This week on Aoyama-kun we learn a few valuable lessons in loyalty and expectation. Episode 3 of Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun is full of subtle context that will lend itself to the overarching narrative of the series. Read on – in this week’s anime reviewwe’ll be exploring the confusing realm of dedication.
Japanese Original Episode Title: 青山くんがいない理由
Aoyama sees two plots in this week’s episode. The overarching plot is the upcoming game with Takada High. Takada is a school full of delinquents who LOVE soccer. You know the type. You’ve got your delinquents who love teaching, your delinquents who love Magical Girl Anime, and your delinquents who love soccer. This latter group is often the most dangerous. The subplot revolves around my favorite anime bad body, Takechi, and the eating contest to win Aoyama’s heart.
Takada High isn’t necessarily a strong team, performance-wise. Any team with Aoyama on it would easily score 5 goals against Takada. However, that delinquent mentality means that there’s a strong likelihood of someone playing dirty. Knowing Aoyama, playing dirty is the one thing that’s unacceptable. The question is: Can Aoyama keep his hands clean in this filthy match, or will Fujimi have to pick up the mess of a missing Aoyama?
I love this series. I missed laughter and Aoyama-kun is full of moments that make me laugh. Potential episode spoilers ahead, so brace yourself.
Highlight 1: Takechi’s Challenge
Between 1986 and 1990, a game show aired in Japan called Takeshi’s Castle. It starred famous actor ‘Beat’ Takeshi and contestants were tasked with surmounting a viscous obstacle course in order to reach Takeshi’s Castle. This week in Aoyama-kun, Takechi faced a similar challenge. He may have an amazing 6-pack, but unless each ab is a separate stomach, he’ll need to steel himself to win the impromptu eating contest vs Fujimi’s all-star eater, Taichi.
The entire contest is absurd. It takes up a solid chunk of the beginning of the episode. The plot purpose is to discuss the upcoming game with humor and explain some of Takechi’s history. The absurdity is what makes it. Takechi’s obsession with Aoyama is due to a single pass made. Takehito Koyasu’s amazing voice work adds such a deep level of hyperbole to this scene that you can’t help but laugh. Typically, Koyasu’s characters pursue a goal of reckless abandon, often sinister in intent. Takechi just wants Aoyama to play for his team (because he loves him) because he made a really good pass. A noble eating contest, really.
Highlight 2: Aoyama’s rescue
If the episode title didn’t give it away, Aoyama spends the majority of the match missing. He’s rescued by Gotō and well, she’s amazing. Her character is unhinged and each episode she seems move a little closer to crazy tsundere.
I’m going to complain a little bit about the art in the first half of the episode. Last week, I said they did a better job with excluding the chibi art – but this week it’s back in full force. I hate chibi animation! I think it’s probably lining up scene for scene with the manga, but in animation it just looks lazy. Maybe they do it for humorous effect and there are some of you out there who appreciate that. I commend you, but I can’t see it.
That being said, the animation of the actual soccer match is awesome. I’m glad they don’t pull any punches during the games. There are still chibi scenes when Aoyama dodges his team at the end of each match, but that’s more of a gimmick now, so I’m okay with it. There’s lots of different styles in this series and they do a good job of meshing them together. Just wish there was a little less chibi.
The comedy in this episode was stellar. I don’t really have any sense of where this series will end up. It could just be match after match, as it doesn’t seem the team is working towards a qualifier. I still expect a tournament and honestly, I hope Takechi ends up playing with Aoyama. If you can’t tell, he’s my favorite character.
Coping with Clean
That’s all for this week’s review of Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun. My final comment would be that they’re handling his germaphobia nicely. While it is used for many jokes, I think there’s a great balance between the seriousness of the phobia. It’s pretty relatable too! Who else out there is a clean freak? Show of hands please.
Did you like Episode 3? Let me know below in the comments or hit me up on the MANGA.TOKYO forums.