Tsuritama feels like something studio SHAFT would make, as it has weird artsy animation and characters that are or act like they are aliens.
- And yet it is not made by SHAFT but rather by A-1 Works, which translates to good production values.
- It is also part of the NoitanimA timeslot, so it is bound to have lots of artistic makeup and josei overtones.
- And it’s by Nakamura Kenji, the director of Mononoke, Kuuchu Buranko, and C, so expect some really crazy stuff in it.
My impressions about the plot were just one big MEH as there was literally no real hook in the story. It is supposed to be about making friends and fishing being the key to the salvation of the Earth but it is not motivational or educational or exciting or whatever. It is easy going right away and doesn’t try to have peaks of tension just to flavour the whole thing. Even the finale that is supposed to be one big major event is presented in a most easy going way. Just imagine that instead of panicking because of a major catastrophe, the people are dancing happily in the middle of the street.
I didn’t find the characters to be very funny or inspiring. The “earth people” felt and acted like they were bored half the time and kept their distance from you like they were afraid of something. There wasn’t any specific reason for not wanting to open up, they were just bored or anti-social. And this is where the “alien people” come up and motivate them to learn fishing, as means to make friends, be more social … and save the world in some ludicrous way. They are supposed to be a complete antithesis with the earthlings but because of the easy going nature of the show they didn’t manage to polarize their attitudes that much. Everybody’s personality was quite basic and simple and the whole “I’m an alien” thing that was supposed to keep things interesting, got old years ago.
A notice must be given to Yuki, the protagonist, who is anti-social and gets these panic attacks when pressed to do something. He is supposed to be your average blunt closet teenager we are to identify with. Although it is kinda funny to see him acting like he is drowning or about to blow up, I eventually disliked how everything seems to revolve around him, and happening just for him. The aliens are constantly pressing him to learn fishing because he is the chosen one or something, and he catches fish with no real talent. It gets quickly annoying if you don’t like anti-social people and convenient events.
Another notice must be given to the alien Haru’s water pistol. Yes, his pistol, not him, whom I want to strangle for acting like a coo-coo all the time . It brainwashes people to do anything he tells them to. This alone trashes all sense of free will and the whole bonding and friendship part turns to nothing but puppets controlled by Haru’s strings. So much for motivation.
As for the rest of the characters, they don’t matter much to the main plot. I mean there is this Hindu dude and his duck partner, and they are supposed to be part of a shady organization but the whole thing is there just for kicks. There is also Haru’s sister who is there just for fan service; she otherwise behaves exactly like him. And some other denizens of the island, like relatives and other schoolmates who are there to flesh out the setting and give it a fluffy atmosphere between slice of life and romantic comedy. The show focuses on them nicely, so they are not cardboards.
I fancied the artwork for its uncommon and stylish looks. A weird blend of paperwork and water paints, with simplistic caricatures and vivid colours to make everything look like you are high on drugs. It keeps the eye occupied all the time with all the trippy things in it.
I disliked the animation. Not only there wasn’t much motion, but also because everything felt dumb. The way they keep shaking their hands and head felt half-dead compared to how extreme they are supposed to behave. It doesn’t feel exaggerated enough and that tends to make it dull to keep looking after awhile. And seriously, when one guy is talking or thinking, everybody else just freezes and waits for him to finish instead of doing anything else. It made it look very staged and artificial. Especially when the lead male is looking at his Pokedex … I’m sorry, I mean his amazing cell phone that has a whole wikipedia in it. Every time a new fishing-related word is spoken, he picks up his phone and looks for the explanation. This is quite a dull way of explaining things since all we see is letters and an internal monologue. Where is the interest in a still image where he reads and thinks about it, while every other character present patiently awaits for him to finish as if they await the approval of the king in order to move to the next scene. BOOORING!
Voice acting and dialogues were fine but because of the lack of proper bodily motions, they too weren’t as passionate as they could have been. Other than that, everybody talks in a comical way and especially Haru is so cheerful you just want to shoot him.
The background music was crap. They just threw a soft tune in the background and left the characters talking however they liked. There was very little effort given to make the music be in tune with whatever is going on in the foreground.
The music themes were soft lullabies full of flute tunes. Although fitting to the show’s mood they are not something memorable or good enough to not skip when they appear.
So what do I think of this show as a whole?
- It’s TOO DAMN TAMED! Completely easy going compared to what the same director has produced in the past. With such a bizarre premise and quirky artwork, you would expect it to be far more exciting that this lukewarm slice of life. It’s one of those shows you watch to ease your mind by not thinking much, instead of sleeping, watching commercials on television, or looking at the cars crossing the road outside your house. BOOORING! I don’t watch anime to fall asleep but to get my blood pumping and my brain working. Tsuritama felt to me like a dull variant of Sayonara Zetsubo or FLCL.
- Even the whole premise of making friends through fishing is not working out. FISHING IS A BORING HOBBY! All you do is shake a rod, keep quiet, and hope for a dumb fish to bite the lure. Even Bayblade felt more interesting to this and it was just about spinning tops.
- And even if it was trying to be about opening up and making friends, it is still boring compared to NHK, Princess Jellyfish, or even Boku wa Tomodachi. And brainwashing people to do your biding on top of everything else? Well thanks for trashing your own premise just like that.
Aliens: Arakawa under the Bridge, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Level E
Anti-socials: NHK, Princess Jellyfish, Boku wa Tomodachi
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 2/2 (artsy)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (artsy)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (artsy)
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 3/10
Premise 0/2 (stupid)
Pacing 1/2 (slow)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 7/10
Presence 2/2 (funny)
Personality 2/2 (silly but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 4/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too little plot)
Memorability 3/4 (weird enough to bother remembering it)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10
Art 1/1 (looks artsy)
Sound 0/2 (sounds boring)
Story 0/3 (feels stupid)
Characters 2/4 (cute but nothing much)