“Amanchu!” Invites You to a Different World That Exists Near You
What is great about manga is its ability to express any kind of worlds, such as a faux medieval world or a society on a planet that is hundreds of millions light-years away. However, there are also many stories in manga and anime that focus on worlds that exist in reality around us yet unfamiliar to us. We would like to introduce “Amanchu!” this time, and it depicts underwater world, which is a different world close to us.
Her new life started in a seaside town in Izu Peninsula, Japan. She made friends with Hikari Kohinata, her classmate, and Hikari invites Futaba to join her in scuba diving.
Futaba has never tried scuba diving, but she joins the Scuba Diving Club of the school. The story depicts various youthful experiences Futaba encounters through scuba diving activities.
1. Futaba Ooki
She is the 15 year-old main character, and she recently moved to Izu after graduating from a middle school in Tokyo.
She is a shy and quiet girl, highly sensitive and considerate of others.
The story unfolds often from her perspective.
2. Hikari Kohinata
She is the other main character, and also a 15 year-old girl.
She is outgoing and quick to action, and her hobby is scuba diving.
She plays the role similar to that of Tinker Bell who leads Futaba Ooki to the world of scuba diving.
She hopes to become a diving instructor in the future.
3. Ai Ninomiya
She is a sophomore student of the high school Futaba Ooki and Hikari Kohinata belong, and the head of the Scuba Diving Club.
She is a twin sister of Makoto Ninomiya, to be introduced below.
Being lively and active, she is similar to Hikari Kohinata. But she appears somewhat more thoughtful compared to emotion-driven Hikari, perhaps because she is one year older.
But she treats her brother Makoto poorly, including kicking him mercilessly.
4. Makoto Ninomiya
He is a 16 year old boy, a twin little brother of Ai Ninomiya.
He is silent and reserved, and often gets kicked by his elder twin sister. But his relationship with her is not bad.
Because his sister is violent to him, he is worried if she can grow up to be a decent adult in the future.
5. Mato Katori
She is a high school instructor and homeroom teacher of Futaba and Hikari. She is also the advisor of the Scuba Diving Club.
Though she is young at 29, she is a good teacher. She understands students well and properly keeps an eye on them.
The main characters, Futaba and Hikari, are surrounded by kind and cooperative adults or senior students, and the story centers on their everyday life.
The story is staged on Izu Peninsula, a real location that is only 1~2 hours away from Tokyo.
Locations and buildings that exist in reality appear in the story, so it might offer a good reference point to plan a sightseeing trip in Japan.
The expression of the underwater world is primarily led by Futaba’s impression in the ocean rather than giving graphic or realistic description.
We can watch beautiful tropical underwater landscapes on TV and other media. But the story succeeds in giving us vicarious experience of attractive scuba diving activities by depicting the underwater world through a personal point of view.
Readers who have not experienced scuba diving can grow fondness to the underwater world, and those who are scuba divers or who have already experienced diving in the sea can be absorbed in the story, finding images they can relate to.
It combines two Japanese words “ama” and “uminchu”. “Ama” refers to female fishermen that operate skin diver fishing. “Uminchu” is a dialect in Okinawa Islands, in the south of Japan, which means “fisherman”.
The process of obtaining a scuba diving license is expressed as if it were very easy in this story.
But in order to obtain a scuba diving license domestically in Japan, it requires long practical training and passing an examination. This is an activity that is very time-consuming as well as expensive.
Scuba diving is an expensive hobby including gear maintenance afterwards. This author is in short of funding, thus forced to be content at skin diving with a snorkel and reading this story.