(gallifreyians: I completely forgot about this review, sorry I didn’t get to reviewing this episode and posted Natasha’s so late!)
illegenes: With six episodes- over half of the show- devoted to stunning character development, Tsuritama decides to take a step back and let the plot come forward, with some revealing points and interesting surprises. It’s only after this episode though that you realize that the writers really know what they’re doing. Not that I doubted Kenji Nakamura, because he is an excellent director as seen in his creation [C] and Mononoke, in which the former only had one fault- the episode count. Kenji has no doubt learnt from his mistakes with this show, because now that we have our characters set and making excellent progression, we can take a serious turn and go into the plot.
And it’s one heck of an interesting plot! Yuki, Haru and Natsuki team up with the infamous Akira, who of course takes them to the forbidden spot after being explicitly told not to. (Boys will be boys, they say.) As it turns out, something-whether it be the dragon god as referenced in the first episode or some gigantic fish- lives there indeed, and possesses poor Haru who turns into a crazy freak and starts spraying everyone with his mind control water. Luckily, Akira shows some of his more….human colors and saves the day. It’s a nice look into his character which has taken a seat for the first half of this show. We get an insight into his frustration with his bosses, who restrict his movements when he is a man of action and not of words. I feel like this, more than anything, will lead him to become (eventually) friends with our trio, as foreshadowed in the opening itself. More than that though, Akira’s nature is much more complex than just grudging frustration toward everyone. His enthusiasm for fishing for example, demonstrates that Akira seems to not only be a person of passion, but also, like everyone else on board (pun intended) has social anxieties of his own. In the last episode, Tapioca quacks at Akira and he answers that he “doesn’t need friends.” This statement seems to be much more than what Akira lets on as he’s determined to follow the three everywhere they go- and while that’s part of his job, there’s no doubt that somwhere in the back of his mind, Akira is uncomfortable with such powerful relationships. He holds the three in both contempt and admiration, and it is for that reason that he really can’t stop following them. Likewise with fishing, Akira is a man of control- he rebels against his bosses, determined to steer the boat, determined to find the truth out for himself. Fishing gives him that sort of pleasure, just like it gives our three main characters the means to express themselves and enjoy themselves without being judged. Fishing is an art, an expression itself- from the way the bait is thrown, to the way you reel it in- every part has a meaning and is essential to the entire process. It’s hard work, but it’s fun- and you’re in control. Akira seems to enjoy this as much as the others- and as such, fishing will be their bond, and Akira will join the group.
However, what struck me as the most interesting aspect in this show was the bonds of family but also the relationship of the person steering the boat and the fishermen. I really enjoyed that part; the concept of teammwork in fishing- a primarily individual hobby- is something I didn’t expect to see (which is ironic, considering that fishing is what joins Haru, Yuki and Natsuki together). I think it’s also more of a metaphor dealing with Akira’s future relationship or ties with the group. He may not become their best friend yet, but he’ll help them out in a more indirect way- steering them toward their course, rather than actively participating in it (though his enthusiasm for fishing might suggest otherwise.) Saving the predictions for later though, the most emotional part of this episode was when Ayumi slapped all of the three together and then hugged them. It’s very parental- Ayumi obviously takes the blame, but the fact that he would go so far as to slap them not only enforces the fact that he’s embraced them as family, but isn’t afraid to express his feelings- both positively and negatively. Most importantly, for a show like Tsuritama where cheer, joy and happiness is found in every pixel and color, a slap definitely brings the edge that this show needs. Despite that however, the slap itself isn’t forced, but seems natural in its surprise and a way to briefly strengthen, and then break the tension. As seen with the ending, our entire cast celebrates together under one roof when Keito comes back from the hospital. Family bonds are an important theme in this show, not just friendship. Fishing bonds us together, even when it’s an individual sport, and it allows us to eat under one house- to express our gratitude and share our feelings, whether it be out of concern, or out of simple orders from an alien group- and that’s essentially what makes Tsuritama so heartwarming and colorful at the end of the day.