What They Say:
When Yuki Sanada ends up living in Enoshima with his grandmother, it’s just one more in a long line of transfers to a new school and new friends – except Yuki doesn’t make friends easily, so he’s used to making do without any. All that’s about to change, however, when the other new transfer student arrives in class – complete with a rod and reel – and announces that he’s an alien.
Now as he learns to fine art of fishing, Yuki finds himself drawn into a friendship with Haru the alien, moody Natsuki the Fishing Prince, and the mysterious Akira with his pet duck, Tapioca. But there’s something sinister afoot in Enoshima, and more than Yuki’s new-found friendships is at stake. If Yuki can’t make the catch of the day, the whole of Japan, and perhaps the world itself, will be caught in an alien net.
Contains episodes 1-12.
The audio presentation for this release is quite solid as we get the original Japanese language mix as well as a new English language dub, both of which are encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec in stereo. The series has a good bit of range to it with all the things it does, from the dialogue to the action bits and even the fun little incidental sounds involving the fishing aspects as the lines fly out and the splonk and splash of water. With it being a solid forward soundstage mix, we get a good bit of placement and directionality throughout it and there’s a lot of fun as it goes bigger towards the end of the series with the wind, rain and more. The show may not be a huge standout piece compared to some action series, but the presentation here definitely works well and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2012, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. THe show is spread across two discs with eight on the first and four on the second. The series is one that’s really great when it comes to its visual design with strong, bold colors and a palette that definitely comes across as striking. I loved the look of the show as it avoids the cookie cutter approach so many take and it also goes with bright colors and so many beautiful shades of blue. The transfer captures all of this really well and with so many solid colors throughout, it has a great look and hardly any real issues to speak of. There’s some noise to be had in a few scenes here and there but it’s so minimal and doesn’t come across during regular playback that it’s just a great looking release through and through.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case and it blends well into it since the cover artwork is rich in a whole lot of blues. With the blue and white background and the main cast of boys here in their school uniforms which have blue in them, there’s obviously a ton of blue here. But with the various shades and the generally outgoing look of the characters themselves, there’s a lot to like and some nice detail to draw it all together. I also love that Tapioca is right there smack dab in the middle of it all. The back cover goes for a lot of white, which works nicely against the blue of the case itself, and we get some nice shots from the show and some cute character artwork of Koko and Urara. The bottom section works with a red background after it lays out the discs extras and we get the production information in white against it and a solid technical grid that lays out the discs features. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for this release goes for the simple approach overall as we get a static menu that has some of the blues and whites that are quite appealing and allows for a lot of characters throughout it. The bulk of it is given over to the large cast here as we see them in a variety of outfits and colors and it’s just a great look with lots of detail. The right side has the men navigation which uses whites and blues where we get the episodes by number and title and a solid red bar for the highlighted selection. It’s a simple menu but it looks good with a lot of inviting colors and a good look. Submenus load quickly and the pop-up works nicely during playback to check which episode you’re on in case you forget.
The only extras included in this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
An original work out of A-1 Pictures, Tsuritama was one of the series from the spring 2012 season that had little being said about it prior to its release and felt like it was off the radar for many. What I found with it was, in a season filled with fantastic shows, a real gem that surprised me from the very start. The prologue sequence alone was something in which just have a great time of things with its animation design and sense of style before it gets into the main animation style itself. With Kenji Nakamura directing, who gave me the wonderful C – Control – The Money and Soul of Possibility series previously, it’s the kind of show where you want to see what sort of offbeat thing will come from him even while it plays in familiar realms such as high school characters and the things they have to face. As is usually said and is true, it’s about the execution.
The show focuses us on Yuki, a new transfer student who has come down to Enoshima which certainly presents its own problems. With his grandmother as his only family at this point, it’s a close bond they share but he’s still just a teen dealing with the world. Thankfully, Yuki’s a pretty likable kid from the start and he adapts well to the seaside town and it’s actually one of the few times that I really wanted to see more of this kind of exploration since it’s not the normal kind of town we see, or with this kind of bright, lush and appealing feeling to it. Where it gets a little odd though is when another student named Haru arrives, with fishbowl on his head, announces he’s an alien to Yuki’s grandmother and decides he’s going to live there with them. Which will certainly surprise Yuki when he gets back home.
Of course, Haru finds him first at school and it just gets weird from there but has a strange sense of fun about that’s really endearing. Adding to the oddness, though not dealt with in too much detail here, is another character to round out the group that’s going to form with Natsuki, who is considered the prince of fishing here as he’s quite well known for his skill. Yuki’s drawn into all of this since Haru has the ability to get people to do what he wants by force of personality which is at times quite hard to believe. But at the same time, it’s so easy to be drawn into his positive attitude and the fun approach that he has to life that you can sort of understand it. The other main character, which takes a bit longer to really connect with the core trio is that of Akira, a curious young Indian man who has a duck named Tapioca that’s always with him that he seems to understand pretty well, though at least Tapioca doesn’t say too much overall. For Yuki, meeting all of them separately and getting to know them is a bit stressful since social situations aren’t his thing, but he does manage to do it fairly well overall.
What ends up bonding the young men together is the passion of fishing. With Natsuki being so good at it and wanting to go professional some day, things come together rather naturally as both Haru and Yuki get drawn into it, though with Haru being an alien who wants to do some big deep sea fishing himself, there are ulterior motives. And gett Yuki to help in this way works towards his larger goal. A good part of the series really is about these four young men, as Akira gets drawn into it as well, where they become good friends and learn some things about each other, but not all, and rally around their passion for fishing. Yuki starts wanting to earn money for a much better rod and that has them working with some local fishermen to expand their skills while also actually working and earning a paycheck during some off time in the summer. Being out on the sea all day helps to reinforce everything, but we also get some good words of wisdom and camaraderie from the adults. Though the show focuses on the high school boys, it doesn’t make it a world without adults and instead they play some excellent and proper supporting roles.
Similarly, there’s a lot to like here in that there is no forced romantic subplot in the show. It’s not a male exclusive show as there are classmates and siblings that pop up here and there, and we get Yuki’s grandmother as well, but the focus is on the boys and what they’re going through. It also works in the larger plot – which is made relatively clear from the start with Haru talking about being an alien – in how he and his sister are here to fish out of the sea one of their own that has lost his way. It takes awhile to really wrap your head around what they’re trying to say here, but with references to how the aliens can get lost or confused like this and create a Bermuda Syndrome, it’s a fun way to play up what happens and why Haru is there to try and fix things. But he just has such an unusual approach to it, one that involves dealing with the effects of the other alien and trying to counter them, that it takes on a comical tone at times with the way people get controlled and end up doing the Enoshima dance.
The science fiction element of the show is a lot of fun as it gets towards the final arc of the series and we see the group that Akira is a part of, DUCK, taking a more public stance as they realize that events with the alien are going badly. It’s an amusing series of events overall since more and more people are being affected by the alien and that means a lot of Enoshima is, well, dancing. But it’s also tying in with a typhoon that’s coming in and it’s just fun to watch the way the group gets separated and is drawn back together, especially when it comes to Akira. He’s the most difficult character to really get a handle on here since he’s outside of the group for so long and he has a natural being drawn in series of events, but there’s always that touch of not being quite on the same page as the others. When that comes together as the chips are down is really nice done though and you really feel like the guys are all very much where they need to be. He may still be the hardest to read, but we see him doing the right thing even as his organization is getting ready to end the area in order to save the larger number of people.
Tsuritama was a real breakout series for me that was at the top of my list of the best shows of 2012. I wasn’t surprised that it got licensed, but I was shocked at what I thought was a very niche little show not only got the dub treatment, but the high definition treatment. It’s a show that most definitely needs it and is the kind of series that I think we need more of since it doesn’t play to most of the usual tropes and trends. There’s a great story here, really good characters, some very fun humor and a whole lot of great animation and design. It tells a story and gets it done while being very human and engaging but also fantastic at the same time. This series wowed me week after week when I watched the simulcast and revisiting here in marathon form just reinforced why it works so well, and that’s the characters. Definitely recommended as one of our picks as the best shows from 2012 and one of the best releases of 2013.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: A
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: August 20th, 2013
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation 3 via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.