Initial Impression: Tsuritama, Hemingway, and Angler as a Role

The scene flashed by, but if you were paying attention, you may have caught the nod towards Ernest Hemingway.  The renowned author was also a dedicated angler who devoted quite a few of his writings to the art of fishing.  You may have even read some of his works in school; the first one that came to my mind was The Old Man and The Sea.  ajthefourth wrote a fascinating piece on the first episode over at Altair and Vega, complete with her own personal experience with fishing, and I would like to jump from that into my own views of this new anime and its aquatic theme.

Anglers have a way of romanticizing their battles with fish and of forgetting that the fish has a hook in his mouth, his gullet, or his belly and that his gameness is really an extreme of panic in which he runs, leaps, and pulls to get away until he dies. It would seem to be enough advantage to the angler that the fish has the hook in his mouth rather than the angler.
-Ernest Hemingway
Introduction to S. Kip Farrington Jr., Atlantic Game Fishing (1937)

There’s an interesting duality with the roles of angler and fish in Tsuritama that extends beyond the sport and includes the very positions of our characters.  Yuki’s first experience hooking onto a fish is indeed romanticized.  He is literally yanked into reality as the fish uses all its force to wrest the pole away from Yuki.  He doesn’t have the time to panic if he wants to reel the catch in, but must act immediately.  We’re supposed to cheer Yuki on, not sympathize with the fish! It may sound selfish phrased like that, but that same mentality applies to the strange relationship between Haru and Yuki.

If you think of Haru as the fisherman and Yuki as the trout, the way in which Haru pursues the friendship doesn’t really seem as odd as they make it appear in the show.  Self-proclaimed alien Haru is merely finding joy in the struggle that is life.  Yuki is merely putting up a fight to remain in the water to which he has become accustomed.  But the funny twist is that his water doesn’t give him oxygen so much as it just drowns him.  Humans aren’t meant to breathe underwater as much as fish aren’t meant to fly.  Yuki’s fear of public attention and ridicule prevent him from becoming the angler that he should be.

Overall Thoughts
With only one episode for us to go off of, it’s hard to tell what direction the anime will take–will it go, forgive my pun, into the deep end with a fishing-centered plot, follow a more goofy, slice-of-life, coming-of-age, comedic romance story, or will Haru turn out to be a true alien? We’ve been introduced to a slew of possibilities very early on, all of which excite and worry me.  The characters are interesting, the art style dynamic, the music quirky, and the storytelling engaging.  I am puzzled by why Yuki’s grandmother so easily let Haru move in, but I’m trusting the show will impart that little detail later on.
Watching (obviously)

15 thoughts on “Initial Impression: Tsuritama, Hemingway, and Angler as a Role

  1. You have a great eye for detail (that Hemingway sign) and for analogies (Haru being a fisherman/Yuki being a fish). I didn’t catch either when I watched the episode. The Hemingway sign is pleasing to see since it’s a tip of the cap to a fantastic author and passionate fisherman and I’m curious to see if any of his written works will appear as story elements in the series. The analogy on Yuki and Haru’s relationship is interesting since it takes a simple theme and puts it into the context of the characters. Can’t believe I missed it even when Haru pretended to reel Yuki in during the class introductions. I guess you could also take it one step further and apply it to being an alien, too, saying that aliens who capture humans are like fisherman catching fish or something.


    • Why thank you for your kind words 🙂 Though I do want to give credit to ajthefourth for giving me the idea; it wasn’t until I read her post that I really focused in on what it was that I wanted to say about Tsuritama. I wish I were more knowledgable about Hemingway. As a student of English Literature, I really should read more of his works. If you do notice any clear references, you should let me know!
      With your mention of aliens, I remember that scene in the beginning when Haru was at the aquarium where he first entranced the fish, then sent them up in a rush. I find it interesting that instead of dissecting them all sci-fi-like, he releases them (catch and release, teehee). I look forward to more strange water gun fast forwards!


  2. The Hemingway cafe was definitely inspired by (amongst other works of Hemingway) The Old Man and the Sea. I liked how you likened Yuki and Haru’s relationship to the fisherman and the trout.


  3. Seems everyone sees so much deeper and keener than me. You always have so much insight into the shows and I miss super obvious stuff. Like that Kyou and Ryou (hope I didn’t butcher their names to bad) from Clannad are twins or wondering where the other two anime from your blog title were. Yes I assumed those were three anime lol.


    • I bet there are aspects to anime that catch your eye in ways that they don’t for so many other people. Don’t sell yourself short. And the same goes for anybody else; what one person misses, another person will catch, and vice versa. I’m constantly amazed by the details some of my bloggers and commenters point out that I had breezed right on over.

      The other two anime from my blog title? I didn’t really have any inspiration for Anime B&B other than my love for anime, lazing around, and eating :p


  4. Very interesting to say the least. I’m strongly hoping for both the girl he also met on the train and the guy with the duck become main cast characters instead of just supporting.


    • And what would you say for the most? :p

      I’m so incredibly curious about the Indian-looking guy and his duck. Are they alien hunters or something? Or are they also aliens?


  5. This is why I read other people’s blogs, to gain insight I might not otherwise have gained by myself. It’s true, the relationship between Yuki and Haru does resemble that of the one between fishermen and fish, although I’m sure fish are more in a state of panic when hooked rather than simply being a bit miffed at being brought out of their comfort zone, (or rather, in Yuki’s case, what he was used to- he didn’t look particularly comfortable in those social situations!) like Yuki was with Haru. Thank-you.


    • It’s the same reason why I read other blogs, and you’re welcome 🙂 It is almost a complete reversal of attitude when considering Haru and Yuki; in their case, it’s Haru rescuing Yuki from his panic and discomfort. Although, who knows what really happens whenever Haru sprays his water gun!


  6. Lol I’m pretty unobservant. For example I watched anime (sorry the title escapes me) that was entirely about there being 3 of every person and if you saw your root you’d die unless you were the main root in which case if you saw both your roots they’d die and you’d become a master root. Anyways with knowing that premise I still didn’t notice two characters were each other’s root until the story directly addressed it.

    As for me thinking extra anime in the blog. You’ve been doing three anime per blog and I saw three comas so I thought three anime. Tsuritama, Hemmingway, and Angler as a Role. Real observant huh? Lol


    • Ohhhhhhhhh! Now I get what you were talking about with the title. It’s funny that you mention that since I looked at it after publishing and thought that it could be a bit confusing for people who didn’t know the season line-up. I don’t hold strict to the 3 anime per initial impression post; sometimes I have as many as 4 or 5, and if I like the show enough or have too much to say about one, I’ll let it have its own post.


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