Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: Grand Blue

Original Run: July 14, 2018 - September 29, 2018
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Comedy
Based on the Series Created By: Kenji Inoue and
Kimitake Yoshioka

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Grand Blue. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

Iori Kitahara (voiced by Yuma Uchida) has just entered university. This is his first time out on his own, and he has taken up residence at a small diving shop he has known all his life: Grand Blue. He is ready to face a fresh beginning, and maybe, pick up a new hobby.

Within minutes of his arrival, Iori runs into the local diving club Peek-a-Boo and realizes he may have made a horrifying mistake.

The members of the diving club, when they are not out on the water, can be found drinking, partying, and if you’re lucky, will have their pants on. Their idea of a good time is a bit overwhelming, and Iori tries to escape.

Unfortunately, Iori had already made eye contact, so there was no longer any point in running. To his chagrin, he becomes the newest member of the Peek-a-Boo Diving Club.

But as they say: When you can’t beat them – drink until you can’t feel feelings anymore.

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Series Positives

Grand Blue was fantastic. It was – hands down – one of the funniest series of 2018, as well as one of the best comedies I’ve seen.

I’m not sure where to begin.

I suppose the most fitting place to start would be to distinguish Grand Blue as a truly adult-centric anime. Don’t let yourself misinterpret what I am trying to get across. When I use the phrase “adult-centric anime” that doesn’t necessarily mean this series was risqué or lewd. The only point I’m making it that Grand Blue’s entire cast consisted of adults.

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If you’re wondering why such a distinction is important, I assure you, it couldn’t be any more vital.

For a moment, let’s consider every anime comedy I have ever reviewed. Among them all, how many – good or bad – had a main cast which consisted mostly of minors and/or was set in high school? Note: By minor, I mean a person younger than 20 years old (20 is the legal drinking age in Japan). Even without knowing the actual amount off the top of my head, I guarantee, whatever the total is, it is overwhelmingly greater than the number of comedies that didn’t have either of those two conditions.

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Grand Blue was a rare specimen. I am always excited when I come across these types of shows because they open a vast array of possibilities that (in theory) are free of the awkwardnesses which may arise from a cast comprised of underage characters; for instance, nudity and the consumption of alcohol.

That notwithstanding, Grand Blue being an adult-centric anime was what made it intriguing, but it wasn’t what made it phenomenal.

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If you want a taste of what Grand Blue was, you need only watch the first half of the first episode. The opening minutes of this show are going to appear to be setting up for a pleasant tale filled with wonder and whimsy about a local diving shop in a quaint seaside village. All will seem so magnificent when suddenly — SURPRISE ASS HAT! WE’RE GONNA GET YA DRUNK!

From that point on, the brilliant insanity that was Grand Blue barreled forward without ever looking back.

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This show’s brand of humor is difficult to put into words. It was certainly loud, fast, and intense, but it was also perfectly timed and unexpected. It was so strange. Grand Blue always caught me off guard despite it consistently using the same style of over-the-top antics. This series was a master at misdirection. Due to that, what looked outwardly silly and stupid was actually incredibly smart.

Grand Blue relied on a pair of core rules that it did not break. Thanks to this show’s commitment to keeping its two golden rules, it went as wild as possible without ever crossing a line.

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First, every one of the main cast was an asshole to each other. The “to each other” part of that statement is critical. Every member of the Peek-a-Boo Diving Club could dish out wave after wave of insults, backstabs, and general nastiness. However, everyone received as much as they gave. No one was undeserving, nor was anyone defenseless.

The members of the diving club could go all out towards each other and still end the day without a scratch or hard feelings.

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In fact, Grand Blue gave an amazing demonstration between comradery and clique-ishness: the diving club versus the tennis club. The diving club had a deep bond which fueled their trash talk. It was always tit for tat, no one was trying to be superior, and everyone was welcome to join in for a good time. The members of the tennis club, on the other hand, were a closed off snooty-rich-kids society that shunned outsiders. If you weren’t part of their ranks, you were as low as trash in their eyes.

You tell me, which of those two groups would you want to follow?

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Second, the diving club was a walking hurricane of destruction and booze, except when it came to their passion, diving.

If there was one thing the members of Peek-a-Boo liked more than drinking, it was the ocean. Whenever they were focused on diving, there were no jokes. No one acted like a clown underwater because they all recognized that was not the time to goof around. If any of the new members had a question about what type of gear to get, their seniors would drop everything to help. If someone was actively trying to get better, no one teased or brought them down.

When it came to diving, everyone could put aside their egos and enjoy the hobby they loved.

The most important thing in comedy is timing. Since Grand Blue thoroughly understood this, it succeeded in delivering an exceptional product filled with hilarious humor, fun characters, and memorable moments.

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Series Negatives

Someone help me. I don’t know what to write here.

The one thing I can sort of say negatively about this show was the relationship between main character Iori Kitahara and Chisa Kotegawa (voiced by Chika Anzai). This series mentioned they were “cousins,” but it never thoroughly explained what that meant. Were they related by blood, by marriage, or were their families just really good friends?

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I bring this up because Grand Blue made it clear that Iori and Chisa – despite the former’s idiocy and latter’s quickness to anger – could get along.

Oddly enough, this was the kind of “get along” that could have potentially led to something more romantic had this series continued. However, it was also the kind of “get along” that means exactly what it says; they could, perhaps, just stay close friends.

That’s all I’ve got against this show; a big, giant “maybe” that can be reasoned away if necessary.

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If I had to reach for something else – and yes, I am reaching – the opening episode did take a second to get used to. This was nothing against the show, and to be honest, it was mainly my fault for expecting something out of this series which it never promised to give.

I somehow convinced my brain that Grand Blue was going to be a more light-hearted, Amanchu-esque type of story. When it was not that in the slightest, I needed a brief bit of time to switch my brain over to the reality.

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But again, that was my own problem.

I think I have to just accept this series knocked it out of the goddamn park. There are a few other outstanding comedies that came out in 2018 – Hinamatsuri and Asobi Asobase – and Grand Blue is right up there with them.

It will be interesting to see which, if any, manage to make my best of the year list.

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Final Thoughts

Absolutely. One-hundred-percent, yes. This was great.

This series knew how to be wild and crazy without ever taking things too far. And when you consider the kind of nonsense which occurred in this story, that was an incredible achievement.

This review was short because there is nothing I can say that will adequately express how amazing this series was. If anything, the less you know about this show before you go into it, the better your experience will be.

Grand Blue is one of the easiest recommendations I have given all year.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Grand Blue? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

Post Edited By: Onions

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