Tsuritama is the second spring show that I have finished out of the spring line-up, and the first show that I have finished that I had kept up with weekly(…well except for the last episode, hence the terribly late final thoughts post (sorry guys ><)). I found myself pleasantly surprised this little show about fishing. I was expecting it to be a pretty typical slice of life full of friendship building and fishing (I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the whole saving the planet thing)…and to an extent, that’s what Tsuritama is. Tsuritama is really a show where a guy named Yuki is being forced to learn how to fish by this strange guy Haru who randomly moved in with him one day, and the story is Yuki’s experiences as he learns how to fish, grows some self-confidence, and makes some unforgettable friends. Oh, and did I mention that he actually ends up having to save the world? Although, I felt the ending was a bit anticlimactic, but it was sweet and a nice wrap up to a show that was really about friendship and learning to have confidence in oneself.
Tsuritama is a show with a lot of heart. It isn’t, by far, the most complex show or the most deep, and all of its lessons are pretty easy to see and simple. But, it is a really sweet show that isn’t aiming to be terribly deep or compliclated. It’s really just about a bunch of guys who go fishing together and become friends, with the whole saving the world aspect not really coming into play until the last few episodes, and those last episodes are so great because so much time was spent on build-up throughout the show. That being said, this show is pretty slow paced and focuses a lot on the characters and the actual sport of fishing. This is something that I was actually kind of surprised about when watching the show, although I suppose I really shouldn’t have been considering this show is about fishing. Tsuritama actually does pay a great of attention to the sport of fishing. As Natsuki teaches Yuki how to fish, he is giving each and every one of us a mini lesson on fishing. And it’s not just the actual explanations of fishing, the fishing equipment is pretty detailed and you can tell that a lot of effort was put into making sure it looked good. Speaking of the animation. One of the really interesting things about Tsuritama is it’s animation style. It’s not terribly detailed, but it has a uniqueness to it that is…hard to describe. I suppose if I were to describe it, I would say that it’s a happy animation style. There are a lot bright, happy colors with a lot of not overly complicated designs. While the animation does have its hiccups every now and then, for the most part, it was done pretty nicely and the characters had a lot of energy and life. I really liked the music for this show too. I think that it’s really well suited for a show about fishing because it feels like fishing music. The music also fits the generally happy, peppy mood of the show.
As for the characters, they were a pretty enjoyable bunch. They interacted really well together and their friendship was great in that, even when they weren’t having the greatest moment, it was obvious that they all care about each other and try to support each other. The main cast of the show includes Yuki, Haru, Natsuki, and Akira. All four go through some growth as the series goes on, but the ones who probably made the biggest changes were Yuki and Natsuki. Yuki starts off the show as a relatively shy guy who has problems interacting with others because when he becomes nervous or afraid makes a horrible face that looks like, to others, that he is angry. Because of this, he has trouble making friends and fitting in in general. That all changes when his grandma decides to let Haru into their home and he declares himself Yuki’s friend. The biggest and most helpful change Haru brought into Yuki’s life is his introduction to fishing. Although Yuki wasn’t exactly learning to fish because he felt the inner desire to and was being forced to, he does eventually come to love fishing. Fishing as a surprisingly complicated and terribly precise sport, did not come easily to Yuki and it was interesting to see him struggle through the basics. Often, he would become frustrated, causing Natsuki become frustrated, but Yuki is a really stubborn person. Even after failing at a particular milestone and becoming frustrated and upset, he would eventually go back and work at it until he got it right. On interesting thing about Yuki was that when he didn’t know what to do, he would run through the events of the day and eventually learn what he needed to learn and do what he needed to do. Although, as the the series got into the middle episodes, Yuki didn’t become as frustrated when he wasn’t able to match and had a generally more positive attitude. By the end of the series, Yuki has learned to have confidence in his abilities and has grown more confident and happy. While Yuki’s growth as a character was pretty straightforward, Natsuki’s was more…complicated.
Natsuki starts off as the stoic guy who looks like he’s constantly brooding. After his his status as the fishing prince of Enoshima is found out, he is roped into helping Yuki and Haru learn how to fish. Because I suspect he didn’t really want to waste his time teaching amateurs, Natsuki was not wholly lenient when it came to his lessons and was easily frustrated by Yuki in particular. Most of the time he was frustrated with Yuki because he would appear to give up easily, but as he watched Yuki and saw him slowly make his way through each lesson, becomes more impressed with him. He is actually somewhat of a source of confidence and composure for Yuki and Haru as beginning fishers. He knows his stuff when it comes to fishing, and this really shines through when he is teaching Haru and Yuki the basics. He is always there to encourage Yuki, or chastise him, depending on which one he needs, throughout the series because he has confidence in Yuki’s abilities and wants him to know such. It actually doesn’t take him long to warm up to Haru and Yuki and become friends with them.
