Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun Series Review – It’s a Gag Anime About a Germaphobe Soccer Player: What Do You Really Expect?

Overview:

Aoyama is a brilliant soccer player who also happens to be a germaphobe. When he starts highschool he defies expectations by going to a school that isn’t particularly strong at soccer and there continues to go about his daily life.

Review:

The whole way through the Summer 2017 anime season I kept this show on my watch list. At times that was more to see if I could finish a show that was built around a really basic gag that Aoyama didn’t like to get dirty and everyone around him was clearly crazy. At other times though, this show did manage to make a decent point or be amusing. I think for me, what saved this show from the endless list of comedy shows I have dropped in a heartbeat was that I didn’t hate the main character.

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Comedy anime have a really terrible tendency to make their lead characters truly insufferable to watch. They whine, they are usually loud or run about flailing their arms, they talk a lot, and usually have some fairly repugnant personality traits. Okay, I don’t like comedy so I’m fairly harsh on these characters. Aoyama isn’t like that because the main character, other than his one quirk of cleaning things, is pretty stoic. The idiocy and energy come from the rest of the cast and they are fortunately diluted by being side characters and not appearing all the time.

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That isn’t to say there weren’t those episodes that made me roll my eyes and want to stop watching. Episode 11 (the second last episode) was genuinely painful to get through. And why was it so bad? Because Aoyama barely appeared in it and we were forced to endure the side characters taking the lead on the episode and they were really annoying.

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Basically that’s all for this review. Either you will find the basic set up amusing and enjoy the way the idea of difference and tolerance is discussed through the various over the top set-ups, and occasional cool moments in the last five minutes of soccer games, or you will find the screaming girls chanting for Aoyama sickening to the core and flee the viewing. That said, there are some really good social commentary moments to be found beneath the comedy, though that really isn’t enough to off-set some of the sillier moments the show delivers or the fact that the characters I enjoyed the most seemed to be the ones who were quickly shuffled to the sidelines and the more irritating characters ate up more and more screen time.

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The music works but isn’t exceptional. The visuals similarly do their job but aren’t really particularly good or bad. Though occasionally I wish they hadn’t gone for the simplistic expression on Aoyama’s face because the white eye thing is really kind of creepy. There were a few jokes I could have happily lived without and to be honest this has zero rewatch value because there’s nothing you would have missed the first time and the jokes will not get funnier with retelling.

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Still, I made it to the end. I had a bit of fun with it. If you didn’t check it out at all it may be worth an episode, though likely this is one that will quickly be forgotten.


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Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun Episode 12: Apparently There’s a Reason

Review:

The team are still worried that Aoyama will leave for a better offer, despite every bit of evidence suggesting that Aoyama has no interest in doing so, and Zaizen attempts a heart-to-heart though given his basic personality that goes about as well as expected. We then spend the rest of the episode in another match with the team still aiming for nationals and convinced they need to win because due to a series of assumptions and poor communications, they’ve come to the conclusion it is the anniversary of Zaizen’s mother’s death.

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Anyway, business a usual. Team losing. Aoyama makes a comment that could be seen as quite cutting and cold but manages to get things back on track. Aoyama passes the ball to team mate of the week who needs to shine. Then Aoyama finishes the game.

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And from all this we learn the ‘reason’ Aoyama will stay at Fujimi and it is as vapid and stupid as you would expect given the nature of the show. That said, this episode, while pretty standard, is pretty watchable and reminded me very much of the first episode.

I’ll write up a full series review on this one soon.


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Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun Episode 11: This was Painful

Review:

I know we shouldn’t actually expect much from an episode called “Sakai-Kun’s Hairstyle Has Changed”, but for a show that has defied my worst fears most of the season, this episode was just plain painful to endure. And it was an endurance. Okay, I skipped about three minutes in the second half because I was about to turn the video off and instead just jumped forward hoping that somehow things would improve.

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What was so bad?

Well, we already knew that the mob of mindless females in the fan clubs of the school aren’t exactly screaming great characterisation or great roles for girls but they are such a minor part of the story normally, and there are female characters that actually get characterisation, so it hasn’t been an issue. Until this episode where the mindlessness just really hurt.

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Follow that up by having a truly obnoxious lead character this week, Aoyama almost not appearing in his own show, and a side story about another character trying to improve that ultimately didn’t go anywhere, and this was actually a chore to get to the end of it.

I’m hoping this doesn’t mean I’ve officially run out of tolerance for this show because it has been pleasantly surprising most of the season, but I don’t think I can sit through another episode like this one.


