TSURITAMA COLLECTION

PrintE-mail Written by Dominic Cuthbert

DVD REVIEW: TSURITAMA COLLECTION / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: KENJI NAKAMURA / SCREENPLAY: TOSHIYA ONO / STARRING: ADAM GIBBS, CLINT BICKHAM, COREY HARTZOG, JOSE GRELLE / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 23RD

Set on the tiny offshore island of Enoshima, Tsuritama is the unlikely coming of age story of four quirky and disparate individuals fated for friendship: an alien, an awkward misfit, a fishing whizz, and an Indian secret agent with his pet duck, Tapioca.

The vibrant animation is bold and glitzy but ultimately secondary to the writing of Toshiya Ono, who gently articulates the story around its four central characters. Newly transferred high school student Yuki Sanada is wonderfully awkward, barely able to hold eye contact or conversation without sweating profusely with his face contorting up into ‘demon’ expressions. His crippling gawkiness and adolescent rage is easy to get behind; we’ve all been there, but seeing how his character grows over the 12 episode arc is one of the show’s real strengths. It’s a masterclass in pacing and giving characters enough room to develop and flourish.

Haru, an alien who can control people with water, turns up on Yuki’s doorstep saying he’ll be living with him and his grandmother. While continually at odds with one another, the duo soon meet Natsuki, dubbed the fishing prince and filled with his own pent-up angst. He quickly takes on the mantle of teaching Yuki and Haru how to fish with a series of painstaking exercises, like casting into buckets. DUCK agent Akira might have been charged with spying on Haru for the clandestine defensive organisation, but quickly finds himself bonding over fishing with the other three, before all four go on to save the world.

The characters are indeed testament to the quality of the writing, as Haru in particular could have wound up simply being annoying, but he’s always engaging, comical and heart-warming. It’s a funny and often bizarre tale, but the weirdness never overtakes character relationships and the central coming of age story. Propped up by a deliriously catchy soundtrack and heaps of feel good factor, Tsuritama is a great entry point for any anime newcomers. You’ll probably learn a few things about fishing too.

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