Kukuru rushes into new things, and they all work against her, and she fails. Meanwhile, Fuuka gets an unexpected offer to return to the idol life, and Kei tries to find what he can do to help Kukuru through this difficult time.
This episode of Aquatope of White Sand feels very… in between. We’re getting a lot of setup for events that will happen in the leadup to the show’s midway point, but not much else. Even so, what we get is still a good watch. Kukuru is desperate to save the aquarium with less than a week left, and tries to use the illusions that sometimes appear as a selling point.
Her immaturity is on full display, as not only does she try this Hail Mary attempt to bring in visitors, she also doesn’t explain her plan to half the staff, leading to this shot:
That poor bewildered man. She comes to her senses in relatively short order, at least.
Meanwhile, Fuuka gets quite the interesting offer.
A chance to return to the idol life, in a big way, is simply dropped in her lap, the deadline to reply conveniently right at the end of summer. The show does a really good job of making you doubt what she’ll do – she loves the aquarium, but she’d always planned to leave at the end of the summer, but Kukuru is counting on her, but it was her dream to be an idol, but… In short, it’s good storytelling with understandable stakes.
I also want to mention three moments that brought a smile to my face. The first is when Kukuru has sought fortunetelling advice from Udon’s mother, who gets all dressed up but also doesn’t go anywhere:
Then there’s the “date” between the younger kids from the beach episode:
You two are precious. Lastly, there’s Kei recalling how he once tried to cheer up a crying Kukuru upon their first meeting:
This might have been intended to be heartfelt, but I just cracked up. What is she supposed to do with that? Who are you?
Lastly, there is something I’m starting to hold against the show. Kukuru is fighting to save the aquarium from being shut down… but who or what is she fighting against? The stakes here just don’t seem that clear. There’s a date of “the end of summer”… but what happens on that date? The equipment is old and troubled, but it’s not going to die all at once. The fish apparently have new homes to go to:
But who is making these arrangements? Is Kukuru’s grandfather’s decision to shut the place down the only impediment to it staying open? It just feels weird that every day Kukuru is shouting “I don’t want to see Gama Gama shut down”… to the guy shutting it down, who nods sagely and smiles at her, and then they have dinner together. Is the whole point of all this to convince him to keep it open and let Kukuru run it? Because the show makes it feel like Kukuru is struggling against some ill-defined “them” that’s going to close it down, and it’s hard to reconcile all of her planning and charts and events with the fact that “them” might just be her grandfather. It’s hard to put into words, but it feels like the whole time she’s been trying to hit some tangible goal (number of patrons per day, or amount of money saved), but I really have no idea what the conditions are that would let the place stay open, and it’s bugging me. Hopefully that becomes clear soon.