Taken out by vaccine side effects, then had to catch up with stuff for my real life work first and foremost once that settled down. But I’ve finally found some time to squeeze in coverage for Aquatope.
Seeing someone so young facing a cruel reality for the rest of their life hurts. Airi has to accept the truth about her situation, with the aquarium serving as nothing but a painful reminder of the vibrant youth she had – taken from her too soon by whatever accident has left her wheelchair bound. I can’t claim to understand or know what it’s like to be in that situation. But I can truly sympathise with every inch of my heart. Life can sometimes be extremely unfair.
Despite having a questionable obsession with idols as a middle aged man, and what you could describe as a grating social awkwardness, no one can doubt that Umiyan’s intentions come from a good place. Despite the head nurse of the hospital putting a restriction on crabs, Umiyan sneaks one in so that he can fulfill a promise with Airi. I think it’s really important for kids to have that adult role model or hero in their life. An important role model can help be that positive driving force that helps set the kid in a positive direction – as opposed to aimless let alone negative. I’ve had my fair share of inspiring role models who have inadvertently guided me through life. And Umiyan is able to lift her out of her emotional torpor, giving her something to aim for as well when Airi had lost all hope.
I’m glad the nurse was able to recognise a greater good at stake, ultimately acquiescing in spite of rules being broken. She might have come across as uptight and neurotic, but there was a heart of gold somewhere along the lines.
「刺客のシンデレラ」 (Shikaku no Shinderera)
“Cinderella, the Spy”
It’s about time someone called out Kukuru for being petulant. While she might be a highschool kid, as the acting director of Gama Gama Aquarium, there’s surely a standard she must hold herself to. Although the new girl’s attitude sucked, I don’t blame her for wanting out. When a young upstart ‘tutors’ you but tries to set you up for failure in an extremely unprofessional way, you wonder why you have to put up with something like that.
From her perspective, it’s totally understandable why she would suspect nepotism. Kukuru might have the heart and soul to become a director. But she lacks the life experience, qualifications and people skills to be one. She only landed in the role off the credentials and whims of her grandfather. Fuuka was right to call out Kukuru here. It’s okay for normal people to get into a petty fracas. But when acting as a director and representing said institution, it reflects badly on said institution when one does not meet the standard of professionalism expected. Especially when the role has been effectively mandated through nepotism.
Where I will contend with the new girl’s attitude is the way she refused Udon-chan’s offer of food and readily dismissed Kukuru’s grandfather. She represented a case study of someone who’s academically interested in aquatic life to the point she will overlook the human experience or personal connection for these institutions. Perhaps that’s something her future aquarium director noticed. Her design is very nicely made. So I don’t believe this will be the last that we see of her.
In Kukuru’s defence, I don’t think she’s fully processed the inevitable demise of Gama Gama. She’s still in the denial stage. Potentially her trip to seeing the other aquarium’s construction will open up her world view in terms of accepting that her future path might exist elsewhere, so long as she carries forwards the soul of Gama Gama in her dedication and passion towards sea life. It might not be Gama Gama per se. But with enough determination she will be able to keep a fragment of it alive elsewhere – that’s how my pragmatic brain reasons. Though I reckon for such an emotionally driven cause, with a personal connection going way back to when she lost her parents and ended up adopting the aquarium as her surrogate family of sorts, it isn’t quite so clear cut.
Anyway that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you all in a few days!
Reading remarks from around the web, the elephant in the room is the fact that in-universe, there’s less than a week left in August. Short of deus ex machina, it might not be possible to save Gama Gama and prevent its closing, which means that Aquatope might have something else planned for us.
Maru below commented that the anime is actually named ‘Project Tingaara’, which to me suggests Gama Gama is as good as gone.
However that doesn’t mean it can’t have a Going Merry > Thousand Sunny-esque spiritual succession. With the fantastical, red haired entity still being on the island, even if Gama Gama goes, I expect the magic of Gama Gama to live on at Tingaara.
I noticed, when watching this series, that it’s officially labelled as Project Tingaara which is also the name of the aquarium that is suppose to be opening soon (and suppose to replace Gama Gama). Maybe I am looking into this a bit too hard, since I’m not one to be analytical when I consume media, but it makes me wonder if Gama Gama will be forced to close and the staff has to adjust to their new work environment at Tingaara. Of course, that’s just speculation especially since the tag line (if you can call it that) for the series is “two girls meet in the ruin of dreams”.
Perhaps the new girl will play a part in Kukuru’s development in a future episode? While I also don’t like how she behaved and how she seemed to egg Kukuru on purpose, due to the expectations she wanted to learn from Kukuru’s grandfather for her director’s sake, maybe they both can learn from each other even if it’s subtle. Though it does seem as though Kukuru’s starting to move on from the denial stage with her late-night visit to Tingaara. There’s also the phone call that Fuuka got from the idol group she left (I think it’s the same one that she had given up the center spot for if I remember correctly) which makes me worry if there will be something in their discussion that could drastically change Fuuka’s behaviour. It seems like both girls are going to have personal conflicts that go beyond saving Gama Gama now and I’m looking forward to seeing what fate has in store for them.
