「切なくてカウントダウン」 (Setsunakute Kauntodaun)
From a fairly mild opening to an intense familial throw-down at the close, this episode of Tsuritama shows just how well it can manage the emotional subtleties and peaks of its characters.
It’s easy to point to the family fight as the highlight of this episode, because nowhere in Tsuritama have we seen emotions flaring up like this. But before we get there, at least for the first half of the episode, we’re given a good look at how the dynamics of our four protagonists have changed over after the Akemi incident last episode.
Akira, who has been a rather distant character up until now, has grown a lot closer to the other three, and certainly enjoys spending time with them more so than he’d care to admit. While his superiors are instructing him to keep his distance from the rest, he seems determined to stay in close proximity, and I can’t help but think at this point that his reasons are more than just him doing his job.
Then we come to Haru, who has obviously been the person most affected by the incident. It is unclear what his changed behaviour was a result of, be it the breaking of his halo or the disastrous encounter with the “dragon”. Regardless, it was really interesting to see how the dynamic between him and Yuki have completely reversed from what we’ve been seeing up until now, with a much more confident and open Yuki taking the lead between the two. The writers brilliantly portrayed Haru’s depression with a suitably childlike demeanor, and the scene with him naively placing the band-aid over his heart was equal parts charming and genuinely heartwarming, showing just how emotionally clueless he is.
The fight was something that’s been in the making since the very start of the show, and it being one of the things I’ve been anticipating, Tsuritama certainly didn’t disappoint in that regard. The suppressed emotions of the Usami family are finally unleashed, and this is the first time we’re really seeing the characters of the show in an emotional conflict. The whole thing honestly wouldn’t have been as emotionally powerful had the show not been meticulously establishing the mentality of each character from the very start, and to see all that build-up culminating in this emotional peak is a thing of beauty indeed. It’s amazing how well acted each character was, with Sakura’s portrayal as the person being caught in the middle of this conflict being my favourite, her uncontrollable lash-out at Natsuki and the subsequent slap feeling heartrendingly sympathetic. This really is drama at some of its finest. Admittedly, the reason Natsuki gave for being at odds with his father was rather hypocritical, when really, his father has been trying to engage him while he has been the one ignoring Tamotsu. But then again, in the heat of the moment, how uncommon is it for humans say whatever comes to their minds? I suspect that his reasons go a bit deeper than what we’re being led to believe here.
For our protagonist Yuki, this also marks the first time he has probably been involved in a fight with others as he opposed Natsuki and demanded an apology to Sakura. Judging by the daze he was in as well as the onset of his “mad-face” syndrome, he probably has little idea how to approach this situation. With Sakura’s disappearance and the prospect of everyone working together to find her, it presents an opportunity not just for him but for the Usami family unit to clear this air of animosity.
One thing though. What’s with the invasion of the HAINOs? Being both brilliantly creepy and wacky, its heart-lifting to see that Tsuritama has not forgotten its zanier side in the midst of all its character drama.
~Apologies for the delayed post, as I’m halfway through my exam weeks. This week’s screencaps are provided to you by the wonderful Moomba :)~