Project Haruhi

First Impressions – A Channel


It's hard trying to survive in the world of slice-of-life comedy with an all-female cast, as it's virtually impossible to avoid being compared to KyoAni's previous smash hits. So what do you do if you have been branded 'Lucky Star season 2' without being given a chance to come up with an identity of your own? Simple. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Once you've got an audience gathered, try to establish yourself in the one thing that matters: the details.

A Channel tells the story--yes, story, because they dropped some hints on there actually being character development somewhere--of four girls in high school. When Tooru (voiced by Yuki Aoi, also known for her  roles as a certain floor-rolling detective and a pink-haired not-magical girl) enrolls in high school, she pays a visit to her senior and middle school friend Run (voiced by Kaori Fukuhara, better known as Tsukasa Hiiragi) to tell her she made it into the same high school as her. However, upon entering her room, she finds her friend in a rather compromising situation with Yuuko (voiced by Mugi with a kansai accent).

Tooru boob slaps Yuuko and procedes to molest her with an invisible chainsaw, while Run introduces her to another friend she made in high school, Nagi (voiced by newcomer Yumi Uchiyama). The rest of the episode flashes forward to all the girls together in high school and focuses mostly on jokes, but also gives us some nice undertones of Tooru trying to deal with the fact that her friend has other friends now, and with Nagi and Yuuko accepting the eccentric Tooru into their group. Sadly enough, this character development is only hinted at slightly, but at least it's better than the girls immediately befriending each other from the get-go as is the case with a lot of other slice-of-life shows.

What will happen next? (Hint: not much.) Find out after the break!

What I Liked

This is how all the cool kids tickle these days.

Actual characters: The cast of A Channel easily fits in the 4-koma mold: We have the cloudcuckoolander (Run), the level-headed snarker (Nagi), the easily scared sweetie (Yuuko) and the agressive shorty (Tooru). However, unlike a lot of their more predictable counterparts, these girls are more than just slaves of their archetypes. Run may have the attention span of a squirrel with caffeine up its ass, but she's not completely helpless when it comes to understanding people and even has a bunch of male friends she gets along with. Nagi might be the voice of reason keeping the gang together, but she has some rather unsubtly hidden uncertainties (think Kagami from Lucky Star). Even Yuuko actually achieves being more than just Tooru's punching bag, a giant leap forward from the manga.

Tooru: Taking the cake in terms of characterization however is Tooru, who managed to immediately steal my heart with her oversized cardigan, deadpan voice and affinity for baseball bats. I have always been a bit worried about A Channel not having it's own gimmick, such as the absurd dreamscapes of Azumanga Daioh, the otaku jokes of Lucky Star and the music (context) of K-On!, but turns out the irony of Tooru protecting Run as if she's Run's mother while still being seen as a kid by the other three is enough to keep the show going, at least for now.

Run loves taking a page out of Tsukasa's book.

The OP: Studio Gokumi, having a resume consisting of nothing more than the shady OVA Koe De Oshigoto!, positively surprised me with the animation in this episode. Backgrounds are crisp and detailed, character designs have a certain charm and the extraordinarily unsubtle CGI is affecting rather than annoying. However, the simple, yet effective OP stands out most of all. Despite being made with a budget equivalent to that of the movie I made for history class in junior year, it effectively plays with simple colors, funny symbols for each character and frequent fourth-wall breaking, and the result is truly adorable.

Yuri: N-not that I like yuri or anything, but I guess it's my duty as a reviewer to tell you there is a certain possibility of yuri here and there. It's strictly platonic of course! B-but if you like shipping or endlessly implied romantic tension that will never get resolved, I guess that's a plus... or something.

What I Hated

Overall Impressions

I'm going to be honest with you and declare that there wasn't really anything that I particularly hated. Taking into account that A Channel is:

  1. A slice-of-life comedy 4koma adaptation;
  2. Not trying to do anything revolutionary, not even in terms of being cute;

I really enjoyed it for what it was, and I'm sure other people who wanted to watch it will enjoy the same way. I could address the issues every single other 4-koma adaptation is accused of (slow pacing, lack of plot, nothing new, etc.) but that wouldn't be a review of A Channel; it'd be the same old rant about 4-koma you've read a thousand times before. A Channel won't win the hearts of any K-ON! and Lucky Star haters, or people with an junkie-like longing for plot, but at least it succeeds at being a slice-of-life comedy. Therefore, it should be graded as such.


P.S.: Oh, and bonus points if you noticed I didn't use the word 'moe' a single time in this review.

About Joris

Joris (aka Aquagaze) is a college student from the distant world of Europa. He likes indie music, JRPGs and anime. 'The crazier, the better' applies to all of his interests, including himself.
  • Characters: Run is like Yui, except more stupid and probably without a perfect ear. Tooru is a yandere with too long sleeves. The two others were just there. Kira kira moe~!

    OP: Don’t remember it. That’s probably not a good sign.

    Yuri: Not even that was able to stop my boredom.

    Rating: FIGHT YOU, GAYZY.

    • I consider it mildly ironic how his pseudo-intellectual comment, written by a troll who hasn’t enjoyed anything since Mitsudomoe, for crying out loud, has no other purpose than trying to tick me off, making you look like a third-grade troll and turning you into a laughing stock in the process. Ha ha ha. I mock you.

    • Characters: In a first for the Slice of Life genre, characters have breasts, and actually have a passing resemblance to High School Students. *shakes my firsts at lolicons*

    • um, well… I didn’t find something silly in this first episode – so it’s good.

  • Hmmm, I would fall into the camp that wouldn’t like this show. Thanks for the review (and info), and I shall steer clear of this.

  • I’m surprised you didn’t mention the great directing and camera work; especially the opening scene with Tooru running down the hall. I thought the studio did a great job dressing up what is admittedly lackluster content.

    • Anonymous

      I noticed that too. It was impressive, I have to say that much, but all-in-all, I wished she’d have actually hit someone with the bat.

      Oh, are you guys holding out on the podcast until Madoka returns or are you just taking a bit of a break?

  • Ryu

    Well hey look I was right

  • Jared

    Platonic Yuri . . . *cricket* I dunno what to think about this.
    Haven’t seen it, and unless it gets really awesome, I don’t plan to: good job on the review though.

  • Rincewind

    I liked the first episode, funny and cute. And the characters are very likeable.
    And the yuri is always a plus. (By the way, im getting tired of only subtext… I want TEXT, not subtext! ><)

    • Anonymous

      If you want actual yuri, I recommend Strawberry Panic, though it does have downsides. Too cute.

    • If you want actual yuri that won’t insult your intelligence, I’d recommend Aoi Hana.

  • Shady indeed.

  • Blacksun88

    lol great! at least some one like you is doing justice to slice of life anime like A-channel

  • I’d give it 3/5 for passive enjoyment. Doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but A-channel did bring a smile to the face. Am looking forward to the next episode 🙂

  • Vic

    I for one am usually VERY skeptical when it comes to slice of life anime that gives off the Lucky Star/K-ON aura, but I was actually pleased with this one. The artwork is fairly refreshing and the puns aren’t as slow paced like the ones told off during a certain cornet-involved lunch period. The implied yuri is always a plus for me, but this show can give a lot more than that in the future.

    I already saw episode 2 as well and I was just as pleased. I’m truly looking forward to the rest…. Oh God! To be actually typing these words are either the work of a miracle from the yuri goddesses or insanity