Despite a rough start, Fuuka is starting to become more comfortable living with Kukuru’s family and working at the aquarium. As Kukuru is teaching her more about the penguins under their care, they notice that one of them is developing symptoms of a potentially serious illness. Unwilling to leave the problem to her grandfather, Kukuru calls in the veterinarian, but when the very pregnant woman starts experiencing contractions, the aquarium staff has a whole new emergency on their hands.
As the others have written already, I’m having a great time with Aquatope so far. It’s light, breezy and beautiful, with straightforward stakes and enough personal drama to keep things moving. In many ways, it’s an ideal summer anime.
This particular episode focuses on two linked themes – first, the differences between courage and foolhardiness, and second, the responsibility towards life.
It’s easy to see Kukuru’s laser-focused efforts to keep Gama Gama Aquarium open as foolish. Even with lots of local friends and support, the lack of traffic, sales and staff is going to catch up with them soon. However, there’s more to her drive than not wanting to lose the family business.
Through Fuuka and Kai chatting, we learn that Kukuru lost her parents years ago, and many of her fondest memories of them are tied to the aquarium. That’s not her only reason to work so hard, though. She cares deeply about the animals under her watch, and has put in the work to learn everything she can about giving them the best care she can (much to her teacher’s frustration). Since we also learn that her grandfather has only secured new sanctuaries for about half of the animals if the aquarium closes down, it’s clear why she is so invested in this.
When the visiting veterinarian, Dr. Takeshita begins to go into labor, Kukuru understandably panics, rushing about to try and find help before collecting herself and taking charge in a really impressive way. By coordinating the staff and using her contacts to secure a ride to the maternity center, she demonstrates great leadership skills far beyond her years. She’s more than an obsessive brat; she’s a genuine enthusiast with incredible potential.
It’s in these later parts of the episode where the second theme of responsibility towards life comes into play. The aquarium staff become responsible not only for the animals under their care, but Takeshita and her unborn child as well. Thanks to Kukuru’s quick decision-making and the efforts of Fuuka and their friends, everyone comes through fine and Takeshita’s son is born happy and healthy.
The experience inspires Fuuka to finally tell her mother the truth of what she’s been up to, and for Kukuru to look deeper into information she uncovered about her parents. How these will play out is unknown for now, but I’m excited to see where these new developments take us.
Aquatope continues to be fun and lovely to watch. It’s great to see characters whose passion is actually matched by competence, and to see people maturing from their experiences. Both Fuuka and Kukuru are dealing with their own troubles and traumas, and watching them demonstrate growth so early in the show is great. I can’t wait to see what the next episode throws at them.
Also, so help me, if anything bad happens to Choko the penguin, I will burn this planet to a cinder. He and his little bowtie are too good for this world.