By Shanel Kamara
I've probably mentioned this before in previous reviews, but I'm an avid viewer of sport themed anime shows, particularly those specializing in less popular sports. Some of my favorites include Ookiku Furikabutte, Cheer Danshi!!, Haikyuu, and the newest series, Ballroom e Youkoso. There are two new sport themed anime shows: Dive!! and Ballroom e Youkoso this summer; I caught both of this series this week but opted to review the swim show, Dive!!, first. Dive!! centers around the Mizuki Diving Club – a club on the brink of closing down due to a managerial crisis followed by the death of the chairperson and founder of the club. The loss of coaches and lack of support results in the club’s newest coach convincing the parent company to offer the club a lifeline; the club will remain open on the condition that the club sends one of its divers to join the Japanese Olympic team and participate in the Olympics the following year.
As Dive!! is the second swim, boys only related anime show in existence it seems only natural to compare it with its predecessor, Free. Free’s plot differs to that of Dive’s as it revolves around the newly formed Iwatobi High School Swim Club and is composed of former swim club members and friends Haruka Nanase, Nagisa Hazuki, Makoto Tachibana, and new friend Rei Ryuugazaki. The former swim teammates reunite at high school. However, Rin Matsuoka, another former member of the team goes to different high school and vows to prove to Haruka that he is a better swimmer than he is. Although there are distinctions between the anime shows, Dive!! and Free, the dynamics between the characters are the same. In Dive!!, Youichi and Atsuhiko have a passionate rivalry much like in Free with Haruka and Rin. Personally, I’m not all that impressed with Tomoki. His lukewarm attitude towards his girlfriend and blatant admiration of his teammate Youichi bugs me. If his focus is on diving, he should quit being in a relationship. The fact that he refuses to allow Miu (his girlfriend) to watch him dive suggests one of two things: he’s embarrassed for people to watch him or he wants to keep her away because it’s something very important to him. If it’s the latter, then I question why he’s with her in the first place because he obviously doesn’t care about her.
I’m on the fence regarding whether I like or dislike this show. It could get better or worse. I’m hoping for the former.