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[Review] Tsuritama

Tsuritama is an intriguing story about fishing, aliens, ducks and brainwashed dancing – a mysterious alien called Haru moves to Enoshima and plagues the protagonist with his crazed obsession to learn how to fish.

If that seems like a strange setup – you’re correct, but it all slowly becomes clear as the episodes progress and  the plot eventually unravels.

 

The pacing of revealing of the plot elements is well-timed – for a lot of the show I was gripped by the mysterious, unexplained purpose behind everything. It’s not without its cliché moments, but those that exist aren’t overdone. I’ve found it’s an easy pitfall for friendship-centered anime to rely on existing tropes, and the lack of them makes it feel more genuine.

Yuki & Haru practicing their aim

Located on the island of Enoshima, Tsuritama revolves around fishing. For those who reel at the first sign of sports anime – it’s okay, Tsuritama is very plot based, and there’s no national championships either.  There is a lot of fishing, but the protagonist doesn’t even want to fish – it’s just somehow – when the alien’s involved, he suddenly forgets what is happening and wakes up, already fishing.

Whilst the show explains the basics of fishing, it knows that its viewers aren’t necessarily interested in the sport’s intricacies and it acts more as a medium to play out the relationships in the world, whether that be comradery, tension or absolute frustration – they all take place on the docks.

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very nice artwork in several part of the show

The art is notably above average in Tsuritama, While most of the detailed work is similar to most shows, the character design is satisfyingly unique and there are several moments of particular quality – usually used when expressing Yuki’s emotions visibly or fabric-styled scenes of mythical tales.

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A very effective way to show Yuki being suddenly pulled out of his anxious state of mind.

There’s some evidence near the end of the show of rushed art, and the innovative art we see in the rest of the show fades away for several few-frame scenes and unseen movements. While it’s noticeable, the show’s plot is now progressing faster and the viewers are already engaged in the show. There’s occasionally a glimmer of the earlier animation spontaneity, but much less frequent than before.

One thing I was particularly impressed by was the dubbed track. Usually I will give the dub version of a show a chance before switching to subtitles. Often I’m put off by overtly English/American accents or obvious translation simplifications. The English voice actors were very impressive in this though.

 

End Result

For me, Tsuritama gets a very deserved 4 stars for giving unremarkable characters deep and invested representations. Also for the more tangible aspects of sound and picture which seemed fresh – not limiting emotion to the physical capabilities of the characters’ faces, but using more abstract, artistic forms. It also gets some bonus points for the very well structured plot, teasing the viewer by making the mystery grow gradually larger, rather than becoming predictable halfway.

It’s a very easy show to watch, and one I’d definitely recommend for family viewing. EU viewers can find the edition I watched from MVM-Films or the American version from Sentai Filmworks for our friends across the ocean.

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Labels: Anime/Manga

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