A-ChannelType: TV Series + Specials
Episode Count: 12 + 11
Genre: Slice Of Life / Comedy
Vintage: 2011

Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 22 Jun 2012

Grade: A

While the episodes themselves are the standard 24-minute length, the specials are two-minute shorts, except for the last which runs a bit longer.

More 4-koma adaptation perfection.

Plot Summary
Run has been Toru’s best friend since they were little, though they are a year apart in age. When Run gets into high school, Toru is determined to get into the same high school the next year, and successfully does. So begins the exciting days in the lives of Toru, Run, and their friends Yuko and Nagi.

The Review
Joining the lineup of shows based on 4-koma manga which I’ve come to enjoy quite a bit is A-Channel. As always, the simplicity of these kinds of shows makes them a challenge to review. However, in that simplicity lies their strength. Once more, this a series with no plot to speak of; it’s just a window into the world of four high school girls, much like Hidamari Sketch or K-ON!. Unlike those two series, though, there is no art or music to wrap the loose story around. A-Channel is little more than watching cute girls doing everyday things, and that’s all it needs.

In the picture above, we have our main characters. From left to right, they are:

Run – Carefree, exuding innocence, and a space cadet, she’s a cross between Hidamari Sketch’s Yuno and Azumanga Daioh‘s Osaka.
Nagisa – Or just “Nagi” as her friends call her. Much like Yomi from Azumanga Daioh, she is always needlessly concerned about her weight, and counts every calorie. She’s also got a bit of a devious streak.
Yuko – An unexpected combination of idol looks and a Kansai dialect. Not too good with scary stuff.
Toru – Remarkably similar in appearance and demeanor to Yuki Nagato from Haruhi, though with a bit more personality. Soft-spoken and reserved, but fiercely protective of Run. Still the size of an elementary school student, though. The only first-year in the group (the rest are second-years).

In addition to the main four, there is a secondary cast including a school nurse with an unusual interest, Run’s homeroom teacher who just doesn’t seem to care, another very enthusiastic teacher, and two of Toru’s first-year classmates. In all, it’s a fun cast of characters.

One thing which sets A-Channel apart from nearly every other series I’ve watched – 4-koma-based or otherwise – is the number of songs used in the series. While most anime series have CD collections of image songs based around them and their characters, A-Channel has an image song for each episode which sums up its theme, used as backdrop for a montage at some point during the episode. It was something I had never seen done before, and gave A-Channel’s episodes their own unique feel and flow.

A-Channel is a series made to simply be enjoyed. The draw is watching the girls do everyday things, and the humor is derived from adapting the original 4-koma strips. Fans of Azumanga Daioh, Hidamari Sketch, or K-ON! will feel right at home. This is slice of life high school comedy at its best.

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