Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun

February 3, 2018

Football is such a dirty game. And no, I’m not even talking about all the diving and fouls committed. It is one of those games that is heavy on the contact side and since you and many other players will be on the field chasing the ball for 90 minutes, it is hard to keep clean. That is why it is mind boggling when you have Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun, the titular character who is part of his school’s football team is actually a clean freak. How can someone who always has the tendency to clean and keep clean play such a sweaty game like football? It’s like saying a person who is obviously tone deaf going on to record a smash hit that sells millions internationally. Oh wait. It did happen… But it’s going to be interesting and funny to see how someone like this dude gets to play football and stay true to his ideals of remaining squeaky clean. Show me an absolutely clean footballer and I’ll show you… Uhm… Never mind. Let’s just watch the anime.

Episode 1
Aoyama scores the winning goal for his country in an Under-16 match! His teammates want to celebrate but he won’t let them hug him! You guys are dirty! So if he is not playing football, he is cleaning everything. Everything! No wonder the girls in class are swooning over him. Such a clean freak. He is even more famous than all the guys who play football in his club. This irks Kaoru Zaizen very much because coach Miwa Takei has paired them together and his clean freak attitude makes him a hard player to play with. I mean, Aoyama won’t move and just stands there… Can’t get dirty if you don’t move, right? Making it worse, all the other guys love Aoyama despite his clean freak because he too is a very talented footballer. So when Zaizen tells them off not to pamper Aoyama, they in turn get mad and tell him back that Zaizen is the one most pampered. He comes from a rich family and is wearing brand new shoes! Who is the pampered one?! Don’t attack Aoyama because if you do, you get a judo throw by Miwa. Oh, did I mention she is a pro in judo? A judo master coaching a football team? That night, Zaizen is shocked when Miwa shows him how Aoyama cleans all the footballs in the storeroom without fail. As a germaphobe, this gives him a handicap because you can’t play football without getting dirty or without contacting others. It is tough on him. Despite all that, he engages in football activities every day. This makes him a true football fan.

Akira Takechi and his guys from Oshigami-Minami are here to arrive for a friendly football match with Fujinami. Takechi is one of the current forwards of Japan’s youth football. He has always acknowledged Aoyama’s talent and cannot fathom why he continues to play for a weak school like Fujinami and wants him to join his better side. He could sound serious if he doesn’t have this weird habit of flaunting his abs… However, all Aoyama says that there is something unique in this school that makes him enrol here. Takechi is going to convince Aoyama to switch alliance with this match. As the game starts, Oshigami-Minami quickly takes the lead. However suddenly when Aoyama gets the ball, he dribbles past all defenders and scores! Then another one! As explained, in order for him to avoid contact with others, his movements are frighteningly precise. When others come too close to him, he moves at this lightning speed, hence making him hard to mark. But if they give him space, his shot becomes more precise. This is the ultimate strategy for a germaphobe. But other than that, he is just standing there not trying to get dirty. With Fujinami leading at halftime, in the next half Takechi has 4 defenders surround him. This might give Fujinami’s other players more space but they’re such lousy shots. Especially Zaizen. Where you kicking? Oshigami-Minami fights back to take the lead. When it starts raining, Aoyama’s movements are weird. Is he injured? Nah. Just don’t want to get wet. With Zaizen and the guys not giving up, he shoots but misses. However Aoyama moves and scores! But he is all dirty now. Is he okay with that? He thinks he can pull through with 5 minutes less and hates losing more than anything. With that, Fujinami scores another goal and wins. But still, no hugging. And definitely no exchange of t-shirts. Takechi is left to rue his team’s failure but keeps wondering the unique thing Fujinami has. Turns out to be the toilet bowls that have this washing feature.

Episode 2
Zaizen makes Aoyama collect the balls. He is going to clean them, right? Aoyama doesn’t pick them up but kicks all of them into the bin. Including some using Zaizen for ricochet effect. Everyone thinks Aoyama has been diligently cleaning the clubroom but folding their shirts too? However he says he would rather die than touch someone else’s shirt. The team captain, Gaku Ishikawa suspects something amiss because the clubroom is locked and Aoyama was practising with them. Aoyama notices a cat doll in his locker. For a few days, someone else has been breaking in and cleaning and folding the shirts. A fairy? Yeah, let’s go with that! But each time the cat doll gets bigger. The culprit turns out to be Moka Gotou. She picks the locks to enter and clean. Flashback shows she saw Aoyama trying to touch a kitten but his clean freak won’t allow him. Moka then gave him a cat doll for it but he won’t accept it till she washes it. Eventually she didn’t give it to him and now that they are in the same high school, she wants to support him from the shadows. She is soon caught in the act by Aoyama himself and she fears it is all over. However he recommends a better cleaning brand and still remembers her. Eventually the other teammates know about her and seeing how cute she is pleading to them, the guys plead to Ishikawa to make her the club’s manager. And the latest cat doll to fit into Aoyama feels a bit too big…

