OP: 「徒然モノクローム」 (Tsurezure Monochrome) by フジファブリック (FUJIFABRIC)
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「テンパってフィッシング」 (Tenpatte Fisshingu)
I didn’t know what I was getting into with Tsuritama. Even after spending time with the first episode, I honestly still can’t tell you what the show is about. What I can confidently say though, is that it’s the most refreshing show I’ve seen coming out of the last few seasons’ worth of anime.
Enter transfer student Sanada Yuki (Ohsaka Ryota), a schizophrenic high school boy who for of yet-to-be-known reasons, moves around Japan frequently with his hipster grandma Kate (Hirano Fumi). His latest move brings him to the island of
EndoshimaEnoshima, where he meets Haru (Irino Miyu), an eccentric boy/classmate/friend who believes himself to be an extraterrestrial and can apparently talk to fishes. Oh, and then he moves in with Yuki that very same day. Observing the self-proclaimed alien from afar is the duck-carrying Indian Akira Agarkar Yamada (Sugita Tomokazu) with his posse of the Men In Black. And to top off the quartet in this anime with boys fishing, what better but a professional fishing prince in Natsuki Usami (Uchiyama Kouki)? Here comes the real kicker: Through the powers of friendship, bromance and fishing combined, these four will somehow save the world. From what…? That’s anybody’s guess, really.
Oh yes, did I mention there was a hippy grandma and a talking fish in this mix of all this?
Like the short summary implies, the first episode of Tsuritama sets up one of the most oddly unique premise for a story that I’ve seen in a long time, populating it with a cast of characters that feels wholly original and refreshingly different despite drawing from common tropes of anime. Take Yuki’s unassertive nature along with his tendency to breakdown under stress; we see characters like this in almost every other anime (Case in point: Haruyuki of Accel World from this season), but his personality is illustrated through amazingly ordinary exchanges that feels immediately familiar and relatable, especially if you’ve been in similar circumstances, which was the case for me. (Crowd nerves, debating to give up seat on a packed train.) His antics are further played to comical results with his schizophrenia that comes in the form of an impressively animated drowning sequence, giving an overused trope a bizarrely entertaining twist that even ties into the overarching aquatic theme.
One of the things about Tsuritama is that it seems to embrace the concept of visual storytelling with a readiness that is rarely seen in Japanese animation outside of big-budgeted movies, and is quite frankly is a refreshing departure from what I am used to watching. Very little is said about the characters themselves in the episode meant to introduce them, and even the dialogue consist mostly of ordinary exchanges between characters or their moment-to-moment thoughts that accentuates the action on the screen. This lack of the character-driven introspection, which are so common with non-action shows, stood out greatly to me, and the show seems content with leaving the audience to infer from the actions and expressions of the cast, such as the surreal scene between Haru and the fishes in the aquarium, and Yuki’s various panic attacks. Little tibits are sprinkled throughout the episode, such as Yuki’s reliance on his phone and Haru cowering from the cat. While it is hard to tell if Director Nakamura Kenji intends for this trend to continue, the potential for an anime which shows instead of tells is immense.
It’s also a plus that the team brings such flair to the artistic and musical direction of the series. Tsuritama’s art is stylized, almost minimalistic in many regards, and coloured in a warm palette to give the show a refreshingly lighthearted tone. This is complemented by Kuricoder Quartet’s whimsical and soothing score, which just makes me want to relax while watching the episode.
Much can be also be said about the animation by A1-Pictures that brings to life the sort of visual storytelling I am going on about. The prime example in this episode without doubt was the impressive fishing scene, where a panicking Yuki as visualized by the drowning sequence shifts to him being literally yanked out of the imaginary sea and his panicked state by the strong pull of the fish.
The points I’ve noted thus far makes me somewhat inclined to liken Tsuritama to a recent show that I’ve watched: Mawaru Peguindrum. Both series feature a quirky cast set in a bizarre, fantastical reality that is choke-full of surrealistic visual flair, and both seemingly rely on said visuals as a means of storytelling. Penguindrum was stuffed with foreshadowing elements in the form of visual symbolism and riddles, making sure from the get-go that the audience knew that they were in the middle of a bigger, overarching story that was being fed to us bit by bit. On the other hand, Tsuritama almost feels minimalistic in comparison; it does not bask in complexity the same way Penguindrum does, and instead of symbolism or foreshadowing, what we get is exposition through action. Tsuritama might be zany and wacky, but not quite in the same manner, so even those who weren’t keen on Penguindrum should definitely give Tsuritama a shot to see if it’s up their alley.
I used the word refreshing multiple times in this post, and I really cannot think of a better word to describe this first episode of Tsuritama, both in its tone and what it attempts to achieve. In a season with so many other spectacular shows airing, Tsuritama manages to find a niche that it can claim to be its own. The only thing that left me wanting was that as an episode that served as an introduction, little was done to inform viewers where the show intends to go beyond a vague “saving the world”. Nevertheless, if this first episode was any indication, it definitely has the potential to be something wildly unique.
Apologies for the delay in getting out this post. I’m currently touring and visiting relatives in Hong Kong, so finding the time to write this post has been, suffice to say, difficult. Likewise, the lack of OP/ED streams and full-length images can be attributed to the same reason, and they will be up once I’m home. Again, apologies. Rest assured, any future posts for this series or any other shows I’m taking will be timely and complete.
ED: 「空も飛べるはず」 (Sora mo Toberu Hazu) by さよならポニーテール (Sayonara Ponytail)
Watch the ED!: Streaming ▼