「備えとアオサギ」 (Sonae to Aosagi)
“Preparations and Herons”
On this very special episode of Houkago Teibou Nisshi we learn about the safety precautions of both staying safe if you fall into the water and making sure to properly dispose of the waste you might produce while fishing. But the anime still manages to make it all easy-to-digest without it feeling too much like an infodump as it gives the girls more to work with by giving us better glimpses of their mindsets, especially from Sayaka, Ohno, and Hina’s perspectives.
It was impressive to see that Sayaka is still a formidable instructor in spite of being shown as a boozehound for the majority of her screen time in past episodes. She actually gives good advice as far as keeping yourself afloat and safe in the water goes considering that she was a lifeguard and uses her experience to teach the girls about ways to float up through posture and floatation devices. Indeed, it’s been ages since we’ve seen her eyes.
This section of the episode also gives Ohno some development as she has to brave jumping into the water to take part in Sayaka’s lesson. Although she was worried for the entire time, she had a moment of clarity where she went for the dive as soon as she realized it would provide a larger problem if she never learned to float and drowned while the club was fishing. It gave her a moment of reflection that was refreshing because of how rare it is to get as much development from SOL characters beyond learning a new trade.
At the same time, we get some commentary on littering and water pollution as Hina’s unfortunate run-in with a hungry heron causes her to notice that the seabird has fishing line wrapped around its leg. In a unique twist, she actually looks up informative articles on the damage that pollution causes to seabirds with the bodily harm she witnesses causing her to make it her goal to find the same bird and get the line off of its feet.
Again, it’s not in your everyday SOL that you get scenes that involve directly addressing issues in the outside world beyond a sport or hobby that the creator enjoys. It’s pretty neat that, in the process of teaching viewers how to fish in murky rainwater or how to fend off your catch from seabirds, they are able to address the hazardous effects of ocean dumpage.