「ウミウシ大論戦」 (Umiushi Dai Ronsen)
“The Great Sea Slug Debate”
For once, Kukuru’s project proposal gets accepted – an exhibition featuring Sea Slugs. Finally, recognition from Suwa. What a hard fought outcome. But her difficulties don’t end there just because he has acknowledged one of her ideas. No. Now she actually has to see every bit of it through to the end. Not to mention Suwa continues making unreasonable demands, putting Kukuru in an extremely difficult position in relation to making requests of other teams.
At least she has no issue rallying Gama Gama’s former staff to her cause. Umi-yan and Kai do not hesitate and accept her request – with Eiji firmly establishing himself as my favourite character by trying to spur Kai into romantic action, using a slew of fishing analogies to propel our shy boy forwards. With assistance from Fuuka and a very disappointed Kai, she is able to collect 8 variations of sea slugs.
Just as Suwa requested too. Unfortunately, Sea Slugs are difficult critters to look after. And although she nails down the feeding requirements for 7 variants, Kukuru is unable to figure out how to feed the 8th – causing her to pull them off display for fear of causing further distress.
To Feed or Not To Feed
Kaoru raises an extremely poignant conflict of interest, declaring Kukuru’s sentimentality towards sea life to be illogical and naive. Why go above and beyond in the name of their best interests, when you have already denied them of their best interest by taking them away from their home and friends to be caged in a tank for the rest of their life?
But I do not think it’s inherently contradictory to love sea life and keep them trapped in tanks out of good faith.
I personally identify with Kaoru’s take of a greater good being at play, making people love sea life and to become aware of the dangers facing sea life at present – victim of fishing bycatch, climate change, pollution like beer can binders and plastic bags injuring or killing sealife, changes in the ocean’s chemical composition and PH, etc. Yet sometimes, you need to show people these creatures and to fall in love with creatures, before you can get them to care about these plights.
As for Kukuru’s belief. Why make the extra effort? If they are going to take on sea life, and have come this far in holding them in captivity, they should have respect for the sea life and not half ass looking after sea life. It would be hypocritical to persuade others to care about the ocean’s problems, while being a part of the problem.
I was definitely not a fan of the instant suggestion to cut corners – it shows an utter lack of integrity towards the trade. And I found attitudes from Garandou and Suwa surprising too within a Japanese cultural context, where I would have perhaps expected a complete opposite attitude akin to pride of their craft. At least Kukuru took responsibility for the Sea Slugs and ensured the aquarium could maintain its high standards – she truly loves the sea life and her job to sacrifice herself to this extent. Maybe these bosses could learn a lesson or two from her, instead of exploiting and overworking their hapless underlings.
To surmise, I don’t think Kaoru and Kukuru have mutually exclusive beliefs – why not incorporate both? So I am glad they were able to reconcile at the end of the day. To me, it even seems like Kukuru has managed to win Kaoru’s respect – with Kaoru inviting Kukuru out to dinner in the aftermath of her successful sea slug exhibition. And through this unexpected development, perhaps we’re seeing sparks and glimmers of how the Gama Gama and Tingaraa factions might begin to set aside their differences.
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you all next week!