Friendship as portrayed in virtually every anime is usually lackluster, cliche and shallow. Friendship as portrayed in Tsuritama is still a little cliche, but it’s completely grounded in beautiful care and warmth – this is a show that thrives on friendship, and it’s these next episodes that will hopefully show how to really portray teenage friendships in a way that is realistic, but yet at the end of the road lies the happy ending we’re all waiting for. I’m a little tired of seeing dreadfully narcissistic and despair-ridden shows like Fate/Zero (Urobuchi = King of Despair), and I thank Tsuritama for providing a really heartwarming and levelheaded perspective of teenage friendships with an alien twist.
This is the first episode in a long time that it really went by fast – I honestly thought this episode took only 5 minutes – but there was a lot of build-up for an episode that seemed really fast. I knew Koko and Haru wouldn’t be able to take care of “JFX” that easily, but to have Koko out already suggests that whatever JFX is, it’s going to be a hell of a fight to get rid of it, and possibly the Bermuda Syndrome. But wow, things did get really dark at points – Koko before landing in the water, serious Haru and Kate lying on the ground next to him, but I still feel that this show will go back to its roots for the ending.
But damn, Akira was the star this episode. He really believes in Haru and even offered to catch JFX by himself, only a few weeks ago he was this shady and unpleasant figure in the series (though it was obvious by the OP sequence he’d be a good guy in the end). I really loved his big middle finger attitude towards his boss (and Tapioca’s quacking was hilarious), laughing carelessly – a real sign that he’s truly been touched by his newfound friendships with Yuki, Haru and Natsuki. In fact, I really liked his growth as a character the most out of everyone and it’s nice to see someone like Tomokazu Sugita voice an actually serious character, he ought to do more roles like these.
I really think Kate will play a much bigger role in the episodes to come, she has this air of enigma and her words seem very foreboding and cryptic (in a good way..?), with her telling Yuki that Haru is a “blooming flower” and why she let Haru stay at her house “because you need a flower in your life” – I think Kate knows more than she’s letting on or she’s just really intuitive and perceptive. But I really like how her character has made an influence on this show, because usually the parental figure of the main character is gone after the first episode, unless they really are a part of the plot but Kate really isn’t and yet she still remains a focal character.
Take the heartwarming aspect of Natsume Yuujinchou and the friendships of Kimi to Boku and add a little sci-fi and you get Tsuritama. At the end of the day, this is a show about friendship. It’s not as direct as Kimi to Boku’s approach, it’s more substantial than in Natsume and though this show brings an alien angle to it, it truly is the story of four friends – Yuki was an introvert, Haru was a mischievous alien, Natsuki bottled up his family issues and Akira was working with a group that was ruthlessly trying to hurt his friend – but these nine weeks have really done a tremendous job in showing each of them maturing and growing as people: learning new things (Haru), breaking out of your shell (Yuki), making your own choices (Akira) and believing in others (Natsuki) – this is the quintessential story of teenage life compressed into a TV anime with a sci-fi twist.