Clean Freak! Aoyama kun
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Clean Freak! Aoyama kun ?
It took nine episodes, but with “Miwa-chan Wants to Do a Training Camp,” I think Clean Freak! Aoyama kun finally showed us what type of show it really is. It can't decide on a topic or a setting, but whenever it briefly fixes its spotlight on something, it executes that style in the goofiest way possible. With the assistance of a rich girl Deus Ex Machina, this episode tossed any semblance of reality out the window to let its characters run wild—and was better off for it.
A training camp sounds like a germophobe's worst nightmare. From unsanitary beaches to group sleeping arrangements, it's hard to imagine how Miwa will get her most hygienic player to attend. Enter the Zaizen Group! It turns out Zaizen was richer than anyone ever dreamed, and his family's impressive resources—directed by his cute little sis, Karin—were able to create an immaculate beach biome exclusively for their needs. They've got everything the team could ever want, but this isn't even the extent of their influence. This is just the Plan B after Zaizen's dad suggests telling the prime minister to change the rules of soccer! You'll notice that the Zaizen Group has their hand in everything, including producing the “Soccer Boyfriends” show in which Miwa watches a blond Aoyama lookalike (is that his same voice actor too?) go to a training camp, giving her the idea to reenact the episode for her own team too.
At this training camp, the regular rules of logic don't apply. This anti-realism is further illustrated in the way characters show up in chibi form even more often than usual. Anything the team wants to do will happen, from shirts vs. skins soccer with Zaizen technology on a bacteria-free beach, to a nighttime “test of courage” enhanced by Hollywood special effects. In this environment, even regular activities like eating dinner become over-the-top situational comedy. The show also continued some of its comedic threads from the last few seasons. Moka finally beat up some people, er, "zombies", with her flowery bat. The judo teacher is still following Umeya around. Odagiri is here for some unexplained reason, rounding out the recurring cast. If you're a fan of the kind of comedy that builds up over time and finally culminates in truly wacky situations, it's on full display here when the show has previously only hinted at its capacity for humor.
There was just one part of the episode that felt out of place—it turns out that Moka has been secretly practicing soccer, and she can now out-dribble everyone on the team. It was neat to see her rocking those new skills and going one-on-one against her crush Aoyama, but it sure came out of left field. It was a reminder of what I find lacking about the show. For each thread of humor that amplifies well from one episode to the next, there are sudden discoveries for which there has been zero foreshadowing. I would have been a lot more excited to see Moka play soccer if it had been at all hinted that she's been practicing this whole time. It felt like something abruptly brought up to kill time, compared to the hints since episode one that Zaizen is incredibly rich. Without that info, this entire training camp would have felt like an idea pulled hastily from thin air.
Overall, this was a very silly episode of Clean Freak! Aoyama kun that tossed realism to the wayside and gave its cast a wacky playground in which to progress their ever-stranger personality quirks and deepen their odd relationships with one another. Continuation of established rapports made it stronger than usual, but abrupt, shallow revelations kept the comedy surface-level at best.
Clean Freak! Aoyama kun is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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