Amanchu Advance

August 4, 2018

Man. I’ve never expected Amanchu to have another season. But here it is, Amanchu Advance as its second season. Another dozen episodes of calm scuba diving and underwater submerging tranquillity. Could they really be going the way of Aria and have more sequels? Whatever the future for this series, they’re taking it slowly and at their own pace. Enjoy the moment. Always look to the future with hope. Imagine a series about diving teaching you all these stuffs.

Episode 1
Teko and Pikari are supposed to meet at grandma’s place. When Teko (riding on a scooter) arrives at the intersection, Pikari starts running! Probably Teko is a safe rider so Pikari beats her to the ‘goal’. Next time she’ll start running when she reaches the bus stop. After hearing Teko’s narration on her gratefulness of meeting Pikari that changed her life, the girls have to help out with grandma since the beach house is packed with people. Later after another round of diving with customers, Pikari suggests the siblings to join her in a hot bath boat provided by the facility. A hot bath? In this summer heat? No thanks. As Pikari soaks alone, she notices the customers (a group of old guys) getting into the next tub. She realizes she forgot to wear her bra and hence a possible nip slip. Thank goodness for her handphone as she calls her friends. Due to them being busy at the moment, nobody picks up. She ultimately texts for help. Ai finally sees the message and tries to help her. She didn’t realize she is topless as she tries to pull semi-conscious Pikari out. Will the old men have the best view of the day? Thankfully here comes Teko distracting them with free pork soup before putting back Pikari’s top. Safe. Too bad Makoto got kicked by Ai for nothing. To thank Teko for this, Pikari suggests a BBQ tonight. They go shopping and some like Mato help contribute to the seafood BBQ. During the party, Chizuru sends Teko a picture of a steak in hopes of making her jealous since coincidentally her side is having a BBQ party too. What a downer. Later Pikari and Teko talk alone about their worries that one day they will soon have to part and the fun will end. I know it’s good to prepare but they’re taking this so seriously. Pikari in denial refuses to let that happen! Can’t envision a future without them together, eh? But since there are lots of things they want to do, they can’t imagine that yet. Even if that day comes, they’ll be sad. But they’ll think of all the fun times because fun is infinite. Yeah, whatever logic fits the bill to beat the blues. Cue for awkward confession they like each other.

Episode 2
Pikari sees a local boy near her place. She goes diving with him and shows him an octopus nest. Although impressed, he won’t tell his name. Back at grandma’s, Pikari sees the fireworks festival poster and invites her friends to come. She’ll make it real special for them. Next time Pikari sees that boy again and knows he is trying to find the octopus nest but couldn’t find it due to the change in tide. She will lead her there in exchange he tells his name. Kokoro Misaki. Pikari fawns over his cute name. That’s why Kokoro didn’t want to tell her. Kokoro sees an eel trying to hunt at the octopus’ nest. The eel ‘warns’ him. Now we see a short epic battle of the octopus fighting the eel! Kokoro feels sad he can’t help the octopus but is relieved when the octopus mom returns to her nest safely (but with some bruises). After they part, Pikari realizes too late she should have invited Kokoro to the festival. On that night, With the exception of Teko, the rest didn’t come in a yukata, disappointing Pikari. Pikari doesn’t see Kokoro around and Teko starts worried and overthinking about her new friend but comes to terms that Pikari is the type who can easily make friends. Thanks to Pikari’s hard work, the friends get front row VIP seats to watch the fireworks. It’s such a good view that they shower her with praises. Pikari loves it. Keep it coming… This fireworks display has Mato remember her own when she was young. She was too short to see so an old woman lifted her up to watch the magnificence. She gets to see this similar scene again thanks to Pikari. Next day, Pikari finds Kokoro at the usual spot. However he is depressed. The octopus mom is gone. Kokoro investigates but tries to stop desperate Kokoro trying to swim further to find it. She tells him the harsh cycle life of an octopus. Its mom will fast until its offspring hatches. In the end, it will always die. If the nest is unlucky, predators will find and eat it. But all is not lost as the nest hatches and they get to see the wonderful phenomenon of small translucent octopus babies scattering around. It’s like their own underwater fireworks.

