The last episode for Grand Blue Dreaming aired on 29 September 2018 and finished the series in a way that it should have been the tone of the anime all along. Out of all the episodes, this one might be my favorite, which in the end made it hard to say goodbye to Iori and his friends. What I had been missing in the previous 11 episodes was all gathered in this one episode, making the show end with a bang.
Japanese Title: オトーリ (Otōri)
From one island in Okinawa to another, the members of Peek-A-Boo are ready to go diving for real. Not just practice, but real depth and adventures. The only problem is that Iori won’t be able to join them on some of their deeper trips because he couldn’t take the diving license test thanks to being sick during the last episode. When he stays behind on the boat, Chisa seems to have noticed that he seems a bit more quiet than usual and decides to keep him company so he won’t feel lonely and sad while everybody is out having fun. Turns out he was just being sea-sick and Chisa feels a bit stupid for staying back, but at least they could spend some time.
Soon they are back to their old self anyway, as all the guys are set on experiencing the Okinawa tradition of Otori, which seems to be equal ‘drinking until you faint’ for most of the guys in the club. So Iori and Kohei try their hardest to not have to join the headless drinking and convince their senpais that their idea is bad…
What I enjoyed most about this episode is the healthy mix of diving (or at least the talk about it) and drinking, jokes, and comedy. For 12 episodes the whole jokes of getting naked and drinking were not enough to keep me wholeheartedly entertained as all of you should know by now if you have read the previous reviews I wrote. It wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t really with my whole heart into the story since there was a clear development missing (if we ignore Iori being able to drink a lot more and becoming adjusted to the customs of Peek-a-Book aka being naked). So this episode was really refreshing and good because there was the diving and Iroi found out he feels rather sick on a boat while there was also the usual fun with alcohol. If the whole series were balanced like that, I would have enjoyed it a lot more!
Aina and Iori
Aina is so cute when it comes to her feelings (?) for Iori. She definitely likes him, but he does indeed make it hard for her to like him openly, with his stupidity. I loved the scene where Aina got so drunk that she looked like she would confess her feelings to Iori. It was a cute romantic atmosphere and made my heart skip a beat which is actually a good thing for this series, as they clearly are capable of doing this kind of scenes. For me personally, this series could have much more potential if it didn’t focus so much on the drinks and naked bodies. We get that they are a running gag very early on, so spending less time stretching the old jokes and using comedy like Aina goign berserk on Iori when he expects her to confess her love for him was great! I totally feel for Aina, because at some point I would probably have acted the same if I had to face these lovely dorks all the time.
There actually is a Wikipedia page about Otori, but let’s get into this for a bit. While Okinawa in general is so beautiful it is worth a trip (or so I have been told), naked-senpai did not decide to go there because of the warm climate, the beautiful beaches, the green sea or the variety of fish. They went there because of the Otori ritual. It has been explained in the anime as well, but it is basically drinking as many drinks as there are people in the room. Everybody gets to be the ‘leader’ once to give a toast and then gives everybody a drink, passes on the leader card and the procedure is repeated. Traditionally, there is a special kind of alcohol used but of course our naked-senpai simply choose whatever has the highest amount of alcohol in it.
It’s all fun and games until the government of Miyakojima had to come in because of serious health problems. People had drunk a bit too much. There are not too many details about this, but I imagine that it is a practice used as well if you go out to drink with your company and can imagine how damaging that would be to your body. Especially since the whole culture of going out to drink with your boss is very strongly enforced. You can’t just turn down your superior and say you don’t like alcohol (most of the time, anyway). If you don’t have a good reason, they might pester you into drinking or simply shut you out from the fun. So in the end, the government came in and made some cards that would say ‘Sorry, can’t drink!’ to help people stay away from being pressured into drinking.
As negative as some of my reviews might sound, I still did enjoy the series a lot and think that most of it is thanks to the characters being realistic and fun. I liked all of them well enough because there are really some crazy guys like that out there. Girls will always have a hard time dealing with them. It’s part of the fun. And seeing how close they grew in such a short time made me like the series and want to watch more of it. Especially Azusa is a character of interest to me, so I hope there will be more about her in the future as well.
One thing that I never mentioned in my reviews was how the girls were never pressured into anything like drinking. They didn’t have to join the fun if they didn’t wanted to. I think this also represents a part of Japanese culture very well. Usually, even if there is a group of mixed gender, somehow the males and females would stick together and talk in their little groups and only sometimes cross the line. One party gets to observe the other and only sometimes some members interact. Of course it also depends on the situation, but usually it seems to be like that if food and drinks are involved. So if nothing else, the series does manage to represent a part of the Japanese culture very well, at least the way it is right now. Traditions and society are always changing, so who knows how it will be in the future?
This was the end of Grand Blue. Thank you for reading my reviews. For next season, I am going to be reviewing something that is on the other scale of the spectrum: a romantic, cute series called As Miss Beelzebub Likes. It might not be a similar genre to this series, but I certainly do hope that I will see some of you following my reviews for Beelmama as well! I will see you one last time for my series review of Grand Blue after I have sorted out me feelings for the series overall. Until then, keep enjoying anime!
Grand Blue Dreaming
Summer 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast