Apologies for the extremely delayed final FIs of the season. My computer crashed and I lost a bunch of files, so I had to rewatch the shows and recreate these from scratch.

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It was very hard to find screenshots of the male cast even partially clothed

Iori Kitahara is entering his freshman year at Izu University and will be living at his uncle’s diving shop, Grand Blue. Unfortunately, on his first day there, he is greeted with the sight of a store full of naked men. Two of these men turn out to be his upperclassmen, Tokita and Kotobuki. They are members of the diving club and encourage Iori to join, ignoring his protests that he does not even know how to swim.

Despite his reservations, Iori drinks with the diving club and is soon drunkenly caught up in their shenanigans – including playing strip rock-paper-scissors, to the disgust of his cousin Chisa. His relationship with Chisa worsens further when he wakes up half-naked in the middle of the university campus the next morning. Due to his drunken shenanigans, he is forced to attend orientation in his underwear. He tries to fix his situation by…forcing Chisa to take off her clothes and give them to him? Luckily, this doesn’t work and instead Iori finds himself on the run from campus security.

The upperclassmen lend him some clothing after he successfully tricks a fellow freshman, the anime-loving Kohei, into joining the diving club by lying that it is full of attractive women. Of course, the clothes are soon off again as first Iori and then Kohei are tricked into drinking “oolong tea” (whiskey) and “water” (vodka) at the club’s freshman welcome party. For the second time in a single episode, Iori ends up hungover and basically naked after a night of reckless indulging.

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I wish there had been a lot more of this…

A lot of people have been calling Grand Blue the “anime of the season” and praising it for being a comedy aimed at an older audience. I predict that this show will become very popular and will have a lot of fans due to the rapid pace of jokes, an older cast of characters, a pretty seaside setting and equal opportunity male and female fanservice. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be one of those tuning in every week.

Grand Blue wasn’t necessarily bad – it just focuses on topics that I really, really cannot relate to. The primary source of humor is the characters, especially Iori, drinking too much alcohol and behaving in humorous manners as a result. (So much alcohol is consumed, in fact, that the first episode alone features multiple onscreen warnings reminding people not to try this at home.) Many positive comments about the first episode have come from people finding this show to be relatable and reminding them of their own college years. My time in college…was very much not like this at all, which is the primary reason I feel like a bit of a stick in the mud who just can’t “get” the humor of this show.

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…and a lot less of this

Even putting aside my inability to connect with the intended humor, there were unfortunately a lot of things about this episode that I didn’t really like. First, I do feel that Grand Blue – at least so far – relies a bit too much on the “people screaming is really funny” school of ‘comedy’. There is a LOT of yelling, mostly from the upperclassmen but eventually from Iori as well as he gets more and more involved in their hijinks. There are also many moments when the characters make “ugly” or “gross,” heavily stylized reaction faces in response to “jokes,” and I regrettably failed to find most of those funny as well. I also wasn’t a fan of how Chisa, who is the protagonist’s first cousin, was set up like the “love interest” and got a lot of the standard “awkward” (and again not funny) scenes where she ran into Iori while he was naked, drunk or both. (Disclaimer – I’m not familiar with the original manga that this show is based on, so it is quite possible that this is meant to be a family relationship and not a romantic one – but, even if that’s the case, I still feel like they framed it a little weirdly in this episode, as I don’t seem to be the only reviewer who interpreted it that way). Lastly, was there any reason whatsoever for Chisa’s older sister to be in love with her (and this, like seemingly everything else, was treated as a source of comedy?)

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Does Chisa even have any expressions beyond “irritated” and “grumpy”?

On a slightly more positive note, the animation of the water and the seaside scenery was pretty great, and the OP sequence was nice and had a decent song. That’s about all, though.

Yeah…I think there are going to be a lot of people who like this show, but I’m just not sure if I would be able to enjoy something that is just so fundamentally unrelatable to me, especially as the comedy seems to rely heavily on invoking feelings of nostalgia towards peoples’ own college years. Grand Blue gets a pass from me.

Out of 5 Dios:

dio 1/2

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I suppose at least you can say that this show teaches viewers one important lesson: If you can set it on fire, it’s NOT oolong tea.

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