Jin Tsukamoto just did the creepiest thing. He smells Aoyama’s towel while he is in the shower! Wow. Such a good smell?! This has the other guys curious so during matches, while they rest on the bench, each take their turn to sniff it. Eventually all but Zaizen has their share and they relate how great it is! Perverts! Of course Moka overheard this and vows to protect Aoyama. His towels, that is. Yeah, that baseball bat with nails is sure effective to keep the persistent away. While it worked, however Tsukamoto has posted the goodness of Aoyama’s towel’s smell online. Rumours spread like wildfire and before your know it, everyone from all walks of life converge at one of the practice, waiting eagerly at the side lines for a chance. So after Aoyama wipes his sweat, all hell breaks loose. Get his towel! Not even petite Moka can handle this on her own. Well, she could. But she would have to turn into a murderer but luckily Miwa stops her. Surprisingly it is Zaizen who scolds everyone to cut it out because they’re serious about football and they better not do anything funny. Or else he’ll kill them! At least that killed their mood. Later as Zaizen sits alone in the clubroom, the wind blows Aoyama’s towel in his hand. Tempting… The smell gives him this nostalgia of his mom. Wow. He is really sniffing it. Till Aoyama catches him in the act. It’s not what you think! Well, he doesn’t want the towel anymore. So he gets to keep it?

Episode 3
The guys are trying to force Zaizen to treat them as part of their tradition before facing a team tomorrow. They also try to get Aoyama on this but since it starts raining heavily, I guess they’ll have to take shelter in this restaurant. Yeah, Aoyama is cleaning the plates, glasses and table… It seems Takechi is here too. Flexing his abs as intimidation? When food arrives, Aoyama doesn’t touch his. Takechi says he cooks his own food to keep himself optimum as a player but the rest believes he is a germaphobe who won’t eat outside. Somehow it becomes an eating challenge between Takechi and Taichi Yoshioka. Wow. They’re going strong eating all the food in the menu. It has got nothing to do with football no matter how you look at it. Eventually, Takechi thought he won but Aoyama calls a super mega sized parfait. Dead. Yoshioka finishes it and Fujinami wins again! Not even a football match. Next day, the Fujinami guys are at Takada Academy for their first match for the preliminaries. However Aoyama is nowhere to be seen. He is cleaning himself when this girl, Kana who is the girlfriend of Takada’s football captain, Youji Orihara, approaches him to seek his help to clean the football clubroom which is in a mess. But this is part of her ploy to lock him inside and won’t let him play. And if he makes any noise, she will scream rape. However Aoyama collapses because in addition to be a clean freak, he is claustrophobic?!

The match begins without Aoyama and although Takada doesn’t have any notable players, these delinquents like to get rough. They have already scored 2 goals. Luckily Moka finds them thanks to her lock picking skills and would have become a murderer had not Aoyama tell her to stop it. But with 15 minutes left, can Aoyama who has returned to the field turn things around? Yes he can! Because when the Takada side tries to get rough, as usual he goes into that slick dodging mode. He scores! But for the second goal, he got roughly taken down although Zaizen scores the second one. With him all dirty, Aoyama is now sluggish. Both sides become relentless to find the winning goal. But with 5 minutes left on the clock, suddenly Aoyama revives! Nobody can touch him again. He finds the net! Orihara is shocked that he is supposed to be paralyzed from all the dirt. Aoyama tells him if there is one thing he hates more than dirtiness, it is dirty cheaters! In the end, Fujinami goes on a scoring spree and wins 5-2. When Takada returns to the clubroom, it is so clean! That means Aoyama wasn’t locked in but he spent his time cleaning the clubroom! The biggest loser must be Orihara because Kana is now cheering for Aoyama! So cool!

Episode 4
Shion Narita is also a clean freak like Aoyama. The best way to communicate and stay away from others is via online. The only difference is that nobody knows about it and he doesn’t want others to know. He is always the first in class to arrive so he could clean his table in secrecy. Even way earlier than Aoyama. Therefore, he is forced to put up with all the accidental dirty contacts from his classmates. It is his policy that the best way to live a normal life as a germaphobe is not to be confrontational and tolerance is the key. During home economics, somehow it turns into a cooking competition between Narita and Aoyama. They make great food so much so all their classmates want a taste of it. Since they’re trying to outdo each other, they make more food. It gets out of hand when the aroma scatters throughout school and every other student comes rushing to grab a bite! You thought it is over when they ran out of ingredients but some came back after buying more! OMG! I thought this is a football show and not a cooking show???!!! Once everyone has their fill, Narita notes that as clean freaks, they do not eat things prepared by others. He is surprised when Aoyama makes him coffee. This prompts him to wonder if he isn’t a clean freak and just loves cooking.

