「スイーツラプソディ」 (Suiitsu Rapusodi)
Sorry for the missed week and delays. Got hit by hefty vaccination side effects Week 1 and was travelling throughout the past weekend. But I’m all good now.
Udon-chan finally basks in the spotlight. Whereas I had assumed she would have been a happy go lucky teenager who works at her mother’s restaurant because that was expected of her, it truly turns out that the culinary arts are her passion. Simply put, Udon aspires to be a chef running her own restaurant. And given the reaction of customers to her cooking, across both the izakaya style shop her mother runs and the shaved ice stalls – she clearly possesses the skill and flair to whip up excellent dishes that could sustain a livelihood. Although it requires a lot of hard work to be where she is, I want to highlight how it feels like the show is starkly contrasting the achievability of her dream against Fuuka and Kukuru. While she has some ways to go, and though the operations don’t look big, her mother’s restaurant operations (and fortune telling side hustle) look rather successful.
It doesn’t seem farfetched that Udon could go elsewhere and feasibly establish her own restaurant. And the way she believes in the achievability of her own dreams is reflected in her cheerful and energetic demeanor. On the other hand, Fuuka seems crushed by the failure of her idol aspirations and her chances of returning to the industry seem non-existent. Though Kukuru seems upbeat, we have to wonder how she would hold out if she knew Gama Gama would be closing irrespective of her efforts. Not to mention Udon is free to go to any place and start any restaurant. Whereas another aquarium won’t be the same for Kukuru. There can only be one Gama Gama.
Kukuru and the old man share a similar love for the aquarium. In Harry Potter, they said the Mirror of Erised shows what a person desires most in their hearts. The aquarium’s main tank takes both of these people on a fantasy deluge, reuniting them temporarily with the departed spirits of people they lost who they continue to hold deeply in their hearts to this day. For Kukuru, it was her father and mother who died in a tragic car accident. While we knew something happened to them, this episode was the first full-on confirmation. For the old man, it was his brother who was taken away too early by the horrors of war. Despite being a side character, I came to deeply care about the old man and felt extremely moved by his story. It’s always powerful seeing an old person lose their elderly composure and break down in tears. I love how Aquatope interwove the intersections of their lives in such a poetic way, full of emotional depth, without any kind of wishful pretense.
For me, this was definitely the most poignantly written episode to date and it leaves me hopeful for future developments in this series, because it has managed to prove it can handle delicate scenes with grace and maturity. So I look forwards to seeing how the writing continues to go.
「アイスで乾杯」 (Aisu de Kanpai)
“Ice Cream Toast”
A criticism off the top of my head so far is that Kai is such a boring character. A younger sister like Maho doesn’t really add anything to his personality or bring out any discernable strengths in his character. Hopefully he will be getting his time in the spotlight soon. Kuuya on the other hand makes for a much more compelling male character. Kuuya’s backstory sure sucks. Forced out of school by malicious rumours, despite having done nothing wrong, I can see why he has such a cynical take on life. Not to mention it explains why he dislikes female company so much.
Worse still he finds a second home in Gama Gama, with Kukuru’s grandfather being a hard taskmaster but a kind man who took the boy under his caring wing. Only the aquarium looks set to shut down. Although he will always complain about his job and how he can’t wait to take holiday, he shows us that deep inside he loves his job by refusing to jump ship as well as sneaking back to help out during his scheduled time off. If that isn’t dedication, I don’t know what is. As such, I sincerely wish that neither he or Kukuru lose their beloved place in the world.
I might be some young twerp who lacks in life experience. So maybe this suggestion would be dumb. But say I was gramps. Kukuru shouldn’t try to save the aquarium by herself as its sole operating director. I would have made Kuuya co-director and together under grandfatherly guidance I would be confident that they may come close to figuring something out. It seems crazy to give up when you have people at the aquarium who still have so much fight left in them.
I’m curious to hear why Grandpa plans to close the Aquarium despite Kukuru’s evident belief and hard work that the Aquarium can be salvaged from the precipice of doom. To me, it doesn’t sound unrealistic that Gama Gama Aquarium can be revitalised. But I suppose that is assumption made on external appearances. And it’s hard to figure out what’s going on without direct access to financial records. Not to mention Grandpa has decades of wisdom on his side, and clearly possesses huge passion towards sea life given the depth of his knowledge on the subject. So I do not believe he would make this type of decision unless it truly was impossible to carry on.
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. Again, apologies for the delays. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you all next week!
Was it a car accident that happened to Kukuru’s parents? I can’t quite remember, but I suppose this is a good chance to go back and watch old episodes.
Also, the mystery will be solved some day, but I’m assuming that the other mysterious person is (given the clues shown before) Kukuru’s older sister? Initially, I thought younger sister, but hear me out. Previously, we saw two maternity books with one being blank. At first, I thought of it for her younger sister, but that doesn’t make sense, as Kukuru seemed shocked by its existance (I’m just going by the idea that if it were her younger sister, Kukuru would have been told about it). Thus, that’s why I think of it as for her older sister, yet something happened that caused her parents to not fill it in.
As I have mentioned before, Kukuru’s struggles with keeping Gama Gama open reminds me of my struggles with keeping my business open. With all the regulatory expectations with running a business, to ensuring that the doors will remain open for long standing patrons, there is nothing to it. Kukuru just need to double down her efforts and make sure Gama Gama is open for business next year.
Kuuya‘s circumstance is unfortunate, and I don’t want to downplay his past misfortune but what is important is how Kuuya responds to the outcome. From what we can see as an audience it is clear Kuuya is jaded and cynical, not good seeing that Kuuya is still considered a young adult. Kuuya should learn from Kukuru and be the best Kuuya he can be.
That scene in episode 6 kind of came out of nowhere. You usually don’t see something like that till it gets towards the end of a series. Where do you go from there? What else could leave such an impact?
I was wondering how they would make any profit selling those highly customized shaved ice cones for 150 yen. Turns out that they didn’t. Does anyone collect the admission fees for the aquarium or is it on the honor system? People just seem to wander in and out. Following your dreams is great but you still need some business acumen. I still think that Fuuka is going to end up either performing at the touch tanks or some kind of benefit concert.
There’s a ticket machine at the entrance of the aquarium.