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.

Aoyama7a

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.

Aoyama9b

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.

AOyama11a

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.

Aoyama2c

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.

Aoyama5a

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.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

Advertisements

TWOCAR Episode 1: Just Not For Me

Review:

I kind of knew starting this that I probably wasn’t the audience for this show so while there is actually nothing wrong with this as a first episode it absolutely did not appeal to me. When we got to six minutes and the race commentator was still introducing each quirky team so that each girl had a chance to say something witty and show off their particular quirk (twins, cross-dressing, goth-loli, etc), I definitely knew this show wasn’t something I was going to stick out.

TwoCar1a

Despite that, I did get to the end of the episode and was still pretty indifferent to everything that was going on. It looks nice enough, has set up the characters, and pretty much has done what it needs to do as a first episode, so if you like high school girl club stories and felt what was missing from your life was one that involved motor-sports than this might be for you.

TwoCar1b

For me though, I’ll leave this show here.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

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.

Clean12a

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.

Clean12c

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.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

Kuroko’s Basketball Season 1 Series Review: Dribble, Pass, Shoot, Score

Overview:

An up-and-coming power player, Taiga Kagami, is just back from America. When he comes to Seirin High School, he meets the super-ordinary boy, Tetsuya Kuroko. Kagami is shocked to find that Kuroko isn’t good at basketball, in fact, he’s bad! And he’s so plain that he’s impossible to see. But Kuroko’s plainness lets him pass the ball around without the other team noticing him, and he’s none other than the sixth member of the Miracle Generation.

– From AnimeLab

Review:

Okay, I know my title kind of gives it away but I am not in love with this series. Admittedly, I’m not bit on sport in the first place, so it had to happen sooner or later that I’d try a sport anime that didn’t really work for me and Kuroko just happened to be the one. Still, after Haikyuu, this is probably the one that was most recommended to me by people so I was kind of hopeful going in. And it isn’t that I found Kuroko’s Basketball to be bad, it just does a lot of things I’m not very interested in. But rather than rambling I’m going to try to get into this review.

Kuroko4

Probably the main strength of Kuroko’s Basketball is that it is very watchable. By that, I mean you can just turn it on, let it go, and the next thing you know half a day will have disappeared. The episodes don’t drag, it never feels like time is passing (which is odd given how often they show us the clock in the games), and everything just kind of moves along. There are enough bright colours without it being a visual eye sore to look at to keep you focussed on the screen, and the music carries you into each episode and through most scenes. It just fundamentally works and while it isn’t doing anything particularly exceptional it would be very hard to argue that Kuroko’s Basketball was a broken show.

The second reason I found myself caught up watching the first season was Kuroko. I found him a highly relatable character (though not a particularly interesting one). So, particularly in the early half of the season, I was actually really enjoying the show but then something happens. We start to shift more and more to focus on Kagami and the other characters and by the final episodes of the season, even though Kagami and Kuroko are there it would be hard to explain to someone who sat down to watch the show at that point that Kise and Aomine aren’t actually the main characters. So with the character I most liked watching in the show fading out as the season continued, I found myself with a bit more time to focus on other aspects of the show and that was when I realised that while I found it quite watchable, there were very few things that later on I wanted to talk about in regard to the show.

Kuroko8

Basically the plot is that Kuroko wants to beat his old team-mates playing with his new team to convince them that his vision of basketball is worthwhile, or maybe just that they are all egocentric jerks (I’m not really sure on what the ultimate motivation is and at times I wonder if he is). And while the motivation to play and win is really neither here nor there it is difficult to care whether they win or not. Aomine is the only person you actually want to see lose and it is quite clear that season 1 isn’t the time for that to happen. So in the absence of any driving plot what we have are the usual team getting together shenanigans, entering a tournament, pulling off some fairly impossible wins, before finally getting knocked out which at first depresses them and then inspires them to come back even stronger for the next tournament. Much the same as every sport story ever.

Where shows like Haikyuu and Days appealed to me more because of the overall cast of characters, their plots are almost identical with the exception that both of those shows had a relatively inexperienced player in the midst. So from a plot point of view Kuroko is pretty standard, though that isn’t a point against it, merely just another point that doesn’t really help it stand out and while it might be older than some of the other shows, I’m only watching this now so that is definitely going to change how I view. That said, if this had been my first entry into sport anime, I probably wouldn’t have watched another.

Kuroko3

The cast is a bit of a mixed bag in Kuroko. Other than Kuroko himself, I didn’t really like or care for any of the cast. They all work in their roles and they are all fairly memorable in their own way, but they just didn’t appeal to me. That led to a fairly detached viewing experience and when a character faced a problem I was seldom concerned about the outcome. Whether they played or didn’t, won or didn’t, none of that ever really bothered me. Even the characters who are supposed to be more confrontational didn’t really do much for me. It was more like they were reading the script of high school jock with attitude rather than really conveying the tone and I get that it’s entirely subjective and some people will find these characters quite appealing and realistic, I mostly struggled to see them as anything other than placeholders for personalities and events that were needed to keep the ball rolling, or bouncing as the case may be.

