After moving out on his own to a seaside town, Iori Kitahara makes a college debut he never anticipated. A new chapter of his life unfolds, full of diving with beautiful girls and shenanigans with a gaggle of lovable bastards! Idiot expert Kenji Inoue and au-naturel authority Kimitake Yoshioka bring you a glorious college tale filled with booze-fueled antics!
You need to read this manga right fucking now. It's such a breath of fresh air in a world abundant with person-in-a-strange-world mangas. This manga will leave you holding your sides in pain from laughter. Aside from Gintama, there is no other manga except this one that has me reeling with laughter and practically crying and howling through the night. The artwork on this piece is also very unique in that it's extremely clean. A lot of other mangas have something about them that make them seem a little messy, but this one the artwork is very refined, and subsequently it's very, very, very gorgeous, even though the overall style isn't strikingly unique. Or, I guess you could say its uniqueness is in its usage of clean lines and whitespace? AND THE FACES. THE FACES ARE ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. Whatever, just stop reading my review and start reading the manga. You will not regret it. I eagerly check each month for the next chapter of this piece.
When talking about Grand Blue Dreaming, one must talk about the humor. It does an excellent job of creating a fun and funny environment with very odd-duck characters. For visual gags, they like using ogre faces and nudity. The nudity is also funny from a more conceptual standpoint, especially since the guys act as though there's nothing weird about it. In a way, this manga is more about drinking parties and public nudity than it is about diving. And that in itself is a bit of an ongoing joke (the fact that this diving club is basically a drinking club). They do a good job of creating situations which lead to misunderstandings. There are several instances of conversations where the two parties involved are both saying things which are interpreted differently by the other party because of a misunderstanding. This is where the manga really shines for me. This type of humor feels great, especially when the misunderstandings stretch out over multiple chapters. Chisa's probably the cutest and most engaging character. She doesn't really get embarrassed by the nudity and stuff, but she still does come across as a bit shy and perhaps unaware of her own romantic feelings. This creates a nice tension where she's simultaneously cool and bashful. And she can be vindictive, which creates funny moments. Aina and Azusa were both vital additions to the ensemble in their own ways--Azusa being a bridge between the guys and girls and Aina being a straight man, keeping us rooted in reality and keeping the weirdness weird. They turned Kohei from an otaku into a lolicon. He even says stuff like the only 3D girls he might be interested in are middle schoolers. I'm not sure if I cared for that character development. I ended up liking Sakurako more than I initially thought I would and I'm happy whenever she shows up in a chapter. I generally don't enjoy any of the storylines involving the group of classmates (Yamamoto, Mitarai, etc.), the associate professor, or Shiori. But the absolute worst chapters were the ones about the festival at the all girls' college (ch. 24-25), the job at the lab (ch. 40), and the first day of the new semester (ch. 58). [Reviewed at chapter 60]
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