Narita is a leader of a guild in an online MMORPG under the alias Smart. When a new guy named San joins his group, he is suspicious if he is Aoyama because of some key traits. But when he starts acting so differently, he doesn’t think so. But in reality, he sees a badge on Aoyama’s bag. A custom made badge that only guild members have. On its reverse side should have his alias. As he ponders to look at it while Aoyama is away, the class in a commotion. It seems somebody stole the gym clothes of Yuuko Rikiishi. Because she put it in her locker yesterday before she left home and since the classrooms are locked, it only means somebody must have stolen them during a certain time period. Everyone starts suspecting Narita since he is always the first and last to leave. He panics and makes the mistake of running away. The boys catch him and pin him down. Try not to let your face touch the floor. He rues the end of his normal life when Aoyama returns with Yuuko’s gym clothes. Looks like Yuuko put it in the wrong locker. Aoyama then hands Narita a cleaning agent. Looks like he knows his secret and wants him to get clean with the rest. However Narita will still not let others know. Everyone apologizes to him but he doesn’t hold a grudge. Literally, washing his hands off the case. Yuuko then hugs and smothers her dirty face over his chest for being such a good guy. How long more can he stay calm? But at least he gets to see and confirm the badge that Aoyama is San. Back on his online game, Narita concludes the vast contrast in Aoyama’s personality. He thinks this is what he would be like if he wasn’t a germaphobe.

Episode 5
Tsukamoto is an expert juggling the ball with his butt. That’s apparently his only best football skill. But this makes everyone laugh and he is dubbed the ‘good vibes officer’ as this antics of his cheers up the whole team. When Ishikawa isn’t practising, he is part of the Aoyama cheer leading squad. Oddly his girlfriend, Yuri Tamura is also in this squad. The weird part is how she cheers on for Aoyama and has all the words printed over her that she is an Aoyama for life but notes the only person she ever loves is Ishikawa. Today, Fujinami will face Minamida Fuzoku. As usual, Tsukamoto is entertaining everyone with his butt antics when suddenly Minamida Fuzoku’s football captain, Ryou Kadomatsu ‘accidentally’ kicks a ball in his face. Looks like they know each other and this brings back some fearful memories for Tsukamoto. As the first half begins, Aoyama scores to take the lead. But Kadomatsu knows Fujinami has another weakness: Tsukamoto. When Kadomatsu pops up before Tsukamoto, the latter freezes and this allows Kadomatsu to score. He does the same thing and scores again. During halftime, Tsukamoto holes himself up in the toilet cubicle. A couple of Minamida Fuzoku players walk in as we hear them talk how Tsukamoto was a bully victim to Kadomatsu in the middle school. After they leave, Tsukamoto is shocked that Aoyama was cleaning in the next cubicle and heard it! It doesn’t matter. Tsukamoto knows he will be substituted.

But when the next half begins, Tsukamoto is still in the game. Apparently his buddies, Kazuma Sakai and Yoshioka also overheard that story and told Miwa not to sub him and keep him on the field for a little while. Since they asked so seriously, she allowed it. Flashback shows Tsukamoto entertained others with his butt juggling. But Kadomatsu always smashed a ball in his face for goofing off with the excuse everyone is serious in playing football. Every time he does this, Kadomatsu does the same thing so much so he freezes whenever he sees him. And looks like Tsukamoto is in danger of falling into the same trap again. Luckily Sakai and Yoshioka are able to cover his back. This improves Tsukamoto’s morale. In the dying minutes, Aoyama is vastly surrounded. Tsukamoto surprisingly pushes forward. This was part of the plan discussed in the toilet. When Aoyama is surrounded, he will pass the ball to him. Tsukamoto is unsure to use his head or feet since he isn’t good at handling such crosses. But instinctively he uses his butt and scores the equalizer! With Aoyama back on their feet, they are able to win the game 4-2. As Aoyama’s side celebrates, some of the reporters note Aoyama wasn’t particularly good today. Even if he was trying to save a fellow footballer, if he loses here, his football career will be over. Taking such a risk makes him an idiot.

Episode 6
Nobody knows that Atsumu Ozaki is the author of a popular shonen manga. However he always has that sad and intense stare. One day he sees a teacher confiscate a manga from a student as she rips it apart! She must be having a bad day since her best friend stole her boyfriend. Oh, her car has cat footprints all over too. She discovers the culprit is Moka who is feeding a family of strays. She blames her to take responsibility and threatens to call animal shelter. Moka of course can’t since her family is allergic to cats. Well, Moka is actually thinking of killing her! Ozaki sees this and snatches her handphone, throws it away and adopts the cats. The distraught teacher wants compensation for her handphone but Ozaki reminds her about that manga ripping. Then he had her fooled as he didn’t actually throw it away and returns it to her. We learn Ozaki is always staring intensely is because high school is a place to get inspiration for his manga. But there is one person whom has caught his interest lately. Who else buy Aoyama? As he observes him, from his perspective he notices Aoyama is like bossing people around and acting arrogant.