Episode 3
Mato teaches Teko how to use an underwater compass on land. She seems to handle it well. Until the real test. Because she has to do it underwater alone and without Pikari. Gulp. Visibility is very limited as Teko sums up her courage to make her first step. All goes well until she realizes she is alone. Can’t see anyone. Is she lost? She starts overthinking and close to panicking that she has messed up. She thinks of quitting by rising up to the surface but after thinking Pikari might be disappointed with her, she continues. She remembers other lessons like observing her surroundings and the ripple marks on the sand. It leads her back to her pals. Success. When they are cleaning up on land, Teko notices Ai and Makoto not packing up yet. That’s because they are going for night diving. Of course this spooks Teko and she declines joining them. At night, Teko and Pikari see off the siblings as they show off their bright lightings to be used. They are awed to see so many divers and their lights as it reflects off the surface of the sea. Despite Teko having a better view on night diving, she is still scared of diving in darkness but hopes to overcome that. Mato finds Teko up early next morning. She massages her feet to help relax her body. Since Teko still has low self-confidence on the things she does and always keep dreaming things, Mato tells her all the good stuffs she did was reality. Writing them off as dreams would be a shame. She can’t change the past but can change herself and the future. Teko is now further motivated to overcome her weaknesses and relishes all her special memories are real. Well duh. Can’t be dreaming this entire time, right? Her next goal is to get her advanced licence.

Episode 4
Summer just went by in a flash. Don’t worry, autumn is here. This means sweet potatoes! Yay! At the shopping district, Kokoro spots Pikari but doesn’t want to call out to her. Too bad she spots him and now hangs out with him. Meanwhile, can Teko suddenly tell the future? Because she can tell the things that are going to happen around her! Then she realizes this is a dream. She is cool about it. Because she takes a broom and flies! OMG! Has this series become so boring that they resort to this? Heck, even the girl next to her is shocked at what she saw. As Teko confirms to her that this is a dream, she even teaches her how to fly! Uhm, Flying Witch? They fly all over town and to the park where they see the autumn sakura. On the other hand, Pikari hears out why Kokoro has been depressed all day. Somebody teased her and scribbled her about having octopus lips. Pikari trying hard not to laugh… When Kokoro says he is going to find the culprit and smack him, Pikari thinks he will regret it. So she takes him to see the autumn sakura. Well, it’s not really in full bloom but just small patches. But better than nothing. Before Teko and the girl could tell each other their names, the latter disappears. Teko takes this as she has awakened from her dream first. Shortly after, Teko too. She realizes this place has gotten so boring relaxing that she fell asleep. Then she calls Pikari and tells of her experience. Both are awed about the coincidental autumn sakura they saw. Teko notes that autumn has many wonders of its own but the best is that you have someone you can share the joy with. So let’s go find more wonders!

Episode 5
Mato tells about the legendary mermaid who helps those in a pinch. If you are friendly enough, she will take you to Ryuugu Palace. So our diving enthusiasts take a dive in the ocean. Teko is awed by the air rings the friends made to her. As they continue diving, suddenly Teko feels she is rising. She panics and the more she struggles, the more she rises. Thankfully Pikari and Mato bring her down. Back on land, Teko feels ashamed for failing. Due to the different level of the seabed, she had to get rid of excess air to maintain her buoyancy. She panicked and had she rose too fast, the nitrogen in the air of her suit will build up. This could be fatal and worse, when Teko was trying to swim downwards, she raised her feet and that’s where the air built up. She learnt a valuable lesson today but it’s a bit hard for her to get over the depression. Pikari’s little sister, Kodama visits. Teko learns she too has a diving licence and technically her senior. But she hasn’t dived with Pikari for quite a while since big sister often brings trouble so she maintained her distance. Pikari is embarrassed when Kodama and Teko prostrate to each other to take care of Pikari. Awkward… The gang goes diving in the sea again. After Ai and Makoto dive to deeper depths, Pikari and Teko spot a turtle and follow it. Mato then sees something swimming fast zooming past her. She thinks it is the legendary mermaid. However… It’s just a big fat grandpa?! But Mato decides to take a gamble and has him take them to Ryuugu Palace. He agrees! This dude really swims fast! Is he really human?! The ladies are awed to the colourful seabed teeming with ocean life before bringing them back. Back on the boat, Ai feels jealous she couldn’t meet that legendary mermaid. Mato has this fuzzy and warm feeling she has met that ‘mermaid’ before. We see that ‘mermaid’ turns out to be Pikari’s grandpa. This weird looking guy has become a legend now…

