My first impression of the new anime about a boys’ diving team came before even one second of the actual anime had elapsed, when I saw the noitaminA credits sequence roll by. My thoughts immediately turned to the same company’s ill-fated baseball anime Battery, which last year I found to be a directionless hodgepodge of potentially interesting ideas, none of which was ever brought to a conclusion. I hoped against hope that noitaminA was not planning the same route for Dive!! but before the episode was half over, it became evident to me that my hopes would again be dashed if I continued watching.
Certainly viewers hoping to see lean muscular teenage boys wearing almost nothing will get everything they want in this show, including a character with the now apparently mandatory mole below his left eye. But viewers hoping for any kind of clear plot to follow will probably wind up, as I did, looking elsewhere. For even after the first three minutes I found myself asking: What is this show going to be about? Will it be about the main character’s potential love interest, or his almost overly talented senpai? Will it be about his childhood, or his passage into adulthood? Will it be about the diving club’s past, or its future? Will it be about the deceased former coach, or the current one (who happens to be the father of the aforementioned talented senpai)?
As with Battery, any one of these ideas would have been interesting to pursue. But pursuing all of them at once with abandon is, I have come to believe, the same as pursuing none of them. Perhaps it isn’t my place to comment on the directions that authors and editors choose to take in producing a TV show, since I have never produced one. And of course I don’t expect any storytelling medium to tell me the end explicitly from the beginning. Nevertheless, in my opinion it’s not too much to ask the show at least to let me know what I’m in for, or what the show is about. And after at least four or five time skips in both directions, I gave up on trying to find the answers to these simple questions.
I hope I’m wrong about all this: it’s only a first impression, after all. If so, no doubt the anime-watching community will find some way to let me know. Until then, I find this show to be guilty of the same crimes Battery committed, until proven innocent.