As previously announced in the Midseason Report, I’ve decided to cover Aoyama-kun episode by episode. This show has gotten more interesting with its premise.
Wow, I have been way off with Aoyama-kun. Before the Summer season started, I expected this show to be a whacky soccer anime with a unique gimmick. And the experience has been pretty whacky so far but I would not have this show to be so interested in Aoyama’s character and how people interact with him.
I’m not horribly surprised that Aoyama happens to be really good at basketball. When you think about it, his reflexes and precision skills from soccer would translate quite well in basketball. Honestly, I have to wonder why Aoyama doesn’t just play basketball instead of soccer. Surely, it’s lot easier to stay clean on a basketball court than a grassy and sometimes muddy soccer field. It almost feels like this scene is here to inform the viewer that making Aoyama a soccer player was deliberate and maybe even sells the premise better.
This episode’s guest character is Mio Odagiri, the star of the girls’ basketball team who has terrific speed and power but cannot shoot the ball even if her life depended on it. I immediately liked how her cheeriness plays off with Aoyama’s neutral expressions especially since she looks to Aoyama for advice (even calling him “Master”). Even though Aoyama claims he didn’t do much, him simply saying “feeling” to Mio makes for some surprising advice in a rather zen riddle kind of way. The best way to enjoy a sport is by playing in a way that best suits your skills and personalities. We see that with how Aoyama becomes so precise to accommodate for his phobia. Mio seems to get what Aoyama means (somehow) and that allows her to focus more on dunking the ball as opposed to shooting it. That being said, I did lost it when Mio’s first dunk did not go as smooth as expected.
The real big moment of this episode, however, is when Mio touches Aoyama on the shoulder and everyone (including our mentor/student(?) duo) discovers that Aoyama is 100% okay with it. I am 100% genuine when I say this: “What a twist!”. I suppose it was bound happen given the trajectory this show was taking but I was like “Oh snap!” when Mio touched Aoyama. There really isn’t an actual explanation as to why Aoyama is okay with touching Mio (that didn’t sound right…) but I think I prefer it that way. Exceptions to one’s phobia are just as irrational as the phobia itself. Even Aoyama doesn’t quite why Mio is an exception to him and we find out in the MMO scene, that he’s actually quite flustered about it.
It’s possible that it is a sort of romantic attraction but half the time, the relationship appears to be quite platonic. I certainly wouldn’t mind it if Mio did take the opportunity to ask Aoyama out since she clearly likes the guy and is the only one who can be remotely intimate with him. The two even look like they’d make a cute couple. It’s no wonder everyone in the school loses their minds over the possibility that Aoyama is dating someone, only to regain their enthusiasm when they learn it was a false alert. Moka easily has the best reaction to Mio and Aoyama’s relationship though I am surprised that she didn’t pull her baseball bat out on Mio.
The fact that Aoyama takes advantage of the situation speaks a lot about his personality. Being publicly known for his germaphobia, Aoyama often appears content with who he is and how he enjoys his daily life. But as we learn, Aoyama still wouldn’t mind stepping out of his comfort zone. We’ve seen that before in the MMO where he’s loud, energetic, and even disorganized. In this episode, Aoyama takes as many opportunities as he can with Mio (that also didn’t sound right). He eats food with her, arms wrestles with her, and shares a high five with her. Moka is on the money for assuming that Aoyama is simply doing things that he’s always wanted to do. As content as he can be with himself, who can blame him for wanting to do things he normally can’t do. Even if he wasn’t such a composed person, I’d bet we’d be seeing him jumping for joy at the thought of finally high-fiving someone.