OP Sequence

OP: 「徒然モノクローム」 (Tsurezure Monochrome) by フジファブリック (FUJIFABRIC)
Watch the OP!: Streaming ▼

「テンパってフィッシング」 (Tenpatte Fisshingu)
“Panicked Fishing”

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 Sequence

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 ▼

42 Comments

  1. I liked the headline over at Sankaku Complex – “Tsuritama: ‘Did Anyone Understand This Anime?'”

    I can confidently say that, no, I did not. And I’ve seen almost everything SHAFT has ever done. I’m not letting this anime beat me, though. I will fight back, and one day, one day by god, I will understand it. I shall become the Tsuritama Sage! Everyone will come to me for OH SHINEY!

    1. It’s not that hard to understand, really – it’s basically a symbolic series about teenage male neuroses. Specifics won’t come till later, but that’s the general gist. It’s also effing brilliant.

      Think “Rushmore” meets Nakamura Kenji.

  2. The animation somehow reminds me of Spirited Away, and I LOVE IT!!
    Although to be honest I don’t really understand what I am watching during the first episode (hell, even after shutting down my computer I still thought wtf did I just watch), and I don’t really like the overly panicky main character, but everything else about the anime impresses me. It gives a very amusing vibe. I even giggled stupidly during the first episode without knowing why 😀
    And of course, having sugita tomokazu as one of the main VAs is always a plus in my book!

    AX
    1. The style reminds me of Okami the game for some reason as well. Talking spirits (fish in bowl), Blonde aliens that represent deities, random fishing quests that your forced into but find yourself enjoying, gorgious visuals and styles to the retelling sections…. No wonder I like it.

      Not to mention anyone has a pet goose or duck in my book is awesome. Love Tapioca.

      Ani_BEE
  3. All dat plantlife and architecture. Can’t forget about our alien friend and… fishing!

    I’m in. (I also think this is one of the most refreshing anime I’ve seen in while. I happened to watch the first episode by chance… and I’m pretty glad I actually did!)

    god
  4. I need that water pistol!!

    Pretty good first ep. Was actually a bit skeptical at first (I’m trying to avoid anime featuring MCs younger than 18, because I simply can’t relate anymore), but both NoitaminA turned out to be excellent. Watanabe’s was already a definite watch, but this one has started pretty good as well. No surprises since I enjoyed the director’s past effort, Kuuchuu Buranko (Trapeze) immensely.

    I wonder if NoitaminA fired some of its staff and hired new blood over the last few months. It’s like they’ve suddenly developed taste again.

    Litho
  5. I was wondering why I was getting the Mononoke vibes here. Now I see… It’s Nakamura Kenji! I have a strong feeling that he and A1-Pictures won’t let me down.

    Sinan Çevik
  6. Kimi to Boku + fishing = this. Okay not really accurate since this show makes you feel like you’re on speed, and KtB feels like you’re on dope. But Miyu Irino voicing a genki blonde kid in both shows deserves a note. I love Yuki’s faces 😀

    Definitely am pleased with noitaminA right now after their epic fail last season.

  7. First off, a typo Asobi, it’s Enoshima, not EnDOshima.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enoshima

    The premise is at first glance WTF, but so far it’s WTF done in a good way that entices its audience to want to know more. I find the Sankaku Complex story comparing this to the massively overhyped and disappointing Fractale to be quite an insult to this title particularly when it’s the impeccable A-1 Pictures that’s doing this, and so far A-1 Pictures has never disappointed, with titles like iDOLM@STER, AnoHana and Working under its belt.

    Not to mention this is only the first episode being shown.

    I’m going to stick with my hunch that any light-hearted (OTT/comedy) series with Sugita Tomokazu in it would naturally be fun to watch. I don’t intend to change my mind for now.

    Hippy grandma Kate = Win. I dunno about the rest of you, for me, even with her wrinkles, I could tell she was a stunning cutie in her youth.

    Kinny Riddle
    1. Reading Sankaku’s claim of Tsuritama universal WTF reactions, I cant help myself grinning and pitying them, while watching the 1st ep over and over again to catch as many clue and hidden symbolism, however small, intentional or not.

      I’m convinced that this is my favorite ep and potentially the best series this season. Reminds me of FLCL, but with more sense <– LOL!

      The grandma reminds me of Sugar & Spice's grandma, hopefully not as slutty as the later 😉

  8. I like the “surrealistic” feeling in this show – as you said – very refreshing. I think this show and Apollon made the biggest impact on me, judging from the introduction episodes. Oh, and by the way, congrats on getting your first post out! It’s really good! :]

    Stereoman
  9. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE everything about Tsuritama. The bright colors, the beautiful fishes, Enoshima, the awesome OST and the animation that has Murakami’s superflat elements. Not to mention it stars some of my favorite male seiyuus and genki Irino Miyu is just so fun to watch. I was expecting some form of slice-of-life/comedy but to my surprise, there are some sci-fi and surrealist angles to Tsuritama as well. Can’t wait to see more. Bibibibibibibibibibibibiiiiiii… and Happy First Post 😉

    Seishun Otoko
  10. I sure love how all of Nakamura series do not resemble each other at all. Tsuritama may resemble Trapeze a bit (a very, very little bit, what with the psychological disorders and all), but still, the only thing the shows have in common is the bright visuals. I can always respect directors which have their own style, but are not restricted by it.

    SingerOfW
  11. Huh… I just came back from Hong Kong. Unfortunately, I was away from my PC for the very first week of the Spring season. Now having trouble catching up on my backlog of 20++ shows just for that one week. T_T

    Though I had to limit the number of new shows I’m picking up, this show is on my list just because of the season preview. Tsuritama, don’t disappoint me! =)

    Dusk
  12. When I think of fishing anime, I think of Grander Mushashi.
    Really enjoyed it when it showed here.

    Tsuritama doesn’t seem to be a show that will showcase fishing techniques and feature fishing tournaments.
    The first scene hints at a fantasy setting then the turban MIB, alien, save the world.
    Somehow fishing feels only like a ‘theme’ or ‘skin’ for this fantasy adventure?

    I like the unique art style of the anime, somehow the shading details look unfinished but stylish 😛

    iron2000
  13. Woah, schizophrenia?? Where are you getting that from? The waves are obvious symbolism for the panic and social anxiety, not schizophrenia!! Am I missing something? did they mention that somehwere…..

    POO

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