Japanese Title: Grand Blue
Similar: Golden Time
Daily Lives of High School Boys
Watched in: Japanese
Length: 12 episodes
- Relies on the same few jokes
- No likeable or funny characters
- Not about diving
- Poor animation
- Too much post processing
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.
Awards: (hover over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)