The Calm Before the Storm; Tsuritama Episode 9

If you had any notion that Tsuritama couldn’t get serious with its story, well, you were just proved wrong.

I admit, when last week the show had taken a turn and basically held up a sign saying “We’re moving onto the plot now!” I was a bit afraid, because all that character development, just shoved down and out of the side for this? I’m more of a fan for blending elements rather than categorizing and separating them. This episode however, reassured me that Tsuritama knows what it’s doing- and it’s doing a great job.

Each main character in this show has gotten his respective development, and now it’s Haru’s turn. Things turn tragic as Haru realizes that the time is growing close for the Dragon (or whatever his alien brother is called) to really threaten the world with the storm coming. As he and Koko try to distract the Dragon and pull it away from Enoshima’s shores, Koko sacrifices herself to keep Haru from also being consumed- and it more than anything, finally hits Haru right in the “kokoro”. Struck by fear and shock, Haru runs around town, commanding everyone with his water gun to leave Enoshima and “never come back!” This of course is paired up with Duck organization finally reasserting its grounds and also evacuating Enoshima. There’s a bit of comedy here and there, namely the fact that the Duck organization members are wearing bright yellow squeaky rabbit-looking suits and end up ‘drying’ every contaminated citizen with a wonky hair dryer. Panic is definitely in the air but it’s good to know that at the roots, Tsuritama is still heartwarming and slightly goofy with these added ideas.

Things get very emotional indeed though, when Yuki, who is bent on finding Haru, sees Keito unconscious on the floor and is shocked to see Haru- kind, gentle Haru- holding the very gun Yuki had told him not to use continuously throughout the show. Haru turns and says “I hate you!”- words that really hit me in the gut as I’ve come to realize how much I really have cared for these characters throughout the show. They’re accessible, they’re fun, but most of all, they’re very human, hitting points that have affected us all at one point or another. Haru forces Yuki and Keito with his gun to get out of Enoshima, which leaves Yuki distraught and very confused over his relationship with Haru in the first place. And he’s not the only one- Natsuki, forced to flee with his family, is also confronting his confusion at what’s going on in the first place. Akira on the other hand, decides to act first- he tricks his Duck teammates (who have now turned on him and have captured him) with Indian Chai and tries to locate Haru to better understand the situation. Even more surprising, after seeing Haru and confronting him, Akira goes and agrees to still help him out and save Enoshima, finally realizing that his feelings stem from friendship- and acknowledging it, as a loud Tapioca squawks at the phone and thus dismisses Akira from any sort of Duck connection whatsoever.

What I liked most about this episode was when Yuki talks to a very calm Keito and asks her why she brought Haru to their house in the first place. Keito has been unusually complacent when it comes to recent events (being interrogated, being trapped in her own house and then being mindwashed by Haru) but if anything, that doesn’t show a lack of character strength but rather reinforces it and her maturity. Keito tells Yuki that she decided to take Haru in as an agreement so that he would become friends with Yuki, but also because he was a “flower” and she could not bear to see flowers ‘wilt’. While in one way this may be cheesy dialogue for some, to me it showed that Keito is not just kind, but extremely caring- after all, she has been a parental figure to Yuki (both maternal and paternal though I wish we’d know what happened to Yuki’s parents) so Yuki’s needs come first to her. Yuki seems to understand this too and finally matures to empathize with Haru’s condition. It’s a large step from the Yuki we saw in Episode 1; a person who could let alone sympathize with others if not even talk to them. Empathy is the basis for friendship but also growth as a human being; in empathizing we not only sympathize with one’s plight but also put ourselves in their shoes. Yuki resolves to go back to find Haru to help him out but to also better understand what’s going on.

With our heroes coming back together, more determined than ever, our show is coming to a close. The only hurdle they face is actually getting together as a team to fish one last time- a bigger fish than any one of them has ever caught. Will the show be able to still satisfy us with a good climax and a good conclusion? We can only hope so- Tsuritama has turned out to be a pleasant surprise for this season and I’d like it to stay that way.

Enjoyment Level: 10/10

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