Grand Blue – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Grand Blue

 

Similar: Golden Time

School Rumble

Daily Lives of High School Boys

Watched in: Japanese

Genre: Comedy Slice of Life

Length: 12 episodes

 

Positives:

  • Nothing

Negatives:

  • Relies on the same few jokes
  • No likeable or funny characters
  • Not about diving
  • Poor animation
  • Too much post processing

(Request an anime for review here.)

I hate this anime. Maybe it’s because I’m not a drunken frat boy nor have I been one that this humour isn’t for me. Yet, I can tell you why Grand Blue is a failure beyond taste.

It follows Iori as he moves to a coastal town for university and stays with his uncle, who owns the diving shop Grand Blue. The debauchery begins immediately. Seniors of the uni’s diving club convince him – with little effort, mind you – to have a drink. It isn’t long before he’s as drunk as a sailor and puking his guts all over town.

That’s all there is Grand Blue. It’s one drunken party after the other – naked, of course (just the men) – with a sprinkling of class time and the fleeting mention of a scuba diving lesson. Grand Blue is amusing for a moment in episode 1, when there is a difference between Iori and the frat boys. One imagines this comedy is about a normal guy trying to survive university amongst the worst his institute has to offer (a little like Keiichi and his seniors from Ah! My Goddess). However, he goes from outsider to one of the boys in two episode flat, so we lose that contrast. Then the jokes go on repeat.

It is amusing the first time you see the seniors, stark naked, chasing someone down to join their club (would have been great as part of the “university survival” plot I talked of earlier). Once you see a variation of this each episode though, it no longer gets the sharp exhalation of air from my nose that it did the first time. I only realise, as I write this, how desensitised I became to the nude humour. These guys are naked so often that another arse barely registers in one’s eyes. The jokes are: get naked, get drunk, pull an ugly face. No more.

More to the plot could help break repetition. An early episode promises diving to be a core of the story (don’t forget the OP is all about diving). To my great disappointment as a lover of diving, this doesn’t come to fruition. Late in the series, they take the occasional break from drinking to scuba dive, but the author couldn’t bear to see a sober person, so that doesn’t last. There is also a hint at romance (Iori wants to bang his cousin, amongst other girls), which amounts to little.

Then we end on the characters. Not a likeable quality between them. I don’t want any of them to succeed in uni or life. The girls are probably the worst with their one-note characters. One hates him (the cousin), the other is bashful, which doesn’t make sense as she sees these nude frat boys every day working her job in the scuba store. She blushes at the cover of a raunchy manga. Why am I surprised though? As much effort went into giving her a personality as went into the decision to use the naked joke for the umpteenth time.

Grand Blue isn’t the worst anime I’ve seen. I considered drowning this in the lowest rating tier for how I felt after the final episode concluded. Then I remembered some of truly worst anime out there – Clannad’s support of threatening suicide to solve problems, Vampire Knight’s incest love triangle, Hand Shakers’ mere existence, to recall a few – and Grand Blue doesn’t seem that bad anymore. I still have no positives to say other than, perhaps, it could be worse.

Grand Blue isn’t an anime about youth, about grabbing life by the horns, about giving it your all. It’s about unlikeable drunks spewing the same jokes on a loop.

Art – Low

The ugly character art is intentional for comedic effect, even if overused, so that is excusable. The poor animation isn’t passable though. Also, ease up on the post processing for underwater scenes.

Sound – Low

I like the OP song, but it is deceptive. Promises adventure; delivers none. Shouty acting.

Story – Very Low

A university freshman joins the drunken diving club when he moves to a coastal town. With a shallow pool of jokes to draw from and even less creative characters, Grand Blue is not one to watch.

Overall Quality – Low

Recommendation: Avoid it. Stay away from Grand Blue unless you like drunk humour repeated endlessly.

(Request reviews here. Find out more about the rating system here.)

 

Awards: (hover over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive: None

Negative: 

Not FunnyRepetitive

4 thoughts on “Grand Blue – Anime Review”

  1. Wow. This one is really highly rated by people; some even called it the best comedy manga/anime. The manga is a 9 (!) on MAL. Random comments (on unrelated manga forums) are like “in comedy manga, you can’t beat Grand Blue”. I’m more of a manga reader, so I decided to check out the manga.

    I was thankful for checking it out online instead of purchasing the volumes, because a few chapters later I ended up dropping it. I don’t recall exactly why I dropped it, but it certainly wasn’t as funny as it was hyped up to be. There are a few funny jokes here and there (the otaku dude sometimes got a chuckle or two out of me) but like you said, very repetitive. I, too, do not really understand drunken frat boy culture, so I can’t comment on that aspect. But the repetitiveness was a turn off. You can’t call it a running gag when it’s the only gag. The running gags of Nozaki-kun, Saiki K, Hinamatsuri, or Kaguya-sama work because of the variety of characters and the fresh spin on the gag each time, ensuring you don’t get tired of any one gag. They also have many jokes other than just these running gags.

    This was a disappointment to me, and I’m not surprised to see your review go this way. I’m actually surprised it didn’t get a Very Low, although like you said, worse exists (the very thought of Handshakers makes my whole body shake, not just my hand).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t get the praise either. There are plenty of popular frat movies as well – plenty of people love to watch them as dumb fun, but no one calls then good films. With Grand Blue, it’s like people have taken crazy pills.

      Like

  2. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on that and agree with most of them. Yet, I think u are not taking into account the context of this series. This is the variation of Hollywood teen comedy from 80-s… Not that it makes this thing any better, but then it is clear were they fail and why. Boobs. It had to go with sexual context and naked girls. Then it would be bearable. May be. And u are too kind to this. It definitely is one of the worst movies in its domain. Imho, of course.

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