Grand Blue Episode 2
Following last week’s introduction episode, Grand Blue tries to convince us viewers that it’s actually a diving anime. But even after today’s swimming oriented episode, I’m quite certain we’ve seen more gallons of alcohol than actual seawater. However, I am glad to see the pacing of the gags feeling more natural and less fidgety! Hopefully less material is cut out in the future because the manga panels that didn’t make the final cut are quite effective at tying the various gags together. Anyway, into episode two!
The first gag of this episode is unpacking Iori’s room. Now the concept sounds quite bland at first, but such is the immature genius of Grand Blue’s mangaka to make it hilarious. The joke begins with Iori’s refusal to join the Diving Club’s party, unwilling to fall for their alcoholic shenanigans for a third night in a row. Unfortunately for him, he chose the wrong day to go on strike, sitting out on a mixer with the women of Oumi University. This revelation prompts a quick change of heart from our simple protagonist, and he even admits that it’s due to his sex drive. Perverted, heart of gold main characters are a dime a dozen, perhaps the most similar to Iori being Kiyoshi from Prison School. However, I’m pleased to see Iori being very honest with his depravity, straight up confessing his purpose for wanting to attend the mixer. It’s not a huge character development, but it’s a small thing that makes me appreciate him a bit more.
But Iori’s change of heart falls to deaf ears when Nanaka forces him to stay home. But being friends with the hilarious Tokita and Kotobuki, he’s convinced that unpacking his room will convince Nanaka to let him go. Now the gags that follow are all equally great in their own right. Tokita and Kotobuki’s initial unpacking resulted in Iori’s room being covered in half naked women and porn magazines. Kouhei’s otaku nature brought forth a myriad of loli wallpapers and degenerate decor, before moving onto yaoi. They even come up with the idea to plaster Chisa’s face all over his room in an attempt to appeal to Nanaka’s siscon tendencies. Now these jokes are pretty great by themselves, but the constant arrival of Nanaka and Chisa at the worst possible times makes them even better. The comedic timing is perfect and Chisa walking in on Iori rating a porn video is just as memorable as it was when I first read it in the manga. The gag eventually resolves with Iori being tossed into a messy room elsewhere. Now I’m not too sure why having bad decor should warrant complete relocation, but hey, this is Grand Blue.
The latter half of the episode revolves around Iori trying to get more comfortable in the water. He attends swimming lessons under the tutelage of Kotobuki, but it doesn’t really work out. Catching a faceful of Kouhei’s genitals probably didn’t help his dislike of the water, and neither did Chisa catching him relaxing in the nude. He essentially gives up and decides that he doesn’t like the water, but Chisa isn’t having any of that! She has Nanaka take Iori to the aquarium where we undergo some genuine character revelations and take a break from the absurd gags. We learn more about Chisa from the siscon, Iori realizes the beauty of the sea, and we also learn that Chisa doesn’t really hate Iori and actually wants him to enjoy being in the water! This is the sign of a romantic ship letting loose its sails, and the octopus keychain he buys for Chisa seals the deal! If she has it on her keys or attaches it something of her possession next episode, then we know for sure.
Overall the episode is solid and strikes a nice balance between the gags of the first half and the genuine nature of the second half. Not sure why Grand Blue is trying to convince us it’s actually about diving and not about partying though.