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Tsuritama – 10

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「俺たちのタックル」 (Oretachi no Takuru)
“Our Tackle”

This was probably the most upbeat episode of Tsuritama yet in a series brimming with endless positivity.

For the penultimate episode of the show, it did a really good job at hyping me all up for the finale. Starting from the standstill last week, nearly the entirety of the episode was devoted to building momentum with every passing minute. For Akira, Natsuki and the Enoshima gang, this was the escape from the evacuation center and the continued escalation of their plan to fish out JFX. I’d even single out Akira, who had mostly remained as the passive observer up until now, as the catalyst for much of this forward action, and the one person who probably contributed the most to getting the gang together. For Yuki, it was his quest to return back to Enoshima, which continued to build towards an emotional confrontation with Haru. What we’re seeing here is literally their tackle; the show takes the increasing momentum of the characters to have them smash through these obstacles in their way. (I never mentioned this in previous episodes, but I really loved how aptly named each episode of Tsuritama is.)

As characters kept pushing forward, the positivity so identifiable with Tsuritama felt more prevalent here than at any other point, seemingly perpetuated through every action. Even the consistently upbeat and lifting score here stood out greatly in contrast to the darker tones used in previous few episodes. It was as though everything happening on screen was getting a push on its back as characters continued to break down every literal and figurative barrier in their path. Throughout the episode, it feels as if the invisible bonds of camaraderie were pushing them onwards and cheering them on, and in cases like Natsuki, this translated onto the screen with the scene of Sakura giving him the bracelet made for their mother as a charm. In Yuki’s case, this also came in the form of an empathetic cab driver providing unexpected aid and encouragement. Haru’s change in his attitude seems to be a reflection of this as well, from pushing people away at his own expense so as to protect them, to tearfully embracing the companionship of his friends after the dramatic heart-to-heart with Yuki.

The pacing in the episode was brilliant in evoking this increasing sense of positivity and finality without ever feeling too rushed, but there was a disorientating jolt of inertia at the shocking cliffhanger. At the close of the episode, we see a DUCK battleship falling under JFX’s control and launching a wayward missile at the shop Ayumu was at, a twist that felt at odds with Tsuritama’s own sensibilities. While I’m of course hoping that Ayumu’s ultimate fate is a positive one, I didn’t feel that it was necessary for Tsuritama to have a development like this purely for its shock-value, especially when the emphasis in its storytelling has always been on predictable, but natural and nuanced reactions.

Despite that, Tsuritama continues to entertain with its brilliant mix of its wacky humor and the strong portrayal of emotions, with the Defensive Universal Confidential Keepers (Yes, we finally learn DUCK’s full name!) continuing to provide some of the best laughs in the series. You thought the Enoshima dance was funny enough already? Wait till you see a bunch of DUCK members do it in their bloated rubber suits! Once again, the humor, like Akira’s kung fu and grand theft auto antics or the poorly staged act by the Enoshima gang, doesn’t seem to detract from the emotional moments in the show, and Tsuritama weaves them together in glorious fashion. This really is Tsuritama’s charm, for it to retain its vividly positive tone even through the most dramatic of moments.

The finale, of course, does seem to be headed in the direction I’d expect it to, with Haru verbally confirming that he would probably be leaving once JFX is caught. But when hasn’t Tsuritama been somewhat predictable in its outcomes? It is the connection with the characters the show has forged with me, the positivity that perpetuates the show, the payoff for all the amazing build-up and growth we’ve seen from our cast that’s been drawing me back in week after week. We’re likely to get a bittersweet ending if it comes to pass, but at the same time, this passage of companionship being traced to its end marks the ultimate emotional culmination of everything Tsuritama has shown in its past 10 episodes.

June 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm
8 comments »
  • June 17, 2012 at 10:23 pmBio D

    As a popular 80s hero once said: I love it when a plan comes together, and that’s what this episode felt like; all the little threads and major bonds coming together to catch this one alien fish with the power of friendship. I love being able to type things like that.

    • June 17, 2012 at 10:31 pmAsobi

      The A-team of fishing!
      It really does feel like that, doesn’t it? The party’s come together to now face the final boss.

  • June 17, 2012 at 10:41 pmbelatkuro

    Huh, I thought that the Noitamina block this season is doing 12 episodes. So both this and Apollon are 12 episodes. This one’s still not clear for me.

    In any case, I’m truly enjoying this show for its craziness and its characters. But damn that cliffhanger. Damn… Really hope this end well in a Tsuritama-like fashion.

    The naming for the DUCK organization was brilliant. I lol’d when I read that in the poster. Coupled with Haru’s pic pointing a squirt gun at you and it’s the best wanted poster around.

  • June 17, 2012 at 10:55 pmClick

    No complaints here, it was great all around. For the first time in the whole series, I actually found Yuki’s face gag genuinely funny. Usually I just roll my eyes and move on, but this time I actually chuckled, and that’s saying a lot considering how much I hated that gag at first.

    I was stunned at the ending. For me, Ayumu has been the most consistently likable character, and I didn’t expect that Tsuritama would have the stones to kill off one of the cast, fake out death or not. I’m really hoping he’s not dead.

    On a more positive note, having the boat destroyed and Ayumu (presumably) out of commission leaves Akira as the only ship captain with a usable boat available. And that’s how it should be, with the task of catching the dragon being left to Haru, Yuki, Natsuki, and Akira, the four who started it all.

  • June 18, 2012 at 4:26 amDrift

    The highlight was Natsume’s singing and dancing :)

    Ayumu and Koko better be alive and well in by the end of the series…

    This is such an amazing show I am sad it’s coming to an end. It needs to have another season or they should have made it longer!

  • June 18, 2012 at 3:59 pmKentaiyoshimi

    It’s amazing how no one in the main or supporting cast feel tacked on. They all each have their distinct personalities, and contribute greatly to the story. All the melodramatic scenes feel natural, and even the comedy is seamlessly integrated.

  • June 19, 2012 at 4:04 pmStereoman

    This show needs more fans! It’s so good! ;A;

    I loved Natsuki’s dance in this episode. I’m going to dance like that … someday…

  • July 9, 2012 at 7:03 pmstarss

    When Sakura gave Natsuki Mom’s bracelet……… oh God. ;___;