Is there any level on which Dive!! as a NoitaminA anime doesn’t come off as a terrible idea?
I didn’t preview Dive!! but I did watch the first episode, so I figured I might as well briefly post on it – and since there’s really nothing to pair it with in a digest post, no point in waiting. Truthfully there was only one thing about this series that gave me even the tiniest shred of hope that it would be worth watching – and no, it’s not the NoitaminA tag, as that ship sailed a long time ago as a selling point. It’s that This series is based on a YA novel by Mori Eto, who also write Colorful – and it would be no exaggeration to say that the film based on that book is one of my favorite anime in any format, ever.
It’s hard to connect the dots from there to here, that’s for sure. NoitaminA already tried pairing with Zero-G to adapt an older sports novel by a respected author with Battery, and they had a legendary director on-board that time and still mostly failed. But Battery at least had a compelling first couple of episodes and the germ of something interesting to it – I found Dive!! pretty much unwatchable from the get-go, to be honest. And it has nothing to do with the similarities to Free! – as far as I know Dive!! may even have been published first. The problem is that this episode simply isn’t any good.
I won’t dwell too deeply on the problems with this premiere – that would be no fun. But just so you know where I’m coming from, I thought the animation was mediocre and the backgrounds bland. The voice cast was a travesty – every one of the adult actors sounded utterly ridiculous playing these roles. And the whole affair had a kind of depressing resignation to it – as if no one was really sure why it existed in the first place. Even having basically given NoitaminA up for dead it still saddens me to see it scrape the bottom yet again when anime needs what it was designed to be more than ever. But in the end NoitaminA is no more the issue than Free! is – Dive!! is the issue. Put it anywhere on the schedule and it would still be a forlorn and misguided effort.