「母の来訪」 (Haha no Raihou)
Let’s say my expectations were thoroughly subverted. At the end of last episode, mama looked so angry that I thought it was the end for Fuuka.
Confucian Value: It is Rude to Bother Other People
Turns out that anger was entirely motherly concern. With shades of embarrassment that their child imposed on and inconvenienced complete strangers. The idea of inconveniencing an individual outside the immediate family unit is seen as a huge no-no in Asian culture. I got one of the biggest verbal bollocking of my life from my parents when I recently asked my grandparents if they would be cool with holding onto my Taobao orders for the 1zpresso K-Pro Coffee Grinder (circa £100/$140) and some replica Common Projects White Original Achilles Leather Sneakers (circa £30/$42) so that I could pick them up the next time I visited while avoiding middleman agent fees or import tax/VAT. To paraphrase my parents: “Young Zaiden, don’t you dare bother old people like that! Even if they’re your grandparents who really wouldn’t mind holding onto a small package or two for you! Ask yourself what you can do for them and not what they can do for you”. To be honest, I felt more perplexed than remorseful. Guess I’ll have to buy them in person the next time I go back to visit.
But whereas my inconveniencing of other people is rather trivial on the grand scale of things, running away from home and randomly impinging on complete strangers takes it to a whole new level, even if Fuuka is working hard at the Aquarium so that she can justify her stay. Not to mention running away without saying much is very inconsiderate to her family, who must have been at their wits end when they couldn’t get ahold of Fuuka. If I had a child who suddenly went missing when I know they’d be devastated that their dreams fell apart, I would honestly fear for the worst too. Suicidal ideation was certainly a distinct possibility in the specific context of Fuuka’s miserable circumstances.
Slipping Through Her Fingers All the Time
Fortunately, like everyone else could, Fuuka’s mother sees that she’s obviously earnest about her job at the aquarium. She was so done with running away that she changed her mind on leaving for a nearby city, and asks Udon’s mother to bring her back to the aquarium because she still had a responsibility to uphold. As for why she couldn’t simply do similar stuff at home, I reckon she’s afraid to go home and face the very people who supported her that she feels she has let down, owing to their high expectations and belief in her. I believe Fuuka’s mother recognises that she found something that can help take her mind off her idol career situation, while needing time to herself in a space away from familiar people. And although she was really keen to spend quality time being a proper mother to her daughter, sentiments filled with good intentions, she accepts that she needs to be flexible in this situation and acknowledges Fuuka’s personal choice. At least she still has her daughter alive too. Grandma’s wistful expression seeing Fuuka’s wonderful daughter-mother relationship, with a photo of her deceased daughter in the background was a scene that said so much without a single word.
Ultimately, Fuuka’s mother just wants the best for her child. And because she hadn’t seen Fuuka’s resolve in person, she must have assumed it to be some fanciful whim and came with the intention of asserting an iron fist for the greater good, only to end up realising that her daughter is absolutely serious about the aquarium. Meeting Kukuru’s grandparents, she can also clearly tell that they are good and trustworthy people without ulterior motives. With her heart at ease, she entrusts Fuuka to her newly made Okinawan friends for the rest of summer, expecting her daughter to return by September so that she can begin the new school semester at home.
To wrap off, with the goby passing on through an appropriate send-off and last time’s childbirth, this episode continues establishing that Aquatope will not shy away from demonstrating that life and death are very much natural cycles in an aquarium. Where the staff have a personal stake in the lives, and feel great remorse or guilt towards how they could have done their due diligence in preventing death, which leaves me worried about Choko who has certainly raised a considerable death flag. But it also makes me excited for the series, because it indicates the show probably has the resolve to see through very difficult moments. And truth be told, those kind of moments are what I live for when experiencing fictional media because they test characters extremely hard and bring out quality development and new dimensions we never knew they could have. So I look forwards to seeing what the future brings.
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you all next week!
This scene made me cry a little and I realized, not only did Kukuru loose a mother and father but Kukuru’s grandmother lost a daughter. Kukuru’s Grandmother will never get to speak with her daughter again. While Fuuka is trying to forge her own path without stopping by home and letting her mum know she is alright. Kukuru’s Grand mother must have been like at least Fuuka’s mother took the time to find and check on her daughter.
The dead fish serves as a stark reminder how lonely death is when no one cares…
Both Kukuru and Fuuka cared about the fish. I suppose they could have done more, but death was probably still inevitable. Aquatic life is quite fragile and can give it up pretty easily if the conditions aren’t perfect for them.
Kukuru’s grandmother definitely looked very sad. At least she still has Kukuru. I can’t imagine how tragic it would have been for the grandparents if Kukuru had also been involved in that fatal incident.
Considering some other mothers reaction to daughter running away,,,
(Looks at Hige wo Soru. Soshite Joshikousei wo Hirou)
VERY lightly off.