I will point out that the character designs at time caused me some issues. Probably because I’ve watched an overabundance of CLAMP anime where characters are impossibly tall and skinny with heads slightly too large for their twig like bodies, but Kuroko’s Basketball gives us characters that at times, particularly when dressed in school uniforms, has their bodies seem far too thick and bulky and their heads just a fraction too small for the bulk below. It is weird and jarring, though Aomine is probably the character that suffers the most from this effect. When on the court, this effect seldom occurs, but it happened quite often in other scenes.

Kuroko6

The games themselves are what they are. They play basketball. There’s back and forth play, there are fouls, injuries, sweat flying in all directions, and occasionally some neon lights around the characters to let you know they are about to do something really cool. I guess if you were more into the characters or more into basketball this might work (or maybe it would work less if you understood basketball) but for me it was more just another set piece for the characters. Basically, watching Haikyuu gave me about three minutes of time thinking I’d like to step onto a volleyball court (before common sense kicked in) whereas watching Kuroko didn’t make me consider anything about basketball other than the fact that I just spent a lot of time watching anime characters play basketball.

There are some great moments between characters and individual plays are occasionally note worthy on the court. As I said at the start of the review, the show’s greatest strength is that it is really watchable. Which means as a piece of entertainment it is definitely hitting the mark. However, in about a months time, when asked what anime I’ve watched recently, I probably won’t even remember I watched this. It was watched, enjoyed enough, and then forgotten in the instant. I may watch the next season of this eventually given I know I’ll probably enjoy the watching and if I’m coming home tired and stressed from work, this kind of viewing is actually exactly what I need because it doesn’t make me think or stress me too much, but it still won’t be something I’d sing the praises of.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

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.

Aoyama7c

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.

Aoyama7d

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.

Aoyama8b

His former captain is thrilled.

Aoyama8a

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.

Aoyama8c

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.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

Haikyuu Season 3 Series Review

Overview:

After two seasons of this, you kind of already know this is an anime about the Karasuno volleyball team. Season 3 picks up immediately from season 2 and we see the final match to decide whether they get to go to nationals. I’ve previously reviewed season 1 + 2 of Haikyuu and I have also done episode reviews of seasons 1 + 2. I did not do individual episode reviews for season 3. If you want to find any of my other reviews for Haikyuu, click here.

Review:

Like my other reviews of Haikyuu and preface it by pointing out I don’t much like sport and it is only recently I started really trying sports anime. Having found a couple of them quite watchable I decided to start working my way through some of the more popular titles and of course ended up watching Haikyuu. On that note, I will point out that if the whole series had been done the way season 3 was, I would have dropped this series very early on. That isn’t actually saying season 3 is bad, but the entire season (all 10 episodes) follows one match of volleyball. Which means, we’re watching a very drawn out game between two teams. We get occasional flash backs, time out conversations, on court discussions, and the occasional commentary from the spectators, but essentially you are watching a volleyball game play out in almost real time and if that had been my introduction to the series I’d have been out.

HaikyuuS34

So why was I glued to the screen to the point where I didn’t even pause to write the episode reviews I’d intended?

The main reason is this is such a perfect culmination of everything from season 1 and 2. Karasuno have grown and developed as a team and built their skills. Previously we’ve had episodes focussing on individuals but with one exception season 3 focusses on the team as a whole and how they are operating. This is no longer the Hinata and Kageyama show with their weird combination that lucks out some points due to surprising the opponent. This is now very much a cohesive group working with each person’s strengths and the skills they learned through everything we’d watched previously employed for the best possible outcome. Of course, that isn’t to say that Hinata and Kageyama don’t get their moments. They certainly do make their presence in the team felt.

So while if this had been the format for the show back in season 1, when I didn’t know these characters or have a reason to care about that last synchronised attack they just pulled off, I would have been completely bored and disconnected, in season 3, this works brilliantly. You’ve sat through two seasons with these characters. Either you just like animated volleyball or you’ve formed some connections and this series capitalizes on that fact. It doesn’t retread old ground but still manages to highlight the significance of the bonds between characters.

HaikyuuS31

The one exception is Tsukishima. He’s been one of my favourite characters from early on (something about his common sense and sarcasm just really hit the mark) but in season 3 he really becomes a part of the team and he just shines. The coach isn’t lying at the end of the game when he says that Tsukishima is definitely the MVP. Whether it is strategizing, stepping up his own game, finally finding the determination to go all out, to the point where he even questions why he cares so much, everything about him during this game is just perfect and he really steals several moments in this season.