Episode 6
It’s the Halloween! Teko is dressed like a cute princess than anything scary. And Kokoro is a cat girl? Too bad he had to stumble into Pikari. So cute! Teko and Kokoro meet for the first time. Pikari leaves them together to get drinks. An awkward silence. Teko starts overthinking about taking the lead and when Pikari returns, both of them are so relieved. Ai and Makoto are doing an event. However nobody is participating despite the prize of a large octopus plushie. Maybe that’s why. But Kokoro seems interested… They make up some suggestions of adding extra prizes but the one that suddenly catches everyone’s attention to participate is a kiss from Pikari! Woah! See the long queue! Suddenly Teko steps in. She is going to protect Pikari’s lips! So mature? In this scavenger hunt, they have to get the item listed in the random piece of paper without letting the people know they are part of a game. It looks like an intense showdown between Pikari and Kokoro. Both have it tough. People rather be tricked by Kokoro than give him what he wants and Pikari is too scared to approach a guy, turning into a stalker and making that guy nervous! Somebody is stalking you! So when both eventually get what they need to, they are neck to neck racing towards the finish line. In the end, both cross together. Kokoro gets her plushie and Teko gets her peck from Pikari. Pikari also gives one to Kokoro. They’re joint winners, right? But did Teko and Pikari suddenly fall asleep because they realize that they are in dreamland when they could start using magic. The duo then have a Halloween dance with Teko being the prince and Pikari the princess. They snap out of their dream and realize they are in a hot Jacuzzi tub reserved by Mato as reward for their hard work. Don’t you think floating off into dreamland and then only snapping back out in a different place is a bit dangerous?

Episode 7
The students are working hard into the night as they prepare for the school’s cultural festival. But Mato knows something many don’t and she hopes Peter will not mess with her students. Teko and Pikari head to Ai’s class to sell drinks. They only have mostly gourd juice. Ugh… Their homeroom teacher, Mamoru Towano is kind enough to buy them all for his students! Damn… Ai goes to buy another drink to wash off that gourd taste (since Pikari ‘forced’ one upon her). Sitting alone on the stairs, she notes how different and quiet it is at night. Then this Peter guy pops up and wants Ai to slack off with him. She refuses and trips. I don’t know how she could do a somersault like that but Peter saves her and they both land on their feet. Ai felt as though they were both flying for a while. She thinks she owes him one and follows him as he brings her through the corridors of the school. It brings back some nostalgic memories like as though she is reliving her school days. This has her thinking if she could stay like this forever. At this point, Mato learns that Ai is missing. The girls heard she went to buy a drink but never returned. Peter asks Ai if that is how she feels. Sort of. Ai knows that despite all the fun times, it will eventually end. When Peter decides to bring Ai, this is when Mato has found her. She warns Peter not to do anything to her but he says he is only trying to fulfil her wish. But with Ai letting go of his hand, he assures he only takes those who really wants to go. He walks away. Mato brings back Ai to the crowd as confused Ai tries to find out more about Peter. He is a nasty ghost of the school and takes away those who doesn’t want to grow up. So… You mean Peter as in Peter Pan? Ai feels the shivers but tries to brush it off as untrue. Mato adds that the place where she bought the drink is the top floor. You cannot go anywhere further. That is where Peter went. Mato carries on that Peter tried to take her away once when she was a student in this school. He hasn’t aged since and looked exactly as he was.

