Grand Blue Dreaming
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Grand Blue ?
After what feels like a lifetime of teasing, Grand Blue Dreaming has finally let the Peek-a-Boo Club have their big Okinawa vacation, and the results are pretty entertaining. I don't know if it's just a simple matter of diminishing returns, but this is yet another episode that isn't necessarily all that funny, but the characters have grown on me enough to where I'm okay with getting another slice-of-life episode.
While the humor on display here isn't gut busting by any stretch of the word, it is rooted in the familiar vacation tropes that I feel a lot of us can relate to, from screwing around on a Jet-Ski that you are in no way capable of actually riding to the joys of figuring out how to manage too many people sleeping on too few beds. The Jet-Ski contest between Iori and Kohei is a great example of how well these two work as a comedic pair, both as dorky best-buds and bitter rivals. Iori's stay in Azusa and Nanaka's room is also an equally appropriate testament to how perpetually awkward these young men are around literally any woman who has ever lived. The bit with him being excessively distracted by the girls' boobs are was a bit too predictable for my liking, but the whole sequence payed off when Iori revealed that he ended up having to choke himself into unconsciousness in order to sleep. That's the kind of absurd stupidity that Grand Blue Dreaming does well.
What Grand Blue Dreaming doesn't do so well is animation, which is unfortunate, since the club's diving certification makes for an opportune time to show of the beautiful majesty of the ocean that Chisa and Iori have fallen in love with so much, but in practice it just looks drab and lifeless, no different from the above water sequences save for the blue color filter slapped on top of it. The character models and animation look generally terrible across the board this week, and though this is nothing new for GBD, it's a lot harder to overlook the show's visual failings when it's putting more effort into its story and less into its comedy. I've never been too interested in the more technically indulgent kinds of slice-of-life shows, so while I appreciate learning the ins and outs of diving along with Iori, Aina, and Kohei, the educational aspects of this vacation episodes don't quite balance out the lack of consistent laughs.
I did appreciate the character moments afforded to Aina and Iori near the end of the episode, though, where Aina tries to brush off her less developed diving skills because she's afraid of holding back her friends like she did the jerks in the Tennis Club. Iori is there to offer his own clumsy brand of emotional support, though, and I was reminded of how legitimately sweet their relationship is when Iori isn't helping Kohei make fun of her so much; it's a shame we haven't gotten more of these two together since their first meeting. Chisa may be the overt romantic interest, but I'm a sucker for earnest wallflower types like Aina. Hopefully the last couple of episodes will give this pairing more material to work with. Plus, she's not Iori's cousin, which is bound to make any future romantic endeavors between the two much less awkward in the long run.
Grand Blue Dreaming is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
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