Despite being glued to the screen though, I do have some criticisms or at least some thoughts on things that weren’t quite so amazing. They didn’t take away how great it was to see the Karasuno players from playing this game but they do take some of the shine off the show after the fact when you sit back and reflect on it.

HaikyuuS33

The first of these is the opening theme. It works and the imagery is actually really well done and is on par with previous seasons visuals. So watching it is fine. The song itself though, while not in any way bad, doesn’t quite have the same impact that earlier openings have had and given how hyped up everything else in this show was, it felt just a little bit lacking at the start of each new episode.

haikyuus32.jpg

Another issue I had was with the opponent. The team from Shiratorizawa are probably the least interesting team we’ve met in this three season run of this show. Previous opponents have had the stand out characters and fun personalities or formed interesting rivalries with cast members. You’ve actually felt a bit bad for some of them when the plot inevitably turned on them so that Karasuno could continue on their way to being the protagonists of the sports show. You don’t get this from Shiratorizawa, although I get from some of the flash backs and things they are trying to help us care about this group. Really, other than the ace and the red head (and I don’t actually remember either name), I couldn’t actually recall any of the players from the opposition even the day after I finished viewing this. They had almost no impact. Sure, they were great at volleyball and some of the rallies and plays were cool to watch. But as characters they were just opponents. The next rock blocking the pathway for the team we actually care about.

haikyuus35.png

Nowhere was this more clearly highlighted than when we saw Oikawa in the stands. Here is an opponent we actually cared about and even as a bystander and occasional commentator, he is still more interesting than the other team on the court. Given how few episodes most opponents got in Haikyuu, it seems a little wrong that the team that had nearly ten episodes actually felt the least fleshed out. And maybe this was deliberate. The coaches were competing ideologically with brute strength vs flexibility so maybe the wooden personalities of the opponents (red head was an exception here) was an actual choice to highlight that difference, but it doesn’t make them any more interesting or memorable.

I’m glad I made it through to the end of this (though is that sequel bait going on at the end of did I just not get that). I enjoyed my time with these characters and had a few laughs and smiles along the way. It didn’t blow me away or become my new favourite anime and I think my emotional attachment to these characters is pretty fleeting, but I kind of get now why so many people enjoyed this anime. It is good fun and there are some really great moments along the way.

Okay, over to you. I’d love to know your thoughts on this anime.


Are you a fan of 100WordAnime.blog?

If you like this site and you like what I do, consider becoming a patron.

patreon

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

Haikyuu Season 2 Series Review

Overview:

Right, so if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t already been told the story of Haikyuu a million times (followed emphatically by people telling you to watch it immediately), it’s the story of two guys who initially hate each other who end up on the same volleyball team. Or at least that’s where season 1 started (thoughts on season 1 here) but by season 2 it really is all about the team and getting to the nationals by going through a really long preliminary tournament. I’ve been posting episodic reviews of this weekly (2 episodes at a time) for a while now so if you are interested in individual episode thoughts click here.

Review:

For those who have been following the blog for a while you will know I am not a sports anime fan. I never used to watch anything that had a sports anime label on it. However, I’ve now tried a very small handful of these titles of currently streaming anime and decided they weren’t all that bad and so, because of the very vocal fan base, decided if I was going to go back and look at sports anime that I had missed Haikyuu would be a pretty good place to start. Then I thoroughly enjoyed my watch through of season 1 and so plunged straight into season 2. So how did it go?

Haikyuu40b

I found season 2 a bit more of a chore to get through than season 1, to be honest. While I liked learning about the characters in season 1 and watching them get through their various personality disorders to become a team, season 2 was either more of the same or frequently a watered down version of it because they were already pretty friendly.  That said, season 2 did manage some truly amazing character moments for some of the support cast that got overlooked in season 1, and those moments were truly worth watching for.

Haikyuu43

Actually, my biggest issue with season 2 is the amount of training games at the camp. These games are practice and while the players treat them like they are life or death, there’s no real consequence for loss other than sprinting up a hill or some other penalty game so there is nothing riding on their victory. Haikyuu shines at its brightest when they take the court, but a lot of those training games really did feel like someone had asked me to watch a real sports tournament and to be honest I don’t watch most sport for a reason.

Haikyuu34c

So basically, by the midway point of season 2 I was kind of getting a little fatigued with the show and kind of figured that it was to be expected given I’m not a fan of sports anime and the fact that I’d been entertained during an entire first season was pretty good.

Then we started the actual tournament.

Haikyuu48

This show really ramped up the action and tension in that final stretch. Throw great pacing, good dialogue, character development, and well animated games all together and the last part of this season is really quite a joy to watch again. You kind of forget those episodes in the mid-season where you started wondering why you were still watching (although when I went back and re-read my reviews of them it all came flooding back).

