At long last, the eponymous Aquatope
The Tingarla director announces the formation of the Aquatope project, a planned research wing of the aquarium to study, among other things, environmental issues affecting marine life. Fuuka applies to be part of the initial staff even as she worries about leaving Kukuru for a two-year training course in Hawaii.
At the risk of dating myself, I keep thinking that I want to describe the goings-on in this show as sweet, only to end up telling myself that doing so with bare text would require a very specifically-structured setup so that the intended meaning of kind/adorable isn’t confused for what I assume to be the more commonly-used meaning of cool/rad. Having said that, this show is sooo sweeet. The emotional core of Kukuru and Fuuka’s mutual concern for each other continues to be its strongest feature, and is very much on display in their scene at the end of the episode.
An interesting reveal here is that the assistant director is basically the Kanamori of Tingarla, in that his involvement in the bankruptcy of another aquarium drives him to make sure that this one remains financially solvent. The scene in which Kukuru learns this while meeting with the actual director is a little disjointed, in that it is interrupted by a future-cut of her work in marketing being validated, but it gets the point across.
Speaking of the actual director, though, how are two people an appropriate crew to start up a research department? The only thing I can think of is that the writers didn’t want any non-established characters making the cut, and they only really had Eiji and Kaoru as competition. Mission accomplished, I guess, but at the cost of making the whole application/presentation process seem a tad questionable. Props to Eiji for getting weird with it, but Fuuka getting to the heart of the assignment of introducing a marine species was too cute.
Unrelated: Zoom into the emoji at the center of this screenshot and tell me that it shouldn’t have been subtitled as Q_Q
I seems like Aquatope is set on leaving a couple of loose threads (what is the deal with the little red-haired weirdo? he’s like a mascot that’s never onscreen with any of the actual characters), but they mostly serve as a little mystique for a touching story about friendship, growth, and passion. This episode looks like it’s a setup for a great finale.