What’s the important information? Grand Blue Dreaming is a Summer 2018 anime comedy series that aired 12 episodes from July to September. It is based on a manga series by Kenji Inoue.
What’s it about? Iori has moved from the city to the beautiful Izu Peninsula where he intends to attend university, staying at his uncle’s diving shop “Grand Blue”. Things get out of hand quickly as he’s confronted by a bunch of burly, drunken nude men who are a part of the university’s diving club—despite his attempts to distance himself from them he quickly gets swept up in their drunken antics.
Why did you watch it? The anime’s poster had hot girls in bikini’s and the synopsis promised drunken comedy shenanigans—sometimes that’s all you need.
Did you enjoy the show? I did. It’s a very consistent show in regards to its comedy, no single episode felt like it was less funny than any of the others. That said the comedy does come from a very specific source, so your mileage with this kind of show depends on how much you enjoy drunken people acting like idiots. It’s also a very good-looking show and I’m not just talking about the fan-service, it’s bright and beautiful—when it’s not trying to be intentionally ugly.
What was your favourite episode? Episode 2 had a series of running jokes regarding redecorating Iori’s room in increasingly embarrassing ways that had me in stitches. So that would win for ~funniest~ episode, but the best episode is probably Episode 11 as it prioritises a lot more character development and even brings up some interesting things that were bound to come up when dealing with horny college students like Azusa half-jokingly offering sex to Iori. The show is at it’s best when everyone in the cast gets something to do and so the latter half is definitely an improvement in regards to the structure of the series going forward.
What were your most favourite things about the show? As someone who enjoys a drink, I appreciated just how ridiculous the drinking aspect of this show was—while still maintaining a semblance of reality about the situation. I also liked how every character has a different relationship to Iori and even with as much a glimpse you can tell what each character is thinking of him without even a word being said. It’s simply great characterisation that retains its continuity throughout the season without being all about it.
What were your least favourite things about the show? While this show is built upon running jokes and repeated antics, some of them can feel like an easy way to get a laugh—they’re still funny, it’s just there’s only so many times you can end a scene with all the men getting naked and readying to drink.
Who was your favourite character? While I’m probably most like Kohei, the anime shirt wearing, blonde haired otaku. The character I enjoyed the most was surprisingly Aina, I feel like she got the most amount of character development and despite being the “straight man” to most of the drunken antics she was still a fun and funny character to be around—plus she’s adorable!
Thoughts on the OP (opening) and ED (ending) and the soundtrack in general? The OP, “Grand Blue” by Shonan no Kaze is all about getting you in the summery mood and it perfectly accomplishes that. While the ED sums up the irreverent nature of the show by being a karaoke performance of a song called “Konpeki no al Fine” by in-universe idol Kaya Mizuki except it’s sung by the voice actors’ for the show’s male characters who get progressively more into the song (and more naked) as the credits progress.
What’s something unique about this show? I don’t think I’ve ever seen such reckless drinking portrayed so openly, positively and with such enthusiasm in an anime before. That counts as ~unique~ right?
What other anime are most like it for the sake of comparison? In my first episode review of the show I called it ‘Amanchu’ meets ‘Jersey Shore’ and while I think as much as that comparison was tongue-in-cheek at the time it is pretty accurate. Later episodes have enough character development to be comparable to a show like Amanchu, while the hard drinking, hard partying over the top reactions feel like Jersey Shore—at least I assume so, I’ve never watched that show for more than a few minutes.
Who would you recommend it to? While the comedy is repetitive it’s also very consistent, however like most comedies you need to see an episode before you’ll know if you’ll like it. Some people will be instantly drawn to the series and some people will be turned off by almost everything—at least that’s the reaction I’ve seen online.
Sum up the season in one sentence: ‘Beach, booze, bikinis, butts, bad behaviour, buff boys oh and there’s some diving too.’
Final score? 83 out of 100.
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