©坂本拓/集英社・チーム青山

What would you do if you had a disability that made it mentally straining for you to do the one thing you love? That’s what clean-freak Aoyama has to deal with every day as he plays soccer in the new anime Cleanliness Boy! Aoyama kun.

Cleanliness Boy! Aoyama kun (Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun) revolves around Aoyama (first name not given), a high school student on the soccer team. While his teammates will do anything for victory, including sliding in the dirt, Aoyama is never seen with a speck of mud on his jersey or shoes. During practice, this handsome player can often be found at the sink spending a large amount of time meticulously scrubbing hands while hordes of fangirls swoon over him. When his sweaty teammates attempt to hug him after a victory, he avoids them swiftly like they have the plague. Even when his captain offers him a water bottle to rehydrate, he refuses—the water bottle has to be sanitized before he can even consider drinking out of it.

The captain of the team, Kaoru Zaizen (seen top left in the visual above), doesn’t like Aoyama at all. Why? Because he wants players that are fully dedicated to the sport. Aoyama is the kind of guy who will sacrifice plays in order to avoid getting his shoes dirty, after all. Much to his chagrin, Aoyama is a great player despite his handicap, skillfully maneuvering around the field not only in order to evade dirt but also to score goals. Moving out of dirt’s way is an art to him. But that doesn’t mean his handicap doesn’t impede the team. When it rains, for example, he’s almost fully out of commission, not wanting to muddy his legs.

Aoyama, as a character, is absolutely adorable. Watching him avoid getting dirty and sanitizing soccer equipment as a stylized super-deformed character is too cute for words. In order to clean his own classroom to perfection, he will tucker himself out before even starting practice. It’s not the lines of dialogue that make Aoyama so cute to watch; after all, he barely says anything. It’s his movements that make him such a delight to watch, making anime the perfect medium to get to know him in.

©坂本拓/集英社・チーム青山

What makes Aoyama most appealing as a character, however, is realizing that, despite this (somewhat irrational) fear of filth, he is still willing to sacrifice himself in order to help his team. Whether it’s scrubbing each and every soccer ball with a brush late into the night to make sure they’re ready for the next practice or getting himself dirty in the last five minutes to make the goal to win the game. Aoyama’s fear might be more of an illness, but he does his best to overcome it because of his love of the game and his teammates.

With a large cast of characters, including a group of “three stooges,” a girl in love with Aoyama whose hobby is “lock-picking,” and a rival soccer player with bulging muscles who isn’t afraid to show them any chance he gets, I look forward to see how the nonchalant Aoyama will interact with them and find even more ways to avoid getting dirt on his clothing.

Cleanliness Boy! Aoyama kun will premiere in Japan on July 2. No streaming has currently been announced.

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