When Nothing Happens - Musings on A Channel

It was very hard to figure out how to review this anime. Although it was hard to sit through many of the episodes (including the last few), there wasn't a single thing that I could point out and say that I hated. Then it hit me - I'm pretty neutral about this anime.

I've said this before, but... Shoujo Bat!

A Channel is an anime about four friends (who are all girls) in high school. While there are boys that appear from time-to-time (most notably the new health teacher), this is really an all-female cast. The animation quality was very good and the episodes were very consistent. It's extremely slice-of-life and, being based on a 4-koma, there was no major storyline. For the most part, the episodes are disjunct from each other. While there are severe lesbian tendencies amongst the characters, there was also no development (other than friendships strengthening). In the end, after 12 episodes, I genuinely feel like nothing really happened.

I don't know why anyone in the anime wasn't creeped out by these eyes.

I have very little complaints with this. The quality was superb and the character designs were solid. My only complaints occur with the style of the anime. All of the girls had incredibly thin legs and arms, which were actually disproportioned with their bodies and heads. It bothered me only slightly during the anime itself; I happened to see a girl a few days prior to this review who had an eating disorder, and so now this concept bothers me even more. There was also an incredible amount of shine circles on the bodies (potentially to signify the youth of the characters?), which really caught my eye while watching. To be absolutely fair, the story generally didn't pique my interest, so it's quite possible that I stared at the characters so intently only due to the lack of things to focus on and there really was nothing absurdly wrong with them.

Tooru doubled as the male presence in the group.

The four girls - Run, Tooru, Yuuko and Nagi - attend the same high school, all in second year except for Tooru, who is a freshman. Other than this, there really wasn't any other kind of setting provided. The various stories had to do with little things, such as Tooru feeling unhappy that she wasn't in the same year as Run, Nagi feeling weight-conscious, and so on. This was the epitome of an "everyday life" story, where random things that wouldn't matter in the future happened (just like in real life). They took care to not add anything outrageous, in order to keep the "average person" feel. That got really boring really fast for me, since I live everyday life and so I don't really want to watch it. This kind of genre appeals to lots of people, but I'm really not one of them.

Oh, is she not wearing underwear again?

Story Presentation
This was probably where the anime performed the worst for me. The story-telling was pretty boring and mundane, and the insert song at the end of every episode didn't help matters. (Unlike Pearz, I generally don't like insert songs.) There was continuity in this anime (such as new pets being acquired and staying beyond that particular episode), but the way the episodes were structured really didn't appeal to me. Nichijou is far more random with sudden jumps between scenes, with probably less continuity, but the episodes are constantly keeping me attached. Then again, Nichijou has a sense of absurdity that A Channel stayed away from. By the end, most of the episodes were a "miss" for me, with some scenes (and even images) performing well, if anything.

The cuteness wears off fast.

The characters were incredibly 2D in this anime. They each had a handful of characteristics that defined them, and otherwise they generally didn't branch out. Nagi, for example, worried about her weight. (For one thing, I don't even understand that. She looked just like the other characters, who were all pretty thin to begin with.) Then there was how Tooru was constantly "protecting" Run and feeling sad when she was away. While it's not a bad thing to have some characteristics to use as a jumping-off point (introducing a full-fledged character right from the beginning is usually difficult), but it's annoying when there's no growth. This anime really was a character-based one, and it didn't work well for me at all. I disliked Run, who was probably the "main character", most of the time. I just didn't understand her allure at all, and she gave me an "always right no matter what" feeling, which I only ever accept if I like the character to begin with (such as Victorique from Gosick). In the end, the lack of characterization would probably disturb me less if this anime had anything else that I liked, but it didn't.

Poor Yuuko.

Final Words
There was nothing that this anime did wrong, because it achieved its goal of providing a realistic look of the everyday life of the friends. I was just not interested without any kind of real story or character growth. The lesbian tendencies were amusing, and seemed to get stronger and stronger with every episode. By the end, I was genuinely hoping that the characters were being together behind the scenes. I didn't even need to see it; I just wanted it to be true.

So many beach shots...

Scoring - [5/10]
I'm pretty neutral on this anime. I can't pick out anything that I really disliked, but I also can't pick out anything that I really liked. In the end, this anime was just extremely forgettable for me.