning all sorts of genres are released to the public, providing entertainment for those who tip their fancy to mystery, action, sci-fi, mecha, slice of life, and especially ecchi-comedies. One of the aforementioned genres, slice of life, was nothing but a concept ten years ago. Now, it’s become one of the mainstay forms of entertainment among anime titles. To those on a slice of life fixation, Acchi Kocchi is a title that will flip their fedoras, however proves unsubstantial to those prune to the easy-going genre.
With any slice of life, plot is used only for temporary purposes. It swiftly shifts from place to place whenever necessary to continue the overview of the series. What Acchi Kocchi provides is a set of two stories for each episode, labeled “Part A” and “Part B.” This, in turn, makes the series feel more structured in content and proceeds like a fine-tuned machine. However, ruins any feeling of an easy-going continuation of the story. It simply feels like a collection of stories. Another point to make is that the series starts off during the winter, where the characters’ signature heavy clothing comes into play. Within four episodes, it skips the spring and catapults straight into the summer. Within the next four episodes, it goes back to skipping one season and settling for the one after, winter, until the series finally ends on March 14th. Through twelve episodes, consisting of two sub-stories within them, the series jumps a year and a half in length. This title truly is a slice of life, as it leaves the other seven-eighth’s to dry out in the summer sun.
However way the plot proceeds, the major focus of a slice of life is to showcase the characters of the story, and Acchi Kocchi provides quite a few. Each character present has their own role in the show and never strays away from it. When it comes to romance, which Acchi Kocchi doesn’t seem to know anything about, the same two characters are involved in every scenario. When it comes to comedy, which Acchi Kocchi is far better at than romance, each character has their own “unique” way of trying to produce chuckles from the audience. One character does so through jealousy and embarrassed reactions. Another through their own density; saying things which are inappropriate for the given situation. But mostly, the characters provide comedy through slapstick that defies the laws of, well, everything.
What one may find apparent while watching Acchi Kocchi is the complete lack of detail given to each character personally. Within the first episode, one will come to understand the worth of every character through their actions. Beyond that, no more information is provided. Acchi Kocchi’s characters are those that the audience can only take at face value. Identifying with the characters can only come from how they react to any scene. This being known, watching Acchi Kocchi can be compared to watching a short movie on a brave knight rescuing a princess from a decrepit castle filled with dangerous creatures. There is no character building. The series relies solely on the emotions provided by the environment to produce amusement among those who choose to accept it.
Of course, what better way to evoke emotion than to pander to our weakness for anything adorable? Acchi Kocchi believes in the philosophy that if anything is cute or “moe,” people will wait in line till nightfall for it. Everything presented in this series is tailor-made for some sort of cliche “moe” fetish. One of the main characters, Tsumiki, has cat ears and a tail, and will react appropriately depending on her mood. Whenever something embarrassing happens or someone says something slightly risque, the characters’ noses will start spurting blood like a fire hose. The characters’ designs in general are chibi-like and colorful, especially the female characters. Everyone looks young and no one looks old. Even the school teacher looks and acts like she could be a part of the main group. Everything is so innocent that it’s disgusting.
While everything out front looks cookie-cutter in general, the background lacks the same appeal. When looking behind the characters’ faces, one can notice that the detail behind them is faded into a sort of mist. This “mist” may have something to do with creating a dream-like effect on the title, making it seem so mystifying or calming that one can’t help but feel elation. However, it could also be seen as a lack of effort by the production team to make the series look realistic. Of course, Acchi Kocchi doesn’t look realistic in the slightest anyway. Another interesting tidbit is that the background characters, those that don’t speak or have anything to do with the story, don’t move and don’t have eyes. Lazy? Perhaps. I like to think they don’t have eyes because they tore them off having to look at the lack of effort.
There are few things that are certain in this world. One’s nationality, the Simpsons airing, and everyone having an opinion are three such things. If one wishes to indulge themselves in a finer slice of life series, Acchi Kocchi could be right up their alley. However, they should be warned that, as with most slice of life titles, everything is skin deep. The type of merriment this series provides only stems from the emotions that one is willing to give to enjoy it. Most of the characters are dull, the comedy goes to overly-exaggerated means to induce humor, and the art could make even the most brutal of people develop a sweet tooth. Acchi Kocchi isn’t something to experience, it’s something to watch, despite its intentions. And with enough experience, one can only remember this title to forget this title.
Personal Score: B-
Critical Score: C