Episode 12 of Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun marks the end of the summer season for me, and I’m sad to see it go. All of my complaints are finally resolved in this week’s review of my favorite summer treat. The series has definitely had its highs and some serious lows, but I’m happy with my view of Episode 12. Will Aoyama leave Fujimi for greener pastures? What’s in store for us? Find out below!
Japanese Original Episode Title: 青山くんの選んだ理由
Aoyama keeps being visited by talent scouts and his teammates at Fujimi High aren’t oblivious to this fact. Aoyama’s skill sets him apart and Fujimi High is just a small-time school. Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun’s main plot this week revolves around the final match of the season and whether or not Aoyama will stick around afterwards.
The secondary plot this week revolves around Zaizen’s struggles. It’s a nice way to wrap the season up, starting with a Zaizen episode and ending with one. While he was absent from a good bit of the middle chapters, his return the past few episodes has been welcome. Zaizen is a good character to project the viewer on to. Having his story and relationship with Aoyama wrapped up in the finale makes for a satisfying ending.
The real highlight of Episode 12 is not simply a situation, but the entire tone. If you recall, in my Episode 11 & Episode 10 reviews, I was harsh towards the general tone and lack of cohesiveness. I mentioned several times how important it was for Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun to have a serious episode towards the end of the season.
There are several reasons for this. Too much comedy makes the series lose its flavor. When every character is doing something wacky each week, they all become normal. Having some emotion behind the plot strengthens the comedy included in it.
Episode 12’s resolution is not terribly sad, but the story has enough emotional weight in it that the comedic bits really shine through. It accomplished the ‘weighty’ tone, while still delivering the curve-ball twist that we all have come to love in the show.
The best character highlight is at the very end of the finale. It includes an answer to one of our major questions in the series, and it’s so stupid, it’s perfect. I won’t spoil it here, but I promise I’ll go into it more in the coming series review.
Themes & Trivia
If you’ve kept a close eye on details and characters throughout this season, you’ll see the conclusion of several arcs in Episode 12. Episode 11 and 12 have tried to connect together as many character stories as possible before the end of the season. Episode 11 was too frantic, but Episode 12 balances the pace and story with fewer characters. This works wonders and leaves me wanting more. ‘Wanting more’ is always the gauge of a successful finale – especially when done without a cliffhanger.
I think the viewer will still have several questions after finishing the series. A few I can think of that weren’t answered in this episode are:
Is Aoyama incredibly daft or purposefully ignorant?
What was the point of some of the character stories?
For question one, I lean towards Aoyama playing ignorance and stupidity to come off as more humble. His actions seem to indicate he is empathetic and makes an effort to go out of his way for others. However, he is also blunt and somewhat cruel in his mannerisms. The true confusion comes between the contrast of his character in the MMORPG and in the classroom. Aoyama’s personality clash is obviously a result of his condition, but it does leave me wondering whether his actions are intentional or a result of his germaphobia.
As far as character stories go, I don’t understand why a few happened. Don’t get me wrong, I think my favorite episodes involved characters who weren’t on the soccer team, but the characters weren’t really seen again afterwards. I’m specifically thinking of Episode 6, Ozaki-kun has Pride. Wonderful episode, but Ozaki is only seen briefly in one or two episodes after. I’m hoping for future seasons to involve more of these characters.
I’m excited to discuss the series as a thematic whole, soon.
So, you’ve read it from me time after time: I wanted a serious episode. I finally got one. This episode saved the series and brought back the elements that made it wonderful. I really hope there’s more to come in the future.
Clean-Freak! Aoyama-kun had very little actual soccer in it for a sports series. I’m left impressed with how it engaged me, turned the genre on its side, and ended this season exactly like it should have (while still being Aoyama-kun)!
See you in the season review!
Well, Team Aoyama – that’s it for this season. I don’t know if there will be a second. I’ve enjoyed my journey into the unknown. I learned very little about soccer in this series, but I did learn a lot about cooking and writing manga. I’d say it was a success.
What’d you think about the series? What would you like me to dive deeper into? Let me know soon, so I can focus on it in the next piece!