Tsuritama Review

Anime

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Tsuritama
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Publisher: Sentai Filmworks
Format: DVD, Blu-ray (Reviewed)
Release Date: August 20, 2013
Price: $69.98 – Available Here

Overview
There are countless anime every season that involve cute girls doing cute things, usually with an extra twist placed somewhere in there, there are also anime involving a group of guys trying to find their way in the world and learn to make friends with one another or deal with various obstacles in their way as they try to grow up. Tsuritama just happens to be one of those shows and it also comes with a bit of a fishy twist, but is it enough to entertain viewers?

Story
Yuki has seemingly had a difficult life, as he lives with his grandmother and appears to have moved often throughout his life. While little of this is actually gone over, it has left Yuki with a crippling case of introversion. Yuki is so crippled when it comes to communicating with others that any time he is put on the spot, he envisions himself drowning while making a horrible face to the people he is trying to speak with.

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After moving to the small island of Enoshima, Yuki is given another chance to try and make friends and live a relatively normal life. However Yuki isn’t the only one arriving at Enoshima, as a bubbly teenage boy named Haru has shown up and not only has he chosen to live at Yuki’s house, but he has claimed to everyone he meets that he is an alien. While everyone laughs this off as simply a joke at first, it quickly becomes clear that Haru is far from normal.

Despite Yuki’s introverted lifestyle, Haru begins to draw him out of his shell in an effort to go fishing. To do so Haru ensnares the local fishing celebrity, although he hates being called such, Natsuki. As Natsuki teaches Haru and Yuki to fish, a mysterious Indian named Akira who talks with his duck named Tapioca follows the group around, spying on their activities and reporting to an organization called DUCK who appears to monitor alien movement on Earth and is investigating cases of Bermuda Syndrome which involve boats, planes and people either completely vanishing or appearing in random locations with no recollection of prior events.

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Despite the heavy sci-fi elements, Tsuritama presents itself as more of a bonding experience between four men as they learn to fish and grow as people. Although resistant at first, Natsuki accepts the job of teaching Haru and Yuki to fish while Yuki gains confidence in himself and begins to make his first real friends and push through the boundaries of his introverted self as he sets goals for himself and meets them, giving himself a feeling of accomplishment as the four men bond through fishing.

Tsuritama manages to find a nice balance between drama and humor as Haru, Yuki and Akira are usually the comedic relief, though a lot of the humor is hit and miss at best, while dramatic events and character development focus around Yuki and Natsuki. Both of the aforementioned characters have their own internal issues that they must work through and manage to pull through in rather heartwarming manner. Though this ends up leaving Akira as a bit of a side main character who only seems to be useful thanks to his knowledge from the DUCK organization.

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Although it may sound a bit scattered, Tsuritama remains quite focused on the overarching alien storyline. Throughout the series there are numerous hints that Haru and his sister’s motives involve fishing while DUCK’s constant surveillance reveals more about the nature of the threat that the Earth could be under if their plans do not succeed. While some of the drama is rather contrived at first, since the alien threat appears minimal at first, it quickly escalates to a point where all four fishermen must put their bonds to the test and push through to potentially save the world from destruction.

Visuals
One thing that will immediately catch viewers’ attention in Tsuritama, especially on this Blu-ray release, is how vivid the color palette of the series is. Everything, from the environments to the character designs, are presented in bright saturated colors that are impressive to see when paired with the excellent animation work done by A-1 Pictures.

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As mentioned before, the environment and backdrops in Tsuritama are nicely handled and exceptionally detailed, though it is a bit of a shame that quite a lot of the anime takes place either on a beach or in the middle of the ocean as the set-pieces tend to be rather impressive. The fish designs and the various fishing equipment on display are nicely detailed, though some iffy CG is implemented in the latter half of the series.

Audio
With Tsuritama getting a Blu-ray release, that means that Sentai Filmworks has given the anime an English dub to accompany the original Japanese voice track. The English cast is nothing to write home about, but they do their job well enough that the voice actors manage to match the personality of the characters and help sell the humor a bit more.

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As far as the soundtrack goes, the background music in Tsuritama is fitting more often than not, especially in the latter half of the series as things begin to take on a more serious tone. The opening theme  “Tsurezure Monochrome” by Fujifabric is entertaining and matches well with the running ‘Enoshima Dance’ gag that plays throughout the series while the ending theme “Sora mo Toberu Hazu” by Sayonara Ponytail is mildly enjoyable, but easily skippable for those who don’t enjoy it.

Extras
Tsuritama has been given the bare-bones treatment as far as special features go. This means that the only extra on-disc content is a clean version of the opening and ending theme as well as some trailers for other Sentai anime.

Overall
While a fishing anime may be something of a difficult sell at the surface, a well-developed cast of main characters with enjoyable interactions thrown into a sci-fi storyline that takes the backseat for most of the series as the characters grow only to take advantage of that growth at the end of the series helps make Tsuritama worth watching, although some of the humor tends to be hit and miss.

8-5-capsules-out-of-10

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

As a big fan of anime and games I'll be quick to cover anything that happens to be of interest.

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