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Kaname Okimura, a student at Prefectoral Umineko Shougyou High (“Umisho” for short), is the captain of the school’s swim team in spite of his paralyzing fear of drowning. The club is a magnet for all kinds of oddball characters, including a new transfer student, Amuro Ninagawa. Amuro is the fastest swimmer the club has ever seen, but she’s a bit naive and frequently enjoys swimming in the nude to Okimura’s chagrin. She also strangely reminds him of a childhood seaside accident…
Umisho is everything you’d look for in a harem anime: heavy on fanservice, odd characters, and absurd humor. We’ve got Kaname, your typical harem main character, surrounded by a bevy of girls and the body parts they rub against him. This includes Amuro, the star swimmer who is blissfully innocent of her preference for swimming naked. There are a couple standouts from your typical harem anime stereotypes. Mirei is a shy, well-endowed female swimmer who has an odd appetite for the perverse things she gets put through at the hands of the boys on the swim team. Maki is the hyperactive underclassman, but there’s a running joke where she’s called “Makio” and a vaguely Super Mario Bros-esque theme plays while she’s around. (I’m hoping they take this further, even if they have to avoid overt references to the Nintendo franchise.)
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with it, I decided to pass on Umisho. I’ll admit I’m not a harem anime fan, but I was interested to see where they took the swim team premise and if they did anything interesting with it. It turns out to be simply a setting for fanservice, and the “What?? How does he have that much power?!” battles between the swimmers. The plot we see coming from a mile away, the animation is good, and I was happy with the voice acting. At the end of the day, it’s a harem anime, a pretty good one, but that’s what it is. (I’m sure Mike has a bit to add here, if he can put down Seto no Hanayome long enough and switch to another anime about swimming =) )
If this genre is your cup of tea, you should enjoy Umisho. There’s ten episodes out now, more than enough to make a decision on.