Grand Blue is the anime I would have blogged, had I known how. It’s an uproariously funny comedy, and as RandomC’s resident lush (I even work in the beer industry), it’s right up my alley. But it’s a comedy, and those are hard to blog, y’all. That’s why I’ve been putting off finishing the series for the last two days, as I was figuring out what to say. How do I talk about Grand Blue?
Also, I was out getting drunk with friends both nights. Rather fitting, I feel, ne? *glug glug glug*
So, as I sit here drinking a beer, let me lay it out for you: Grand Blue is friggin’ hilarious! And comedy is subjective, yadda yadda, you know the drill. All I can say is that I found it super funny each and every episode, from the otherworldly levels of drinking, the outrageous reaction faces, the male nudity, and everything in between. Grand Blue was the show that most often had me laughing my ass off, to the point I’m surprised my neighbors haven’t asked me to quiet down. It’s that funny!
Some of favorite aspects are firmly rooted in character and change, and those are easier to talk about. The bait-and-switch in the first episode is phenomenal, as Iori’s college illusions come crashing down inside of the first minute and a half, and he’s half-naked and drunk off his mind within the first ten. But what I loved even more is how Iori and Kouhei so swiftly fell from the “sane men” laying out tsukkomis to the Peek a Boo crew, to being totally dyed in their colors. It didn’t even take them half the season before they found stripping naked while drinking to be perfectly natural! The shift was swift and irreversible. They were made for this club.
But it’s not all about the main boys. Their sempais of Tokki and Bukki were the catalyst of most of the early shenanigans, and a solid percentage even when Iori and Kouhei had spun up into comedy machines. But Nanaka and Azusa were no slouches, nor was Chisa with her cute moments and constant anger. I also really liked the addition of Aina, since her taking over tsukkomi duties allowed Iori and Kouhei to slide totally into Peek a Boo signature idiocy. They’re all hilarious when they’re used correctly, and there are enough characters that they never get annoying. I love it!
Also, there was diving! The diving sections were actually really good, in a very gap moe kind of way. Those sections, and the moments of real heart and goodness from the characters—often from Iori toward Aina or Chisa, but sometimes from other vectors—served to redeem and elevate characters who are usually possessed with being barely functioning adult-adjacent children who do terrible things to each other. Which, by the way: I wasn’t a fan of Iori and Kouhei’s German class friend group. Their dynamic was the closest the show ever got to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia levels of horribleness, and making that work is a very delicate balancing act. The second half of episode eight was undoubtedly my least favorite part of the season, when five of the six unrepentantly sabotaging their other friend’s dating life. It barely recovered when Mitarai proved himself to be a terrible loser at the last second (“Can you introduce me to your friends?”, hah!), but it was a near thing. It’s Always Sunny is an excellent show, but I don’t advise trying to do what it does. It’s a heady mix of flawed genius, and that ain’t easy to reproduce. Grand Blue was best when it didn’t get too close.
But for such a high-tempo comedy to only have half of one episode that I didn’t like, it’s doing really well. And I loved Grand Blue all the way through! Every episode is a treat, though I suggest watching only one or two in a sitting, so you can really baste in the hilarity of Peek a Boo. It also had my favorite opening song of the season! (“Atsukunare, My Friends!”) I super loved this series, and if another season eventually gets greenlit, I will be all over it. I might even pick up the manga—and for someone who rarely has time for manga these days, that’s saying something! Highly suggested, would get drunk watching again. It truly is my amore!
My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for updates. At stephenwgee.com, the last two posts: An Author’s Review of: Freelance Heroics, & An Author’s Review of: Wage Slave Rebellion.