Haikyuu42b

The real highlights of season 2 are the opening song used in the second half (that is all kinds of awesome), the actual injury incurred by the captain, every character on the team (or at least all the ones that are ever regularly on the court) getting significant moments in the games, and the effort put into giving the opponents actual personalities given they only really exist for the duration of a game. Yamaguchi and Tsukishima kind of steal the show for a lot of the time right out from under Hinata and Kageyama, though those two also get a few moments (nowhere near as many in season 1). Also the third years get a lot of screen time and the new female assistant manager all make their presence felt. With that many characters it is amazing that it never feels cluttered but each kind of has their moment and then fades back into the team as someone else steps up.

Haikyuu44c

Which leaves me torn as to my final recommendation on this. It is a necessary follow up to season 1 and ultimately is entertaining, though I’m really thankful season 3 already exists because talk about non-conclusive. While I personally became a little disengaged mid-way along I never really considered dropping it because I did like the characters and I wanted to see where their journey would take them. I don’t think I’ll watch this show a second time, but I’m really glad I finally watched it through and I will be going on to season 3 to finish it off.


Are you a fan of 100WordAnime.blog?

If you like this site and you like what I do, consider becoming a patron.

patreon

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

Haikyuu Episode 50

Review Episode 50:

Haikyuu has this issue with season endings. Season 1 ended on a low note for the team and a point that would have driven me crazy if season 2 wasn’t sitting ready to go. Season 2 has ended on a high note for the team but we didn’t get to the end of the tournament and the last episode was called ‘Declaration of War’. You can’t declare war and then end the season. Okay, apparently you can but it isn’t nice for the audience.

Haikyuu50

Anyway, other than that, this was a good transition episode as we wrapped up the match with Aoba, saw the fallout, the celebration, the pep talks and the resolve and we walked in for the next match with the guy everyone seems to think is all that but mostly I just think he’s a jerk. I’ll do a full review of season 2 directly and then get to season 3, only I have to change from watching on AnimeLab to Crunchyroll because AnimeLab does not have the third season. Little bit sad about that because the streaming works much better for me on AnimeLab.


Are you a fan of 100WordAnime.blog?

If you like this site and you like what I do, consider becoming a patron.

patreon

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

Haikyuu Episodes 48 + 49

Review Episode 48:

The team are all ready to go into the third set and we’re still moving those shining moments around the players from both teams, even spending some time getting backstory on player 16 from Aoba. Tsukishima is also getting his fair share of time to shine even though he kind of got a few good moments in the previous episodes.

Haikyuu48b

That said, about mid-way through we finally get Kageyama realising they need to use Hinata better and the focus switches to these two for the first time really in this match. As much as I’m not a big fan of Hinata, it seems weird he’s been so quiet for the past couple of episodes so I’m guessing this is going somewhere but I’ll have to wait and see where. My only other thought is that this game seems to be lasting forever (not in a bad way but it has been quite a number of episodes now).

Review Episode 49:

There are parallels and then there are parallels and this episode takes it to the extreme in the set’s final moments yet I guess it was kind of needed is Kageyama and Hinata were ever going to get over their previous loss. While there’s definitely a refocus of Hinata, the other characters aren’t forgotten and the whole team work very hard for every point they get (as do the opponents).

Haikyuu49.JPG

This was a fairly thrilling conclusion to this game and then I had to remind myself this wasn’t meant to be the last game in the tournament but how do you top that?


Are you a fan of 100WordAnime.blog?

If you like this site and you like what I do, consider becoming a patron.

patreon

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

Haikyuu Episode 46 + 47

Review Episode 46:

While the first set may have been satisfying but not thrilling, the writers shake things up again with the new player on the Aoba side. He’s a wild card for both Karasuno and the audience and his playing style is kind of intense (if a little erratic).

Haikyuu46

It kind of looks like this second set is lost, but who knows. This show has managed to surprise me with an outcome more than once so anything could happen in the next episode. My only concern is that Hinata seems to have just vanished into the team at this point doing little to stand out and that’s probably the first time this whole show where I can honestly say I don’t remember what Hinata did during an entire episode.

Review Episode 47:

Second set was a loss but I don’t think anyone cares. Go Yamaguchi. Seriously a great character moment.

Haikyuu47.JPG

Hinata has kind of become a cheerleader for the time being and still isn’t doing much but Yamaguchi more than made up for it. And now of course we’re heading straight into a third set so I guess we’re meant to feel really tense. Mostly I just kind of enjoyed watching and I don’t really have a lot of care about who is going to win (horrible I know). Let’s see what happens next.


Are you a fan of 100WordAnime.blog?

If you like this site and you like what I do, consider becoming a patron.

patreon

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar