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Tsuritama Complete Collection Anime DVD Review

7 min read

TsuritamaEvery time I thought it couldn’t get more ridiculous, they upped the ante. And I’m totally okay with that.

What They Say:
When Yuki Sanada ends up living in Enoshima with his grandmother, it’s just one more in a long line of transfers to a new school and new friends – except Yuki doesn’t make friends easily, so he’s used to making do without any. All that’s about to change, however, when the other new transfer student arrives in class – complete with a rod and reel – and announces that he’s an alien.

Now as he learns to fine art of fishing, Yuki finds himself drawn into a friendship with Haru the alien, moody Natsuki the Fishing Prince, and the mysterious Akira with his pet duck, Tapioca. But there’s something sinister afoot in Enoshima, and more than Yuki’s new-found friendships is at stake. If Yuki can’t make the catch of the day, the whole of Japan, and perhaps the world itself, will be caught in an alien net.

Contains episodes 1-12.

The Review:
Audio:
For this viewing, I took in the English dub. Both the English and Japanese tracks are available in 2.0 stereo. Sound was clear, and there was some nice directionality between the two channels. As with everything that doesn’t get it, I wish this had been given the 5.1 treatment as it always helps immersion, but it’s not a big deal for this series.

Video:
Visually, this is an interesting anime. Colors are bright, and I love the character designs. To be honest, I love the art style for everything in the anime. Pretty much everything about the story is intended to be bright and cheerful (even the dramatic moments), and that’s reflected in the design and openness of the characters. There were no technical issues I noted either. Really nice job with this anime.

Packaging:
I like the design for this set, too. The three discs are housed in a single amaray case with center insert for two of the discs. The front has a picture of the four male leads set against a bright blue, watery background with Akira’s duck, Tapioca, situated in the middle. The back of the case has pictures of Coco and Urara in their kooky, alien outfits, with some screen shots and a series summary mixed in. All of this is set to more water visuals as well as a bright red panel that contains the technical details. With all of the bright colors and almost slapdash placement of many of the images, the case design also does a really nice job mimicking the cheerful tone of the series.

Menu:
Much like everything else in this set, the menu is colorful and upbeat. The episode selections are laid out along the left side on a blue and white striped background. A bright red arrow acts as the selection cursor and is hard to miss. To the right is an image of a couple of characters set against a blue and white watery motif. The series theme plays in the background on a 46 second loop, just long enough to not get old if the menu is up for a while.

Extras:
The only extras on this release are clean versions of the OP/ED.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Yuki Sanada lives with his grandmother, and does not have a particularly stable life. While his grandmother is nothing but a positive force in his life, she also relocates on a regular basis—quickly enough that Yuki never really has time to make friends before it is time to move on. Because of this, Yuki has developed a social disorder that makes him incredibly nervous anytime anything could possibly go wrong, which usually results in him screwing things up.

But with the latest move, to the island of Enoshima, he feels like things might actually start looking up for him. He can see the ocean from his bedroom window, and for once, he did not screw up his introduction to his new class. He was even able to talk to the cute girl sitting in front of him without freaking out too much. For once in his life, he feels comfortable.

But that gets upended with the introduction of Haru into his life. On the same day Yuki and his grandmother move into their house, Haru shows up on their doorstep and announces that he is going to live with them. While this is very strange to Yuki, Yuki’s grandmother is more than happy to take Haru in, leading Haru to declare that he and Yuki were going to be best friends. To make matters worse for Yuki, Haru also claims that he is an alien.

From the moment Haru arrives, Yuki is no longer in charge of his own life. Haru leads him around, and ultimately declares that the two of them are going to learn how to fish. While Yuki is skeptical of this, for some reason, he finds himself continually following Haru’s commands, and they soon find themselves learning how to fish from their classmate, and local legend, Natsuki, the Prince of Fishing. As Yuki starts to develop a love of this new hobby, it also becomes readily apparent that more is going on than he knows about, and soon he’s confronted with the reality that his skill will be needed to save the world.

Tsuritama took me completely by surprise when I watched it. I offered to review Tsuritama only because it looked different from most other recent titles, but I cannot say I was particularly looking forward to it. While I love good, goofy anime, the reality is that most of it misses with me, and I didn’t have a particularly good feeling about this one going in.

By the end of the first episode, however, I was sold. Every time I thought that it couldn’t get any more ridiculous without going completely over the top, it did. Oh, you think it’s odd that Haru claims he’s an alien? Well how about the fact that he can control people by squirting them with water? What about Akira, who freaks Haru out for some reason, suddenly joining Yuki’s school despite the fact that he’s 25? Or his duck, Tapioca, who accompanies him everywhere and seems to be Akira’s voice of reason? By the time the anime gets around to explaining that Haru really is an alien and needs Yuki’s fishing skill—yes, I said fishing skill—to save the world from certain doom, there’s nothing to be done but roll with the punches. And I loved it every step of the way.

But I think the reason why Tsuritama connected with me is the characters. Despite everything happening around them, Tsuritama is about the unlikely bromance formed between Yuki, Haru, Natsuki, and Akira. As noted above, Yuki is about as introverted as one can be without just being hikikomori, while Haru is as bubbly and outgoing as possible, always seeing the bright side of things and pushing Yuki beyond his comfortable boundaries.

On the surface, Natsuki is a serious young man who doesn’t suffer fools, which he certainly sees both Yuki and Haru as being, but underneath it all, he is looking for somebody to share his passion with. When Yuki finally proves his motivation to be a good fisherman, Natsuki knows he’s found a kindred spirit and opens up to him, proving himself to be far more pleasant than his demeanor might suggest.

This leaves Akira as the last to join the group. A member of the secretive organization DUCK—an organization dedicated to assessing threat from alien invasion—his mission is to observe Haru and develop a plan to neutralize him if necessary. However, the more Akria observes the group and realizes that Haru is not the true threat, he begins to be drawn in by the passion of the three for fishing and he ultimately joins them in true comradeship. Add in the ever present Tapioca, and it would be hard to imagine a more eclectic group of friends. But it is their very differences that will allow them to rise to the occasion and win out in the end.

As funny as this anime can be at times, it was the friendship between the four—five if you count Tapioca—friends that really drew me to this. In between all of the goofiness, the bromance built between them comes off as very pleasant and authentic. Even with the alien invasion storyline, Tsuritama comes off as a story that could have happened to anybody. In a way, it’s almost like an Azumanga Daioh or K-On!! for guys, and while I love both Azumanga Daioh and K-On!!, I have to admit that it was nice to see.

In Summary:
Tsuritama, for me, is one of those anime that came along at just the right time. Having been stuck in a rut of watching a lot of similar shows recently, I took a flyer on this one just because it looked different, and I am definitely glad that I did. It’s kooky, but in a fun way, and its upbeat attitude is infectious. A bromance story at its heart, it couldn’t help but make me smile. If you are looking for something to make you smile, look no farther.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening Animation. Clean Closing Animation

Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade:A
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: August 20, 2013
MSRP: $59.98
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Sony PS3 w/HDMI Connection, Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System

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