Many of you might be going, “Wait, he’s reviewing a sports anime. He’s not a big fan of those shows.” And, yes, you are correct, but this is actually not that much of a sports anime, although I did get tired of seeing the ball in the back of the net, stretching out the meshing. However, that can be overlooked by the core craziness of “Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-ku”, (also known as “Cleanliness Boy! Aoyama-kun” or “Clean Freak! Aoyama kun”).
We are at Fujimi High School, a kind of middle-of-the-road school in terms of athletic and scholastic achievements. However, attending it is middle fielder soccer star Aoyama (him of the dusting wand in the center; number 10, or course). His play is beyond reproach and he could take any school team to the nationals. But he has one phobia and that is getting dirty. What? Soccer is not the cleanest of sports, yet he manages to remain as spotless as if he was riding the pine.
How odd is his play? He will not take a header from anyone. If you toss a water bottle towards him, he will avoid it. He never participates in any post-scoring high-fiving, butt-slapping or other direct physical contact. He also has to clean things up before he can do anything and I mean CLEAN. We are talking just shipped from the factory spotless, mint-in-box.
Despite this, he is incredible in the fact that he has never been on a losing team. I don’t mean overall season record; I mean he has been victorious in every game he has ever played. EVER! For many in the sports world, both those who cover it and those who play it, they cannot fathom why he would attend such a blah school as Fujimi (this does get revealed during the show, so don’t worry your tiny head about it). The problem is the rest of the team. I mean, they are kinda OK, but they rely far too much of Aoyama to help pull them through.
This is never more evident than the last three players at the right end of things (just ignore those two dressed in black). Kazuma Sakai (cellphone), Taichi Yoshioka (donut) and Jin Tsukamoto (ball on butt) combined are only so-so players. But they bring that something special that helps with the morale. In fact, Jin can bounce the soccer ball on his butt with amazing precision and consistency.
Together, this team competes against other schools in the fight to go to the regionals and all of them are bent on putting Aoyama in his place.
Yes, this is a caliber of slapstick, especially the massive lengths that Aoyama goes to in both staying clean and cleaning up the facilities. I mean, he scrubs with a zeal and vigor that is only matched by his soccer play. OK, it did get a bit tiring that the team comes from behind an awful lot to achieve victory and the endless sniping about his obsession, but since everyone is a bit off center, it helps with the madness and mayhem. And when Aoyama has to play in the rain, well, that is sheer craziness.
This was a show that I actively hunted down when I saw a trailer for it. I was thiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to dismissing it out of hand as another sports anime, but when they threw in the clean aspect of it, I had to see for myself. Despite some flaws (a few of the characters are painfully one-dimensional), it was a fully entertaining series. Now, I am no closer to understanding how Aoyama got to be the way he is, but as long as he keeps winning soccer games, while still being crisp and clean, no caffeine, let it ride!
Normally, with sports anime, I want that break. Hell, even football has a halftime to let you catch your breath and go to the bathroom and get some oxygen and readjust your cleats. Although the soccer play might wear on you (again, how many come-from-behind victories can one team manifest?), the real charm in all of this Aoyama and his cleaning fetish and that is well worth the price of binging.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Standard anime approach)
Plot 8 (Nice twist on the sports genre)
Pacing 7 (Almost too brief)
Effectiveness 8 (Handles both plot lines well)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 1 (A similar show would be “Ouran High School”)
Bingeability 9 (Boil that dust speck!)
Overall 8 (I guess all people in sports are nutsy)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. You’ll get me dirty.