Episode 8
Ai says Peter’s name and Makoto wonders who. Poor guy gets beaten up for nothing. She falls asleep and dreams of Peter. She wakes up and makes a dash. She trips on a can but luckily Towano breaks her fall. She gets up and continues her dash towards the vending machine. She falls asleep and enters the dream world. It is day time and everywhere is flooded ankle deep. There is nobody around either. She wonders if she has gone back in time since a candy store that closed when she was young is still open. She then spots Mato. Or at least during her days at a student. She thinks Ai is a stray and wants her to leave. But since Ai knows her, Mato explains the truth. This is the dream of a baby left at a shrine. Powerless, all he could do was dream an endless dream called Neverland and live forever. That’s how this world came to be. People who dream started straying into this world. As many people come from all walks of life, the baby takes all their info and memories and ‘grows’. He is Peter and formerly the shrine was only his world but now he started to expand it by his will. Mato knows this because she asked Peter herself. There is a flying ship in the sky and he believes that is where Peter is. So how do they get up there? They fly up there! Can you transfer experience of flying? Sure Pikari heard from Teko the expert dreamer but that doesn’t mean she can do it? Oh heck, it’s a dream so they can. Mato first met Peter during her graduation and she didn’t want that day to end. He showed her his world and she visited many times. The ship is spilling water and if this keeps up, the world will be closed off eventually. Nobody will come here again. Peter thought to expand this world by bringing outsiders but Mato was against this idea. This made him sad as he told her never to come back here again. She never saw him again and wished to do so to tell him what she couldn’t then. On the ship they see Peter. He shows them a room that leads them to a shrine where the baby continues to cry. This is the source of the flooding. The more he expands the world, the more it leaks. So he is going to stop bringing outsiders and close it forever. Mato agrees but will stay with him here. That is what she wanted to say. After they hug, Ai is forced out of the dream. Her other friends are puzzled she is sleeping here. Ai starts crying and asks Teko how to continue a dream. There is something she must do.

Episode 9
Ai is stumped that despite Mato spilling out her feelings, Peter pushed her away and holed himself inside Neverland. With Teko and Pikari agreeing to help out, they give instructions on how to dream again. Man, it’s that easy. Ai is now back in Neverland but Teko and Pikari are there too. Well, they did say they will help her. Don’t worry, Makoto is guarding them for those curious enough to get close. Flying back up to the ship, Peter’s cat is trying to close the door on them but Teko and Pikari hold it long enough for Ai to go through. At the shrine, Peter is shocked to see Ai. She knows he loves Mato and hence pushing her away so as not to drag her into this world. It is that same love why she kept returning. Since Peter is dense about love, Ai confesses she likes him! Is that just an example? If Peter wakes up, he will go back to that baby and harsh reality. Neverland materialized thanks to this cat snuggling up to the baby. Ai will not stay by his side. She wants him to wake up and cry with all his might so someone might hear and find him. Peter is okay being alone as that is how it all started. Ai disagrees and knows he is still crying out of loneliness. Since he created Neverland, he can end it. As this is the town they are in, she is sure they will someday meet. Peter has come to terms with this and agrees but notes she like everyone else will forget this dream. She promises she won’t. Ai regains consciousness as Makoto is by her side (the duo returned to class). As Ai leaves, she feels she is forgetting something until she sees Mato, she remembers. She talks to her and assures Peter will never show up again because he has awakened. Mato starts to remember too. Growing old means her memories were getting hazy, huh? They then see Peter’s cat and it is trying to lead them somewhere. The shrine. They are disappointed to see Towano there. However he knows about Peter’s story. The mother of the abandoned baby returned shortly to take him back after changing her mind. He grew up to lead a normal life. He always thought Neverland was just a hazy dream. But what convinced him to be real? When Ai tripped and accidentally showed Peter her pantsu as well as her tripping before Towano. Pantsu activated those memories! Ai leaves the adults to be alone. Awkward at first, Mato then pinches him for not saying anything. Would you believe it if he did? Ai is left in tears and heartbroken. So she really loved Peter? Who else but her brother could lend a shoulder to cry on? They return to school and the mural theme of Peter Pan is finished.