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Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun Episode 10: He’s a Mystery

Review:

This episode starts basically enough with the guys on the soccer team realising they know nothing about Aoyama and so tailing him. It seems like the set up for a pretty formulaic follow Aoyama around and then have some ridiculous twist ending and that’s all. Then we end up at the ab-guy’s school where some character who apparently played in the national team with Aoyama has just transferred and we spend the rest o the episode with Aoyama ‘helping’ said guy make up with his not-girlfriend because he insulted her cooking.

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Actually, it makes more sense than that while watching it, but to be honest the story deviates quite a lot from Aoyama’s team trying to find out where he lives with only Zaizen even sticking it out until the end of the episode as the other characters just kind of vanish.

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All and all, this was a pretty average episode for a show that has remained pleasant but not exceptional.


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Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun Episode 9: Training Camps and Tests of Courage

Review:

While this show has been surprisingly entertaining, it has never actually been good, and this week I found myself finally groaning more than smiling at the forced attempts at humour. That isn’t to say this show got any worse, it is more that while I appreciated it this far, I’ve finally had enough of more or less the same punch lines over and over again. The fact that it took 9 episodes for me to get to this point is pretty novel in and of itself.

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Basically the soccer club, and every other random side character, go to a training camp hosted by rich boy’s family so of course everything is just a little bit off. Each of the characters do their usual bit and really everything just rolls along. However, the overall absurdity of a training camp in a dome custom built as well as the reactions of some of the characters just pushed me into groan territory and mostly I didn’t have fun watching this week.

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Of course, the biggest low point was the test of courage where inevitably Aoyama ends up cleaning up the ‘haunted’ building. It just isn’t funny at this point and none of the other character’s antics managed to lift it.

Actually, that’s probably the biggest issue this episode. We’re not focussed on a single side character but rather just get splatters of lots of cast members and without that focus the show just kind of feels like a bunch of poorly delivered and thinly connected gags.  Here’s hoping next week is a bit more fun.


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Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun Episodes 7 + 8: Is That Supposed To Be A Serious Development?

Review Episode 7:

Probably the biggest issue I have with shows like this is I miss the point sometimes of whether they are attempting to be serious or not. The introduction of a girl who can touch Aoyama introduces a new insight into his character given Aoyama suddenly starts experimenting with things outside of his very clear comfort zone. This actually could be considered an interesting character point or could be an interesting plot development. Or it could just be another gag and I’m not really sure which way I was supposed to take it.

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Certainly the reaction of his fan club, classmates, and team mates was supposed to be a joke, though it was seldom funny. The excessive reactions and despair over Aoyama maybe actually liking someone was just a little bit depressing as was the boys basketball club member’s assumed ownership over the affections of the girl.

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Still, this episode does at last manage to integrate classes, other clubs, and a soccer game into a single episode so maybe the elements of this show that have so far seemed quite disconnected are starting to merge now that we have quite a number of recurring characters who all have heavily integrated existences.

That said, not really a good episode by any means but still watchable.

Review Episode 8:

Um… Well, we get a new character who has apparently quit the judo club because he has a fruitless crush on Gotou.

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His former captain is thrilled.

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And then he sets Aoyama and Gotou up on a date and helps Gotou out to ensure she has a chance to get her feelings across.

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Wait? He did what?

That’s the punchline of this episode. He’s happy as long as she’s happy and apparently so long as he one day ends up buried next to her because he can play the long game and wait.

I do not even know what I am supposed to make of that, but I do know that whoever was animating orange arrows had a lot of work this episode.


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Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun Episode 6: It’s Dangerous Trying to Please Everyone

Review:

This week the episode focusses on Ozaki, who is apparently writing a manga. He introduces a character based on Aoyama but becomes upset by that character’s popularity when he’d tried to make him the villain. As he attempts to sabotage the character, the manga loses popularity and he is forced to try to turn things around even as his overall dislike of Aoyama continues.

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I actually really enjoyed this episode. I found Ozaki’s frustration at the audience reaction to his story quite amusing and the way he interpreted the world around him and translated it into his stories was also kind of entertaining. Though, the most amusing thing is that by the end of the episode, despite watching Aoyama for a large part of this episode, Ozaki still doesn’t understand Aoyama. Admittedly, most of the school doesn’t as they all kind of project their own ideas onto him and Aoyama is too detached to either notice or care, but in Ozaki’s case he has seriously caused a problem for himself by trying to write a character based on a person he just doesn’t get.

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So not so much cleaning or soccer this week (though both make a brief appearance just so we are reassured the writers did not forget their own gimmicks). I remain pleasantly surprised by how watchable this is but it still isn’t all that great.


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