In last week’s review of Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun, I speculated that we’d see some heavy stuff in Episode 10. Well, I was partly right and to be fair, there’s a lot of tumultuous emotion this week. But perhaps, it was nothing like what I expected. Find out Aoyama’s secrets in this week’s review.
Japanese Original Episode Title: 青山くんは秘密が多い
At the end of Episode 9, Aoyama is approached by a mysterious stranger, one who has a beauty mark under her eye. We learn that she is Kozue Kurata, one of Aoyama’s childhood friends. She has recently returned from abroad, but none of the Fujimi High team knows anything about her connection to Aoyama.
Of course, this leads the team to stalk Aoyama on his trip home. Aoyama is elusive and it’s hard for the team to keep up. When they finally find what they think is Aoyama’s home, it turns out to be the home of soccer star, Seigo Ibuki.
We learn that Aoyama played with Seigo on the all-star team and that he has recently returned from Spain with his girlfriend, Kozue. Aoyama loses a 1-on-1 match against him and has to cook him dinner.
The episode revolves around Aoyama’s attempt to reunite Kozue and Seigo after a minor spat grows into a monster beast.
There are some jokes and gags this week, but nothing as spectacular as the beach episode. A majority of this week’s humor comes from Aoyama’s complete inability to comprehend relationships. If you were hoping for a deeper understanding of Aoyama’s past, not much is revealed this week. I think my anticipation of some actual character development left me with an unusual amount of disappointment. While the episode is still solid, it lacks the punch that past episodes have delivered.
We are introduced to two new characters who don’t really seem to have much character development within the episode. Aoyama-kun has been consistently above average on building characters within the 20-minute block, but there’s too much focus on solving the problem this week to set the right pace.
We do get a little bit more background on Aoyama’s relationship with Takechi, who is one of my favorites, as Seigo joins the Oshigama-Minami High soccer team after his return to Japan from Spain. The three all played together in all-star teams, but that’s about as much as we get from their interactions. Even Aoyama’s childhood friend, Kozue, doesn’t reveal much of Aoyama’s past – which leads the title ‘Aoyama-kun Has Many Secrets’ to be more like ‘Aoyama-kun Still Has Many Secrets Because None are Revealed.’ I was disappointed that after Takechi’s withdrawal, all we saw from him was some chibi abs flexing.
There may be something to be said for Aoyama’s motivations for helping his friend. It seems like he views relationship drama as boring and only wants to help Seigo so he can train more. This feels contradictory to his previous character development.
While I’ve spent a majority of the review complaining, there are still some highlights in the humor. Aoyama’s cluelessness is cute. Zaizen’s machismo is awkward but fun. Seigo’s crassness and lack of filter is infuriating and leads to some ‘Oh, you!’ moments.
This is a symptom of the satirical sidestep. Each episode is meant to break expectations, even when those expectations may be too high.
I purposefully avoided the comedy spoilers in the review. There’s a lot to enjoy in Episode 10 of Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun and I don’t want to spoil it! I think the biggest question left in my mind is…why? Why does Aoyama want to play for Fujimi? All of his past friends are on other teams. He has all kinds of opportunities in front of him, he just needs to take hold of them. Why does he stay at Fujimi High? Perhaps you can answer that question in the comments below.