Episode 10
Teko is going to stay at Pikari’s grandma’s place overnight for the New Year countdown. It’s not just her but the rest of the friends. Mato, Ai, Makoto, the cats and even Kokoro. Oh, Kodama too because of her pyjama party with friends failed to materialize. Great food, great games. Such a great time. When the rest hear Kodama is still hesitant to join the diving club, she gives excuse she doesn’t want to follow her wandering sister around. Since they have time to midnight, grandma decides to tell stories from her youthful days. She was diving for pearls but got hooked on scuba diving. Those days, scuba diving wasn’t sophisticated. She was scorned and laughed at by other fishermen. Nevertheless she continued to dive and explored the seabed to her heart’s content. One day she was at the edge of her exploration area. But she saw something that piqued her interest. She decided to go further. It was then she discovered a beautiful spot that eventually became one of the most famous diving spots in the area. It was also thanks to all the conditions that were right that enabled her to find this gem. The kids are awed but the point of all this is to do what your heart wants to do. So diving is still an option, right? Too bad everyone fell asleep before midnight and missed the countdown. Teko gets up early and has a chat with grandma about the many things she wants to do as a person despite her flaws. Everyone wakes up in time to see the first sunrise of the year. Teko gets a call from Chizuru and Akane who are doing the same. Great timing. Mato decides they should all visit the shrine now.

Episode 11
Pikari is sick. And today is her birthday. Teko has this idea to visit her at home but outside the school gates, she sees Kokoro sneaking around. Of course he is here to give Pikari a present but she is absent. Kokoro remains distant to Teko despite after showing each other their present for Pikari. Teko suggests a ceasefire since it is Pikari’s birthday. They have the same idea of getting her a star shaped birthday cake. Upon arrival at her doorstep, it seems grandma points out a ‘problem’. Grandpa, mother, father, brother and sister all brought cakes! So with theirs, there are literally 4 cakes! But Pikari is so happy she cried tears of joy. Can she celebrate while sick? Oh screw it. Just do it! Kokoro was reluctant to say but eventually tells his birthday which falls on Hinamatsuri, a day for girls. Later Teko knows Kokoro wanted to ask Pikari for a request. Hesitant at first, he finally reveals a burn-off event he wanted her to attend. It is an event where they burn dead grass over the hill before planting new ones. So Teko organizes her diving club members to come on that day as surprise. Kodama is also here and brought her friend, Kotori whose father is a staff for this event. If Kotori looks familiar, it is because she is that girl sharing the weird dream with Teko. As the gang tour the hills, the smoke may be thick but how the heck did Teko get lost from the rest since there is only a path to follow?! Because of that, she bumps into Kokoro in the midst of his job. It is then Teko realizes he is a boy. She always thought he was a girl trying to be a macho man! Insult? When Teko realizes that his love for Pikari is of the man type, Teko wants to support him! Is this embarrassing? Even getting help from the ‘enemy’? At the bottom of the hill, all participants get ready to burn a fire barrier. Being noobs, Teko and Pikari almost falter only for manly Kokoro to save the day. This is when the rest realize Kokoro is a boy. Ai still in shock denial… Here is another shock: Kotori is Kokoro’s older sister. It’s such a small world…

Episode 12
All Teko needs is to select one more diving elective and she will get her advanced diving licence. As the gang take their usual dive, Teko snaps some photos of the sea life. But back on shore, the photos of course turn out to be less than satisfactory. Mato suggests underwater photography as her last elective but surprisingly Teko wants to do night diving. Kodama and Kotori will soon be first years in high school. Pikari assumes Kodama will join the diving club but little sister reminds her that isn’t a given yet. Although Kotori expressed her interest to see Teko, Kodama might only do so to accompany her. Then there is more talk about their worries that the fun will someday end but you know what? Why think so much? Just go all out and have fun like they always have! Teko prepares herself for her night diving. To her surprise, Pikari has brought Kodama, Kotori and Kokoro as her cheer and watch squad. Teko takes a dive with the rest. She is awed at the different view of the seabed. The gang then gather, switch off their lights and wait a while. Once they get accustomed to the darkness, they start to move. Doing so causes the planktons to react and hence lighting up like as though they are fireflies. Back on land, our divers are treated with grandma’s great pork soup. When Kotori asks if Teko was afraid, she replies of how cool everything was. She might be a bit exaggerating to say how everything is so magical and fantasy-like. Maybe. From her perspective. But it’s reality. With grandma assuring how everything will be fine, this has Kotori excited to join the diving club. In that case, Kodama too. Yay. All the gang’s here now. At the start of the new term, Teko and Pikari are fortunately in the same class. They read each other’s letter to the other. As expected, lots of thanking and the things they look forward to do together.

