I’d heard of Tsuritama before and always thought, “wow, this looks pretty!” yet I never got round to watching it. So, with little knowledge or expectation, I put the DVD in and was on my way.
A-1 Pictures were in charge of animating it, hence why it looks so damn gorgeous; they’re the studio behind Persona 4 Golden Animation, Sword Art Online, Birdy the Mighty: Decode and many others, so yeah, they’re not adverse to producing eye-watering goodness and hugely popular shows; I’d argue that Tsuritama is their most beautiful work yet! Tsuritama has a heavy focus on water with fishing being central to the plot, and Yuki Sanada, the main character of the story, is prone to panicking and this is symbolised by him drowning and struggling for air; another problem he faces is that he looks very angry whilst panicked, causing people to steer clear from him.
The first episode tells me that it’s going to be a mostly light-hearted affair revolving around the friendship of the four main characters, four boys with different backgrounds who come together through their love of fishing. It’s heartwarming to watch and I fully understand that the plot doesn’t sound too great, what with four boys fishing but one of them is an alien and they work to save the world by fishing another stranded alien, before that alien takes control of the Earth by forcing people to do the Enoshima Dance – yeah, it doesn’t sound amazing, but it really, truly is an outstanding show.
The four highschool-aged students, Yuki, Haru, Natsuki and Akira, all have their own problems to deal with other than the alien threat. Yuki’s grandmother is ill and he has trouble socialising, Haru is an alien who’s trying to understand humans and save them from another alien, Natsuki’s father has fallen in love with another woman after his mother passed away and he’s struggling to accept it, and the stoic Akira, with his duck Tapioca, is keeping tabs on Haru as part of his work as an undercover agent with DUCK, an organisation who wishes to keep peace in the world.
I can’t stress enough that even though it might sound far-fetched and silly, the characters and their relationships are relatable and realistic – you can’t help but feel for these characters and hope for the best for them. Watching them come together through a love of fishing tugged on my heartstrings, especially when Yuki mentions that he’d want to be fishing with his friends even if the world were ending, but I’m a sucker for a well-written friendship and Tsuritama is up there with the best of them.
Although the focus is on the four boys, their joined by a strong supporting cast who get their time in the spotlight including Yuki’s grandmother Kate, and Haru’s equally stranger little sister Coco. Ayumi is a boat captain who vows to make Yuki a friends ‘men of the sea’ and trains them vigorously in the ways of the ocean. One character I loved but didn’t get much screentime was Erika, a classmate of Yuki, who clearly shows an interest in him but he sweats buckets when someone as forward as her greets him; she’s one of my favourite characters as her presence had an impact on me, especially her subtle effect on Yuki, and I’d have loved to have seen more of her.
With the theme of fishing running deep, it only makes sense that there’s plenty of water in the show and A-1 Pictures delivers – the show is an absolute feast for the eyes and would be the perfect Summer show; I can’t get over how beautiful it is. The character design, environments and general tone of the show shines brightly through the animation and it kept a smile plastered on my face; the show itself looks happy and that cheeriness is infectious. You might not want to get me started on how much I love the OP because it excels in both song and visuals – I’m a sucker for OP’s with the main characters dancing, and once again, you can’t help but want to watch it a couple dozen times, so get started now by watching it here! Yeah, I only watched it a couple dozen times, heh. Heh heh heh. The ED is also pleasing on the senses with the ED being great to relax with.
With both English and Japanese voice-overs available, I opted for English like I usually do; I did check the Japanese voice-over out and can confirm that there’s nothing wrong with it, but I felt that the English voice-actors and actress did an outstanding job. The voices are youthful and capture the innocence of the cast but when the going gets tough, the VA’s step up and deliver some powerful performances; their voices aren’t be to outdone by the equal excellence of the OST, composed by Japanese group Kuricorder Quartet.
Kuricorder Quartet clearly loved what they were doing for Tsuritama, providing an OST brimming with the perfect accompaniment to the show. Tsuritama is endlessly happy, optimistic and sprinkled with oddness due to Haru being an oddity himself, and Kuricorder Quartet have matched the overall tone to a tee; the relaxing tunes that go hand in hand with the peaceful, carefree setting of Shonan, Enoshima couldn’t fit any better than they already do. The ambiance and sound effects create their own brand of music with its crashing waves, wildlife and perky voices.
If it wasn’t made clear, Tsuritama quickly shot into my top ten favourite anime shows and I’m already eager to watch it again. It’s entirely original and isn’t based on any source material, so the only downside is that the only way I can get more Tsuritama is by re-watching it – fortunately, this is in no way a bad thing! Tsuritama portrays realistic and sweet friendships, emotional scenes that I could personally relate to but will find a home with anybody, and a catchy OST that wraps the entire package with a neat, little bow. If you can look past how incredibly silly it sounds, then I promise you’re in for a treat that will stay with you.
“I always had friends by my side. And I even surprised myself, by how loudly I could laugh.”
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