Grand Blue Episode 1 [First Impression]

Grand Blue has an anime adaptation at last! Considering how much underage drinking is in the source material, I figured we’d be waiting forever for any adaptation whatsoever. Luckily for us, Studio Zero-G upscaled the characters to age twenty, allowing the wonderful manga to bypass restrictions.

The show wastes no time introducing us to Iori Kitahara, a classic protagonist with perversion, kindness, and a perfect sense of comedic timing. Iori is sent to his uncle’s diving shop, Grand Blue, where he’s reunited with relatives and met with new faces. From his beautiful cousins Chisa and Nanaka, to the alcoholic brutes Tokita and Kotobuki, the cast is diverse and almost as vibrant as the ocean that surrounds them.

Tokita and Kotobuki play the role of comedic support, setting up the absurd situations that allows our protagonist to shine. Usually this includes insane levels of alcohol or a plain lack of clothing. Either way they do their jobs wonderfully, chasing Iori down the beach while butt naked. Nanaka fills the niche of a female siscon, something we rarely see anywhere. Meanwhile, Chisa seems to be the only potential love interest for Iori due to the circumstances of their initial meeting and the relationship they develop over the episode.

Iori meets Chisa with the classic wind blowing softly as the protagonist meets a mysterious girl he finds beautiful. Over the course of the episode their relationship fleshes out into that of a kuudere and her trash, resulting in a number of amusing insults. Unfortunately, they’re cousins! But the way they’re written together makes one think otherwise.

Out of all the characters Iori meets, his greatest chemistry is with Kouhei the otaku. Their first meeting is hilarious, with both characters deciding to ignore the other, only for fate to bind the idiots together. Their fierce banter and competition is a gold mine for comedy, and I’m looking forward to all their future gags. In particular, I enjoyed the drinking party towards the end, with both Kouhei and Iori tricking each other into drinking fatal levels of alcohol. A gorgeous otaku with perfect comedic timing and a heart of gold protagonist with the same timing, together they’re the dream team.

The show has an interesting structure, almost feeling like the segment oriented comedies that are Nichibros or Nichijou. However, they are weakly connected by the string that is Iori’s settlement into his new life. This isn’t a bad format, as it allows for the introduction of interesting gags and skits with ease, while simultaneously progressing with whatever Iori’s story will be. Unfortunately, I can’t help but feel as if it was a bit fidgety. Almost as if the transitions from scene to scene were a bit too abrupt and sporadic. Sometimes it felt like we were watching Iori do one shenanigan, the punchline triggers and BAM, we’re thrown into the next situation. Shows like Nichibros at least separated the episode with intro cards, clearly dividing skits into distinct halves. It’s not that big an issue yet, but I don’t remember the source material feeling this volatile.

The highlight of the show is definitely the comedy and the reaction faces. This is thanks to the splendid manga (highly recommended), and I’m glad to see the humor of the manga panels transferring over to the anime. The comedic timing of the punchlines are on point, and made me chuckle and laugh as much as I did while first reading through the manga. The reaction faces have also transitioned perfectly, and I foresee a lot of them being used as comment faces or memes on anime forums galore.

Overall, the show has a lot of personality due to the writing of the source material. The studio has succeeded in capturing the comedic timing and the reaction faces of the manga, and have brought them to life in anime form. The few negatives of the show are its mediocre to weak animation (great animation is not necessary for a writing based comedy such as this, but it always helps) and a bit of unnatural feeling scene transitions. However, I’m glad to say the adaptation is looking decent so far, and I’m excited for future episodes!

Possibility of Watching: 100%

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Legend of the Galactic Heroes elitist and devourer of ramen noodles

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