The powerful allure of bishies with fishies
|This is the end of the road for Tsuritama. Tis a momentous event, to be sure, and I have invited lvlln to have some “last words” of sorts about everyone’s favourite show: Gay Fishing. It’s not even a joke now…it is practically the new name of Tsuritama. Woops, almost forgot about thanking you there in the midst of my excitement over homolust. Sorry about that. THANK YOU LVLLN.|
|No, thank you, Overcooled, for putting this together. I’ve been loving the hell out of Tsuritama this past season, and after the finale, I felt that I just had to get some stuff off my chest. This really was a beautiful show, and as sad it was to see it end, let me tell you, I was grinning from ear to ear the whole way through.|
Overcooled // The finale was basically an amalgamation of everything in Tsuritama that made me feel warm and tingly inside. It wasn’t so much about explaining the whole hidden truth of the entire show or shoving as many plot twists as humanly possible in a short span of time. It was about fishing. My favourite moments in Tsuritama were by far the over-the-top depictions of fishing and watching the boys slowly become friends and help each other along the way with their insecurities. The flashy showing of the classic “ENOSHIMA DON!” casting against this huge bait ball just felt like the perfect final step for this show to take, from Yuki landing his lure in a bucket to saving the world.
lvlln // I recall wondering about Yuki’s narration that ended the first episode, that he and his friends would literally save the world. Of course, how that would happen was still up in the air, but I found promise in that bit of foreshadowing. It if it was handled properly, we could be in for something special. Well, it was handled properly. The relatively relaxing fishing – and therefore friendship – focused episodes were a joy to watch week by week, and the show ramped up the stakes smoothly, using all the character development of the first part of the show to make the end pay off.
Though it touched on some heavy issues, the show never got dark, and no one died in the end, even if there was some pain. One of my favorite bits is that Natsuki never did make up with his father. Though we saw them cooperate when the chips were down, there were no tearful hugs, just Natsuki leaving to follow his own dreams. It didn’t cheapen the father-son relationship and its complexities by providing an easy melodramatic solution.
Plus, the show actually had an ending, following up the climax with the falling action and denouement. Incredible things happened, but life continues, and what really matter are the ways these characters changed due to the memories they made along the way. I’d like to see more emphasis on that in anime endings. After all, before all the gay fishing, this presented itself as a coming of age story about a boy with crippling social anxiety.
Overcooled // What I loved most about the budding friendships was that it felt honest and natural. Nothing was forced, the tone was generally light-hearted, and it was oh-so-easy to watch. At the beginning, everyone showed the tell-tale signs of being an awkward teen trying to fit in, and it took quite a while for everyone to open up and understand each other. I couldn’t even picture Akira joining everyone at the start because he was so aloof, and yet it happened so smoothly that I didn’t realize they were becoming friends until it actually happened. Even DUCK – the supposed road block for the characters – ended up changing their ideals at the end in a display of trust for Akira and his ragtag fishing buddies.
Admittedly, there were some lows when the drama came on a bit too strong, such as when Sakura ran away. Something about that felt like a contrived attempt to tug at heartstrings instead of just telling the story naturally. I also preferred the casual fishing to the “fish or humanity dies” situation, because it just captured the feeling of youth and growing up so wonderfully. Those parts were the best because they make it possible for me to remember Tsuritama first and foremost as an anime that was fun. That’s the most important part right? Enjoying yourself when watching anime. Tsuritama is simple bliss and sheer wackiness in all its glory. Well…wackiness and gay fishing. Come on, did you think I’d go through this whole post without fawning over how affectionate these boys were with each other?
lvlln // Ah, gay fishing And it didn’t get any gayer than the climax of this episode, did it? Natsuki’s and Yuki’s dialogue while the former
embraced from behind held onto the latter while he was using Haru as the bait was hilarious. And what about Haru inexplicably losing his clothes during the flight? At first I thought the coat hiding his body was to prepare for a reveal of how his real alien form looked. Turns out it was just for modesty.