Great spot! I didn’t catch that Aquatope is labelled Project Tingaara which suggests the future lies there. And part of Kukuru’s growing up will be letting go of the physical construct that is Gama Gama while carrying it forwards in her heart. That’s certainly my hope!
And I’d love to see how the new girl ties in. They don’t randomly introduce characters like that for no reason. And not every friendship has to start off amicably either. It adds more interesting and realistic dynamics when there are tensions in the air.
I was impressed on EP 09 on how unprofessional Kukuru was to the new trainee. I’ll admit that this trainee said a few unpleasant things but I didn’t expect these responses would ignite Kukuru’s temper. The acting director was exactly that, acting, as a director not responding like a director. Kukuru was Teenager first and administrator for Gama Gama second and to be expected she is but a child.
This new trainee, I think she said her name was Haebaru Chiyu. History has NEVER been kind to those that don’t accept humble opportunities in lieu of better ones. This trainee too will suffer the consequences caused by her youth.
History has also shown, time and time again, that characters like Chiyu are present for a reason. If she’d been amicable and understanding, there’d be no conflict, and therefore, no story. This is something others have written about: if every high school girl in an anime were mature enough to appreciate what was being shown to them and act as qualified professionals would, then there wouldn’t be any learning. The resulting anime wouldn’t be meaningful to watch..
I never got why people continue to insist that characters in a given coming-of-age anime must act like qualified and trained professionals all of the time. Is it necessary to “talk to the characters” as though our words could make them better people? Projecting our own values or experiences onto characters clearly written to tell a specific story would degrade things rapidly. Chiyu’s attitude towards Gama Gama and Kukuru means that when she does come around, it will be all the more rewarding. I certainly hope she doesn’t “suffer the consequences caused by her youth”, as you put it.
For the record, I don’t think anyone bashed on the characters either. All I’m sensing is that people really like Kukuru, expected better of her and felt let down when she showed herself to be a bit green with the job.
How to put it. I feel it’s fine to make observations and call out our beloved characters even if we can acknowledge they have further opportunities to learn and good reasons for being the way they are,
I think it’s also important to acknowledge the flaws and shortcomings because it helps us appreciate the growth more when the time comes. Can some of us be harsh at times? Perhaps. But treating these people like real characters is also a sign that the storywriters have done a great job characterising/fleshing out the character that they’ve approached the level of life-likeness. Which is seriously impressive for any fictional construct.
Holy carp I didnt even realize RC didn’t cover Episode 8! That visitor from the other aquarium was good to give up on it since she felt she personally didn’t see any opportunities for it, but man did she act a bit immature about it, and it didn’t help Kukuru’s motivation. No one better get between Kukura and Gama Gama if she has anything to say about it. Episode 9 really made her question why she is trying to save the aquarium. I think she is yearning for something else missing in her life. Episode 8 was a less dramatic storyline, but it was funny!
Yeah, that’s honestly my bad. Even with the vaccine and my real life priorities (getting promoted at my job and having to take on new responsibilities) I’m so behind on HeroAca too which I’m hoping to catch up on today.
That’s the point I suppose. She has a long way to go and we have 15 episodes give or take where she will have to fall over, get up again and grow up.
I’ve read the comments about Project Tingaara and I agree that that is where the Gama Gama crew, along with the story, will continue. I think Kukuru will grow stronger for it and hopefully Fuuka will as well. I’m glad that there are going to 24 episodes to flesh out the story!
Also, it’s been a while since I’ve watched EP 8, but I believe Umi-yan didn’t purposefully sneak in a crab. It’s that he didn’t know the head nurse has (had?) a strong fear of them. He really meant to bring another type of fish (the name is escaping me). Nonetheless, he is a great role model and is doing an awesome job of teaching the kids who visit Gama Gama.
I wonder…..perhaps it’s a stretch, but does anyone see subtle similarities and differences with Fuuka and Chiyu, the new lady? Both are outsiders in a sense to Gama Gama, yet their stories contrast with each other. Chiyu has her own ambitions (she seems like a realist/pragmatic compared to Kukuru); Fuuka’s dream fell apart, and she was aimless when arriving at Gama Gama. Chiyu seems like she had some professional training, though the way she acts definitely shows her opinion of the aquarium (sorry, haven’t seen the episode at the time of writing, but I’m excited about it); Fuuka had no experience with marine life, yet she steps up and does her best. I’m curious to see how the story progresses with both of them.
So…their similarity is that Fuuka and Chiyu are in need of employment but that is about it. We got to see Fuuka’s immediate family. (her mum) Seeing how Fuuka is still in high school she has a little while to think about her future while fighting for Gama Gama.
Chiyu on the other hand, we don’t know if she is still a high schooler or college student/dropout. What we do know is that Chiyu seems like she is struggling to land a solid gig in the workforce. Ever tried to look for work in your 30s while being unemployed? Shit gets scary fast. You can appreciate Chiyu’s determination.