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Tsuritama – 02

April 21, 2012

So I finally picked something to blog this season.  Tsuritama piqued my interest at preview, and these first two episodes have been a lot of fun, plus it’s been a while since I wrote about a more comedic show and I really needed something lighter after covering Infinite Ryvius!

Anyway, this second episode introduces Haru’s sister Coco, gives us more of an insight into Yuki & Natsuki, and tells us that fishing is a whole lot of serious business.

First things first though – that OP (“Tsurezure Monochrome” by FUJIFABRIC).  It is a work of genius – THE DANCING!  Don’t think I’ll be skipping this at all for the rest of the season.

Originally I wasn’t too sure if Haru was actually an alien like he claimed, or if he was just a strange annoying little boy with a water-gun filled with drugs.  In this episode I find myself leaning more towards the alien explanation due to his actions and the actions of his sister, Coco.  Both are quite clearly eccentric and could be just written off as weirdoes with access to mind-controlling drugs, but watching Haru’s behaviour in this episode makes me think otherwise.  Haru is shown to be frightened of animals in this episode – he shies away from a cat and also freaks when Turban-kun brings his duck into the classroom, and there’s also his strange reaction to Yuki’s granny’s little coughing fit.  Generally when characters in anime have a little cough it is a sign of some deadly illness that will strike them down at some stage in the future – most characters seem to know this too and generally panic whenever someone starts coughing.  However Haru doesn’t, rather he imitates and asks what the cough actually means – even if Haru was an eccentric and sheltered child, he should understand basic ailments.

Coco is a whole different level of odd.  In one way she is much more together than the hyperactive and curious Haru, appearing much calmer and thus threatening than her brother and yet she still defers to his judgment.  The strangeness of her character design really sets her apart from the other characters (that Trapeze hair!) as does her strange accent (why doesn’t Haru also speak that way?) and love of random high places.  While Haru settles for pestering and whining at Yuki to make him fish, Coco uses threats instead, this adds a layer of tension to the whole thing.  Just why is it so important that Yuki fish?  Why not Natsuki who actually has a talent for it?  The ominous foreshadowing in the narration at the end of each episode seems to suggest that there is much more going on in this series than you’d initially think.

Yuki became a much more interesting character in this episode.  His running inner monologue does a really good job at fleshing him out, but at the same time you can see why other characters, like Natsuki, think he’s a complete creeper.  At the heart of it Yuki is just chronically shy, but he’s not socially retarded.  Yuki knows what he should be doing and saying, but actually getting the words out is a massive struggle for him – the gurning he does when stressed is bizarre to look at, but I can see how it’s just a more exaggerated expression of normal reactions.  I know that when I get very nervous or stressed I have a tendency to turn luminous red and break out in a cold sweat –  I don’t do the facial contortion thing though thankfully!

Yuki shows himself to be pretty determined when he decides on something.  He enjoys the rush fishing gives him – successfully hooking a fish and concentrating on that, pulls him out of the smothered, stressed feeling he usually encounters when the centre of attention, and he latches onto that feeling.  In his determination to actually give fishing a proper chance, he spends ages trying to get the basic step of tying a uni-knot right.  If he can’t get this first step right, he doesn’t feel like he has the right to ask Natsuki to teach him any more – I found Yuki’s sincerity quite touching in its clumsiness.

Getting more details about Natsuki’s home life was interesting too.  It seems like his mother has recently died and his father has started dating a younger woman.  It’s clear that Natsuki does not approve, and his father’s attempts to engage him in a teasing conversation in an attempt to lighten the mood were just soooo awkward – I was actually squirming and felt really sorry for the little sister looking on.  Natsuki is a very serious, responsible individual and he really does not like anything upsetting his routine, and he also does not appreciate people making light of anything that he takes seriously.  It’s clear that he is willing to teach the basics of fishing to Yuki & Haru if they are actually serious about learning, but he takes Yuki’s apparent disdain (which was actually desperation) for the sport as a personal slight.

