★Writer: Richard K. Moe
Behind The Anime:
★Original Creator – Kozue Amano (Aria, Aqua)
★Animation Studio – J.C.Staff (Toradora, Azumanga Daioh, Honey and Clover)
★Chief Director – Junichi Sato (Aria – The Natural, Tamayura – Hitotose, Fushigiboshi no Futago Hime)
★Series Composition – Deko Akao (Arakawa Under the Bridge, Flying Witch, Noragami)
★Music – Gontiti (Yokohama Kaidashi Kiko)
A timid girl by the name of Fuutuba Ooki moves to Shizuoka, a small ocean town, for high school. On her first day of school she meets a energetic scuba diver named Hikari Kohinata. Hikari introduces Futuba to diving and invites her to the Diving Club. Futuba declines at first but soon is persuaded by the wonders of diving. While learning the ways of scuba diving, she begins to understand and overcome the anxiety and depression she feels with the help of Hikari and the Diving Club.
- The story is simplistic but that simplicity is done beautifully through character interactions and delicate moments.
- There is a great balance of elegancy and comedy.
- The silly and comedic moments are funny and amusing.
- The dialogue exchanges are full of delightful humor.
- There are relatable and authentic slice of life moments. (E.G. At lunch, Futuba accepts loneliness because of her failed attempts at approaching a group of girls due to her shyness. Underneath the confident presentation, there are moments where Hikari is actually nervous due to her inability to express herself clearly. The show talks about how looking for answers in life isn’t something just teenagers look for but adults as well.)
- The peppy Hikari and the timid Futuba are both a delightful and interesting duo.
- The characters that surround Futuba and Hikari are as likable and eccentric as them. (E.G. The club advisor Mato Katori is a lean back but dedicated teacher who’s not afraid of expressing herself. Ai Ninomiya is a terrifying yet kind upper classmate of Futuba and Hikari who loves to do fun things. Ai’s brother Makoto Ninomiya does a good job at being an advice giver and a punching bag for his sister.)
- The reasoning for Futuba’s anxiety and shyness is explained well.
- Futuba grows as a character naturally throughout the show.
- Hikari’s silly moments of random sound making, exploring, pointing, and movement are thoroughly enjoyable to see every time.
- The show’s mascot, Cha, provides some nice comical relief.
- Normal things that the characters do somehow manages to be interesting. (E.G. When Hikari and Ms. Katori had a foot race to school. When Hikari and Futuba tested out their diving suits at the school’s pool. When Hikari and Futuba were chased down by Ninomiya for messing with the Diving Club’s equipment.)
- There is some good insight on diving, conditioning one self for diving, and techniques for diving. (E.G. There is an episode where Futuba tries to master the mask-clearing skill for diving. The characters in the diving club have to constantly keep in shape to dive.)
- There are wonderful moments that highlight the simple beauty in life. (E.G. When Hikari first introduced Futuba to diving. When the diving club drew on the board together in their first meeting. When Hikari and Ms. Mato found something beautiful that comes from the rain.)
- The touchy moments are pleasant and can also be funny due to the silly chibi moments that appear along with it. (E.G. When Futuba talked about finding herself in the ocean and being grateful to Hikari. When Futuba and Hikari hung their wishes together at an area Hikari calls “Ai-Chan”.)
- There’s always a life lesson or two to be learned in each episode.
- Concludes with a nice and sincere ending.
Directing, Music, and Character Design
- The setting of the show is immersive and relaxing.
- The presentation is alluring due to its great music and visuals
- The opening theme, “Million Clouds”, by Maaya Sakamoto and the ending theme, “Futari Shoujo”, by TekoPikari perfectly captures the simple elegance of the show.
- The show is able to capture the dull and depressing atmosphere when it rains. And also able to capture the lively and joyful atmosphere that appears when the sun shines bright.
- In the last episode, there is a section that is beautiful done underwater.
- The art style manages to be appealing even though it strays away from traditional anime art.
- The odd ball facial expressions that the characters do are original and goofy.
- It’s refreshing to see the characters switch their hairstyle from time to time.
Directing, Writing and Animation
- The setting and tone is a bit too comforting at times that it could make you a bit drowsy.
- Although nice, the trust and closeness that Futuba and Hikari share for one another is gained a bit too quickly.
- Futuba seems to always have an episode about finding a way to get through something in life and having Hikari or someone giving her advice to get her through things. It’s realistic but repetitive.
- Episode 11’s art and animation don’t look the best.
I’ve never seen simplicity done so beautifully.
(Reference Source for “Behind The Anime” – Anime News Network)