「くつろぎ処 海月風」 (Kutsurogi Dokoro Kuragefuu)
“Hangout Spot Kuragefuu”

These episodes allowed us to dial back from the rollercoaster that’s just concluded, giving us a chance to vibe and appreciate the new work relationship dynamic that has taken Tingarla by storm.

As someone who lives to eat, I truly wish I could have partaken in the joys of Udon’s cooking. And the cocktails look delicious too. Fortunately the functions my workplace arranges looks something akin to the scenes that unfold here. Last time we booked a variety game, where my bosses ordered endless pitchers of beer and pizza to go with it! Absolutely love it, and these kind of functions are crazy good for team building. Kukuru and Fuuka deserve credit for their initiative in striking while the iron was still hot.

I’m not going to go as far as saying Kukuru and Haebaru are now besties. That kabedon felt awkward to me. But I don’t detect any signs of animosity. Additionally, Fuuka has completely won her line manager over through sheer competence and genuinely heartfelt well wishing. They’ve tag teamed Haebaru into being a former villain who is now an ally of the protagonists! Plus they’ve given her some much needed time off looking after her son. If anyone needed some relaxation and time to chill, Haebaru is definitely up there being a single mother who’s trying to stay really on top of her job.

Another thing I’ve really been able to appreciate is how Kai, Kuuya abd Eiji have become excellent role models for Shizuku. Now if I was writing Aquatope, I would tie this in with an existing young boy like Rui and have him take Shizuku under his wing. That way they could form an alliance to try and take down the big kids when it comes to aquatic trivia. I think that would have made for a fun direction that gives more cohesion between strands that form the underlying basis for this series.

Haebaru’s excellent redemption arc also gives me some faith, in terms of allowing PA Works some benefit of the doubt concerning Kukuru’s boss. While he might seem stiff, allowing Kukuru to spearhead her own project – and such an important one too – implies belief in her capabilities.

 

「あかりの灯るとき」 (Akari no Tomoru Toki)
“When The Light Shines”

Kukuru is definitely the person I can empathise with, in terms of enthusiastically taking someone’s idea forward, only to realise they weren’t actually so keen about it. But for it was nice to see Akari take pride and ownership over her suggestion. Her cosplay function turned out to be a huge success!

I especially liked how she drew inspiration from Udon’s failures. Whatever reservations she might have had herself, it was lovely to see her overcome that hitch to show up to assist Kukuru and Karin in their overtime endeavours. Plus she’s young too. I think it’s always great for young people to occasionally commit more energy and time
to the workplace every now and then. I’m not advocating for some insane work schedule. That would be insanity. For me, it’s nice to give it more than your usual every now and then.

Of course, Kukuru still wants to be a penguin attendant. However, if she wants to me that manager. If she dreams of one day bringing Gama Gama back to life. Yup, she’s going to have to become well-rounded across the board. Not to mention being the manager doesn’t mean always getting to do the fun stuff. They will need to be able to navigate everything across the board, and if you ask me Kukuru’s doing a relatively decent job despite the unreasonable demands made of her at times.

「さよならハイヒール 」 (Sayonara Hai Hiiru)
“Goodbye, High Heels”

Personally I had a feeling that despite what she was saying, Fuuka had always continued holding her wish to be an idol close to her own heart.

I think Ruka-chan’s earnesty, candidly trying her best for senpai’s sake (giving herself that pep talk believing no one around her was listening in), makes me believe she hadn’t intended to unfairly undermine Fuuka through some dastardly machination. That’s just what the idol industry is at the end of the day. The person who relentlessly goes for opportunities – as opposed to passively waiting for them to come by – will generally come out on top. It goes for many things in life – you have to want it more. I had my doubts about Ruka and possessed some animosity for the way she barged Fuuka out of the idol industry. But this episode shows she’s generally a good egg. So I’m happy to relinquish said animosity and cheer her from here on out.

This isn’t a criticism of Fuuka. Some people are naturally predisposed to be meek. There’s no doubting her talent as an idol. Even in the Tingarla documentary, she outshone Ruka as a performer. And we all know how much blood, sweat and tears Fuuka put into making her dreams as an idol come true. Ultimately it wasn’t meant to be. But Fuuka was able to find her own precious thing coming to Okinawa. A place at Tingarla she can call home as well as genuine friends who have her back through thick and thin.

More symbolically, gifting the shoes to Ruka shows to me that Fuuka has let go of those remnant feelings she held towards being an idol. To me, it’s an act that demonstrates her growth – that she’s moved on to another dream. And that just made for one beautiful culmination.

I think everyone must have loved the penguin-minding we got to see. Crucially, it served as a reflection of Fuuka’s situation. Like the penguin, Fuuka felt so unaccustomed to her situation that she refused to swim her way through life. She gives the penguin a tiny push to get it started. Just like how Kukuru gave her a push to begin afresh her life beyond the idol industry. I suppose that puts a really satisfying wrap on Fuuka’s chapter in relation to idolism. She hasn’t had any exciting or dynamic development. But anyone can see just how far Fuuka has come since the start of this series.

Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post – and see you all next week (I do believe my schedule should become less hectic).

3 Comments

    1. It was nice to see them interact amicably after Kukuru tried to step in her shoes for a day, though they probably won’t be BFFs any time soon. Reminds me of the relationship between Hikari and Miuna’s father.

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