Deepanshu is a physics graduate student who loves to watch anime and delve into them in his free time.
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
Directed by: Shinji Takamatsu
Original Run: July 14, 2018 – September 29, 2018
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video
Iori Kitahara, a 20 year old student arrives at his uncle's diving shop 'Grand Blue' before joining Izu University as a first year engineering student, full of hopes and excitement about his new life. Soon he encounters members of 'Peek-A-Boo', the scuba diving club, that includes his cousin Chisa Kotegawa, her sister Nanaka and some university seniors among others. He is dumbstruck by the reckless and absurd ways of his seniors and club members at the shop which includes, but not limited to, playing rock-paper-scissors fully nude.
He attends college and meets Kohei Imamura, a cute guy with a thing for anime and highschool girls. Over time they become best friends in the funniest ways imaginable. He also joins Peek-A-Boo unwillingly but later shows interest in learning to dive, especially through the adorable efforts of his cousin Chisa.
The show is all about Iori and the diving club members' lives and activities in and around Grand Blue.
Let me start off by saying Grand Blue is considered one of the funniest animes out there. My opinion is no different. By the first few scenes itself you get the idea of how fun this is going to be. From Iori getting shocked to see the nude culture rampant at the diving shop to the weird beginnings of Iori and Kohei's friendship. This duo certainly becomes the heart of the show as the story continues and they are bound to give you a good many doses of laughter. The animation also complements the fun aspect of the anime by placing idiotic and exaggerated expressions on the characters. Sometimes this might feel overused, but it certainly does its job.
Nonetheless it is important to mention that a lot of comedy in Grand Blue relies on teenage humor placed around nudity, alcohol consumption (in godly amounts) and general perverseness. It also has its fair share of fanservice, but nowhere the anime gets vulgar. This is because of the likeability of the characters, who are certainly quirky (some more than others) but act as the voice of reason at various moments. The anime creates weird and absurd situations for the characters (usually by the means of other characters) and effortlessly brings out the humor in how they react and tackle them.
Finally, Cakey deserves a special mention in this section. Without giving much spoilers, this is a girl introduced later in the show that brings out the funniest (and also the best) of Iori and Kohei.
The Slice of Life
Grand Blue has comedy. Lots of it. But no anime can survive on just that. So now we talk about the slice of life part. When young friends gather and try to learn new things, adjust and understand each other and have fun, there's a healthy dose of life you can get out of it. And that's what happens in Grand Blue, with subtlety and ease. The anime doesn't take itself too seriously but that's not to say that it shies away from giving some valuable insights on friendship and exploring new things despite your fears or doubts. This is mostly done through the theme of diving which is central to the show.
Some emotional aspects of the main characters are dealt with maturity in the show but it does not delve into much depth at any point and always goes hand in hand with the humor part. One of my favourite example of this was how the character Cakey was introduced and how her story develops.
I would like to go through the pros and cons that I felt after watching the anime. Hopefully it can give you a better picture and also act as the final words for my review of Grand Blue.
- The comedy: If you are not very picky about watching teenage humour the anime is bound to give you some good, hearty laughs.
- The characters: Each character comes out as likeable and adds to the appeal of the show. Some of the moments in the anime showing the relationship between the characters leave a smile on the face.
- The animation: It does a good job supporting the overall feel and fun aspect of the anime. The sea and diving parts are also well animated and visually appealing.
- The opening song: Well this one is for fun but who doesn't like good OP-EDs in an anime? And yes Grand Blue has a refreshing OP that can set your mood for the day.
- Loose ends: The anime could have done a better job in developing the stories of some of its characters like Chisa and Iori's relationship or the character backgrounds.
- Being repetitive: Although as I said the anime is genuinely funny, yet by the end of it I couldn't help but notice the humour becoming repetitive and overused.
- Lack of a story: Although one shouldn't expect a comedy anime of 12 episodes to have a great story, yet I felt that a proper story could have been a cherry on the cake.
All in all I give Grand Blue 7.5/10. I would recommend it to anyone who likes comedy and/or slice of life genre and is looking for something short, simple and sweet.