「籠城の果て」 (Roujou no Hate)
“At the End of the Siege”
I had a feeling this day was going to come. The writing has been on the wall since about halfway through this cour. Something beyond a miracle would have been needed to save Gama Gama Aquarium and I think most viewers realised this was never materialising. Even more so when the dark clouds, hurricane warnings and Kukuru’s prayers were ominously displayed at the start of this episode. Any optimistic people who had hope the ever-present deity would make finally its move were sorely disappointed. Because the way Kukuru loses everything was nothing short of heart-wrenching and left me with a ridiculously aching emptiness. Her older sister figure, her dreams, her secondary family. All gone in the span of 2-3 days. This was without question one of those rare moments where I wished I could hug a fictional character.
Seeing Kukuru’s dreams collapsing around her, literally and metaphorically, as she has traumatic flashbacks to her parents and the way she always loses everything she ever cares about truly hurt. Previously we’ve had it is easy judging her for being young, foolish and unprofessional. But at heart, she gives 100% and really means the best for the aquarium. She’s not a perfect person. But I think I speak for everyone when I say we’ve all been there before, struggling desperately trying to overcome an insurmountable obstacle as we make our way through life. I’m unashamed to say that through juxtaposing her flaws against her determination, I’ve come to greatly care about Kukuru as a character.
That development arc is finalised when she comes around admitting that there was no future for Gama Gama because of the state it was in. That the facility can no longer provide a safe environment for the sealife who are her second family. That keeping them at Gama Gama on her selfish whims could put them in jeopardy with how run-down the aquarium became, the architecture of the place only being suited to short term fixes since no funds could be acquired for a complete overhaul.
At least she can take solace in the fact that her obstinate decision to barricade the aquarium meant she probably saved a lot of the sea life there. Certainly, that green fish wasn’t looking too healthy and I reckon it absolutely would have died if she was not on the site to give an immediate point of care. And some serious credit has to be given to Fuuka, as well as the rest of the characters for showing up to help save the sea life. I feared for the worst when the power generators went out. But through their sheer grit and determination against the face of a natural disaster, they were able to prevail. Arguably a pyrrhic, bittersweet victory given this was a Swan Song for their time at Gama Gama, Kukuru tearing inconsolably into Fuuka’s embrace as the realisation of an endpoint dawns upon her.
How will our young protagonist return from her despair event horizon? Like many others on the internet, I’m expecting a time skip where Kukuru ends up working at the other Aquarium and meeting with the rude lady again, as well as Fuuka returning to Tokyo so that she can pursue her second chance at the idol dream. In that sense, I’ve said it before. I don’t think the dream is truly dead. Kukuru need only carry Gama Gama in her heart and ensure the legacy lives on elsewhere. As a commenter astutely noted, the anime is referenced as Project Tingaraa by P.A. Works – which for me can only suggest that’s where the future will be.
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you all next week!