Tsuritama – 11
「伝説のビッグフィッシュ」 (Densetsu no Biggu Fishu)
“Legendary Big Fish”
That cliffhanger! Why can’t it be next week yet!?
Now, this is the first episode of Tsuritama I’ve honestly been at a loss as to what to write about. No, I’m not saying the episode was bad. On the contrary, I’m at a loss because of its brilliance. Ever since we learned about it, we knew that the fishing of the dragon, JFX, was always going to be the climax of the story, the ultimate culmination of the characters’ growth and their relationships. Tsuritama didn’t shy away from this prediction, making it clear to the audience that this would the moment where the pay-off for all its build-up will peak. Even if it had to resort to breaking Ayumu’s arm in wayward missile strike. Yes, the bro lives! So just like we’d all expected, it ultimately came down to our four leads to take charge of this task.
For a lesser show, this might have worked against it, but not for Tsuritama, which for the better part of its run has been meticulously building the characters and the world they inhabit. It all comes down to the execution, which seems to hit all the right notes as we watch our leading quartet’s attempt at fishing JFX. There are call outs to the various details throughout the series, such as the revelation of Haru’s obsession with the color red, Ayumu’s “Yatta Zou-” on getting hugged by Misaki, as well as Yuki plopping down in the middle of the deck to recollect his thoughts in the recurring filmreel sequence.
Then there are the nods towards the character’s growth, most notably in Yuki’s angling skills; remember how we’ve spent an entire episode on the tying of a uniknot? Yuki does that in a second flat. Tapping on the line when casting? I nearly missed it, but there too. How about Natsuki’s various advice on the countdown technique, angling strategy and choosing a proper lure? Everything’s present. And let’s not forget the now iconic ENO. SHIMA. DO–N! It was hard to stop grinning like an idiot as I was continuously delighted by these little details the show had previously devoted entire episodes to, things that had the character’s -and my- emotional investment to them. Tsuritama has brilliantly captured the essence of its build-up with these cues, these nuances, and translated it onto screen. That’s why I’m at a loss for words; I can only describe it as pure joy to watch the integral use of quite possibly every detail Tsuritama has shown us up until now, while reminiscing and even cheering about the meanings attached to each one that the show has painstakingly established. I can think of scant few other series that has the attention to detail Tsuritama has displayed, and with such an engaging payoff for all this build-up to boot. Along with a brilliantly evocative score. And its incredibly likable supporting cast.
Yes, I’m just gushing. Now you see why I’m lost on what to write about?
So how did the perfect combination of teamwork and friendship fail in their fishing attempt? I was fully convinced that they’d come out successful, so my eyes were wide open with shock at the moment the lure broke. Of course, JFX will be caught one way or the other, and the world will be saved by them in the end. It’s the only logical conclusion to the story, yet how will they go about it in next week’s finale as our characters find themselves in an increasingly hopeless situation? And perhaps the most important question of all, the one weighing most heavily on my mind since the very start of the show; Will Haru really leave Earth? It would mark a fittingly bittersweet conclusion to Tsuritama’s tale of growth and companionship, but on the cusp of the show’s conclusion, I’m beginning to doubt my own conviction, and think that just maybe…just maybe, the show’s infectious positivity might influence its end. Irregardless, despite my earlier complaints of pacing, Tsuritama has been in retrospect one of the most brilliant shows I’ve had the chance to catch in a very long while, and I honestly can’t wait to find out what kind of conclusion it has for us. And till then, I’m gonna keep asking: “So, is it Thursday yet?”
It seems that I was under the mistaken impression that this episode would be the finale, which was reflected in my previous post, so apologies for that.