But homoeroticism aside – you tend to get that from any work about brotherly love – I was fascinated by the final scene, pre-credits. At first it appeared to be giving Yuki a love interest in Erika. But then Urara appeared and sat down next to Yuki. The fidgeting, playing with his hair, and the blush made him look like he had already formed a crush on Yuki. And Yuki turned away from the girl to face him, looking more at ease than ever and asked him to go fishing. Yuki’s narration: “Maybe I have changed a little.”
Of course, it’s easy to explain this as the result of Yuki’s character development throughout the series, becoming active in making a new friend, just like how Haru approached him. But what if we don’t explain it that way? What if Yuki’s reaching out to this overly stereotypically effeminate boy was a sign that he was starting to discover that he’s actually attracted to boys? He made his typical scary face in front of Erika, but Urara put him at ease. This is also easily explained by typical adolescent male behavior toward attractive girls, but that’s not nearly as fun as thinking that Yuki coming out of his shell was just a step toward coming out of the closet. Gay fishing indeed.
Overcooled // After all the adrenaline was done coursing through veins, things slowed down and returned to the slice of life side. The extra closure wasn’t really needed, but I liked seeing how everyone was doing afterwards to give us a complete picture of the before and after of everyone. I was predicting a fluffy, feel-good ending and I’m satisfied that I got what I expected. It wasn’t incredibly special, but it served its purpose. Most importantly, we get to see that Yuki is comfortable with new people – not just his usual group of friends. There are a lot of shy people who say they’re wild and goofy around their friends but totally clam up with strangers. Along that vein of thinking, Yuki could have regressed after all of his friends left Enoshima and reverted back to being socially anxious. He choose not to though.
Yuki’s making a conscious effort to be the person he wants to be, even though it means stepping outside his comfort zone. If Haru taught everyone one important message, it’s that you need to come out of your shell to make things work something…not just Yuki, either. Afterwards, it might be a fun experiment to watch episode 1 again to see how quiet Natsuki is and how cold Akira acts to compare. The world wouldn’t have been saved if everyone didn’t work together with the magic of – oh dear God, when did this discussion become a sappy friendship speech?!
Haru and Urara in fish form
Ahem, yes, back to THE WORLD BEING IN MORTAL PERIL…because of a tiny fish. I was pretty shocked to see that the dragon could fit in the palm of your hand! I don’t know a whole lot about fish, but Urara looked like a Siamese fighting fish, which could potentially explain his violent nature. When they’re alone, they’re not too bad…but if you add another fish in the bowl (i.e. Haru and Koko) then they get violent and start to fight. Urara never explains why he attacked the Earth, but he does seem very apologetic. He’s so moe that I forgive him immediately and don’t even need an explanation. Holy snap is he cute. Why such a demure little dandy went berserk and starting causing trouble is beyond me, but plot details aren’t something Tsuritama wants me to worry about, so I won’t. Now that he’s been fished out he seems harmless, and I’m sure he’ll be kept in line under Yuki’s guidance. After all, he was the one to catch him, so they share a very special bond.
lvlln // Speaking of that final scene, the post credits segment was cute but unnecessary. Even if it was obvious that it would be Haru, I would’ve preferred if it had been left open. I like the ambiguity – like that of Yuki’s sexual orientation or the fate of Kate in the 6 months that passed. But maybe I’m reading more into this than was originally intended. Then again, that intention doesn’t matter. Yuki will be gay in my book, because it’s more fun to think of him that way.
What, don’t you have cuddle time with your bros?
Overcooled // This has been a joy to watch and blog about. It’s definitely one of my favourites of the season. I think it’s fair to crown Kenji Nakamura as my favourite director right now, because I absolutely adored his work with Kuuchuu Buranko and Mononoke. I highly recommend watching those two if you crave more bright, vibrant and kind of nutty anime. I will warn you that Mononoke is a lot more macabre than Tsuritama, but that doesn’t mean I can’t urge everyone to watch it. Whenever Mr. Nakamura makes another anime, I’ll be jumping aboard that as well faster than you can say ‘enoshima don.’ Thank you for reading the Tsuritama posts (if this is your first one then you’ve ruined this sentence, you heathen) up until now! I hate to say goodbye, but…actually no, this isn’t goodbye, a whole new season is starting. Goodbye Tsuritama, and hello summer season!
Tapioca’s hips don’t lie…and they’re telling you to vote for Metanorn in the aniblog tourney!