Tropes. Anime revels in ’em. And the trope that might “serve” fans most is the beloved/dreaded Beach Episode. Doesn’t matter if our big-eyed heroes are locked in a life-or-death struggle with rival trainers, intergalactic despots, or unspeakably evil monstrosities from another dimension–there’s always time for a break. Story arcs are paused. Bathing suits are donned. Sand castles are built. Watermelons are smashed (for some reason). Fun ensues? If you’ve puzzled over how the otaku lifestyle could ever be taken to the beach, here are a handful of moments to take inspiration from.
Pokemon — “Beauty and the Beach”
Banned in America! Well, “banned” is too strong a word, maybe. The translators simply didn’t air this episode. It’s a wee risque. But, wait–what could be so sexy about Ash, Misty, and Brock working summer jobs at a resort in Acapulco to repay an old man whose cruiser they broke? It’s that dastardly Team Rocket’s fault, actually. Their bid to rig a beauty contest goes overboard when James cross-dresses, stuffing his bikini with triple-D inflatable boobs that immediately bump this from TV-Y to TV-14.
My Love Story — “My Ocean””
Why does anybody wear a bikini or speedo? It’s not about comfort, or the weather. Let’s be real. We want to check other beachgoers out, and be checked out in return. The struggle to keep intentions pure plays out to hilarious effect here as Rinko brings her BF Takeo to the shore with a bunch of friends. He’s trying to be a gentleman, but she bought a new swimsuit specifically to get him leering; and there are a few comic misunderstandings still left to go before they can get to sharing a romantic sunset view together.
Welcome to the NHK — “Welcome to the Offline Meeting”
The general thought is that any activity “IRL” should be healthier than one conducted with digital proxies. Social outcasts Tatsuhiro and Hitomi follow their internet group to a beach island with that notion in mind. They expect some fun, sun, and all the good stuff you’d imagine at a play date. Only it turns out the group’s outing is part of a big suicide pact, and so begins a multi-part arc wherein our leads try to reunite these troubled souls with the loved ones who care for them. All’s well that ends well?
Excel Saga — “Increase Ratings Week”
Hey, at least this show’s upfront about its intentions! If only Excel herself knew what to expect going in, though. Our heroine just can’t catch a break at this day by the pool. All her pals get stylish swimsuits, while she’s stuck with a boring, frumpy hand-me-down. And then this mysterious new friend “Cosette” seems to be conspiring to get her bloated and lethargic with a steady supply of strange-but-still-tantalizing grub. Actually, that part’s all Excel’s fault. She should know never to eat around swim-time.
Dragon Ball Z — “Krillin’s Proposal”
When the Z-Fighters are called to celebrate the great Turtle’s 100th birthday at Master Roshi’s beachfront property, Krillin wrestles with whether he should pop the question to his GF, Maron. Is he even worthy of her? The Turtle suggests he retrieve the precious “Mermaid’s Tear” to prove his love. So, Krillin and Gohan put on some scuba gear for an undersea treasure, only to resurface for a tough lesson about honesty in relationships.
Neon Genesis Evangelion — “End of Evangelion”
After more than two dozen episodes of Apocalyptic angst, don’t Shinji and Asuka deserve a little R&R? Of course, this is a beachfront holiday devised by demented genius, Hideaki Anno, so the surf’s choked with blood, and the sand is be-spotted with crucified giants. Also, there may be a surprise pregnancy announcement. Maybe. It depends on the translations, and how… optimistically you view things.
Have we missed some much-better ocean-side scenes? Have these picks scared you away from the shore forever? Hit the talkback with thoughts/fears/concerns.
Image Credits: Sentai Filmworks, FUNimaton
Featured Image Credit:FUNimaton