It will be interesting to see if Natsuki’s lighter personality (so far only seen in front of his little sister) comes to the fore a bit more once he gets to know Yuki & Haru a bit better.  Natsuki did crack a brief smile when he saw Yuki’s determination for himself at the end of the episode, but Natsuki is also acutely conscious of his standing in others eyes and will not want to be associated with the resident weirdoes of the class.

Speaking of weirdoes – Turban-kun & his duck crack me up.  He has had barely any lines and only makes a handful of appearances, but already Akira Agarkar Yamada and Tapioca the duck are firm favourites.  Just seeing Turban-kun pop out of the sand fully dressed in a suit with duck in hand killed me – I had to pause the episode to get my giggling under control the first time round.  And then randomly appearing as yet another transfer student and causally announcing that he’s 25 years old?  Brilliant.  I really can’t wait to discover just what Akira is all about, so far all that’s clear is that he is interested in whatever it is Haru & Coco are up to, but what his actual motives are are a mystery (as is the ever present duck).

Tsuritama is shaping up to be a very fun show, I’m particularly loving the vibrant colour palate and interesting visual metaphors used in the show, looking forward to finding out more about these colourful characters!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2012 9:01 pm

    Great post, I felt pretty much the same way about all the characters. Each one of them is so unique, easy to like, and easy to relate to. And as the series goes along, I imagine we’ll get a little more depth to each of them, especially in the ways they’ll interact with one another. There’s a great atmosphere to this show, and it feels refreshingly positive, compared to your average work of fiction. It leaves me with a good feeling, at least. :>

    • April 21, 2012 10:28 pm

      The interesting thing about Tsuritama is that the concept isn’t all that original (hell Sakamichi no Apollon has the exact same basic concept in the same timeslot), but the way it’s presented is vibrant and interesting to watch. The quirky characters are nicely tempered with believable dialogue and reactions – its very competently written & directed.

      Definitely one of the best shows in this season (and there is a lot of competition!).

  2. Alex Landar permalink
    April 22, 2012 6:51 am

    you would think that turban-kun is the actual protagonist with the image representing the anime! I thought he was!

  3. April 22, 2012 10:06 am

    I hadn’t even made the connection to the Trapeze hair. I knew it looked familiar. Of course it would be another Nakamura anime

    • April 22, 2012 1:01 pm

      Yeah that was something I noticed immediately, and the patterns used are all very Nakamura – Haru’s waistcoat has the polka-dot element covered too. Nakamura seems to love his bright eyecatching colours & bold patterns!

  4. April 23, 2012 3:07 am

    I wasn’t really sure if I was going to enjoy watching Tsuritama at first glance, but after sitting through these first two episodes I am hooked! Yes pun intended wuahahaa…anyway Turban-kun and his magical duck are awesome! I really hope we learn all kind of odd things about his background. I wonder if he is there to recruit Yuki for his “alien” faction? Haru did not like that duck after all and then you have his sister, Coco who screams all kind of weird, but I always like the weird characters.

    Yeaaaah DIE-O-RAAMAAA! That whole scene with Natsuki’s father was so strange and I agree I felt bad for the little sister during that part…I wonder how Natsuki’s mother died? And then you have the coughing scene with Yuki’s grandma! NOOOOOOO!!

    Great series so far filled with bright colors and odd ball characters and a amazing opening xD

    • April 24, 2012 6:56 pm

      I hope Turban-kun has a suitably quackers backstory (oh the puns) – there’s no way he can’t have bizarre motivations for following Haru about.

      Yuki’s Granny is clearly going to end up in a hospital bed the the Anime Cough of Doom sooner rather than later – unfortunately.

  5. April 23, 2012 9:46 am

    I wasnt entirely sure about this anime at first, but after watching these first two episodes im fascinated. The animation style is brilliant, surreal in places, and magical in others, and I especially like the whole nearly drowning motif, it is a nice way of showing the problems that Yuki has when dealing with other people.

    • April 24, 2012 6:58 pm

      It was the visual metaphor of Yuki drowning that got me interested in the show – it really is an excellent way to show just how bad Yuki’s social anxiety is, that he almost drowns in the imagined weight of people’s expectations – fascinating.

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