Gama-Gama Aquarium gets a new temporary staff member, Chiyu; a woman working for a new aquarium under construction in the city center. Kukuru takes an immediate disliking to this interloper, and the two butt heads as Chiyu tries to learn from Kukuru’s grandfather. When she isn’t able to gain the knowledge she seeks, Chiyu departs Gama-Gama, and Kukuru makes a late-night visit to the new aquarium.
This is the first episode in some time to feature a genuinely antagonistic character, and it’s fun to see the refined, professional Chiyu staring down the energetic but immature Kukuru. It’s a perfect highlight of how far Kukuru has to go as a director. She’s still a teenager and is unwilling to accept that Gama-Gama may not survive. Even so, her passion and hunger for knowledge have carried her through and keep things moving despite her grandfather’s ambivalence towards the upcoming closure.
By contrast, Chiyu is very professional and career-focused. She’s blunt to the point of rudeness, and makes no secret that she’s visiting Gama-Gama to learn as much as she can from Kukuru’s grandfather and take that knowledge back to the new city center aquarium. She admires the grandfather’s record of working with several aquariums over the years, but cannot abide how laid back and unserious things seem to be at his latest (and likely final) project. She can’t grasp that the relaxed atmosphere of the aquarium makes it a welcoming place for those that still love it and have cherished memories and magical visions there.
Chiyu’s serious demeanor is understandable. As she explains, there are very few aquariums throughout Japan, and as a young woman, she’s had to fight hard to get where she is. However, her narrow focus on advancement has left her blind to what visitors to the aquarium are looking for. Being an outsider and looking down on Gama-Gama as a failing business is too much for Kukuru, to the point where she goes to the new aquarium late at night. What she plans to do there will likely be revealed next episode.
This episode introduces some core drama to the series and does a great job of highlighting the duality of Kukuru as a passionate worker and a girl laser-focused on preserving a part of her childhood. I look forward to seeing what she does now that she has a fire lit under her, and where her energy manifests, for good or ill.