Hence in his new manga chapter, he creates a new villain based on Aoyama, Blue Wizard. Guess what? Everybody likes this villain! As this is not Ozaki’s intention, he makes Wizard do more evil stuffs but the more he does that, the more everybody loves Wizard! To the point he is more popular than the main hero! They’re calling the hero a loser?! Ozaki is so distraught that he decides to kill off everything by exploding the planet! Of course his editor rejects it and so he makes Wizard owns all the women in the world. This causes Wizard’s popularity to decline as the female readers dislike it. But Ozaki is happy that he finally nailed it. However his editor reminds him this will reflect badly on the company and with an upcoming anime, he better do all he can to maintain Wizard’s popularity. So when Ozaki introduces a new villain and put Wizard’s fight with the hero’s on hold, everyone hates it! The more Ozaki tries to fix stuffs to make Wizard popular again, the more it backfires. So much so the readers can’t tell head or tails the direction of anything. Ozaki finally decides to go ask Aoyama himself since he notices he reads the manga magazine. However to his dismay, Aoyama skips his story! Actually, he never reads it as he never liked the art style. This pisses off Ozaki so much that he turns Wizard into a traitorous character who ones up on the hero and new villain. Everybody loves Wizard is back! Ozaki just can’t understand these people…

Episode 7
Mio Odagiri is a regular starter in the girls’ basketball team. Despite her athleticism, she can never shoot in! Not sure if it is eternal positivism or just stupidity. Even Aoyama shoots better than her! Heck, is he some sort of shooting machine?! Because of that, Mio looks up to him as her master. This earns the jealousy of other basketball guys who admire her beauty and the source of their strength. As Mio is also a bit big, and I mean not just her bust size, but her overall physique, some girls despise her. In a match, Mio is desperate to score but keeps failing. All the opponents have to do is just wait for her to fail and snatch the ball on the rebound. So Mio asks Aoyama for advice. Feelings. So she goes with the slam dunk. Failed. It bounced back to Aoyama who is cleaning to opponent’s basket. He kicks it back and he scores! She has done it? Of course that won’t count. Mio is grateful to him (despite not doing anything) that she pats his shoulders. Nothing happens. Everyone is shocked that Aoyama didn’t react to that like as though he is okay with it. This prompts everyone to believe they are in love with each other. Soon this spreads throughout school and you can bet it devastates all of Aoyama’s fan girls. Yeah, his supporting team is so dead. Even oddly Yuri wants to break up with Ishikawa… Moka is so depressed that she is eating. Why do I have a feeling it is to bust up?

One day, Aoyama surprisingly asks Sayaka Ariga to shake his hand. They did and she thinks he is trying to mock her but soon Aoyama collapses! Later Aoyama challenges Mio to arm wrestling. He is wearing gloves to touch the table but not her hand? Mio uses too much strength that her button pops out, revealing her boobs. All the guys are so grateful to Aoyama. Aoyama cooks for Mio in exchange she cooks for him tomorrow. She returns the favour with a super huge serving. But he won’t taste it since all the jealous guys take a bite. Then Aoyama asks her to come watch his match this Sunday. I guess at this point everyone really believes they are dating. During an online game, Narita believes he is having problems of the heart but San freaks out that it isn’t so but isn’t sure why he was okay with being touched. During the football match, after Aoyama scores, he wants Mio to high five him. After doing so, it is then Moka realizes that what Aoyama wanted to do all along is to touch others. Then everyone finds out they aren’t really dating. You can’t imagine how relief all his fans are. His support team turns their funeral zombie chanting back to a lively passionate cheer. Moka doesn’t know if there are romantic feelings involved but she finds it cute that Aoyama is doing all the things he can’t with Mio.

Episode 8
Tsubasa Umeya is the best judo guy in Fujinami. However he suddenly quits and joins the football club! WTF?! Ah, I see he likes Moka… You bet his judo coach isn’t going to accept this and teach him a lesson but gets a judo throw. This guy has never played football in his life can suddenly match up to Aoyama?! Soon, the rest of the football guys know Umeya has a crush on Moka. Whenever Umeya sees Moka working, he offers to go help her. At first she is cautious but since he is patient and persevering, she allows him to help out. Though, her sights will always be on Aoyama. Since she still always hide from him whenever he comes around, Umeya asks why she likes him. She doesn’t know but by the time she realizes it, she is already in love with him. Umeya realizes he is the same. Thus he decides to support Moka’s love for Aoyama and sets up a date between them at the zoo. The 3 Stooges think it is his vile plan so make Moka slip up so he can get her for himself. At the zoo, Umeya keeps staring at Moka who keeps staring at Aoyama who is the only one watching the animals. So awkward. And yeah, the 3 Stooges spying on them all. At the cat petting room, that is where they meet Mio and this opens a new can of worms. Yeah, the equation is slightly more complicated now. With Mio also staring at Aoyama, Moka feels inferior in every aspect to her. When gangsters decide to cause them trouble, oddly Umeya didn’t do anything but it is Mio who saved the day and give enough time for everyone to run. Umeya suggests a boat ride before they leave. Aoyama and Moka are together as Umeya serves as the barrier between Mio and Yuuko. Moka is at her lowest point thinking she must be the most boring girl ever as she has not spoken a word to him all day! When Umeya gives her a shout out about today, this encourages Moka to finally talk to Aoyama that she had fun today. Yuuko can’t understand why Umeya is genuinely rooting for them to be together. Does he not mind they end up together? His goal is to protect Moka’s feelings and sometimes it is not destiny for every couple to be married. Of course, he hopes to be buried next to her in exchange for all this. Long term plan?!

