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7 Anime Beach Episodes Worth Watching

by Lynzee Loveridge,

Hi readers! I'm writing to you from the from the future for this Labor Day-inspired column this week. I've been writing this column for three years now, with a total of 142 installments. Also, by the time you're reading this, I'm getting hitched! So without further ado, let's get to the column.

Beach, pool, and hot springs episodes usually operate as diversions from a series' plot or as a way to spice up fanservice in a harem romantic comedy. At their base level, they can be eye-roll inducing jiggle-fest rigamarole. Someone is going to get a cramp or a bathing suit top will be lost in the ocean. At least one character will wear her school swimsuit while another might have a top large enough to cover her nipples. Someone will shout "It's the ocean!" when the cast gets off the train. It takes a writer willing to think outside of the box to make the an ocean episode interesting again.

7. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Haruhi cannot become bored or else the very fabric of the world is danger. A beach episode is usually the epitome of mindless filler. The seemingly self-aware cast decided to do one better than watermelon smashing on the beach and instead devise a sealed-room murder mystery on a stormy island. The victim is Keiichi Tamaru, the supposed cousin of Itsuki Koizumi. The S.O.S. Brigade hypothesize how the murder could have taken place while making obvious references to the Ace Attorney games and Detective Conan before, ultimately, Haruhi figures out it was all a ruse.

6. Sailor Moon R American fans never got the opportunity to love this episode because it was cut from the English release; both DiC's original dub and ADV's subtitled release of the first two seasons. The episode represents some of the best kinds of filler: pure ridiculousness. The girls with Chibi-Usa in tow all head to the beach for some time off. While building sandcastles, Chibi-Usa spots a dinosaur. The plesiosaur later saves her from some sharks and takes her to its secret volcano cave lair where she meets its larger mom dinosaur. The Sailor Guardians later rescue her and the dinosaurs from a volcanic eruption. Sailor Moon is a series with reincarnated alien races, time travel, cyborgs, and wacky energy stealing monsters. There's something about dinosaurs though that seems a hilarious step too far.

5. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann What starts out as an episode of beach games and poking fun at Yoko's conservative swimsuit (at least, compared to her standard outfit) takes a turn for serious plot development. The team embark on the newly outfitted Dai-Gurren only to come under attack by Adiane the Elegant. The battle turns desperate as Nia is taken hostage and her friends are at a standstill. Yoko, who spent the entire day being bested by Nia, proves her dedication by taking the shots no one else would. Nia comes out with a different haircut but more importantly the girls develop a new found trust for one another.

4. Welcome to the NHK Tatsuhiro is a hikkomori suffering from paranoia, hallucinations, and somehow becomes the pet project of a girl named Misaki. When he become suspicious of her, he begins reconnecting with his high school upperclassman, Hitomi. Hitomi herself is depressed and becomes involved with an online group. The members decide to meet up on an island beach with Tatsuhiro in tow but no one seems particularly excited. He discovers the island meet-up isn't just for fun, but actually to fulfill a suicide pact. Despite this surprise, he's one of the first to head towards the cliff until Misaki arrives and convinces him not to go through with it — by belittling him in front of everyone.

3. Bokurano Bokurano's opens with its beach episode starring 15 kids taking part in a summer camp that will forever change their lives. The group enters a grotto, a regular anime setting for tests of courage and romantic confessions. You don't usually find a suspicious man inside working on a game. Kokopelli convinces the kids to be his test dummies where they'll pilot a giant robot to stop alien invasions. He doesn't exactly foreclose all the terms for piloting the robot; like each kid will function as a power source and die afterwards regardless whether they're victorious or not.

2. Free! For a show where the cast spends the majority of their time in swimsuits, how do you spice up a beach episode? How about a near-death experience and a giant fujoshi kiss-tease? The Iwatobi Swim Club need to up their game for the next competition so Gō plans a boot camp of sorts out and takes the group to a small group of deserted islands. Makoto has a phobia of swimming in open water but is determined to overcome it. As a storm heads towards the island both Makoto and Rei are in need of rescue by their friends. Makoto looks to be in need of CPR and Haruka leans in for the "kiss," causing excited fan girls to squeal and curse in the span of a few seconds.

1. Another What happens when the cast of a horror anime heads to the beach? If you're Highschool of the Dead, you get a 15-min OVA of bathing suit fanservice on a deserted island. The kids of Another weren't so lucky. In the series, one class in a small town high school is cursed, as allegedly one of the townsfolk is actually dead. The kids in the class die-off one by one reminiscent of Final Destination. The audience watches as the students head to the beach feeling a lingering sense of dread as they go hunting for crabs and swim in the sea. The episode almost manages to make it through without and over the top death. Poor Junta. The guy just wanted to retrieve the group's beach ball but instead is graphically run over by a motorboat.

The new poll: What's your favorite anime film series?

The old poll: Which anime character would be the most fun to go bar-hopping with? Here's the results:

  1. Holo (Spice + Wolf) 11.7%
  2. Gintoki Sakata (Gintama) 11.6%
  3. Rider (Fate/Zero) 8.3%
  4. Misato Katsuragi (Evangelion) 6.2%
  5. Spike Spiegel (Cowboy Bebop) 5.4%
  6. Kamina (Gurren Lagann) 4.5%
  7. Revy (Black Lagoon) 3.8%
  8. Yukari Tanizaki (Azumanga Daioh) 3.8%
  9. Onizuka (GTO) 3.6%
  10. Cana Alberona (Fairy Tail) 3.6%
  11. Colonel Armstrong (Fullmetal Alchemist) 3.2%
  12. Akio Furukawa (CLANNAD) 2.9%
  13. Arsene Lupin III (Lupin III) 2.3%
  14. Wild Tiger (Tiger & Bunny) 2.2%
  15. Rangiku Matsumoto (Bleach) 2.0%
  16. Vash the Stampede (Trigun) 2.0%
  17. Gene Starwind (Outlaw Star) 1.4%
  18. Gilgamesh (Fate/Zero) 1.4%
  19. Ryoko (Tenchi Muyo!) 1.4%
  20. Sanji (One Piece) 1.3%

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as the Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her son on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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