First Impressions: Tsuritama


noitaminA is one of my favorite blocks, so when I had the chance to jump on one of their shows in arguably the best anime season in recent years, I pounced for Kenji Nakamura's Tsuritama. Of course, even though Watanabe's Kids on the Slope is one of the most talked about and anticipated series premiering on this block, I really couldn't pass up on an original anime directed by the guy responsible for 2009's Kuuchu Buranko (and besides, Bob beat me to the punch).

What I got was a rather subdued show, one that I appreciate much more than the first time I watched Kuuchu Buranko... or even his most recent work, [C] (because seriously, screw [C]). In fact, with just enough heavy foreshadowing and the promise of more exciting things to come (like saving the Earth), this quiet, funny first episode was probably about as relaxing as spending a nice day fishing in the ocean without a care in the world.


I've got nothing but positive things to say about Tsuritama, but that doesn't excuse how plain it really is. The art is fantastic, the characters are diverse and funny enough to carry the story along, and the setting really makes me wish I lived in a tropical area during this dreary Spring. But it all comes together into a rather average package... one that I feel that I've seen more times than I care to remember. I'm sure over time, I can excuse the "new transfer student meets an odd person who claims to be an alien" plot in this show, but then I'd also have to forget the "odd alien moves in with our main character" side-story, as well as the "mysterious classmate who is cold to the main character and befriends him over time" and the "attractive female classmate who falls for our protagonists' weird perks" storylines as well.

I hate to sound like I'm just nit-picking and looking for things to be wrong with the story in Tsuritama; I'm more exasterbated with it than foaming angry, and what comes from it ends up being a rather enjoyable 24 minutes worth of entertainment, not to mention a beautiful one at that. I am a bit underwhelmed, though, that such familiar tropes had to be used in order to get me partially excited for next week. And every individual thing that this first episode does, like I said, is pretty cool and technically sound, but the overall package is nothing more than an alright first episode that does little to psych me up... something that is very unlike Nakamura's style.

Of course, one of the things that Tsuritama does extremely well, as you could tell, is its animation and art. A-1 Pictures did a great job with its mix of fluid, exaggerated movements and detailed scenery, and the visual cues used to describe what our characters are feeling really do help in portraying the fear and danger they have. Yuki is a very nervous person, one who can't easily make friends or talk in front of a crowd, despite going to so many different schools. Whether it's because he is indeed extremely nervous, or for some unknown, not-yet-discovered reason, whenever he's dealing with a particularly messy situation, the feeling of embarrassment and the pressure of being looked at causes him to feel like he's surrounded by water, accompanied by the visual of Yuki struggling to breathe. Immediately, the viewer understands what Yuki must feel like, relating to the feeling of being underwater is something that anyone that was in his position to recognize instantly... all the while still dealing with the aquatic-theme of Tsuritama's setting.

As much as I'm trying to point out how average it is, I still really enjoyed the relaxing tone of this show, but at the same time, it's also the same relaxing tone that I could have gotten from watching Umi Monogatari or Arakawa Under the Bridge or any other show that places an emphasis on a beautiful setting and a rather reserved plot. I guess my point is that, while it's not offering anything new, Tsuritama still has this feeling of being really chill and good-looking... and even though as a whole it's nothing mind-blowing, it's still something you would never feel guilty for watching each week. In fact, the appropriate way to look at it is that the series, from a rather modest first impression, has no where to go but up! I can easily say that I can't wait to look forward to more episodes, but it's only on the promise of everything becoming more exciting and, well... just plain better. If the series is stubborn enough to continue sticking with the same tropes it's using now, then it honestly won't hold up very long in this over-saturated season of better anime.

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MARCContributor   gamer profile

don't even bother calling me out, I go by OxKing now cuz he's the ickest & more + disclosures



Filed under... #A-1 #anime #First Impressions #Japanator Original #top stories



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