Tsuritama

illegenes: We’ve all seen sports anime at one point or another. There’s the infamous Prince of Tennis, Slam Dunk, Air Gear, Eyeshield 21…to this year’s Kuroko no Basket. Tsuritama takes the first steps in becoming something different by focusing on a different sort of sport- fishing.

Or so we’re led to think. Tsuritama revolves around the life of Yuuki, a socially anxious boy who’s just transfered with his hip(ster dressing) grandma to Enoshima. It’s here where his life will completely change around, with the help of a fishing prince, and Indian spy  and an alien. Doesn’t that sound like a chockful? Except, fishing isn’t really the heart of this show. It’s the characters themselves. And boy, does this show do amazing character development. It’s done in a way where it’s not too obvious, but you can definitely go back and point out things that have changed over time. The characters each have their own personal issues that somehow tie back to the audience. Everyone struggles with a certain expectation- held by themselves or others, and the first half of the show does a fantastic job of portraying these characters as human beings- not just 2D characters. You really feel for them and the things they have to deal with. But their interactions with one another is what really makes Tsuritama shine. They open each other up and make each other confident, and it’s a wonderful thing to see.

So while the first half does a fantastic- if not one of the best- progression of character development I’ve seen, the second half focuses on the the plot aspect of the show. It’s here where we do get a more rocky ride. The plot is relatively simple and easy to understand, but the execution of it is a bit sloppy. Some parts are stretched way too long and thus become unneeded in a show like this, and some parts are slightly rushed (the ending). Thematically speaking, it does tie up, but there are still some questions left unanswered and it’s because the show did such a good job of pacing the characters in the first half that you’re left wondering where the energy went in the last couple of episodes, since it feels misdirected.

Tsuritama nevertheless is a colorful, bright show that definitely will put a smile on anyone’s face. If you want something light, delightful, and fun, I’d check this one out- you won’t want to miss it.

gallifreyians: Tsuritama is roughly broken up into two “arcs”: the character development arc that spans from episodes one to eight and the plot arc that spans episodes nine to twelve. They perfectly describe the events of each arc; episodes one to eight are very episodic and cover the development of the main characters with an emphasis placed on Yuki, and episodes nine to twelve are highly serialized and cover the plot of the story that was briefly introduced in episode one. This is actually a sharp contrast as all of the action-y sequences take place in a a very short amount of time that is deprived of the all important character development, which supplies the majority of the emotional core of the show. Without the emotional core really being able to show itself during the last four episodes and help heighten the impact of the events of those episodes, the finale and it’s penultimate episodes come across as hollow and without meaning. Likewise the presence of all of the “action” in the last four episodes deprives the first eight a sense of direction and can leave the audience feeling lost; eight episodes is a very long time for a one cour show to let the plot lie and so when the plot resurfaces the audience will be unfamiliar with the details.

The separation of all of the character development from the plot lends a feeling of disjointedness to this series; due to the stark differences in overall construction of the two “arcs” it feels as if the audience is going from Natsume Yuujinchou (episodic plots, high levels of subtle character development) to Naruto (highly serialized plot with big actions sequences, sparse to non-existant character development). That being said I did like and enjoy the individual parts of the show’s construction, I simply feel that when they come together that there is a definite gap that the writers did not manage to close. The gap is the largest flaw the show has and really brings it down. Tsuritama should’ve worked harder on integrating the plot into the rest of Yuki’s character arc, because it could’ve been the perfect feel-good, spring time-y show.

And other than that the show shines, honestly. I wouldn’t even call it a “sports anime” because that is not the focus of the show at all. Unlike sports anime, which focuses on the competition and performance of sports, Tsuritama focuses in on it’s characters. No, Tsuritama is all about it characters and, in fact, couldn’t care less about fishing, and thus the sport only exists peripherally as a narrative device to bring together it’s characters. Characters that are treated wonderfully and developed beautifully, despite this being a so-called “dudefest”. Nowhere are our main characters (Yuki, Haru, Natsuki, and Akira) mistreated by the writing, nor are they ignored, nor are they cheated. Each of them has their own personal arc and journey that the show covers well: for Yuki it was his journey out of social isolation, for Haru it was his inadvertent quest to become more human, for Natsuki it was his acceptance of his identity as “The Fishing Prince” and the reconciliation between him and his father, and for Akira it was also his development out of social isolation and into a more gregarious person. That is such an impressive feat for a one cour show to have cover, because that’s only twelve episodes. An unbelievable amount of character development and growth was fit into such a short span of time that I have to give major kudos to the people over at A-1 Pictures. Not even Lupin The Third: Mine Fujiko to iu Onna, Natasha and I’s favorite show of the Spring ’12 season, covered this much.

Tsuritama was unbelievably well done and enjoyable – especially considering it came from the same studio who gave us the horrible anime adaptation of Ao no Exorcist last year – not to mention it was positively the most colorful. Overall I would give this show a personal A-.

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2 responses to “Tsuritama

  1. A nice review you’ve done here. However, the setting is not Okinawa – it’s Enoshima, an offshore island of Fujisawa, which is a part of the Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan. ;)

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