While Yuki’s problems revolved around himself, Natsuki’s almost always revolved around his family. Natsuki has a lot of issues when it comes to his dad, in particular. He is angry that his dad appears to have moved on from his mother so quickly and is angry that everyone has warmed up to her and accepted her so quickly. Natsuki actually provides for most of the drama in the series since he tends to clam up or blow up whenever he comes in contact with is dad. He does hold a particular love for his sister though, and she is the one who ultimately causes him to get over his issues, and helping him come to accept his father’s decisions and his family situation. He also comes to realize that he has an obligation to follow his own dreams that that he doesn’t have to feel like he has an obligation to stay in Enoshima.
Akira and Haru didn’t go through as much growth, they did get some development as characters. I actually didn’t care too much for Akira initially because I just thought he was an oddball that had a beef with Haru because he was an alien. As he popped up more and more though, I found myself strangely attracted to his odd manner. He starts out highly suspicious of Haru and determined that he is evil, but after spending large amounts of time around him and finding out Haru has no malicious intent, warms up to him and has a lot of faith in him. As for Haru, he was a sweetheart. He really was. Haru is that character who always has a smile slapped on his face and makes quick friends with almost everyone around him. He also has a really big heart and genuinely loves all of the people he knows. I think Haru’s major growth comes from his interactions with Yuki and his grandmother. Yuki’s grandma, let me tell you guys, is an amazing person. Seriously, she is super cool and who can’t love a person that takes in a random guy who claims to be an alien into her house on the condition that he’ll be her grandson’s friend. Early on, she was responsible for giving Haru some Earthly moral lessons and constantly reminded him that he had a place there and couldn’t forget that. As for Yuki, he was Haru’s first real Earth friend he taught Haru that he doesn’t have to bear the burden for getting rid of the alien by himself and that he can count on his friends for help.
While Tsuritama had a really nice main cast, it also had a nice group of side characters. None of them were really boring and each had their own quirks that made them fun to watch.
One part about Tsuirtama that I liked was how the show took on a more serious tone as the it neared its end. Throughout earlier episodes, there was a lot of foreshadowing about the upcoming event where they would save the world. The main conflict involved having to fish out one of Haru’s kind who was causing a condition called Bermuda Syndrome that causes a lot of problems for humans. Haru and his sister came to Earth intending to fish him out, but having no idea how to fish, have to rely on someone else to do the job for them, enter Yuki. There was this interesting legend floating around in Enoshima about a goddess and her companion who fished out a dragon and saved Enoshima. Sound familiar? As the show took on a more serious tone, the color palette changed from one with a lot of bright colors to a noticeably darker one. The last few episodes were really good and I thought they provided for a pretty exciting and interesting finale. One aspect of the finale that I liked, other than the whole bit where Yuki, Haru, Akira, and Natsuki went out to fish up the alien, was seeing Duck in a more serious light. Throughout the series, I thought they were a bit silly, and they did provide for some humor, even in the finale, but when it came time for them to get down to business they became a pretty serious group. I mean, these guys were prepared to use missle strikes on Haru’s alien, dubbed JFX, and even sacrifice some of their own people.
While I thought the finale was pretty good, espeically seeing Yuki and the others work so hard to fish up JFX, I did think that the aftermath was a little anticlimactic. I mean, the alien they fished up looked like he didn’t look threatening in the least, and I was expecting a little more out of Haru’s departure, but I supppose that his departure was very much in his style: happy. No one was particularly sad when he and Koko left, probably because there wasn’t really a reason to be sad. Sure there was no real guarantee that he would come back, but that wouldn’t change the fact that they were friends. Other than that, I thought that the overall wrap up was pretty neat. Everyone did end up going their separate ways, but they were all appeared happy in their respective places. The main reason I liked Tsuritama’s end is because it wasn’t overly dramatic and went back to what the show did a really good job at: simple and sweet.
Overall, I really enjoyed Tsuritama. It was a sweet show with an interesting animation style and characters who you can’t help but like.
Overall Score: 8/10