#1 An adorable romance
Io Otanashi is famous for two things: his handsome looks and his astounding obliviousness. He is adored by countless girls and his careless interactions with them are frequently misinterpreted as blatant flirtation. Still, none of the girls pursues a relationship with Io, because they all acknowledge that he and Tsumiki Miniwa are made for each other. Something that even Io isn’t wholly unaware of.
The scenes these two share with each other are especially sweet, which make them stand out from the more casual romcom moments they share with the rest of the cast. Tsumiki is pint-sized and has mild tsundere tendencies, but overall makes no secret of her deep affection for Io. The two are always together, always holding hands, hugging, or otherwise close, and Tsumiki’s reactions whenever others get too flirty with Io speak volumes. Io himself also treats her extra special and Tsumiki alone manages to penetrate his stoicism from time to time.
On the surface, Acchi Kocchi is a fairly standard slice-of-life comedy anime, but the chemistry between its two protagonists lets it stand out from competing series.
#2 Focus on friendship
Backing up our two lovebirds is an enjoyable cast of side-characters that make up their circle of friends. Io’s best friend Sakaki is a good example. He’s a nice guy who is very in tune with the otherwise unreadable Io, which nicely accentuates the strength of their bond. Compared to Io, however, Sakaki is more laidback and a bit of a prankster, which nicely compliments the more upstanding Io, while also making for great moments whenever his jokes backfire.
We also got Hime Haruno, a timid klutz who often struggles to keep up with her eccentric friends, and Mayoi Katase, who is a mischief maker like Sakaki that also doubles as a mad scientist.
These characters gel really well with each other, which allows the series’ dialogue and comedy routines to unfold in ways that feel naturally funny. Seeing how the group’s competitiveness constantly drags Hime into frightening competitions or how Sakaki and Mayoi frequently end up one-upping each other’s pranks really sells the slice-of-life angle of Acchi Kocchi.
#3 Excellent slapstick
A lot of the comedy in Acchi Kocchi hinges on slapstick, which often felt curiously simplistic. Almost like watching a show from a bygone era where literal banana gags could be the height of comedy. That’s not criticism, mind you. It’s strangely nostalgic and I’ll be damned if this show didn’t get a fair amount of laughs.
The setups are strong and the animation funny, which is already most of the recipe you need for strong slapstick. Add the directing talent, strong voice acting, and witty writing into the mix, and you end up with a series that I found to be thoroughly amusing. I ended up binging its entire 12-episode run + the OVA extra in a single sitting, never once feeling bored or tired in the slightest.