Genre: Action, Comedy
Publisher: A-1 Pictures (JP), Sentai Filmworks (US)
Director: Kenji Nakamura
Script: Shinsuke Onishi, Toshiya Ono, Touko Machida
Music Composer: Kuricorder Quartet
This series is streaming for free on Crunchyroll.
Before it even aired, Tsuritama was an anime that was already praised for the originality of its theme and the fact that it was a work of Kenji Nakamura, the director of Ayakashi and the colorful Mononoke. As a result, many people immediately came to love this anime and claim it as one of the best anime of this year when it finished. Keyword: Many. As in, not I.
-Naru suddenly notices the glares coming from the readers; sweats a bit-
To clear things up, I did not hate Tsuritama. It had quite an unusual story with colorful characters and settings, but nonetheless I ended up disliking it for the reasons I will mention below. But before that, a little summary about the anime would be favorable.
Tsuritama can be compared to Spielberg’s ET. Think about it: Kid finds alien, takes him home, alien teaches him weird stuff, the power of friendship dominates all, and finally they have a sad separation since the alien can’t stay forever. The only difference with Tsuritama is that it regards the wonderful world of fishing for the great displeasure of those who aren’t into this hobby. Oh, and it includes anime Japanese high school boys. That’s pretty much it.
So yes, the main problem I had with the anime was fishing. Yes, fishing. I do realize that the whole story revolves around fishing, and that the anime had an appealing method in showing the viewer how the concept of fishing went in order to make them understand the story more and even appreciate fishing, but that method did not work on me one bit. Fishing is, and will forever be a slow and quiet hobby which requires extreme patience. Even if I did sense the effort of the staff in making the fishing scenes interesting for the viewers, it worked only for the first few episodes. The series ended up looking boring and uneventful in my eyes and it kept me from fully enjoying the rest of the episodes.
Another element that bothered me was how predictable the story was in the second half of the series. While I do approve straight and simple plots, I also have a hard time with predictable ones; you can easily guess what happens next which ruins somewhat the little suspense the story has to offer. Tsuritama was open to a large number of interesting possibilities. And personally, I believe it should have had a kind of twist with much more impact than the ones it has shown.
With that out of the bag, let’s move on to something I did like: the characters. If it weren’t for the characters, I would have honestly dropped the anime after the first five episodes. I took a liking to the personality of the adorkable protagonist, Yuki, who becomes easily stressed when facing an uncomfortable situation. A-1 Pictures did a great job at expressing Yuki’s fears by using the impression that he was drowning under water and the expression he had that held resemblance to a Tengu mask. I also appreciated the spy half Indian, half Japanese Akira who, regardless of the age difference between him and the other main characters, became pretty close friends with them. And let’s not forget Natsuki and Haru, the characters I paid close attention to considering the way their characters were polar opposites to that of Yuki’s. While Yuki was timid and…awkward since he was the new kid in town, Natsuki, if I recall, had a rather taciturn personality towards others, but when his favorite hobby fishing was involved, he turned into this sort of passionate otaku about it which gave more color to his character.
Haru. Dear Haru was as annoying as a hamster running continuously in his little wheel, yet I adored him. That little hyperactive alien was the one making me cling to this series. Like his name, Haru played the role of Spring in the already colorful world that was Tsuritama. Even if his ways of lightening up certain situations in the anime were far from skillful and logical– I mean, who sprays magical water to hypnotize his friends — he quickly became a person important to the tiny hearts (reserved for the anime fandom) of us viewers and the other characters.
As I was watching Tsuritama, I also couldn’t help but throw my love at the cute relationship between Haru and Yuki. Such as Spring and snow complementing each other, it was partially the case with the two main characters. Haru would sometimes bother Yuki with his energetic nature and they would at times have clashes due to that, however near the final arc of the anime, you could notice the unbreakable bond of friendship between them. Haru has been there to support Yuki during the period where his grandmother, the only person really close to him, was sent to the hospital leaving Yuki alone.
In all, Tsuritama wasn’t so bad. It simply doesn’t merit all of the praise and it certainly wasn’t the best of the best this year. A large part of the series wasn’t memorable — that includes the plot, certain characters and side-stories — however it had its touching moments that made my heart pinch just a little, tinsy-tiny nano bit.