Episode 6 of Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun is a return to fun! In this week’s review, I’ll go over why this episode works so well, and we’ll touch on a few things that makes this anime one of a kind. Ozaki’s arc is going to save the world! Read on!
Japanese Original Episode Title: 尾崎くんにはプライドがある
If you’ve been following the series, you’re probably aware of how each episode goes. Aoyama is never the actual protagonist of the episode – instead each week follows a new character in the Aoyama world. Typically, Aoyama serves as the remedy to whatever problem ails the subject character – and this has worked to keep each episode interesting. In Episode 6, our protagonist is Atsumu Ozaki – a secret manga artist that attends the same school as Aoyama. Ozaki is another character with a heart of gold and a mysterious aura that makes girls swoon. His manga is titled I’m Going to Save the World and is a hyperbolic shonen story littered with the tropes of the genre.
Ozaki’s manga has just gotten picked up for an anime adaptation and continues to increase in popularity. Every day after school, Ozaki goes to work on his manga’s manuscripts. The story this week revolves around how Ozaki’s school days influence his manga’s story, and how a misunderstanding of Aoyama’s personality gets Ozaki’s noble sensibilities fired up.
Ozaki believes that Aoyama is a selfish, cruel dictator – ordering his team to clean for him and his fans to worship him. Of course, this is a completely incorrect characterization, but it sparks a fire in Ozaki’s soul. The hero of I’m Going to Save the World is a classic example of the writer writing himself into a story; it’s only natural that Ozaki uses the hero to vent about daily school life. Ozaki ends up writing Aoyama into the manga as a villain named the Blue Wizard. The Blue Wizard controls people into cleaning because he wants to sterilize the world.
Unfortunately for Ozaki, The Blue Wizard becomes the most popular character in his manga, and the plot of this episode revolves around Ozaki trying to balance that popularity with his dislike of Aoyama.
The introduction to Episode 6 is in the style of a motion comic, and is very well animated! I’d honestly watch an entire series drawn like the intro to this episode. Going off of that, the manga scenes throughout the episode are a lot of fun as well. The style is obviously parody, but watching Aoyama be a loud-mouthed villain in the vein of Tuxedo Mask is a blast. I hope we get more style homages like this episode (and the ending theme).
The second highlight is Ozaki himself. Unlike Narita in Episode 4, Ozaki’s misconceptions of Aoyama don’t seem to be resolved. I can relate to the character, writing and drawing to shed light on the evils of the world! Ozaki can’t create change in the classroom, but he can see how his characters make his classmates feel. It’s obvious that I’m Going to Save the World is an outlet for Ozaki, who has to balance the diary aspects with the whole ‘having a publisher and making money’ thing.
References and Name Homages in Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun
This week, in the Themes and Trivia section, I want to talk about names in this series. I may be going crazy, but I’m starting to see a pattern in the names and the episode themes. First of all, for anyone who hasn’t watched Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun yet (despite my saying to over and over), it’s not a sports anime. Aoyama-kunis a slice-of-life, satire and part of the growing genre of self-aware anime. It explores recurring tropes in popular anime, through these character episodes.
The ‘name’ pattern here isn’t confirmed, but it’s a fun thing to consider. Here we go:
Zaizen:Zaizen is the subject of Episode 1 and was the best player on the team before Aoyama joined. Zaizen is also the name of the no-nonsense 2nd-year in Prince of Tennisand the name of two former soccer-playing brothers in Japan.
Gotō Moka:Gotō is the quiet, cat-loving fan of Aoyama, who is actually pretty terrifying and compulsive. Her weapon of choice is a nail-bat. She reminds me a lot of Mako Mankanshoku from Kill La Kill. Swapping the ‘a’ and ‘o’ in her name, you get ‘Mako’ – and Mako’s club power in Kill-La-Killwas a spiked bat.
Jin Tsukamoto:Tsukamoto is the player who boosts his team’s morale by juggling the ball on his butt. This one is fairly obvious. In DAYS the main character’s name is Tsukamoto, who is an inept player at first. The character that encourages him to play soccer is Kazama Jin. 99% sure that was intentional.
Atsumu Ozaki:The star of this week’s episode, Ozaki, is a secret manga artist at his school. He’s quiet and noble. I think that his name is homage to Nozaki-kun from Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kunwho is also a secret manga artist. I also think he’s a homage to the great Leiji Matsumoto, a famous artist and writer known for series such as Harlock, Space Battleship Yamato, Galaxy Express 999, and more. I’ll use the Aoyama-kun ending to justify this claim, as the style is similar to that era of anime.
I’m sure there’s more references that I’m missing now and will come across later – but it’s been interesting to observe and adds an interesting depth when you watch the episodes. ‘What if these characters met Aoyama?’ is an entertaining point-of-view.
Episode 6 stole my heart and put itself in first place. It was greatly appreciated after last week’s sub-par story. Maybe I’m just not a fan of the soccer episodes, but I think Aoyama really stands on its own when soccer is a prop.
Can’t get it in??
I can’t say enough about the art this week. I wasn’t annoyed one bit by the production value, and I loved the conclusion of the episode. I hope to see more Ozaki, how about you! Next week, we’re going to look into the life of the school idol and her attempts to play basketball. Remember, reach out on the MANGA.TOKYO forums or comment below – let’s talk Aoyama!
NEXT TIME: Odagiri-san Can`t Get It In (小田切さんはなかなか入らない)