A-Channel: The Animation Complete Collection
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Toru and Run have been best friends forever, so when Toru learns that she's managed to get into the same high school as Run, she runs to tell her… only to find Run in a compromising position with yet another girl, Yuko. Needless to say, that makes things a bit awkward at school, with Toru fending off those who might be interested in Run while Yuko and their other girlfriend, Nagi, have to deal with Run's own penchant for drama. But it's not all angst all the time, and as the school year progresses the four girls and their many classmates find time to laugh, play and figure out how to handle the unexpected problems life likes to throw at the them. Like bugs in the house, accidentally giving each other horrible haircuts, freezing up at karaoke or forgetting to put your underwear on in the morning. When it comes to learning about the real world, there's always something 'educational' to be found in A-CHANNEL: The Complete Collection.
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Top Customer Reviews
The series is twelve episodes long with six episodes on each of two discs in a standard lite box format. There is also a third disc which contains two sets of extra's. One set of extras is about an hours worth of four videos called A-Channel TV showing various interviews with the four main voice actresses. Watching so many in succession is about as entertaining as watching your car rust.
The other set of extra's are eleven mini-episodes of about 2 to 3 min. each which appear to be designed to match with the individual episodes. They are very entertaining and a delightful extra. Make absolutely sure you watch them! However, since Sentai had to go to three discs anyways; I would have much preferred them to put four main episodes on each of the three discs with their corresponding interviews and mini-episodes. That would have made much more sense and made the interviews less boring than doing it this way. There are no other extra's other than a clean ED, not even trailers.
Sub only, standard stereo and despite what Amazon has listed; this is a modern anime in a true 16x9 widescreen format. I give it 4 stars for it's genre, but only 3 stars for value. High School girls for example is about the same quality and enjoyment; but only half the price.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is funny and cute. It sometimes flows like a number of newspaper strip panels forming a loosely connected story. I'd say it's good for fans of K-on, Azumanga Daioh, and Charlie Brown.
Tohru is a quiet loll with a dark sense of humour. What redeems her dark streak is her obvious affection for Run (It's so obvious, the creators might be trying to bait fan fiction writers.) Tohru looks young for her actual age. Sometimes Tohru becomes depressed, thinking the the slightly older Run will eventually outgrow her. This is the closest the show has to a main conflict. Whenever this gets too serious we are reminded that Run is a ditzy character bound to mature far slower than Tohru anyway.
Mugi is the glasses wearing, girl who thinks she's plain, and constantly worries about her weight. Yoku is the hot girl who doesn't know she's hot. She plays off Mugi well. Yoku is also a scaredy cat, think Mio from K-on.
Overall it's a moe series that will make you laugh a few times every episode.
The series follows the life and friendship of four high-school girls; Run, Toru, Nagi and Yuko (as seen from left to right in the cover picture). Run and Toru have been best friends since forever, and Toru thinks of Run as her big sister; Toru is one year behind the other three, and very small for her age (she is 15, and describes herself as 'scrawny'; indeed, she is so skinny, her thigh-highs regularly fall down), but she is feisty, cute as a button (she even has a 'fan club', set up without her knowledge by her classmates, who all want to take turns hugging her!), and a top student in academic terms. She also has a cute kitten called 'Carbonation' (Lit. 'Tansan'; Japanese for 'carbonic acid', used in fizzy drinks); you'll have to watch the series to find out why he is called that. Run is totally bonkers, but cute and harmless - she comes across as being a mixture of Yui and Ritsu from K-On. She is so scatter-brained, she even manages to forget to put on her underwear and one sock one day! One episode includes Run's attempts to find a suitable swim-suit for Toru, so they can go to the beach, but even the smallest are too big for her, so she winds up with a child's one. Next is Nagi, who is bespectacled, red-headed and cute; she is also a good student, but has a hang-up about her weight, although she is not fat at all; she feels guilty whenever she eats cake or desserts. She is envious of Toru, who eats like a horse but never gains any weight. Lastly is Yuko, who is a dead ringer for Mio from K-On; she looks like her, sounds like her, and is even a scaredy-cat like Mio. She is beautiful, has a great figure (much to the envy of the other three; indeed, Toru (who is flat-chested) is so fascinated with Yuko's E-cup boobs, she is known to occasionally bounce them, much to Yuko's dismay!) Yuko is also the token 'Kansai'-accented character (a southern accent, generally portrayed in Japanese stories as country folk or 'hicks').
There is no magic, no special powers, time travel, or big battles (unless you count Toru fighting boys off with a baseball bat, when she thinks they are harassing Run!); just day-to-day, slice of life stuff, but it is charming, cute, funny and totally good fun. There is also not a single panty-shot in the whole series (unless you count the inevitable swim-suits, and sports shorts known as 'bloomers'!). If you look at the 'Extras' (which are on a separate disc) you will see that the character actors who voice the four girls are even more bonkers and crazy (in a nice way!) than the characters they portray! Overall, I loved this set!
The Amazon description is wrong in that it says the aspect ratio is 4:3 (1.333-1); it isn't - it is 16:9 (1.78-1).
Toru: Toru is a year younger than the other 3 girls, and arguably the closest to a singular main character. Has bits of Konota from Lucky Star(short, skinny and not happy about it), Ui from K-ON. She has a somewhat ambiguous relationship with Run. She is either close best friends, or girlfriend in the romantic sense(though maybe one sides). The ambiguity is intentional and never resolved, nor does it need to be. She guards and protects Run, sometimes to hilarious degrees, but Run frequently needs that protection. She is voiced somewhat awesomely by Aoi Yuuki who has gotten somewhat famous due to voicing the title character in a little show called Puella Magi Madoka Magicka), who is also somewhat short and thin.
Run: the object of Toru's affection, she will feel very familiar to those who have watched K-ON(Yui), Azumanga Diaoh(Osaka), Lucky Star(Tsukasa...her voice acress, Kaori Fukuhara in fact did Tsukasa's voice as well). Ditzy, short attention span, happy go lucky. She is not really dumb, she simply does not view the world as others do. She depends on and is incredibly affectionate towards Toru. It is hard not to smile when she is onscreen.
Yuki: Almost a clone in looks and personality of Mio from K-(ON), though her voice actress is Minako Kotobuki(who as an aside is drop dead gorgeous), who did the voice of Tsumugi in K-ON. Has a Kansai accent, but it seems to fade noticeably to my ear(note that I am not Japanese, can't speak much Japanese, and have never been to Japan, so take my ear for what it is worth), is tall, slender, large chested, long hair, mild mannered, and easily frightened. Did I mention she is just like Mio?
Nagi: Cross Nodoka from K-On with Yomi from Azumanga Diaoh and you have Nagi(short for Nagisa). Closer to Nodoka in appearance, Yomi in personality. She is a glasses wearing smart girl who takes things seriously and is worried about her weight. Her voice actress is Yumi Uchiyama who I am unfamiliar with but did a great job here.
Like most shows of this sort, nothing much really happens, each episode simply telling of some incident or 2 in the lives of the girls. The show emphasizes cuteness over conflict and humor over everything. There is nothing original or thought provoking here, but it will make you feel good watching it. I am glad I did.
The extra's include textless closing song, 4 video clips of the voice actresses talking and goofing around, and most notably, a bunch of short(2 to 6 minute) mini episodes, some of which are pure awesome. Video and audio where good. No dub, subtitles where good and included a good number of explanations of some of the culture specific references.
No robots, space ships or demons here (although a creative use of an aluminum baseball bat does offer some recurring humor). Just simple and sweet fun.