Gama-Gama hosts its final day, and a crowd gathers to say goodbye. In addition to locals who leave a wall full of well-wishes, the finale draws in staff from other aquariums to thank Kukuru’s grandfather for his hand in their professional development. The head of Tingaara even attends, and extends a post-graduation job offer to Kukuru. Even after encouragement at the staff wrap party, however, Kukuru is resigned to give up on the aquarium scene, and asks Fuuka to go after the movie role once she returns to Iwate.
First thing’s first: I am a damaged human being.
All I could think of the first time this shot happened was that it would basically have to be dawn for the moon to be in that phase and at that angle. For the record, the moon actually was in that phase at the end of last month, when this episode is set, so props to the staff for working that in, and apologies for taking several lines of dialogue to appreciate the symbolism with Fuuka’s show-biz career looking to restart after Kukuru failed to preserve Gama-Gama. I suppose I can allow a little artistic license in the positioning.
Grandma merges the plots of the empty maternity book and Kukuru’s lookalike phantom by explaining in this episode that early indications were for Kukuru’s mother to have twins, but one was resorbed (which a brief peek at the internet suggests is not a rare phenomenon). As obvious as it seems now, I feel silly for assuming that Kukuru’s dopplegänger was some future version of herself, but I’m still not sure that Kai didn’t actually alter their past in episode 10 (hopefully in a stable time loop), so I’m not gonna beat myself up too badly there. My current take on how this factors into the show’s overarching message is that people should cherish their opportunities, since not everyone gets to live out their dream, or, indeed, live at all.
It’s with this in mind, though, that the re-reversal at the end of the episode caught me off-guard. I was rather expecting them to end up having each other’s back as they went their respective ways. I guess that could still happen, given Fuuka’s request of Kukuru (below), just with one of those ways not being one we’ve seen so far, but I’m not sure yet what the takeaway for the whole deal is.
I feel like the shoes factor into this somehow. She packs up the unused heels (which feature prominently at the beginning of the ED) as well as her red boots to take with her. If we’re ruling out going back in front of the camera, this probably implies that she’ll eventually find her way back to being aquarium staff.
Point of interest: I feel like the primary twist that I didn’t see coming from my last writeup is that the show is going to go on for an entire additional season, which, as you may imagine, requires a significantly different kind of overall pacing than it would have if it were just the one. My first thought when I learned this was that the show might lean all the way into the role-reversal and that the entire second half of the show would be about Fuuka’s acting career, but that would be a pretty risky bait-&-switch. At any rate, with the girls going back to school, we’re pretty much guaranteed to get a time skip (much like A Lull in the Sea, if memory serves, which shares a hefty amount of staff with Aquatope), the question at this point is really just “How long?”.
Enough threads are tied up to make this a satisfying end to a chapter, and enough are left out that I am eager to continue.