The animation was nice. Really nice. The kind of animation that appeals to me most. What is it about A Channel’s art style that appeals to me? I have absolutely no idea.
A Channel does precisely what its genre sets out to do: it gives a slice of life. What it doesn’t do is make it interesting. Slice of lives usually have some sort of hook that makes it stand out from other titles of its genre, like a unique type of animation or bizarre characters. A Channel is one of the titles that actually feel realistic, but that’s both a strength and a flaw.
Think of the “reality shows” that air on American networks now-a-days. They all have some sort of pizzazz to them. And, though controversial, some of it may not necessarily be reality at work. Nevertheless, they’re some of the most popular titles airing, and they tend to pop up more and more as the years go by. So, what is the hook to A Channel? What is it about this anime that makes it appealing to watch? From what I can tell, nothing. Nothing happens over the course of this anime that sets it apart from any other slice of life. It follows the book (if one were to exist) word for word. Perhaps because of this, the show is heavily regarded as being mundane. And that’s true, to an extent. But not all life has to be exciting. A Channel shines in the sense that it’s realistic, and that’s all it needs to be.
What exemplifies this the most is the characters that make up A Channel. None of them are exaggerated to make themselves more appealing (except maybe Run). They have their own personality trait that they abide by, and only shift out of it when the situation calls for it. The camaraderie between the four central characters is as tight a bond as I’ve seen from a slice of life. Other slice of lives like to incorporate a love interest between a few of its characters, in order to stir up some extra jokes or create a sort of dramatic conflict or tension. A Channel does include romantic undertones, but they’re never truly brought up because of the strength of the character with said romantic feelings. There’s no need to bring them up, because she doesn’t feel as though it’s necessary (save when she sees Run around boys, which is minimally). Once again, this makes the title more mundane, but more realistic. It’s like sacrificing oneself for the good of the team.
Individually, the characters of A Channel are likable only to the extent of their face value. Like Acchi Kocchi, there isn’t a lot shown of these characters outside of their comfort zones. There’s neither much development nor depth with these characters. The only character with a certain amount of development is with Tooru, as she’s shown to grow apprehensive of her situation the more time goes by. However, it only lasts for half an episode, so it tends to mean nothing by the next episode. And for that, this anime becomes all the more dull.
I’ve never drooled upon seeing the art style of a particular anime, but if anything were to come close, it would be A Channel… or Katanagatari, but that’s not the title at hand. A Channel is recent enough to have lovely animation, but simple enough to not make it overbearing. Once again, the realistic qualities of this title shine through with its animation and design. No one has blue or pink hair, bodies are proportionate (albeit tiny), and the settings aren’t all over the place. There are times when A Channel chooses to be moe, but usually, it chooses to be heartfelt. This title likes to incorporate a short ballad of sorts at the end of each episode. I don’t know why, but it’s something, I suppose. I find it annoying, personally. It always tends to happen in a situation as if to say “Oh! Happy days are upon us! Look at these girls having fun! Will you shower us with money if we try to be cute?” The art helps, but it still feels forced. Personally, if i wasn’t for the fact that A Channel’s art style appeals to me way more than it should, I probably wouldn’t care for it as much as I already do.
To put it simply, A Channel is boring. But it’s a kind of boring that’s easy to relate to. A Channel prides itself on being realistic, with realistic(ish) characters and the relationships between them. The comedy isn’t typically funny, but it’s endearing. What is done right with this title is that it makes you care about the characters’ petty problems, even if you don’t really care about their inner struggles. It’s what reality television should be like. Unfortunately, Americans love catfights and lots of swearing, so something like A Channel wouldn’t last long on the air regardless.
Personal Score: B-
Critical Score: C