「長靴をはいた熱帯魚」 (Nagagutsu o Haita Nettaigyo)
“Tropical Fish In Boots”

After last week’s hectic rollercoaster, this episode took a slower pace by digging into the ghosts of Fuuka’s past.

Some Pros and Cons of Idolhood

From her experience as an idol, Fuuka actually has some dynamic ideas for the aquarium knowing what will captivate people’s attention. And a flashback shows that once held an event at a children’s theme park. She elects to rock some red wellington boots – a stylistic choice that goes down well with the kids, and uses origami to entice them in. I think these showbiz skills are extremely useful and will be critical for revitalising Gama Gama Aquarium.

Unfortunately, while her past experiences prove to be a boon for the aquarium, her past also catches up to her. Because the plot demands it, a middle aged man called Umi-yan is a huge idol otaku who happens to work at Gama Gama. He recognises Fuuka for who she is, despite the fact she’s not very well known. And to make matters worse, a bunch of teenagers also recognise Fuuka during the live exhibition and don’t have anything nice to say – sending her into a panic attack. I was rather surprised when they pulled out phone cameras – since I believed that taking unsolicited photos of other people in Japan is a huge no-no. But I guess my assumption must have been incorrect.

Fortunately the others are very attentive to her needs, with Kudaka-san preventing the youths from taking pictures or harassing Fuuka, Kukuru and Udon-chan pulling Fuuka aside to rest her at the back, with Umi-yan taking her position entertaining kids on the aquarium floor. It was an unprecedented situation that arose from nowhere. Nevertheless, everyone stepped up to the plate so that they could protect one of their own.

Although Kukuru was unreasonable during the feeding debacle, she does show that her heart is in the right place, perhaps made easier by the fact her beloved animals aren’t involved. Another thing that I loved about everybody’s reaction was that they knew Fuuka was a failed idol from Tokyo, but weren’t star struck or condescending in the slightest, choosing to avoid any fuss by treating her like a normal human being. I feel a sense of camaraderie building up between the aquarium staff, and I believe this power of friendship is precisely the kind of working environment imperative to pulling back a sinking ship from what should be an inevitable demise.

Concluding Thoughts

When all issues seemed clear, Fuuka encounters another setback when her very angry looking mother shows up at the aquarium, an incident which gives me some degree of emotional whiplash since her mother was depicted as rather laid-back and easy-going in the first episode. Though if we consider Fuuka’s not really been in contact with her mother or really ascertained her current status to her parents, it makes sense that her mother would be absolutely livid at her.

In spite of Fuuka’s childish whim setting her off to Okinawa, which seems like a poorly rationalised decision from any third person perspective, we actually have greater insight on her situation as viewers who have seen her current personal progression. Hopefully her mother can see that this is a place where Fuuka can find purpose in saving the aquarium, happiness with loyal comrades who aren’t looking to stab her in the back for their own gain and above all else, a place to belong near nature’s heart.

Anyway, other than what should be an acknowledgement for the pristine aesthetics Aquatope continues outputting, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you all next week!

6 Comments

  1. For someone who is well renowned like Fuuka to work at Gamagama. An employer would see this as a stepping stone for someone like Fuuka. It’s also nice to see Fuuka trying to overcome her troubled past. Fuuka is doing a lot of growing, I can only hope we get to see Kukuru grow too.

    Rena Sayers
    1. From Kukuru’s perspective, I don’t think it matters since she’s looking for just about anybody who’s willing to put their hands on deck to keep the aquarium afloat.

      Also, I personally think she can tell that Fuuka is dedicated and earnest about Gama Gama Aquarium for now, and that her desire to work there due to some ulterior motive.

  2. He recognizes Fuuka for who she is, despite the fact she’s not very well known.

    I don’t think that’s the case per-se. She’s clearly not super famous, but she – or her group/company – is also big enough that a bunch of kids in Okinawa know what went down (at least, from a public perspective) with a member of a Tokyo based idol group.

    So she might not have made centre, but I get the feeling her group and presence is big enough that people have passing knowledge of her if they follow the industry at all.

    since I believed that taking unsolicited photos of other people in Japan is a huge no-no.

    It is, and Kukuru’s friend who intervenes subtly drops a hint to that when she asks the teens not to photograph staff because they: “may be accused of taking non-consensual photos” to get them to back off (in the English subs at least). That doesn’t mean folks never try do this though, sometimes out of the same perception that “famous people”/”celebrities” consent by their very nature that exists everywhere else.

    Dave K
    1. Perhaps I’m viewing it through a lens of how UK celebrity culture operates. There is no celebrity who is ubiquitously known unless they are Royalty or some national hero (e.g. Captain Tom Moore, football players, etc) and attention these days doesn’t really go into music celebrities. Although I suppose Japan would be a completely different beast in terms of idol culture. Also, they haven’t really established just how prolific Fuuka’s idol group was. It sounds like they were on the rise, but not yet fully established, given how all the members were new and hadn’t broken out in the industry yet.

      1. There is no celebrity who is ubiquitously known unless they are Royalty or some national hero

        Kinda my point actually. Fuuka’s about as far from Tokyo as you can get and be in Japan but the local kids still recognize her despite her work occurring 2000 km away..

        They also have established that she was under a fairly large company. The type that can afford dorms for out of town trainees, training rooms, management offices with many staff, homed in a modern skyscraper style building, etc.

        She feels like a B or C lister in an AKB’esque group/company. She definitely wasn’t a local or underground idol.

        Dave K
  3. For a second, I thought that Fuuka’s idea was going to be disastrous, in the way that balloons can land in the water and hurt the animals. Perhaps I’m overthinking it, but who knows how kids can be unattentive these days.

    Anonymous

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