Tsuritama: Eno-shima-DON!!

‘Fishing…ball…?’
I’m not surprised they didn’t even try translating it…

Despite a youth of constant relocation, Yuki is still unused to meeting new people and all the attention that comes with it. When he comes to Enoshima and is befriended by an alien who transfers into his school at the same time, the potential for embarrassing situations increases exponentially. But all that alien really wants to do is fish – how does this translate into a situation where four vastly different people come together to save the world? (Not a spoiler, honest – Yuki, the main character, brightly reveals this to us in the first episode).

If this doesn’t tell you what kind of show this is…
I kid, I kid – it’s not some kind of ‘power rangers’ show…I think… ^^;

Whenever director Nakamura Kenji is linked with a project, viewers can expect something surprising in the visual realm. Gorgeous textures in the tales of the Medicine Seller; the combination of real life actors, the faces of seiyuu, and animation in Trapeze; and tonnes of symbolism in 「C」 to name his first few directorial efforts. His latest, Tsuritama, similarly offers a different feast for the eyes. In contrast with the styles of most other shows, vibrant colours make up boldly defined blocks even in the background, harkening back to what an artist might do with gouache painting.

The piece on the left was painted by Carol Baker. You can check out more of her work on her blog: http://carolebaker.blogspot.com.au/2008/07/gouache-paintings.html

Some viewers might allege that the visuals are used by Nakamura as a distraction from weakness in other parts of his work. 「C」 and Trapeze, in particular, haven’t been all that well received despite the director gaining something of a cult following after Mononoke. Personally, I felt that viewers give the themes in 「C」 in particular far less credit than they deserve, but even then, Tsuritama easily tops it with a perfectly-paced story that reflects and is supported by audio and visual elements rife with the symbolism that is characteristic of Nakamura’s work. The feeling of drowning as a metaphor for freezing up; the subtle and complex emotions that link family members together; the trust and honesty that define what friends are – all explored in a crazy tale about how four vastly different people come together to save the world through fishing.

Dro…nin…! ..elp! and saved by the fish!

Of course, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (or meat, if you want to be a bit more virile). One of the common complaints is that Haru’s voice and personality are just a bit too annoying – I’m not particularly fond of Irino Miyu doing this kind of role myself. But by the end, my own annoyance had been largely forgotten – Tsuritama is a show that should succeed in bringing a smile, if not laughter, to most faces, whilst pointing out all the subtle little things that you might want to notice in your own life. Need something to cheer you up? I’ve got just the thing to recommend: a good dose of Eno-shima-DON!!

That’s what friends are for!

p.s. I found something I thought pretty amusing in the sub. In episode 8, when Tama-chan is telling Natsuki about what he’s going to do with his restaurant, he says that instead of just selling whitebait and Enoshima bowls, he’s going to sell all kinds of things, such as “whitebait bowls, whitebait pizza, whitebait ice-cream and whitebait steamed buns”. But the first “whitebait bowl” (shirasu-don) and the second one (shirasu-bowl) are different in Japanese…

p.p.s. The ‘catfish’ pun really is the funniest one I’ve come across in a long time (the ones in Polar Bear Cafe just aren’t as amusing). Pity it doesn’t translate all that well!

About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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