Amano Aki goes with her mother Haruko to her hometown in Kitasanriku during a summer vacation. There, she meets her maternal grandmother, Natsu, for the first time. Natsu is a woman diver aka "ama", and Aki thinks that is just so cool. Aki is a second-year high-school student, and she struggles to keep up with the fast-paced life in Tokyo. Having been confined indoors most of the time, everything she sees in the rural town is exciting to her. But most of all, seeing her grandmother diving under the fierce surf along the coastline, leaves a huge impact on her. "I think I would like to be a diver too..."
Cast & Credits
I like the way the script tells the story, nothing very fancy but it is presented as it is. God knows I hate stories that try too hard to move the audiences to the desired emotions. In Amachan, (almost) all happens as it is natural. It portrays everyone's tendency to change minds, as what Amano Aki does in the story. At first, she wants to be an ama diver, then a deep-sea diver to an idol and finally saving her hometown. But wait, don't we do change minds as much as hers? Yes, she is determined and passionate but she is by no means regular asadora heroines, who are all focused in one aspect of life or dreams. The character, as well as others in the show, is multidimensional and more intricate compared to most dramas.
The cast is very strong, from the veterans to character actors (surely the arsenal of character actors in this drama is extravagant) to the youngsters. Even the cameos are fascinating. As the lead, Rena Nonsense...errr... I mean Rena Nounen (lol I find it's very funny that her name rhymes that way) does a superb portrayal of Amano Aki. Her range of emotions are awesome and she plays her role with heart that is rare trait for a teenage kid like her. She reminds me of young Ueno Juri a lot and I bet she is the next big thing in Japanese TV and movie scene.
Music-wise, it has a plethora of nice background music. But it is the opening soundtrack that stands out of the rest. I'd dare to say that theme song is one of the best opening theme ever made in any TV shows. Props to the composer who has done a great job.
The ending is a bit unsatisfying, somewhat rushed and a bit too optimistic, the last story arch needs at least 40 episodes to complete while in fact there are only 20 or so. That's why I settled with overall point of 9, it could be another 10 if the ending is good. I hope they have a plan to make a special episode to rectify the "fault", but in my scoring algorithm, 9 is enough to warrant a "must watch" label.
With this, the "Ama-chan effect" hit me hard. I couldn't stop watching it. I finished this series after 11 days, and I'm sad it ended. This is probably also due to the phenomen, that the episodes are rather short with a runtime of 15 minutes, and you keep watching and watching, while you tell yourself: 'just another one, then i'll stop.', but you just can't. Its one of those series you really never want to end.
The Story itself i really addicting, as its absolutly not repetitve. The constant up and downs make oneself really go with it and feel it. It makes you sad, It makes you cheer, it makes you feel lost. If a series is able to this, then its a masterpiece. Kankuro Kudo really made a awesome job.
The Characters are absolutly memorable. You could really notice the cast was putting their hearts into it. I've never watched a series where the acting was this good. Each actor played their character so well, i could really belive everything could have happened in a village close to mine. There was no way you couldn't feel with your favorite character. (Which was Yui in my case.)
A enormous portion of this series marks the soundtrack. I'm usually one of those people skipping the Opening Sequence, i absolutely refused to do that when i watched Ama-chan. I found myself boucing around whenever the opening started. From the "inserts Songs" which where played pretty often, i must say i never found them annoying at any time, eventho they brought them up a lot in recalls or in different versions. On the other hand, the BGM music really gave this series its essence. Every musicportion in the series transported so many emotions in every single second. It really sticks to your brain and you'll find yourself humming it here and there without even noticing. I had to sing and hum along every single time.
You might wonder about the 9 instead of 10 points for the Rewatch Value. I have to admit, i had to deduct a point, just because its not a series you could watch again in just a single day, but thats about it. This is a Series you really can watch and enjoy everytime. Watch it with your friends, family, girlfriend, they'll love it.
Overall i Can only say, this series made a huge impact and is my new favorite Series of all times. If you haven't i can only say: YOU MUST WATCH IT!