Anime of Tomorrow
Acchi Kocchi (review)
Spring 2012 (12 episodes) (title literal translation – Here and There)
Tsumiki has a huge crush on her naturally gentle, gentlemanly to a fault, nice guy classmate, Io. However, her shy, tsundere personality prevents her from confessing her gushing love for this paragon of a man; whose only shortcoming is being a little slow on the uptake around his diminutive, female cling on. But Tsumiki takes this all in good grace because despite wanting more from their relationship, it’s enough to keep her satisfied for now. She even has a cheering section consisting of mad scientist Mayoi, the plucky and innocent Hime and Io’s good buddy, Sakaki. But while their assistance is usually appreciated, Tsumiki wants to win Io’s heart on her own.
One of the best measures of any comedy is its ability to put a funny spin on real things its audience can relate to. Another method is to occasionally be ridiculous in stark contrast to a generally serious premise. Acchi Kocchi manages to do both, creating some incredibly high highs balanced by a very solid framework of friendship and unrequited love. The series has a great many awww moments that never feel too sugary or forced and empty. Aside from a couple of punchlines that feel a little flat, the rest of the anime is very genuine. Each character has a purposeful role to play and feels necessary without ever being overbearing.
What impresses me greatly is the integration of male characters into this series that have real personalities instead of dry, formulaic clichés that serve no other purpose than to feed the ladies’ ambitions. Io in particular is one of the most naturally suave and likeable characters I’ve ever seen. Even his flaws add to the remarkable depth of his cool personality and it’s very clear why he’s a natural fit as the kind of person a large group of friends tend to gravitate around.
I was very worried at first that this series would be another one of those boring love triangles that make you want to rip your hair out for the characters’ inability to be honest with themselves. And while there’s more than a few moments when a bit more honesty could have moved Io and Tsumiki’s relationship to the next level, it never stops being fun or lacking in creativity. Acchi Kocchi isn’t just enjoyable to watch, it knows how to simply enjoy the moment and cherish the little things—a precious gem of writing that should not be taken for granted—and then poke fun at said little things.
What sets Acchi Kocchi apart from most other moe anime is its incredibly balanced formula that mixes comedy and romance into a seamless package of goodness. A must-watch for moe fans such as myself; I think it could also appeal to the tastes of anyone who is interested in a funny drama with really good writing, absolutely no ecchi and complimentary friendships.