Episode 9
Miwa is inspired by her favourite football anime (Football Boyfriend?) and thus decides for the football club to go on a training camp. Zaizen suggests using his summer villa and this prompts everyone wanting to bring their girlfriend, grandma and pets… We’re not going on a holiday. Of course Aoyama won’t go because of all the sharing. When Zaizen goes home, dad isn’t impressed he needs to attend a training camp and knows he sucks in football. Because papa is going to use his influence and change the rules of football! Zaizen’s little sister, Karin tells daddy not to spoil him too much but she gets treated like a little girl. Always her daddy’s princes. Miwa is here because she needs Karin’s help for the training. Surprisingly Aoyama turns up to head to the training camp. Not before he cleans the bus. Well apparently the entire school is going on this training camp. Yeah, the highway is jammed with school busses. You thought everyone is going to enjoy the luxurious facilities but Zaizen prefers the rundown dilapidated versions. It really feels more like a real training camp. Rich kid wants to be a commoner… Practising football on the beach helps to train one’s footing. Aoyama won’t play because the sand is dirty. Don’t worry, Karin assures the sand is all clean! Is that even possible?! When Ishikawa sprains his ankle, Miwa lets Moka play as she knows she has always been practising in secret. Moka shows off her skills and she is much better than many of the guys! She can even dribble past Aoyama! And she also knows how to dive! Aoyama then tells her to stop it. He doesn’t like playing dirty. But he also commends her dribbling. Moka regrets her actions but felt his feet touched hers during the tackle so she feels happy either way.

When everyone trains to swim to the nearest shore, they find something amiss. It’s like they can never get there. Then it turns out the picturesque scene is just a giant picture. Heck, this entire beach is just a dome! Brought to you by all the high technology and research of Zaizen’s corporation! Karin thought of having her brother train by swimming against the waves but everyone knows this won’t help in his terrible shooting. But if Zaizen is happy… For dinner, everyone was expecting some luxurious meal. But it’s just a grain of pea packed with all the nutrients! Damn Zaizen corporation technology and research. Disappointed? When they smell something good, they realize Aoyama is cooking his own meal. They want to share! That sure is satisfying. Miwa has them play kimodameshi. Karin uses a high tech machine for the pairing. Everybody wants to pair with Aoyama but the lucky guy is Zaizen. Too bad he is chicken sh*t all the way. Aoyama is cleaning all the way while Moka whacks and zombies that might bring him trouble. It’s really messed up. In the end, the entire haunted house is cleaned and Zaizen must be the biggest chicken sh*t to be screaming all the way. The training camp proceeds as usual with the usual hotspring bath and pillow fight. Miwa decides to watch her football anime to check if what they all did were correct. Not sure about the answer, but I guess the important thing is that everyone had fun.

Episode 10
When Kozue Kurata appears before Aoyama, he gives the most surprising shock reaction. This of course has everyone talking about the secrets Aoyama have as he rarely talks about himself. Thus Zaizen and the 3 Stooges try to tail him but Aoyama knows and gives them the slip. They still won’t give up and they end up in his house. But what is that youth national footballer, Seigo Ibuki doing in his house eating Aoyama’s cooking?! Actually, this is Ibuki’s house! So what is Aoyama doing here? He lost a match against him and this is his penalty. What?! Aoyama lost?! Arienai! Next day, Aoyama intentionally skips practice so Zaizen and Moka tail him. They are shock at first when they see him meet up with Kozue and Takechi, thinking Aoyama has been coaxed by her to join Oshigami-Minami. However Ibuki is also here as he explains he has joined Oshigami-Minami. Why is a guy like him who is currently playing for a youth football club in Spain coming all the way back to Japan? He is picky of his Japanese soba and misses them. This place has the best soba. Oh, Kozue is his childhood friend and her cooking sucks. Aoyama is here to request a 1-on-1 match with Ibuki. As they play, Aoyama then wants to stop the match. Kozue also agrees. It seems they notice Ibuki’s sloppy performance. Aoyama doesn’t want to win when Ibuki is not at his best.

So Aoyama talks to him in a bid to discover the cause of his decline. From the way he says it, it looks like Kozue is the ‘problem’. Girlfriend problems? It all began when Ibuki puts mayonnaise on all of her cooking. Because her cooking sucks. This broke her heart and she slapped him. Aoyama wants him to call her and go on a date. Now, all the silly things you see Ibuki does is all part of Aoyama’s plan. I mean, that guy said he is clueless when it comes to girls despite being a football genius. So leave it all to Aoyama, eh? So wearing a cat mascot outfit? Because cats are supposed to heal and calm angry people down. Looks like it is having an opposite effect. What’s this? Giving her a recipe book as present? She feels insulted! She tried her best to do her research and improve her cooking and this is what she gets?! Oh, now they’re playing football? Playing together is supposed to bring you closer? Kozue is so fed up and just plays along. She narrates how she followed him to Spain and did everything for him is simply because she loves him and the way he plays football. She wanted to try and help him with that so why can’t he understand that? Aoyama senses they are now back on normal terms and resumes his challenge for Ibuki. Well, well. Aoyama lost again! Kozue thought Ibuki finally appreciates her cooking when he eats it without complain. Actually anything tastes good when you are hungry! Poor Kozue is so mad she wants to break up with him. It’s over.

