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Disclaimer: there is a lot less soccer (and a lot more cleaning) than this picture may lead you to believe

Aoyama is an immensely talented soccer player who is considered his team’s ace. He has even represented Japan as part of its national Under-16 team. However, he is also extremely into cleanliness, and hates dirt and germs of any kind. He is popular with the girls not because of his sports skills but because he constantly cleans, making himself and everything around him “beautiful”. His teammates, meanwhile, are frequently frustrated as he often misses practice or shows up already tired out from a day of cleaning.

The first half of the episode is from the perspective of a hot-blooded member of the team named Zaizen, who is annoyed by Aoyama. The team’s coach, Miwa, helps Zaizen become more sympathetic towards Aoyama by explaining the difficulties that a germaphobe faces in daily life. Eventually, Zaizen comes to understand how much Aoyama loves soccer by observing the various cleanliness rituals he must complete daily to allow himself to play as part of the team.

The second half introduces a rival school whose leader, Takechi, desperately wants to recruit Aoyama. The two teams play a match, during which Takechi tries a variety of recruitment “strategies.” (Actually, all of his “strategies” are just showing off his abdominal muscles.) Aoyama’s team is hampered by rainy weather, as Aoyama refuses to play seriously due to the risk of getting muddy. This infuriates Zaizen, who gives it his all and plays hard, even blocking multiple balls with his face. This seems to inspire Aoyama at least somewhat; he scores the winning goal despite slipping and getting covered in mud in the process. Aoyama refuses to switch teams despite Takechi’s begging, saying that his current team has “something none of the others have” but refusing to tell his teammates exactly what that is. (It turns out to be that the school has particularly clean toilets.)

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so do people ship this yet or

This is a sports anime. It is a sports anime with a gimmick, namely Aoyama’s neat-freak personality, but it is still a sports anime. I’m not the biggest fan of the genre, and soccer happens to be one of the sports I enjoy watching the least (and yet I always seem to end up First Impression-ing the soccer anime), so Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun already had a strike against it coming in. Did it manage to catch my interest despite that?

Unfortunately, it didn’t. I think the major problem, besides my general apathy towards soccer, is that I don’t find the central gimmick particularly funny. The show seems to go for a Sakamoto desu ga? sort of approach where Aoyama is adored by (nearly) everyone for his cleanliness. Unfortunately, while Sakamoto was a bit of an oddball and amusing to watch in addition to being so “perfect,” Aoyama just comes across as kind of bland. It doesn’t help that the episode is told mostly from Zaizen’s point of view, meaning we end up with only a handful of lines from Aoyama, most of them being “please don’t touch me”.

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Sorry shippers, but here’s Aoyama’s real true love

While Aoyama was dull but inoffensive, the other characters grated on me. It’s alright to have a character like Aoyama, who is mostly defined by a singular quirk or trait…but when your whole CAST is like that, it just becomes repetitive and unfunny. Zaizen is hot-headed but secretly super rich. Miwa has a short temper and uses her judo moves on the students. Takechi likes to show off his abs (not to mention that said abs are constantly doing this weird, off-putting sort of….undulation?….that I found frankly gross). Aoyama’s as of yet unnamed teammates include a character who is always eating, even on the soccer field, and a character who is always posing with his butt sticking out and bouncing soccer balls off of it. None of them are the kind of character I want to see more of, unfortunately.

I think that the episode’s central plot (Zaizen coming to understand Aoyama a little better via playing together and talking to Miwa) was actually pretty interesting, and a good way to start this show. The conversation between Zaizen and Miwa where she explained that Aoyama loves soccer as much as Zaizen does, and his rituals are his way of showing that, was definitely the high point. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get past the annoying, one-note characters. The match itself didn’t do much to hold my interest either, as it was just Aoyama scoring goal after goal (minus the one pretty cool moment of Zaizen getting so into the game that he began using his face to block).

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I would like to have a conversation with whoever decided that this was “appealing”

I try not to comment on animation much in First Impressions because I don’t know a whole lot about it, but I do think that there were some weird design choices made in the show. The characters’ necks all looked really long in a lot of scenes, especially during the bits of actual gameplay. In addition, the show occasionally features characters (mostly Aoyama) going into a “chibi” form for a few seconds. While that can be a cute and neat design choice, it felt a bit overused in this episode (it happened every time Aoyama dodged a pass, for example) and the moments when only Aoyama was in this form while other characters remained normal just looked really weird to me.

So, overall, Aoyama-kun defied my expectations….by being WORSE than just the “boring soccer show” I expected due to the over-inclusion of uncomfortable, unfunny characters and Aoyama’s own lack of charisma as a main protagonist. I can say with certainty that this definitely won’t be the show I blog this season.

Out of 5 Dios:

diodio

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I did really like the ED, which is done in this neat “old-school” style

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