Subnautica: Diving Deeper Into The Abyss Of Friendship
Just like last season, I wasn’t expecting anything much for this sequel. Hence the same eternal dilemma of whether to classify this series as absolutely boring or just calming healing anime. Or both. The usual ‘shenanigans’ involving our usual suspects especially Teko, of experiencing new firsts and realizing things (meetings, partings, etc) as she identifies and overcomes her weakness at the same time. From the looks of it, it looks like she still has a long way to go. That might sound forever if you compared in today’s fast moving world and standards but in this sleepy coastal town, doing it by her own pace is justified. At least we can all agree that Teko is somewhat closer to her goal now than where she was when she first started, right?

I might have said this anime is the same boring and/or calming effect like last season. However, there is one ‘shock’ factor that I did not anticipate. It is the supernatural part. Yes, Peter’s arc was to a point nostalgic and even spooky for me even if it is not meant to scare any daylights out of you. This small supernatural arc reminds me of Aria The Animation’s second season, Aria The Natural in which that season was filled with supernatural stuffs. It was a little scary now that I think back of it. Thus there was this fear that there might be some spooky supernatural stuff just to spring in some surprise but alas, nothing of that sort. Heck, even that Cait Sith makes its cameo appearance. It made me wonder if both these series are relate din the same universe! Both series are written by the same author so there is that possibility. Making it even more possible is that there is no timeline in dream worlds. Anybody from anywhere could pop up in the same dream of someone simultaneously. It’s a mystery nobody can really explain.

Thinking further about how Peter is Towano gives me headaches because it is like that time paradox thingy. Towano only managed to survive and live on because of Ai from the future being persistent in saving him from staying forever in a closing dream world. So if the future Ai have never done that, Towano wouldn’t have existed today. Ai and Towano might not be directly related or effecting each other in their lives but imagine the things in life that Towano had done, those small little ripple effects and consequences that might have not led to Ai or any of the other characters’ birth or coming into existence. Great. I’m getting a small headache trying to reason this. But not sure if it is plot convenience that Towano and Mato don’t remember this until the final moments. Especially Mato who knows about Peter, she should have at least remembered Ai since she has been in her class for a few years! I mean, when she thinks of Peter, she should know who Ai is, right? She was an integral part of Neverland, at least in its dying moments, which is one of the crucial moments of the dream, right? Therefore brushing it off as a dream before coming to terms it was real, yeah it feels kinda convenient.

Another surprising element for this particular arc is how Ai was thrust into the limelight for once. It was always Teko and/or Pikari who has been hogging episode after episode. Therefore this mini arc saw a nice little change with Ai becoming the main character for a while. It was surprising as well as lovely to see another side of Ai that we don’t often see. Because we all remember her as the one who always kicks her brother for every and no reason at all! So perhaps we see the power of love changing Ai for the better? Yeah, it was heart-breaking too at first when Ai’s love couldn’t be materialized. But I suppose in the end we all would prefer the spunky Ai we all know. Thus I could also say that this arc has the most ‘interesting’ episodes for this season, if not the entire series itself.

Many of the characters remain the same from last season. I would mainly be repeating myself again. Despite having said Teko still has got some ways to go and things to learn, I surmise that in this season I believe she has achieved becoming an expert dreamer. Yeah, that ’nonsensical’ flying dreaming episode sealed it. It’s like telling me, if she can’t get her open diving licence, at least she can be a dreaming expert. You don’t need any sort of licence for that! Just your imagination! But don’t laugh. Because remember what John Lennon sang in Imagine? You may say I’m a dreamer/ But I’m not the only one… Yes people, the world needs not more professionals, pros, specialists, masters or experts, but dreamers! Now that she has gotten her advanced licence, she can go on to dream further. So don’t worry about fun times going to end. If it comes, it comes. You will cross the bridge when you get there.

Come to think of it, the cats aren’t very prominent here either. As though they don’t want to get in the way of our main characters. They’re just hanging around and in case you need to be distracted for a while, you can watch them do whatever cute things they are doing. Hence no proper episode that focuses on them this season. Not that it matters anyway.

Kokoro as the new character adds a little more variety. Because of all the girliness we have seen in our main characters, Kokoro is more of the stubborn and manly pride type (like as though he was supposed to turn out female but God screwed up in the end and made him male last minute). Only made ambiguous by his gender. My guts told me he is a male and there were some ambiguous elements to try and confuse us and make us think he is otherwise. Well, I suppose Kokoro eventually being officially male is supposed to be the surprise factor that shocks our main characters? You know what they say on how strange the truth is. But let me get this straight. Teko when she thought Kokoro as a girl, viewed her as a love rival for Pikari? But now that she knows Kokoro is a boy, she supports him to be Pikari’s future lover? Okay. Perhaps that is no rivalry in that way. It’s a win-win situation for everybody because Teko can have her lesbianism friendship with her while Kokoro will be able to get a straight and healthy relationship with Pikari. Once he reaches the legal age, that is.

Kodama and Kotori feel somewhat irrelevant here since they don’t have many episodes for themselves and only limited screen time. Like as though they are just introduced in case there is another season, then they can appear more. Hence having setup Kodama having some sisterly issues feels like this is going to be her ‘challenge to overcome’, which I predict it won’t be overly complicated (sisters get into some small quarrel, reconcile, best sisters ever in the world again) before she would becoming a diving member once more. But now that they are part of the diving club, we should hear from them often. I doubt that they will be replacing Ai and Makoto because even if they have graduated, they’ll still be around as alumnus and alumna.

It goes without saying that the main draw for me to return watching this series is the BGM music. Yes, those lovely and calming acoustic guitar pickings that could rival those in Aria The Animation. Although this season has its own brand new album, many that I hear sound like taken from the original series. But that’s just because maybe I wasn’t paying attention enough. But I do notice that there are much more variations to the Umi To Sora piece. It is like this has become the main theme of the series. Nevertheless, most of the BGM pieces are still calming and fun to listen.

Last season, Maaya Sakamoto who did the opening theme now sings the ending theme, Hello, Hello. It’s a cute and calming song and if the series itself doesn’t have more Aria x Ohime love, this is where you’ll get your cat love spam. I guess it is better than last season where Aria spends most of his time in this part of the animation chasing after Ohime. Now they’re like a couple. Minori Suzuki sings the opener, Crosswalk. It tries to have that same feel as the previous season’s opening theme, Million Clouds. It is also nice in its own right but I still prefer Million Clouds. With last season’s seiyuus maintained, new ones joining are Ai Yamato as Kokoro, Aya Suzaki as Kodama (Kaede in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Ai Kakuma as Kotori (Miyako in Imouto Sae Ireba Ii), Miyu Irino as Peter (Ritsu in Mob Psycho 100) and Hiroki Takahashi as Towano (Hisoka in Hunter x Hunter series).

The art and animation still remain consistent as last season. The background and sceneries are gorgeous to look at if you find the story and plot too boring to follow. Also, the characters still have that trademark Pac-man face for comical purposes. But I find Kodama’s Pac-man look to be a bit strange because it makes her look sleepy. Those half covered eyelids must be it. But the oddest looking character is Pikari’s grandpa who looks so cartoonish that as though he popped out from some cartoon. I thought he might be some sort of spirit and it boggles my mind how someone this big can move so much agile and quick in the water (possibly faster than dolphins too). Maybe he is big because of all the air and buoyancy inside his body? Nah! Also, we see Pikari’s grandma in her young hot youthful days. It makes you wonder how she became so hagged like as though she is another person now. Maybe all that scuba diving and being in the sun through the years caused her skin to be like that?! Remember people, take extra precautions when being exposed to the elements.

Overall, this sequel is pretty enjoyable if you love the first season despite the same recurring themes that some would find boring. Not really sure if this series would go on to have more sequels and spinoffs like Aria The Animation but you can count on me putting it on my watch list if they ever get produced. Especially those irresistible acoustic guitar picking BGMs. Time to add more of those pieces to my personal library. Still not into scuba diving for laidback leisure (if this what this anime subtly intends us to explore) but with those great pieces of music, it’s more than enough laidback time I need. More than enough toxic cleansing and healing I need before I head back into the pitch black and corrupted wild seas of anime. Hope this is enough ‘air’ to get me through till the next season arrives.

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