Episode 11
What’s this? Girls are cheering for Sakai?! Maybe it’s his hairstyle resembling close to Aoyama. Not only he has got tons of girls supporting him but his football skills also level up! He is scoring all the goals! Even the football god is with him! Oh, he has got several girls confessing to him! But he rejects them all because he belongs to everyone! So cool! His pals aren’t impressed that he has gone on to the elite side and try to bring him back with their tomfoolery but fail. Sakai relishes in the new spotlight and loves the girls calling his name. This is his goal and doesn’t care if the team goes to the Nationals. Since he is so good, Miwa is planning to switch Zaizen’s forward position with Sakai. Under threat, Zaizen marks his own teammate and tries to score but fails miserably. At this rate he’ll just be a substitute. Then he gets the ultimatum from papa. Since he wasn’t in the starting eleven, the next time he fails to make the cut, he will give up football forever! So of all people, Zaizen goes to seek Moka’s help to train him. I guess it’s reasonable since the best like Aoyama is into cleaning, Miwa is into judo and Ishikawa into cheerleading. Moka starts off with him kicking spot kicks. Even with no goalkeeper, he cannot score! After a few kicks, he decides to go home and rest. That’s it for the day. This upsets Moka as she tries to bring him back to continue training. Maybe that’s why he sucks. With a few more kicks and he still hasn’t improved, his father has seen it all and is going to do the ultimate. Bribe Miwa to bring him back into the starting eleven!!! This makes Moka angry as she turns into Terminator to beat them up. No more nice little girl. She is going to train him like hell.

During the next match, Sakai is still on a hot streak. Till he modifies his hairstyle a little. The girls lose interest and the football god deserts him. Noticing his declining trend, his friends are tempting him to go back to their ranks. Sakai vows never to go back there again and returns to his Aoyama hairstyle. Once again the girls start cheering. But it is not like before. So he goes to seek Moka’s help to train but Moka is not impressed. She takes it as an insult he is trying to defile Aoyama and threatens to beat him up. At this point, Sakai is starting to panic when he can’t hear the girls cheering for him. With Zaizen finally scoring, Sakai joins his other pals into doing a silly victory dance. The girls find it lame and desert him. And since Sakai has reverted to his idiotic form, I guess Miwa has no choice but to make Zaizen their striker again. ‘Trouble’ starts when everyone notices scouts from the youth division are seen talking to Aoyama. He might quit their team…

Episode 12
Everyone is of course worried if he is going to leave so Zaizen talks to him that the team depends on him. Yeah, this is how important he is (or how useless everyone is). But soon he takes back those words and tells him to play wherever he wants. But for tomorrow’s match with Kuraishi High School, let’s do their best. In addition to those scouts causing more anxiety, the rest thinks Zaizen is depressed is because he just visited the grave of his mom. Today might be her death’s anniversary. So they plan to support him by letting him score a goal. Of course it won’t be easy since Zaizen cannot fully concentrate. Thoughts of his mom weighing heavily on his mind as she used to support his play. Because of that he makes some mistakes and Kuraishi scores their first goal. Oh, did I mention Kuraishi has won all their matches without conceding a goal? The second half starts and Kuraishi scores another goal. Yeah, Zaizen is continued to be bogged down by memories of mama. Before they could score their third, Aoyama uses his body to block it, causing him to be all dirty. This makes Zaizen blame himself for this. But Aoyama tells him if he doesn’t want to win, please substitute himself. This opens up Zaizen’s eyes (complete with heat butting the goal post for total awakening) as he returns to his usual self. Kuraishi’s defence is still hard to break but at least he is feeling much better than before. After blocking a Kuraishi shot with his face, Fujinami takes this chance to go on the offence. Zaizen sees his mom in the stands and draws out enough strength to rebound and score! In the aftermath, Fujinami makes a comeback beating Kuraishi 3-2 (Aoyama scores the rest of the other goals). Everyone gets a shock when they see Zaizen’s mother in the flesh! You mean she isn’t dead? So that grave was just his ancestral grave? It seems mom went somewhere far away to do volunteer work. She lost track of time and 5 years has passed! But she did remember Zaizen’s words that he will score a goal for her birthday and that’s why she came back. After a heart-warming mother and son hug (cue for emotional tears), looks like mom has to be whisked away again for yet another volunteer work. Hello Brazil. But the real question now is Aoyama going to quit the team. He rejects the scouts who aren’t pleased he isn’t taking this opportunity. So what is the reason he rejected them? He likes Fujinami’s white uniform. White = clean. So Fujinami is the only school in Japan who has white uniform?

