Entertaining Comedy?✓ Men who can’t help but get drunk and strip?✓ Awkward Virgin friends?✓ Misunderstandings?✓
Grand Blue is one of the funniest anime I have seen in a while. In a full on comedy anime, a plot is probably one of the least important aspects. To me, a comedy anime is all about the enjoyable characters and overall entertainment. And Grand Blue has all of those.
Like most comedy anime, it operates with a very basic story- a college freshman being all excited to have a great college life.
However, it doesn’t go as planned when he’s forced to join a “diving club”, in which the members drink and strip more than dive (there still is diving I assure you). Yes, it’s pretty ridiculous already, but it gets even better as the show progresses and more characters get introduced.
The characters are the life of any comedy anime. Without fun, fitting characters, a comedy anime just won’t be the same. It doesn’t matter to me if they seem slightly generic, as long as they show some personality and entertain.
Grand Blue has a good variety of different personalities which compliment each other perfectly to create hilarious exchanges. Whether it is a dumb, over the top MC, or an otaku “ikemen”, or awkward virgin friends, or men (and women) who couldn’t care less about getting drunk and stripping in public, Grand Blue has a good variety to keep the entertainment going.
The voice acting is also top notch, and paired with some incredible facial expressions, all the characters are funny in their own right. Honestly, the facial expressions are some of the most hilarious ones I’ve seen since Prison School.
There are many comedy anime out there which can have some funny episodes while the rest are a hit-and-miss. Grand Blue, however is very consistent in that regard. Honestly, comedy will always be a subjective genre. Grand Blue might not be for some, but those who enjoy a rather over-the-top comedy anime should definitely give this a shot.
College life is a bit different from high school. For those who don’t know, it’s like venturing into a society where some people live by the rules and others makes them. To me, Grand Blue came as a show that explored a carefree life while mixing in adult humor, diving elements, and drinking shenanigans. It’s one of those shows that is hard to not laugh your ass off once you realized what you’re in for.
Based on the manga written by Kenji Inoue, Grand Blue stands out more as a modern slice of life that adheres to a young adult cultural society. Here, we meet a guy named Iori Kithara who starts his new life as a college student on the Izu Peninsula. His place of residence happens to be a diving shop known as “Grand Blue” and thus where daily life adventure begins. Now, I should say right off the bat that a show like this relies on stereotypical humor with plenty of jokes in between. If you’re not ready for that, just turn back now.
Grand Blue’s storytelling mainly chronicles the daily life adventures of Iori although plenty of other characters are featured aside him. The main cast consists of diving club, also known as the “Peek-a-Boo”. He meets others including his cousin Chisa, Nanaka, Kouhei, Azusa, Toshio, and Kotobuki. Among this group, the male cast seems more like they are in love with drinking more than diving. The first episode immediately sets off the humor with the nakedness and adult jokes from the very start as we meet the core members. That is to say, Iori himself also lacks common sense when he attends his first day at college while being half naked. Judging from just this impression, it should be easy to recognize that the show love to make fun of its characters. It uses stereotypes that makes fun of college life such as young adults drinking and partying. Then, there’s meta-humor that plays on jokes with the nudity. It’s also self-aware being that it never attempts to disguise its humor. Certain characters are very aware of their actions regardless of consequences and this often sets off the wrath of others such as Chisa.
For the main female cast, it consists of a colorful group with a diverse range of personalities. The most level-headed person in the show is Chisa who takes many things in life seriously. She also loves diving and geniuely enjoys the feelings of being in the azure ocean. She’s like the anti-Peek-a-boo member in the show as she can’t tolerate being embarrassed. Because of this, there’s often a clash between her and Iori as the two gets into compromising positions. The end result is often Iori taking the blow and Chisa face palming herself. However, it’s also noticeable that she does care about Iori especially during brief flashbacks before them. Often times, I guess you could say that she misses her childhood with him and reliving those moments brings a peace in her mind. Then, we have Nanaka who seems to play the role of an older sister type for the main cast although at the same time, she also has an unhealthy infatuation towards Chisa. It’s the type of humor that makes fun of siblings but in a sarcastic way. Azusa is the senior student who behaves much more like the guys in the show. Her bisexuality is hinted at many times and often makes sexual jokes at others, especially Iori. Last but not least is Aina, a freshman who is much shyer compared to the others. She does go by another persona early in the series so watching her sometimes may remind you just how different her two personalities are.
Between the guys, a main selling point in the show is the character chemistry. Regardless whether you like it or not, there’s an abundance amount of humor when the guys interact with each other and it often comes off as absurd humor. The most prominent is between Iori and Kouhei. They are often observant but says things that may be interpreted in the wrong way. They often get into trouble with the women in the show too given their actions that disregards common sense. The two also gets into many bickering moments. Early in the series, the series also makes fun of the guys with porn jokes. And let’s not forget about the drinking. Pretty every male character in the series loves to drink whether it’s alcohol, beer, vodka, wine, or whiskey. As you may expect from action that results in consequences, the guys behave like drunks while stripping naked and causing questionable scenes. The series pokes fun at this type of adult humor by covering their private body parts with black censored circles. It’s the type of self-aware humor that you’ll witness quite often.
So now what? Is this series just a giant ball of meaningless humor? Or is it something more deceptive that people misunderstands? To me, Grand Blue stands out as a show that deals with adult gimmicks and stereotypes but makes it into a humorous flick. It seems like a popcorn entertainment and you’re not wrong if it feels like the story went nowhere in the end. However, the shows knows how it operates and inserts every joke with a clear intention. The guys in the series acts bold and behaves in ways that wild college students do. The girls are slightly mild but it doesn’t detract them from getting into the party on occasions. There’s a lot of running gags with the drinking jokes, nakedness, and misunderstandings. It’s what the series uses to sell its humor. If you’re in it for actual diving, there are some moments too with info dumps. Don’t expect this like a relaxing slice of life as it’s far too hyperactive to be considered as such though. Watch this for the pure entertainment and forget common logic. That way, you’ll grow to love Grand Blue.
Zero-G has honestly been an unimpressive studio. Their lineup consists of shows that I hardly see anyone talks about these days (Battery, Dorei-kun the Animation, Dive!!). Their production quality is hardly stellar either. Thankfully, they managed to step up to the plate and capture the magic for this show. It deserved a glorious quality and got treated such way with the beach setting, aquatic ocean, and sunny atmosphere. Character designs also feels real with the cast looking like they are college students (although Aina sometimes makes me question this) Fan service is literally in every episode but they take the extreme during party scenes and drinking segments. Finally, I love the way characters reacts that pushes the envelope to the extreme. Iori and Kouhei are prime examples of this while others such as Chisa and Nanaka also have their own moments. Expressions of shock, anger, and confusion is shown right to your face in ridiculous ways. Thanks to the talented voice cast, it brings the best out of those moments. The OP song also adapts a playful feel to showcase the themes of the show. The ED theme song makes fun of pop culture such as karaoke that’s so fun to sing along with.
As a fan of the manga, I think Grand Blue established itself as a self-aware humorous showstopper. Taking the risk of glorifying its humor made this show look like a joke at first glance. However, once you get sucked into Grand Blue’s themes, you’ll find love with this show. From the adult humor to the numerous character gags, it’s an anime that plays with itself. It’s a Summer sensation.