I am wondering if this is the era of the odd relationship for anime. This isn’t as weird as “Mysterious Girlfriend X”, but it is a very off-beat kind of romance. “Acchi Kocchi” (or “Place to Place”) follows the friendship of five classmates.
The three on the left are: Sakaki Inui, Mayoi Katase and Hime Haruno. The story really revolves around the other two: Tsumiki Miniwa (who is very neko; when you first see her, you think she IS a cat person) and Io Otonashi. They have a peculiar relationship in that they deeply care for one another, but don’t really show it and kissing is something left for fish to do.
This is also a ‘nothing’ show, in that nothing really happens and we are seeing episodic adventures in the course of about 16 months of calendar time. This is not that big of a problem, as they do not fall into the standard romantic comedy tropes. Things are just askew enough to allow for surprises. The episodes themselves are broken into two tales, Part A and Part B and they are not all that dependent on the other. The stories do proceed in a time lineal manner, but you can miss an episode and not have it impact on the next one, except you would miss some of the strangeness.
There is another feature of the show, and that is pictographs. Some of the action is defined by arrows rotating in circles (as you can see above) and the players could be identified by arrows moving across the screen. This just adds another layer of oddness to the show. The tales themselves are light (fun at the arcade, Valentine’s Day, cooking class, summer break) and you are never worried about things, but you really want to see more of their relationship. It is as if they know what to say, but cannot find the words or the right time to say it, or present it in a manner that is easily understood by all.
It also appears that EVERYONE else knows what’s going down, but we never really get a sense as to what their relationship is or does or what will happen to get there. The show ends as oddly as it began, leaving us with a coupler close, but I have a strong feeling this is all you get, as there is precious little more you can do, except have them graduate.
I enjoyed this show, but I felt something was missing, as though it didn’t live up to what it could be. It’s kind of like buying a Maserati to only drive it to the grocery store: it gets the job done in style, but you haven’t fully checked out what it can do. I feel some folks might get frustrated by its ‘nothing’ approach, even if you did enjoy “Pani Poni Dash” and “Lucky Star”. I feel there is enough there to keep you interested, but do not expect a great deal from the show.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Does a good job, but shifting styles can get annoying)
Plot 5 (A bit thin, but it’s OK in context)
Pacing 7 (Unpredictability sometimes works against it)
Effectiveness 7 (Fairly standard for the genre)
Conclusion 6 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 1 (A similar show would be “Ouran High School”)
Overall 7 (Cute but vaporous)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Where did all these cats come from?