Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun has officially jumped the shark (literally) and in this week’s review we explore one of the most fun episodes of the series. Is there anything better than the proverbial beach episode? Fun under the sun with friends, splashing around in the ocean, and making long-lasting relationships…also bathing suits! This week’s episode is the fan service episode, but it wouldn’t be Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun if the trope wasn’t turned upside-down. Let’s dive in – laughs out loud.
Japanese Original Episode Title: 美和ちゃんは合宿がしたい
Miwa is the coach of Fujimi High’s soccer team and she’s a total otaku. After a marathon sport anime session, she comes up with the brilliant idea to take her team to a training camp…at the beach! This is exciting news for the players and apparently the school. Due to a generous donation from Kaoru Zaizen’s father, the entire school gets to go to the beach training camp!
Soccer is the biggest of deals at Fujimi High, and Zaizen’s little sister, Karin, comes to oversee the training camp. She’s bright and equipped with the best technology from Zaizen Corp! The team (and the school) participate in various training activities, each slightly twisted by Karin’s over-zealousness.
Will the training camp be a success?!
We have all kinds of highlights in the beach episode. One for every flavor!
Kaoru Zaizen’s Daddy Issues
For those out there who like sensitive boys who hide under a tough-guy facade, look no further than Kaoru Zaizen! We haven’t seen much of him since Episode 1, and it’s good to see the Zaizen family back in the picture. We get our first introduction to Kaoru’s father and it’s another great trope-smashing moment. Both Kaoru and his father play the role of tough guy, and Daddy Zaizen appears that he’ll be pretty hard on Kaoru. However, he’s a complete pushover for his two kids and because of it, makes some pretty hilarious drop-offs. Kaoru can’t help but call him ‘Daddy.’
If you’re more for simple tastes – this episode is littered with our favorite characters in swimsuits. There’s a suit for everyone! Aoyama’s suit is a full body suit, so sorry for those out there who wanted to lay eyes on his (probably) well-defined abs. The fun of the suits are how they play into the character’s personalities! You may even spot a speedo.
Gotō is a Cheater
We got a little bit of soccer this week and saw an outstanding performance from Moka Gotō. Her character is always a blast to watch, because she appears to be so timid – but she’s actually insane. When she went head-to-head with Aoyama, I got chills…then I got sad. Keep an eye out for this scene.
Themes & Trivia
Fan-service beach episodes are a dime-a-dozen in anime. Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun is an exploration of anime tropes and self-aware satire. We’ve gone through this several times in past reviews, but part of what makes the show so great is how it still balances character development within its satire and hyperbolic nature. The fact of the matter is that even the beach trope can be flipped on its head and become refreshing again in a genre where it’s so stale. Karin’s interventions in the training camp add several surprises which break expectations that’d typically be in an episode like this. Coach Miwa actually gets some great character development too, despite only being on-screen for 2 or 3 minutes. Perhaps the theme of this episode is, ‘IF YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE LIKE ANIME – YOU WILL BECOME A GREAT COACH.’ I’m not sure.
I absolutely love this series. It’s the best 24 minutes of anime this season and is always guaranteed to put a smile on my face. The beach episode is just another in a string of strong episodes that leaves me with more expectations for the next. We’re far removed from my Episode 5 lowlight, and by the looks of things, the series will peak at the end of the season. I’m no longer bothered by the chibi scenes and it’s clear they’re paying homage to the source material. The worst part of the show is how the past few episodes have just abruptly ended, but being left wanting more is never a bad thing.
Big pet peeve: Ever since Episode 7, I’ve been rooting for Aoyama and Odagiri to get together. This keeps not happening and I keep getting frustrated. This doesn’t make the episode weak by any means, but she just keeps showing up! If the two don’t end up together, I’m going to write a really long think piece about ‘How Aoyama-kun Got Literally Everything Wrong With This Top 10 Anime Betrayal’.
Will Aoyama Be Able to Fix Himself?
Everyone’s problems in Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun are solved by Aoyama. The lingering question for me is ‘Will Aoyama’s problems get solved?’ I think we’re probably in for a couple of sad episodes moving forward, or at least they WOULD have been sad…if this wasn’t a satire. Next week’s episode hints at some reveals to Aoyama’s past and I’m hoping the series pushes into some dark territory. If they can pull off tension and some heavy emotion, the series will literally have EVERYTHING.
So, now, I leave you with these very important questions: Who wore it best? What was the best swimsuit this episode? Let me know in the comments or on the forums.
Until next time!
NEXT TIME: Aoyama-kun Has Many Secrets (青山くんは秘密が多い)