Memory is strange and nostalgia is a powerful feeling. It stirs a powerful gamut of emotions: pain, pleasure, warmth, home. This week, Aoyama-kun must weather the storm of memories, while the wistful waves of wanton desire strikes a frenzy into his team…and life. Stick around for the week’s review of Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun!
Japanese Title: 青山くんは覚えてる？
It seems like everything was going to be okay in Aoyama’s life. He’d just made it into the high school soccer team, dodged the forceful recruiting techniques of Takechi’s abs, and a friendship was beginning to blossom between Zaizen and himself. I’m sad to say that after some innocent locker room banter, this was all about to change.
There are two situations that occur in this episode. The first is the mystery of the clean locker room. Someone is cleaning the soccer team’s locker room, but it isn’t Aoyama. The boys don’t seem too concerned about the who, but it’s a strange occurrence. Aoyama keeps receiving stuffed cat dolls in his locker. The question is…will he remember? I don’t want to spoil too much.
The second arc in this episode is the allure of Aoyama’s towel. This towel is rumored to smell incredible. The rumor is so strong that everyone is trying to sneak a sniff at it. They swear it’s not perverted…but imagine how it must feel to Aoyama! Will the new team manager be able to fend off the hordes or will Zaizen have to step in to defend? There’s a large amount of tension in the air. You can slice through it with a knife!
Episode Highlights, Comments, & Themes
To tell you the truth, this is a strange episode but I’m not disappointed. In sports anime, typically you’ll see the training and practice be working towards the goal of beating a major tournament. Aoyama-kun’s devices are more along the lines of comedy. So far there’s been no major tournament build-up and the series is running on a gag-based engine. This is refreshing, since you can take your pick of serious, heavy-handed sports series.
Aoyama is similar to Sakamoto in his allure towards his classmates. However, unlike Sakamoto, he doesn’t have the ego to go along with the fandom. It’s an interesting dichotomy and part of what makes this series unique. Half of Aoyama’s appeal is his stand-offishness and inability to know what he’s thinking. Most of the time, he’s juggling / dribbling to fend off being touched. He’s a man of a few words, which makes the supporting cast an important part of the show.
One of this week’s highlights is Moka’s story arc. From the first episode, she gives the impression that she’ll be a shy, hideaway character that stalks and follows Aoyama around. You know the trope. Fortunately, she’s a bit of an oddball, akin to Mako Mankanshoku’s character in Kill la Kill. While she tries to be sweet, she’s kind of terrifying in her own right. This is a good thing, especially when the team you’re associated with is full of perverts trying to sniff your senpai’s towel.
Zaizen’s arc this week is a highlight as well. He positions himself as a rationale, level-headed leader and above sniffing towels like a pervert. His struggle this week concludes in a hilarious betrayal and while Aoyama may or may not remember something important to get this episode to conclude, he will remember Zaizen’s betrayal…forever.
Just Thinking about Aoyama-kun
I might have been chowing down on some fine cuisine during my viewing of this episode. I don’t play sports anymore, my last foray into it being a referee of soccer many, many years ago. But, as I cracked open my fortune cookie, I was shocked.
Your sports team will be very successful this year
Here I was. In the background, on the television, the Fujimi High locker room cleaned to perfection. I realized something. I may not have a sports team, but you know, maybe this year – my sports team is Fujimi High. Maybe my sports team is the laughs I’ll have this summer season of Aoyama-kun.
I said back during my DAYS reviews, that if you weren’t keen on sports anime, DAYS was a great intro because it’s a nice shonen with great action and great characters. I still stand by that. But if you can’t take the heaviness of a serious sports series, I recommend Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun. While I don’t doubt there will be a tournament and some serious aspects to the series, it is self-aware enough of its subject matter and genre tropes to be a laugh to everyone. The art is pretty and so is the main character. Oh, and my complaint last week about the chibi scenes? WAY BETTER this episode. They feel a lot more at place this week, more like Yuri on Ice’susage, than my deviant art gallery a la 7th grade.
Finally, while I do enjoy the gags and comedy, I think I can only take about 2 or 3 more episodes of fun, before expecting some action. This may be make or break for me. So, here’s hoping we see something happen. I’m eager to get a deeper understanding of the characters. I only realized the generic blonde was the captain this episode, so – give me more.
Did you place your bets, yet?
I told you to stake everything on this series. It’s a 9/10 with fandom appeal and you’ll definitely want to get in early for mad cred. As far as characters go, who do you connect with the most?. Me? I’m pretty much talented, rich, and handsome – so I’m basically Zaizen… but these fantastic abs, maybe Takechi. It’s a tough call. Let me know below in the comments or hit me up on the MANGA.TOKYO forums.Until next time! Seisek- Fujimi Fight!