Why You Should Watch…’Keppeki Danshi Aoyama-kun’

Where my ‘Why I Watched’ series of posts was about anime that had some important impact on me or came along at key points in my life, this series is mostly about recommending shows that I enjoyed but that few people ever seem to mention.

‘Keppeki Danshi Aoyama-kun’ (anglicised as ‘Clean Freak Aoyama-kun’) ran for twelve episodes in 2017, not long after ‘Sakamoto Desu Ga?’. I don’t need to write a rec-post for Sakamoto, because he doesn’t need recommendations (did anyone not watch it?). At face value, the two shows have a similar set-up, focusing on one odd-ball school student and the classmates who either admire him or are frustrated by his very existence.

Aoyama is a popular student, largely because of his football skills, but upperclassman and football captain Zaizen Kaoru is frequently driven nuts by Aoyama’s germophobia. It means he won’t take headers or contact plays, showers before, after and sometimes during practice, and won’t eat with his teammates after practice because he won’t eat food someone else prepared. Zaizen simply doesn’t understand why Aoyama is so popular with the rest of the school.

Each episode revolves around one of Aoyama’s classmates who happens to hide a secret or a failing of their own, and shows how they take inspiration from Aoyama. Because Aoyama’s mental illness, while frequently played for laughs, is also shown to be incredibly debilitating in his everyday life. Rather than being treated like a freak and an outcast, though, Aoyama is admired by his classmates for the way he deals with his germophobia and manages to participate in daily school life.

This show came the very season after ‘Yuri!!! On Ice’ and at the time it was refreshing to see two shows depicting characters with mental ill health who were able to deal with their issues and still achieve amazing things in spite of their set-backs. Although KDA wasn’t played with the seriousness of YOI, it still felt like a positive step in terms of inclusion.

The show doesn’t have villains as such; the closest it gets to an antagonist is a footballer from a rival school (who sounds suspiciously like Dio Brando) who tries to convince Aoyama to transfer and join his team. Mostly it’s just fun high school and sports antics with cute characters, light-hearted humour and a positive message. 

If you’re a seiyuu fan, you’ll find the likes of Takehito Koyasu, Yoshino Hiroyuki and Sugiyama Noriaki in recurring roles. Suzuki Tatsuhisa, Namikawa Daisuke and Hirakawa Daisuke also pop up in guest roles.

It’s not exactly ground-breaking stuff, but if you’re looking for a fun, easy-to-watch school-based comedy, and you enjoy shows like ‘Sakamoto Desu Ga?’ or ‘Handa-kun’, then do take a look at ‘Keppeki Danshi Aoyama-kun’.

You can find all twelve episodes on Crunchyroll (totally not sponsored, I promise!). The ending sequence, animated in the style of an eighties shounen show (with appropriate music) is awesome all by itself. If you do take a look, (or you’ve already seen it) I’d love to know what you think!

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