As effortlessly fun and charming as Tsuritama is, it hasn’t really lent itself well to episodic writing, simply because its whole concept usually adds up to something so much greater than we get in each individual episode. Even though each week gives a bigger picture to write about, isolating the tiny details in order to do so is becoming increasingly difficult; I’ve either written about the characters or situations that I want to write about, or they’re not fleshed out enough to write more than a summarizing paragraph about. Thankfully, this week’s has been the meatiest episode in quite awhile, so that shouldn’t be a problem from here on out.
So yes, this was a surprisingly content-heavy episode. Yuki is no longer a social recluse, Grandma’s due to not die like everyone predicted when the Cough of Death struck, and Coco actually manages to kind of do something this episode, which gives me a reason to be won over beyond adoring her character design to an absurd degree.
While I doubt we’ve seen the last of Yuki’s anxiety or Grandma’s health problems, most of the immediate issues have been resolved in a reasonable length of time. I was going to complain about Yuki getting over his problems kind of quickly, in addition to Natsuki’s friendlier demeanor seemingly popping up over one episode, but the series made a subtle and smart move by allowing Grandma’s hospital stay to serve as a measure for the amount of time that passes. Judging from how her sickness easily kept her in for several days, the rapid transition of Yuki and Natsuki from unfriendly sorts to sociability incarnate is made much less jarring than it would have been if her hospital stay didn’t happen; at first glance it may seem like just another problem to tack on to Yuki’s life, but it ends up contributing to the overall plot by filling potential holes early on.
I hesitate to compare anime to other media, since I hold the belief that anything anime should be judged on either its own merit or in comparison to other anime series, but this episode played out like an end to an act of a play, or the end of the starting area in a video game; most of the main conflicts thus far have been wrapped up, but there are subtle hints at something greater for our heroes to overcome looming over the horizon. It’s a very well written show in this regard, one that shows encouraging signs of knowing when to call it a day and wrap things up, while leaving some up-to-now minor plot threads unresolved until the right moment. Its methods aren’t exactly unique, but it admirably adheres and makes the best of conventional, well-paced storytelling.
I have absolutely no qualms with the information that the audience has been given so far; every potential problem has been quashed by one well-placed occurrence or another, and the way that everything adds up to a never-ending joy to watch is almost impossible to replicate elsewhere. Again, I have no qualms with what’s been told so far—my problems are with what hasn’t been said. What purpose does Coco have? Why isn’t she given more screen time? Why don’t we have more Coco when we (I, mostly) really want more Coco? Why can’t there be an episode dedicated to Coco just doing Coco things that doesn’t just consist of her making cool poses at stuff? As much as I enjoy the cool poses, I think she has more plot potential in her than that.
So in quick summary, the episode provided a glimpse into the true narrative potential that Tsuritama had tucked away this whole time, and aside from Coco not getting to do much, I can’t think of another recent show that’s managed to do so much in so little time.