Aoyama-kun Desu Ga! Keeping The Beautiful Game Clean Since…

And so Aoyama will continue to play for his ‘favourite’ school. All because of a colour. You know what they say about geniuses being crazy people. A big relief to the football team because now they don’t have to put in so much effort and just rely on him. Yeah… So while we got this ‘happy ending’ of Aoyama staying, it doesn’t feel so much like an ending considering the nature of this series. The ending may technically symbolizes friendship over a bright future of an individual which in turn makes the nation one of the best footballing nations in the world. You might call Aoyama dumb for his silly reason and choice for staying and that he is wasting his talents. But everyone forgets that the most important thing is having fun when you are playing. I believe Aoyama finds that in Fujinami too. He’s not saying it because it will be so shockingly out of character. Maybe he’ll say it via his online avatar. From the way I see it, Aoyama isn’t going to waste his talents being a nobody. Just that more people won’t be able to watch him play (and agents won’t rake in big money from star power exploitation). So carry on playing how you like and as you are, Aoyama.

Since this isn’t actually a shonen sports anime, it is obvious that this anime isn’t about football because if you really want a true football show, there is always that classic Captain Tsubasa and the more modern but weird Inazuma Eleven. So with not so much focus on the football field (only needed when it is to display how cool Aoyama is), we get to see a wide variety of antics that just doesn’t restrict itself to anything football related. Remember, cleaning is the first priority of someone. So the football matches are pretty much predictable because Aoyama will always be the main striker who scores. Fujinami always wins in the end. If the opponent leads in the first half, Fujinami with the courtesy of Aoyama’s awesome skills will make a comeback.

At this rate, I believe Fujinami will be on its way to win the Nationals. Heck, they would go on to win the AFC Asian Cup and even the big Holy Grail of the football world: The World Cup. Oh heck, I don’t think Fujinami is going to do that but Aoyama himself! He can just be a one man team and score every goal there is while everybody just stands there for decoration and to abide by the rules. Japan, you don’t need a new generation of youths and talented footballers. All you need is Aoyama! He’ll get the job done and stay clean while he is at it. Except for the last 5 minutes. Nah, makes no difference. That’s where you’re also screwed. If a football match’s victory can be predicted by how clean your football is, then Fujinami has got the crown written in the stars since the start. Yeah, if this football world had it Aoyama’s way, he could tell how well your love for the sport by how clean your football is!

One of the biggest dilemmas for me in this series is the characters. Despite Aoyama being the titular character, he does not appear or feel like the main star. Of course this is very much because of his enigmatic character. Heck, even the final episode isn’t about Aoyama himself but Zaizen. The question of whether Aoyama stays or leaves can be slotted in anywhere but I guess this is the ‘happy ending’ we have arrived at. Therefore instead of a dozen episodes totally focusing the spotlight on Aoyama, a big chunk of this series seems to concentrate on the other side characters. This is evident when you have the title of that episode named after that side character. Of course all these side characters have their stories or goals somewhat related back to Aoyama. In a way, it relegates Aoyama to being a secondary character although in an indirect way he still shines. Therefore it is with mixed feelings for me for the characters because even though they are a wild wacky bunch, most of them featured here are just for one episode and then they fall into obscurity. Some may make very small cameos for the rest of the episodes and others you’ll never hear off again. Like as though it makes the series of compiled unrelated shorts.

As for Aoyama, his enigmatic feel sometimes gives an impression that he is the football version of that Sakamoto guy. You know, another anime with a cool main mysterious character who is also named in the title. Being full of mystery and sometimes acting in ways that defies the laws of the world makes him fun and interesting but at the same time mind boggling. I guess in the larger picture this very personality and that we do not know much about him (heck, we don’t even know his first name) is all part of the fun. Because if you know all there is to know about Aoyama, the fun factor is gone. Throughout the series we are made to guess who he really is since he is able to keep clean after everything and dodge people who want to hug him better than any ninja from Naruto. On the downside, it makes Aoyama pretty much predictable and boring because he is obsessed with cleaning and we can expect to see him clean something in every episode. I believe he has other amazing skills but we just don’t see him display it given the nature of the episode and the story being played out.

In some ways like Sakamoto, I have this feeling he might be an alien because of how effortless he seems to be doing all those stuffs. So inhuman… You know what they say about cleanliness is next to godliness. But to show he isn’t perfect, he lost to Ibuki. But that is one of the very few imperfections compared to everything else he does that is so flawless. He also cares about his friends and it might seem he doesn’t directly help them but in a lot of indirect in discreet ways he’ll drop some hints and assistance. Perhaps Aoyama might not show it but I want to believe that he is staying at Fujinami too because of great football friends like these. Okay, maybe not the best of footballers or the best of friend-like material but they still are a team. You might think he doesn’t need others because he is always a loner and doing his own (cleaning) things but without his friends or school, he has no reason to clean! He would have moved somewhere else then.

