What’s this? Somebody put basketball into my favorite soccer anime! Aoyama shows off his basketball chops in Episode 7 of Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun. There’s something special about a girl that touches Aoyama in a way no one else ever has. Find out all about it in this week’s review. Tally-ho!
Japanese Title: 青山くんは覚えてる?
Odagiri is a freshman and starter for the Fujimi High girl’s basketball team. She’s tall, athletic, gorgeous, and her smile… her smile is radiant! She’s practically the basketball team’s idol. However, she has one small problem. While she can make amazing plays up the court, she just can’t get it in! She can’t get the ball into the basket. This is a huge problem when you’re a starter and she may have to get moved off of the team if she can’t solve this problem.
Aoyama is the star soccer player, but for some reason he’s in P.E. He apparently CAN get it in, and he shows off in front of the basketball team. Odagiri is amazed by his shooting ability and bestows Aoyama the title of Master. She wants to know the secret of his scoring ability.
Aoyama, ever helpful, tells her that it’s all about feeling. No one knows what this means, but she apparently figures it out. She learns to dunk and suddenly improves her game. The male basketball team feels threatened by Aoyama and gives him a lot of crap – they don’t want him to steal their idol!
In thanks, Odagiri touches Aoyama on the shoulder. No one has ever touched Aoyama and this spirals into a mess of rumors through the school. This is where the real plot of Episode 7 begins. What’s so special about Odagiri that she can touch Aoyama, and is there something else going on? Perhaps hints of romance..?
This episode breaks the format of the series. I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the episode formula: Episode protagonist has problem that Aoyama eventually helps them solve by empowering them to overcome it on their own. While this happens in the first 5 minutes of the episode, this week’s character exploration is on Aoyama himself. Odagiri is not the protagonist outside of bearing the weight of the episode title.
Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun uses germophobia as a gag and a plot device often, but I’m fairly impressed at how it also treats it as a legitimate mental illness. While Aoyama is seen as cool for his openly apparent fear of germs, it tends to hinder his quality of life. In school life, he is quiet and reserved, unable to eat, celebrate, or feel companionship with others because his germophobia is so crippling. In Episode 4, we get to see a side of Aoyama inside of the MMORPG that is excitable and rambunctious – something that only Narita knows about him.
One of the shocking parts of this episode is that Odagiri is able to touch Aoyama without him passing out. This is huge and it makes sense that the school notices. Odagiri is extremely popular for her looks and her ability, a perfect match for Aoyama – romantically – if that were to ever happen. The rumors that are spread lead #TEAMAOYAMA to distraught, the basketball team to jealousy, and the rest of the school into a massive frenzy.
Odagiri is special and that alone bothers the hell out of Aoyama. For once in his life, he is able to experience social activities and companionship, the episode highlighting through humor the sadness that he must feel daily. Narita’s interaction with him towards the end cements Aoyama’s reasons for continually reaching out to Odagiri. I’m not sure what this means for the rest of the series, but perhaps Aoyama is not destined to stay germophobic forever?
Although this episode is heavy from an emotional standpoint (it doesn’t have to be, you can still watch it and laugh!), it isn’t shy on great bits.
Return of characters: We’ve had 6 episodes of character exploration, so when a subject of a previous episode returns as a supporting character – it definitely adds a good bit of fun. You know those tingles when you hear your favorite song? This episode is full of them. We get to see some of our favorite characters’ reactions to Aoyama’s touching. The most difficult part of this is that we all want to root of Aoyama’s happiness, but seeing the others that we’ve gotten to know so forlorn is sad!
Odagiri’s has some massive rice balls:Get the dirty thoughts out of your head. While there is some very minor fan service this week, I actually enjoyed the scene where Odagiri makes lunch for Aoyama. I always get really hungry watching slice-of-life anime, because the food always looks delicious. Odagiri makes some really large onigiri in this episode – they’re huge!
I don’t know, ya’ll. I think that Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun is definitely the surprise breakout of the summer season. It’s everything I never expected it would be and carries a good deal of emotional weight. Sunday is the highlight of my weekly viewing, not because of Game of Thrones, but because I get to see what happens in Aoyama’s life. I wonder if the series will have a Mary Poppins ending where Aoyama flies away with his pail and mop, leaving my favorite characters to reflect on their amazing school days. Someone please draw this.
Seriously, draw it.
I really want to see what Aoyama as Mary Poppins would be. Will his friends be crying? How does his mop allow him to fly. These are serious questions. Anyways, let me know what you thought about this week’s episode below or on the forums. I actually kind of like the idea of an AoyamaXOdagiri, but maybe you disagree. What’s the OTP for Aoyama! Don’t spoil it if you read the manga, OKAY! Remember, reach out on the MANGA.TOKYO forums or comment below – let’s talk Aoyama!