In the world of anime and manga, countless comedy and slice-of-life series are set in high school. However, a handful of seinen manga series, such as Golden Time or Silver Spoon, take place in college instead -- including the aquatic adventure of Grand Blue Dreaming by Kenji Inoue and Kimitake Yoshioka.
Grand Blue Dreaming is a comedic slice-of-life story that shakes up the formula not only with its college setting but also with its risque, PG-13 humor and a story centered around a diving and SCUBA club. The hero, Iori Kitahara, is going under the waves to see some colorful fish -- and his new classmates are just as exotic. Here's how newcomers can dive in.
Grand Blue Dreaming's Plot & Characters
The narrative of Grand Blue Dreaming doesn't exactly have a sprawling storyline or a specific end goal in mind. Rather, these characters take life as it comes, giving the series a whimsical and unpredictable personality. Grand Blue Dreaming begins when its male lead, Iori Kitahara, visits his uncle's SCUBA shack at the Japanese coast before his first semester of college, expecting to join a club of studious and no-nonsense classmates at college.
Here's the twist: the entire SCUBA club, named Peek-A-Boo, is packed with rowdy party animals, most of them burly men who keep the beer flowing all night long. Iori quickly finds himself swept up in the diving club's wild antics, from binge drinking sessions to learning the ins and outs of SCUBA gear to practicing to get his diving license.
Iori already knows a few people there, namely his cousins Chisa and Nanaka Kotegawa, and soon makes all kinds of friends and rivals at the club. He also becomes frenemies with Kohei Imamura, a dedicated otaku, as well as a charming gyaru named Aina Yoshiwara, who just might have special feelings for him.
Where to Read the Grand Blue Dreaming Manga
The Grand Blue Dreaming manga series remains ongoing. As of this writing, 16 single volumes have been released in Japan, with the Western release working hard to catch up. 13 volumes have been translated into English so far, with the latest releasing in June 2021. Volume 14 is slated to drop on October 26th. There are no deluxe hardcover editions of the manga series, nor any omnibus collections yet.
Collectors can find the Grand Blue Dreaming manga at a number of major manga retailers, starting with Amazon.com's book department, which includes the digital version in Kindle format with comiXology. Barnes & Noble's online catalog also features all current volumes of Grand Blue Dreaming, as well as the Nook digital editions. Right Stuf Anime also stocks all current print volumes of the manga.
Where to Watch The Grand Blue Dreaming Anime
The Grand Blue Dreaming anime had only a limited release in the West, so fans have just one option for watching it: Amazon Prime Video. This platform offers all 12 episodes in Japanese with English subtitles and no other languages. A live-action Grand Blue Dreaming movie was released in August 2020, but it is generally not available in the West. Instead, Western fans are best off with the ongoing manga series and the 12-episode anime on Amazon. There is not yet a Blu-ray release of this series.
This may not be a lot of material to work with, but pound for pound, Grand Blue Dreaming is certainly worth it for many fans. You get lovable characters, riotous humor, a novel premise and gorgeous visuals of the shallow seas and all the marine wildlife one can hope to find along Japan's sunny coasts.