First Impressions: A Channel

Teen feels left out, has to make new friends.

I think I’m too old for this stuff.

Between impulse purchases and Anime Network On Demand my backlog of anime series to finish is rather high, and my Netflix queue is positively bursting. On top of that I suddenly have access to a Roku player, so I now have a whole new juicy queue of shows to watch on Crunchyroll. Hence I decided that I wasn’t going to watch any more random anime for a while, at least until I’ve whittled down what I already have. But then I saw the first episode of A Channel On Demand, and the description was about a high school girl trying to figure stuff out, and since I’m a sucker for shoujo I decided to give this random find a whirl.

I have a massive headache. Maybe I should use this box cutter to open up my skull and massage my brain! Great idea, right?

Tooru just got accepted to high school, but she’s in the class one year below her best friend, Run. When Tooru tries to hang out with Run she can’t seem to shake Run’s other two friends from the same class, Yuko and Nagisa. Run is kind of a daffy airhead and doesn’t noticed that Tooru is feeling left out of their conversations or that she’s jealous of her two new friends. However, by the end of the episode, thanks to Run’s reassurances that their friendship will always remain, Tooru finally accepts her best friend’s new friends and they all hang out as one group.

Yeah, taking a metal bat to school to fend off your best friend's suitors is totally normal behavior. Riiiiiight...

God, I got bored just writing that synopsis. Oh A Channel, how do I dislike thee, let me count the ways? As soon as it began I thought, “I’m not going to like this show because I hate this artwork. I can’t stand watching these cute cherub faces for twenty more minutes.” But then my Libran side took over and scolded my art aesthetic side to be more open-minded. Maybe the story would rock, give it a chance! But the story did not rock. It was oh so dreadfully boring. I really am constantly amazed at some of these slice of life anime series that have nothing special going for them. Hey, we’re friends, but one of us feels left out, but now we’re all friends together, yay! I suppose if the world of teenage girls was something you hadn’t experienced, then watching such a show might have some appeal, like if you’re a super young preteen getting ready to enter high school or someone who never went to high school at all. However, since I experienced the highs and lows of female high school friendships firsthand, there was nothing in this episode that appealed to me in the slightest. When my own life is more interesting than an anime, I know that I can’t watch any more.

Okay, so this is about a girl learning to deal with her best friend coming out, that's coo- oh. Nope, it's just some lame comedic fan service. Bummer.

I hated all the characters and couldn’t care less what happened to them. Run was an idiot who could barely stand up straight without falling over, Yuko and Nagisa were stock side characters, and Tooru was psychotic in the most uninteresting way possible. Once again we find an anime series that has a creepily obsessive female friendship which seems to be the stuff of high comedy in anime but is fodder for horror movies here in the States. When Tooru entered Run’s room and thought that Yuko was kissing Run there was a glimmer of something interesting, but that quickly faded when it became clear that this ploy was merely fodder used to fuel Tooru’s jealousy and give her cause to punch Yuko in the boobs every time they met, because hey, that sure never got old. The opening and closing theme songs were tolerably cute, but that’s all the positive feedback I can provide for this series (which is technically categorized as seinen, wth?!?). I’m not sad in the slightest to say adieu to A Channel and move on to any one of the thousands of other anime series out there with more potential than this one.

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