One Second to Fall in Love… Or Quit.
- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Sports
- Airing Date : Jul. 2017 – Sep. 2017
- Studios : Zero-G
DIVE!! Introduction and Story (Spoilers)
Sakai Tomoki has been fond of diving since he was just a little child. His personal hero was Youichi Fujitani, son of two professional divers and determined – not completely because of his own free will – to follow his parents’ steps. Now that Tomoki is old enough, he can dream about being in the same world as Fujitani, that is also the reason why he joined the Mizuki Diving Club (MDC) some years before. Unfortunately, now that some time has passed and that MDC is on the verge of closing due to serious financial problems, Tomoki’s hopes and dreams risk of dying broken. To prevent MDC from disaster, the Japanese coach Kayoko Asaki has a plan; MDC must demonstrate to be one of the best diving clubs in the whole country by sending at least two of his athletes to next year’s Tokyo Olympics. There is no doubt that Fujitani will take part to the biggest of all sports events, but what about the still inexperienced Tomoki? Will he be able to bear the brunt of the responsibility for saving MDC?
What We Liked About DIVE!!
We have seen sports anime of all kinds, especially about soccer, baseball, and basket, but no one had come up with a story about diving before Eto Mori did. The premise doesn’t sound that fantastic considering that diving is an individual sport which doesn’t even require a face-to-face confrontation between two athletes, so how is it that Mori’s DIVE!! could get the attention of so many fans, both girls and boys? Well, probably the reason lays in the smart cocktail of elements Mori used to plot the story. After all, talking about the complex inner world of a middle schooler who has just started to explore his own self, identity, desires, and feeling of hard work and sacrifice is always a good idea.
DIVE!! is mainly focused on its main character Tomoki and his transition from childhood to adolescence. Indeed, the first episodes show us a Tomoki confused about what he really wants from life, bothered by his relationship with his girlfriend Miu Nomura, and happy only when he thinks about diving with his hero Fujitani. The only thing that makes him want to get up in the morning are MDC activities, but he doesn’t really know how to get rid of all the rest which comes in between himself and his beloved sport. While the anime goes on, Tomoki’s passion for diving becomes even stronger. Thanks to coach Asaki, Tomoki finds out to be somewhat special and understands that he can be in the same world as Fujitani at his same level. All he has to do is making a choice – renounce to his friends, fun, social life to undergo a demanding training that will rob him of his golden years.
Tomoki chooses to give it a try, but gets burnt when he realizes that everyone hates him now for having abandoned them. Tomoki didn’t have time anymore to notice that everything was changed, and it is too late when he realizes that Miu has started a new relationship with his brother, while his friends have stopped inviting him out. Alone due to his ambition, Tomoki shuts in his room and loses the will to pursue his dream to go to Tokyo Olympics. It is his friend Fujitani who eventually saves him by making him realize something really important – with great ambition comes solitude maybe in exchange for a brief moment of glory, but also the satisfaction for making it all by yourself. Thus, Tomoki decides to get up again and fight with all his strength. A decision that will pay him back.
What we liked about DIVE!! is, exactly, the fact that it is realistic. An athlete’s life is not easy since it requires sacrifices which are huge to bear for a little kid. You have to get up early to train, practice the whole day, renounce to common little things like having some junk food with your friends or stay out until late, having no time for else but a higher purpose. In the end, Tomoki is left alone with his own dream and, like for real athletes, can find satisfaction and support only from himself.
As an athlete’s life is missing the best part of youth, which are friends, love, fun, also DIVE!! retrains that bittersweet atmosphere of a world of renounce, solitude, and effort for the sake of victory. And the meaning of all this is locked inside those few seconds which makes the performance. Perfection and concentration represent everything, so Tomoki can’t direct his attention on more trivial things he doesn’t even care about – he has to stay focused on the objective. DIVE!! reminds us that we can’t achieve results without will to win and great determination, especially if we are not ready to throw all the rest away for only that purpose.
DIVE!! is all about the realism of Tomoki’s experience in both the world of competition and his personal growth as a professional athlete, but it is also about diving, which is not just an excuse to talk about something else. It is the main core of the story that perfectly balances with – and it is also the cause of – Tomoki’s personal growth. Maybe an anime like DIVE!! is not perfect, but there are few reasons for which is worth your time.
1. It Tries to Talk About Something New.
It can’t be denied that DIVE!! is a first in the spokon genre since it tries to talk about a sport only a handful of people can really understand and appreciate. It was the same with Yuri!!! on ICE which could spark the interest in figure skating of a vast audience, making it looks interesting to untrained eyes. DIVE!! is more serious than Yuri!!! on ICE and the world of competition it talks about is way more difficult to understand. It often focuses on the technical aspects of jumping, on how athletes can improve their rotations, stability, and entry into the water without splashing too much. Still, the combination between Tomoki’s personal experiences, his feelings toward what he does – he feels like flying every time he jumps – and technicalities about something so fascinating as a sport like diving can be made this story original and new enough to be considered one of the best anime of the past Summer Season.
2. Muscles. Muscles Everywhere.
If you are searching for an excuse to start watching DIVE!! and you are a fan of shaped muscles, then you can’t just turn your back and walk away. In an anime about diving, great muscles are the core, the real protagonists of the story, since a flawless physical performance is essential for divers to get a good score. Starting from the young Tomoki to arrive at the resilient Youichi and the thug Yamada, DIVE!! is a paradise for all those ladies who love those wet dishy men we had already become used to thanks to anime like Free!. Isn’t this a reason good enough to give DIVE!! a try?
1. A Cliché Fest.
It is true that DIVE!! tries to be original and talk about something new, but it struggles to become a title which really leaves a mark. The pace of the story is a little too slow and full of elements – such as quotes, characters’ development, turns out of the events – which resemble other spokon, in particular Free! and Haikyuu from which DIVE!! clearly takes inspiration. Unfortunately, differently from its predecessors, DIVE!! lacks of intensity and deepness, failing to become a particularly engaging story. Differently from the novel and the movie adaptation which are more suited means for such a realistic piece, the anime is certainly good, but not exceptional.
Summer Season was full of interesting titles which proposed something new to anime lovers and gave their best to be as much original as possible. Some of them didn’t prove themselves successful and will be forgotten soon, while others were absolutely amazing and unforgettable. DIVE!! can’t be located to one or the other side, but it surely makes it right in the middle. Indeed, it can’t be defined passionate or intense since it misses meaningful moments, but it surely has many other great qualities which makes of it one of the most viewed latest anime for a reason. And that reason is that, after all, we all are a little of bit of Tomoki – confused and lost in front of a hard choice to make, but determined when we understand what is good for us to do.
Probably, if you got here you have watched DIVE!!, but what is your opinion about it? Was it love or was it hate? Let us know with a comment!