Dive 1×03 & 1×04 Review: “Enter Shibuki” & “The Strong Men”
After a rather mediocre premiere, Dive is starting to get better and better with every episode. “Enter Shibuki” and “The Strong Men” introduced some new dynamic characters and managed to develop the current mains.
One of my early criticisms of Dive is that the main characters were all rather blah and forgettable. The farther along we get in the plot, the less this is true, as both “Enter Shibuki” and “The Strong Men” fleshed out our main characters’ motivations.
Tomoki’s relationship with Miu is still confusing (does he like her the way that she likes him? does he even want to be dating her?) but I think their picnic in “Enter Shibuki” did a good job of proving how out of sync they are. She did a survey of his favorite foods and then made him a bento to cheer him up, and he didn’t seem very enthusiastic about the idea. But then, she didn’t seem to take into account that he might have a special diet for diving, which seems to show that she doesn’t really know that much about it. She was very eager to express her admiration for his dedication to the sport, though.
Unfortunately, that dedication is starting to affect Tomoki’s other relationships. We saw in “Concentration Dragon” that his friendships outside the diving club suffered because of all the time he was devoting to training. In “Enter Shibuki”, the cracks in his diving club friendships start to show, splintering until they finally break in “The Strong Men”. Ryou and Reiji are jealous of the attention that Tomoki is getting from the coach, and they blame him for what they view as special treatment.
There is a valid point in Ryou’s rant in “The Strong Men” about how sometimes effort only takes you so far, and natural talent is what makes the difference. Of course, Ryou and Reiji have barely put in any effort. They scoffed at Tomoki’s individual training until they realized he was getting results, and now they want the same. But they asked Kayoko to teach them the same dive that Tomoki was learning, instead of asking for a dive that was better suited to their strengths. To me, that shows that they don’t necessarily want to get better, they just don’t want to be left behind.
But the best part of these two episodes are the various new characters that are introduced. We have Pinky and his inexplicable rivalry with Youichi (which resulted in a rather hilarious montage of all the ways he’s lost), poor, forgettable Matsuno (who is voiced by Kensho Ono, which makes it even funnier), bold Jirou, flamboyant Tsuji, and master of mystery Shibuki himself. Bringing in these new characters, even for a brief moment, helped to inject some life into our rather lackluster main characters.
Not only has introducing these new characters made the show a little less blah, this will now give the inevitable upcoming competitions a little more weight, as we know and have bonded with the competitors.
I’m definitely feeling more invested in this show than I was after the first two episodes.
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from THE Ohio State University. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, and conventions in the NYC area.
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