The Beginner’s Guide to Anime, No. 126 – tsuritama

tsuritama 1

There are several anime that have strange plots and settings, and some are totally surreal. This anime has a plot that is hard to imagine being made in the UK, or indeed anywhere else outside of Japan, combining two very different areas: aliens and angling.

tsuritama (with a small “T”) was a 12-part anime series released in 2012. It is notable not just for its mixture of subject matter, but also for its surreal humour. Aside from the minor details of extra-terrestrials and fishing, there is also the subject of bizarrely named ducks, mind-controlling water pistols, and unusual dances.

Yuki Sanada is a high school student who has moved with his grandmother to the island of Enoshima. Yuki has terrible problems socialising with people. Just trying to speak to strangers results in him sweating so much that in his mind he is drowning from embarrassment, while in actuality he is pulling a grotesque demonic face that makes him look angry.

Upon his first day at his new school Yuki learns he is not the only new student there. There is another new boy named Haru, who comes in wearing a peach-and-yellow polka-dot waistcoat, carrying a water pistol and a fishing rod, while balancing a fishbowl on his head and claiming to be an alien. His water pistol allows him to control whoever he soaks.

Haru pressurises Yuki into taking up fishing, both of them being guided by another student, the “Fishing Prince” Natsuki, famed for his skill. At first Natsuki is angered by the lack of devotion, but eventually Yuki and Haru put in the work and become good at angling, with Yuki finally managing to land a big one. Yuki would like to leave it at that, but then Haru decides to move into his house. Not only that, but Haru and his sister Koko now ask Yuki to try and land a gigantic fish which they claim comes from their alien planet.

But then another person enters the mix. A new student joins Yuki’s class: a 25-year-old turban-wearing Indian named Akira Agarkar Yamada, who comes in with his pet duck Tapioca. Akira becomes friendly with them, but he is actually a member of DUCK – the Defensive Universal Confidential Keepers – whose job it is to find and remove aliens from Earth, and he has his eyes on Haru. In terms of the alien fish Haru wants Yuki to catch, Yuki will have to land it quick because it is having a strange influence across Enoshima, by forcing everyone to do the same strange dance.

tsuritama is, as you can probably tell, pretty damn bonkers. If you like your surreal comedy, this is a series that you will enjoyable. If you are expecting lots of double-entendres about gasping your rod and checking your tackle, you are better off looking elsewhere. The characters are fun too. Probably the best of them is Haru: a fun-loving alien being with his mind-bending powers, strange clothes and funny habits.

However, this is not just a funny series, but also one that contains a lot of information. If you do not know anything about angling then this is a fun way to learn about it. It even takes what might be seen as rather dull plotlines about getting the right equipment or leaning how to cast your line, and makes them entertaining.

Series like tsuritama show that even the strangest subjects can be made the subject of a funny, entertaining TV show. If you are looking for an anime that is somewhat out of the ordinary, then this is one to watch.

tsuritama is released on DVD by MVM Films.