「いのちは」 (nochi wa, Umi Kara)
“Life Begins In the Ocean”
Taking care of penguins is harder than you would expect.
Shioi Suna no Aquatope continues to be splendid in its execution, although a little bit more on the slow side when it comes to pacing, it really is one of those types of shows where you sit down and just fully enjoy the ride. Mind you I did sit down to watch this episode with a couple of snacks in hand. What really caught my attention in this episode was how they managed to squeeze in the behind-the-scenes of the day to day inside the Aquarium, and of course, this is only a given. It was almost unavoidable. As we are following Kukuru, Fuuka and Kuuya through their daily lives in the aquarium. So we were bound to see how they care for the animals and the inner goings of the inside of the aquarium. How they keep the fish and the penguins ever so cute.
This episode sees the inclusion of Nakamura Kai (Tsuchiya Shinba) into the aquarium. A kind-hearted boy who cares for other people first. His little scene with Fuuka proved that much, I loved their dynamic, and the fact that Fuuka spoke those words to him, means that she must really believe them, even if they just interacted for a couple of seconds. Fuuka has gone through some stuff and has developed an acute eye for people. So I take her resolve with no deception whatsoever. However, Kai acts humble and gives an excuse as to why he said what he said about Kukuru. I was really seeing Kukuru and Fuuka coming together, whether romantically or not at all. But I think the show might pin Fuuka with Kai.
They seem like the perfect pair, mainly because Fuuka is so home-oriented. She is freeloading but apparently wakes up early in the morning to cook for everyone, she knows about routine, and apparently, her cooking is delicious. Kukuru worries that she’s doing it because she feels like she needs to, but Fuuka actually likes seeing their delighted faces when they taste her cooking. Fuuka is such a nice girl, paying it forward to Ojii and his wife, for letting her stay at her house for the summer. Which she finally contacted her mom telling her the truth about where she is and what’s she’s doing this summer.
The story is perfectly set around Summer and the activities that go around it, it seems an aquarium is a perfect place to go when you have nothing to do during Summer break. However, it seems that also club activities are open during the summer. I do wish the rest of the world would adopt Japan’s policy on club activities. My experience with clubs, at least in Mexico, is that they’re pretty much nonexistent, parents have to indoctrinate you into a sport, and if you don’t like it, you’re pretty much stuck with it. I never liked the idea of doing something because someone else wanted me to do it. Especially with sports, I would have very much liked schools to let you choose whatever sport you liked the most, and if that sport wasn’t working out for you, you could easily just switch to another team. But no such luck, instead if you don’t like it, you’re stuck with it. Parents sort of having to beg for you to get you into a specific sport. For me, it was the basketball team. And later soccer, mainly because they would make us play soccer during P.E. which I hated.
I have a different relationship now with sports, where I’ve slowly gained affection for them once again. However, I still think letting people choose what they want to do is pivotal. Of course, certain hours of club activities should be mandatory, but as long as you’re attending practice it should be good.
I went on a little rant there, however, let me say that I’m really enjoying Shiroi Suna no Aquatope, how it delves into more poetic visuals at times is really refreshing and interesting. For example, in this episode when the pregnant lady walks in, my immediate thought was that she was going to lose the baby, or she was going to have some type of complication. But the show managed it really well, really pulling the stress of that situation on the viewer. Imagine being in an aquarium, taking care of the birds, when suddenly your water breaks in front of guest goers. I do have to say, that Choko the penguin is extremely well behaved. What a lovely bird! Another fun fact in this episode. Penguins can get blisters on their feet because they don’t get enough exercise. But the doctor was there to help! Thanks to Kukuru for being proactive and wanting to get this resolved today. Thankfully the baby was born without fail, and the mother was also healthy as well. So it all turned out good in the end!