What can I say about Moka? She’s like the cutie girl factor and one of the many Aoyama obsessed fan (clearly written on her shirt for all to see). It becomes her running joke that if she is ever out of options, she turns into this Terminator mode and takes out her nail ridden baseball bat, getting ready to stain her hands with blood. Thankfully it never got that far. Something irks me seeing her go into this mode because when her eyes turn red (hence why I termed it Terminator), she doesn’t seem convincing enough that she has become a blood thirsty killer. Just her eyes glow in this colour but she maintains her overall cutie pie appearance. I know this is a comedy anime but I think it would be funnier to see Moka’s face actually transforming into something scary. But then again, maybe not.

The other running joke is Zaizen who can never shoot straight. It is just mind boggling how he can keep his striker position. I bet because Aoyama is always there to score so it doesn’t matter if Zaizen screws up or not. I get this feeling that with Zaizen being the rich kid, it goes to show that not even money can buy your way into football! I hope this is true in reality… Among the 3 Stooges, Tsukamoto stands out more because of his butt juggling that perhaps makes it one of the most unique and bizarre technique ever. So called rival Takechi is one of those very self-absorbed characters as he loves showing off his abs. It’s like rubbing it in our faces that he flaunts his six pack every moment he shows up. I get it you have great abs compared to my flabby belly so stop it already! Ugh. There he goes again. If only the girls in this anime weren’t so preoccupied with Aoyama, he might have scored with them. But then again, his only target is getting Aoyama to join his school. I guess he isn’t that desperate because if he was, he could have quit Oshigami-Minami and join Fujinami.

The animation and art seem decent but nothing too detailed seeing this is comedy and nothing very serious. There will be many times the characters go into their chibi mode. The weirdest looking one I find is Yoshioka because I don’t know if his face is of a dog or a monkey. You could also say that the artwork looks clean enough and lives up to Aoyama’s strict cleaning standards. I guess that is why everything looks bright and almost spotless. But if you want to talk about the animation of the footballing action, it is somewhat jerky and not smooth. One might forgive this because this isn’t technically a football anime but still, the below average quality of the football play animation is obvious. Animated by Studio Hibari who did a few sports themed anime like Major and that very old Ping Pong Club anime. Other animes under their belt include Fight Ippatsu Juuden-chan, Kashimashi, Sumomomo Momomo, Happy Lesson, Venus Versus Virus and Wagamama Fairy Mirumo De Pon.

If that angst voice of Zaizen sounds familiar, it’s Tomokazu Seki whom I have haven’t heard in a while. Not to say he was on hiatus, but it must be I didn’t notice him in minor roles in recent animes. But it sure brings back those old days of Nodame Cantabile’s Chiaki and the titular character in Maze. Some of the recognizable seiyuus include Takehito Koyasu as Takechi, Sho Hayami as Zaizen’s father, Daisuke Sakaguchi as Tsukamoto, Mai Nakahara as Mio, Showtaro Morikubo as Ozaki and Sinichiro Miki as Ibuki. With limited lines, couldn’t spot Rina Satou as Yuri. The rest of the other casts are Ryotaro Okiayu as Aoyama (Tezuka in Prince Of Tennis), Anzu Haruno as Moka (Mafuyu in Blend S), Michiko Neya as Miwa (Reiju in One Piece), Noriaki Sugiyama as Ishikawa (Shirou in Fate series), Miwa Hirofumi Nojima as Narita (Akatsuki in Aria series), Souichirou Hoshi as Sakai (Samon in Nanbaka), Hiroyuki Yoshino as Yoshioka (Yajirou in Uchouten Kazoku), Daisuke Namikawa as Umeya (Rock in Black Lagoon), Minami Takahashi as Karin (Megumi in Shokugeki No Souma) and Aya Endo as Kozue (Miyuki in Lucky Star).

The opening theme is White by Bentham. I think it is just coincidence and me thinking too much that this J-pop band is suspiciously named after a certain English footballer and did the opening gig for this anime. I didn’t go through the band’s history so it may be true or not. As for whether this rock music is suitable for this series? Well, if it was a shonen football anime… The ending theme, Taiyou Ga Kureta Kisetsu by the Fujinami football club guys is an interesting and amusing piece. It sounds like one of those retro anime songs (like those mecha series) and even the animation goes so far as to animate it retro style. Alright everybody! Let’s run towards the sun for a brighter tomorrow!

Overall, this isn’t really a football series as football becomes irrelevant as the series progresses. Football is just one of those excuses to bring about some weird settings and enhance the comedic effect around the main and side characters. Although it is funny and enjoyable, it is very much on the light side so also don’t go expecting to be as heavyweight as Gintama. A few lovable and quirky characters but nothing too deep about them and with the almost non-existent story or plot, this is truly for light watching. You watch, you laugh, then you move on. Because with Japan already qualified for the 2018 edition of World Cup in Russia, I’m sure all eyes are now on the national team to avoid that embarrassing exit in the previous instalment (because Aoyama wasn’t playing in it. Damn it). Now Aoyama can clean the toilets and sinks in peace. And since he doesn’t miss a spot, could this mean Japan will not miss their spot kicks? And since he has been keeping clean, does this mean Japan will keep cleans sheets for the rest of the tournament and for the first time land their and Asia’s first World Cup???!!! Ganbare Nippon!