Final Review: Tsuritama



DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless other noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

Tsuritama is the odd NoitaminA title of Spring 2012 that was not only initially categorized as a shounen fishing title but also a 12 episode series, which is uncommon for NoitaminA titles. Directed by Kenji Nakamura, who has directed titles such as Mononoke, [C], and Kuchuu Buranko. Series composition is by Toshiya Oono, the composer for Suite Precure. NoitaminA titles have often had a consistent of track record of relatively unique stories and artistic styles from the rest of the anime airing during the season and Tsuritama is no exception. Furthermore, while [C] ended up as a flop title due to Nakamura’s new approach when producing the show (via audience feedback episode by episode), his other titles have all been solid. So will Nakamura redeem himself?

Kenji Nakamura has often set up stories with a unique or engaging premise. The idea of “shounen fishing” was certainly unique at least in recent memory but the rest of the premise was all that engaging. The story lacked any actual hook for quite some time as Yuki took the time to learn how to fish. Luckily this led to some character development and growth where the characters don’t suddenly or magically become experts at stuff they’ve never done before. The alien thing is a bit wacky yet expected given Nakamura’s track record. However, not everything is happy-go-lucky with the show. In addition to lacking an engaging premise, the show also has a lot of unexplained plot holes and a lack of any interesting buildups. The characters aren’t exactly the most entertaining ones either. If I could describe it, the show tries to be a comedy at times yet it never fully crosses the line. It really does things in a half-hearted manner. The conclusion…I’m not really going to say much except Haru having a line tied to him like that should have been beheaded no matter how you look at it. Also, the movement over the ship…

Art wise, the backgrounds are very well done but the character designs are relatively inconsistent and not as top notch as they could be. Animation wise it’s still relatively good production values by A-1 Pictures despite lack of complex motions. When there were movements, the quality was very well done.

Music was arguably the weakest aspect of this show. OP/ED weren’t that great overall, especially in a season where OP/ED themes thrived like no other. Furthermore, the background music was dull for the most part and were generally remixes of a couple tracks. Seiyuu wise, the show had a solid lineup with Miyu Irino, Tomokazu Sugita, Ryouta Ousaka, and Kouki Uchiyama taking the lead. Both did a great job in their roles of the four male protagonists who were defined to have different personalities. The supporting cast was also interesting and personally, I liked Sakura 🙂

Enjoyment? The show is too conservative. Unlike Kenji Nakamura’s previous title [C] where he tried to incorporate every possible idea thrown at him, Tsuritama does the exact opposite. It “tries” to keep things simple and not over extend itself. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but there is a point where even the audience grows bored with the content shown, especially if there is nothing that will force the viewer to really want to continue with the show at full speed. As I’ve said before, the show does thing in a half-hearted manner and fails to really follow through seemingly in fear of going too far down a path it may not be able to live up to.

Overall, the series isn’t bad per say but again it’s too half-hearted in execution. Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Arakawa Under the Bridge, and Level E are far more interesting when “alien” comedy comes to mind. Ponyo if you want stuff dealing with fish or even Seto no Hanayome fit the bill much better. The ending showed some Kenji Nakamura come to life a little, though it still falls short from his past works.


Story and Character:

  • Premise (0.5/1): “Shounen-fishing” is unique in recent memory. Setup is not very engaging and happens to take a while before anything becomes remotely interesting.
  • Character Personalities (0.5/1): A nice mix of characters but none were really all that entertaining to watch.
  • Character Development (2/2): Character development works a little differently in this show. It doesn’t require some ridiculously complex back story but rather we see more of a growth story. We do see the characters naturally grow from who they were initially in episode 1 to who they were finally in episode 12. You could actually chart it out if you don’t believe it. Things didn’t happen magically and the series took time to show the growth.
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (1/2): Presence was there. Main cast was small but supporting cast was seemingly large. Supporting cast had a few memorable characters.
  • Pacing: (1/1): Despite lackluster interest, the actual pacing of the show is very well done. Good solid development of character growth and while the plot itself is full of holes it gets the pacing right such that nothing seems rushed.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (1/2): Alien thing still makes little sense even for a Kenji Nakamura title. It lacked much if any explanation. Yuki, Natsuki, and Akira’s character growth is very believable. String tying in final episode around Haru’s neck was not exactly what I call reasonable. Final episode physics were rather off the wall.
  • Conclusion (1/1): Fine and expected for this show.
  • Total: 7/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (2/2): Very detailed and colorful.
  • Character Designs (1/2): Main cast are distinguishable. Primary supporting cast had a lot of lookalike characters that resulted in occasional confusion of who’s who. Edges for the character designs were not clean at times though it may have been the show’s style.
  • Fluidity (2/2): Great and detailed. The motions may be dumb-like at times but it doesn’t change the fact that they were nice and crisp. There was that one moment in episode 11 where Haru’s arms stretched beyond reason but I think that was purposely done rather than an animation error.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (1/2): Again, colorful all around. Lighting could use better works on the darker/night scenes. Details were lacking at times during night scenes. Weird CGI in final episode.
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (2/2): A-1 Pictures is the studio behind titles such as Ano Hana, Fractale, and The [email protected] It also produced Fairy Tail and Uchuu Kyoudai the same season as Tsuritama. In terms of past shows, Ano Hana and Fractale would be more accurate comparisons given that both are NoitaminA titles as well. It’s about on par with Ano Hana but certainly less than Fractale still. However, the production values are certainly still commendable despite being lower than Fractale. I should also note that Fractale had its own problems that were far from help…
  • Total: 8/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (1/3): Goofy but weak and not memorable all around. In a season with a lot of solid OP/ED themes, it’s definitely not one of the top.
  • Background Music (1/2): Only one memorable tune but that’s really it. The rest was pretty poor.
  • Sound Effects (0.5/2): Nothing of memorable value.
  • Seiyuu (2.5/3): Solid overall. Could have used a bit more emotion but Ryouta Ousaka and Miyu Irino did a great job as Yuki and Haru, especially with the wacky personalities that frequently occurred.
  • Total: 5/10


  • Amusement (1/2): Concept was interesting. Duck idea was hilarious albeit unexplained how it even started…Tapioca.
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (1/2): Show lacked a hook until mid series. Even then, it often failed at providing much suspense or reason to really want to watch the follow-up episode.
  • Presentation: (1/2): Strong character development start up but again not engaging enough and thereby forces the viewer to sit through a series of boring and dull episodes before anything really wacky starts happening. Think of Mononoke or Kuchuu Buranko or even [C] where crazy things happened almost every episode, especially early on. Once the ball got rolling, it was a bit better but still dull overall.
  • Re-watchable (0/1): Short show but nothing really worth re-watching here. Again, nothing stood out. Alien idea was “interesting” but nothing that similar titles hadn’t done before let alone better executed.
  • Recommendation (1/2): I give it points for originality but it really falls short from the goodness that other Kenji Nakamura works had. [C] had a much more enticing premise than this even though this show fended off better overall. It could be worth a watch. Other shows of alien or fish genre are better than this.
  • Value (0/1): An underrated title as it should be. There’s nothing that made it really exceptional that requires extra attention.
  • Total: 4/10

Preliminary Score: 6/10

Final Score: 6/10

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