The aquatope on white sand – Episode 20 (ANN)

All of that blends with Kukuru still trying to find her place in Tingaara as she continues an internal – and often external – tug-o-war between settling into her current responsibilities and her desire to continue taking care of sea creatures. And it’s not that Kukuru isn’t serious about her work, which is an accusation leveraged at her about midway in episode 20: it’s that Kukuru still cares deeply about caretaking, and at her core, loves sea creatures enough to always keep them at the forefront of her mind, even to the detriment of her actual staff position.

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The aquatope on white sand – Episode 19 (ANN)

There’s a gentleness about episode 19 that I found myself loving this week. As the year winds down and we count our successes, it’s easy to look back and see all the paths you didn’t tread. Yet episode 19 is a reminder that just like a penguin going for their first swim, we too can find success in just trying and believing. As I look towards being closer to thirty than not, it’s a story that resonates: I expected to be in a very different life situation than I am right now. All I can do is strive and try my best. 

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The aquatope on white sand – Episode 18 (ANN)

Episode 18 serves as a pleasant reminder that you can find joy in a job well done, even if it’s something that you’re not necessarily passionate about. It’s a poignant message, especially in a time when many of us are haunted by job insecurity and imposter syndrome. It’s okay to not let what you do for a living define you, and others will still see you as valuable even if you’re taking up a spot in what may be someone else’s dream job.

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The aquatope on white sand – Episode 17 (ANN)

Episode 17 exemplifies all of what makes aquatope great and left a lasting impression on me. It feels like the culmination of weeks of effort, as the strong character foundation that is built up over the past twenty episodes is starting to pay off. Furthermore, all of these beautiful female friendships are framed positively through their tenderness and comfort and femininity, as opposed to cattiness, which The aquatope on white sand has largely avoided.

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The aquatope on white sand – Episode 16 (ANN)

There’s so much I want to say about this episode: so much I wish I had words to say. But I’m not a mother or a caretaker. I’m someone who’s definitively, explicitly chosen not to have children despite having a uterus, simply because I don’t want to raise a human being. And yet, I felt so deeply connected to Chiyu, a character who I thought was much younger, but actually is very much so my age. I deeply sympathized with her and feel really, really grateful that we got this character study, which puts a rare spotlight on the struggles that come with balancing parenthood and ambition.

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The aquatope on white sand – Episode 15 (ANN)

On the other hand, Kai is also growing into a different role: that of being Kukuru’s potential romantic partner. It’s something that was definitely hinted at in the first half of the series, but is much more prominent here, especially towards the end of the episode. The music leans in hard on pitching them as the series’ lead partnership, and it wants you and I as viewers to do the same. Will it “pay off”? I don’t know. I don’t actually know if The aquatope on white sand will have any romance. I’m kind of hoping that it won’t, and will instead just let everyone be friends and lean on that as a catalyst for their own individual development.

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The aquatope on white sand – Episode 14 (ANN)

Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting Fuuka to be reunited with Kukuru this soon – I had envisioned spending an episode or two with her back in Tokyo before her return. Still, having her back this soon, but with her and Kukuru’s workplace roles flipped, is interesting. Fuuka and Kukuru are now competent young women, but as this episode shows, they clearly need each other’s support to grow in their careers.

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The aquatope on white sand – Episode 13 (ANN)

There’s a sense of renewed momentum that begins with the OP and carries through the episode, signaling the start of a new phase in Kukuru’s life. She’s not yet who she needs to be, but she feels a lot more fully-formed than the young woman we encountered initially in the first cour. 

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The aquatope on white sand – Episode 12 (ANN)

Episode 12 is very much so the end of a cour. It’s a finale episode, marking the end of Gama Gama Aquarium and the end of childhood, in a way. There’s no more halcyon days for Kukuru, at least not within Gama Gama’s four walls. Her time there will, like so many things, become memories, potentially to propel her to work for Aquarium Tingaara, or even elsewhere in Okinawa, if she allows her the opportunity. Things are similarly up in the air for the rest of the younger cast: true, they have their aspirations, but… nothing is concrete by the time this episode finishes. Nothing is sure, and sometimes… that’s just how life really, truly is.

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The aquatope on white sand – Episode 10 & 11 (ANN)

Despite Gama Gama’s sad fate, this episode doesn’t forget to sprinkle in a bit of comedy. There’s a really good scene where Kukuru consults fortune-telling in order to divine Gama Gama’s future. There’s also an entirely unfunny scene of Kai’s sister saying that he should get with Fuuka (because she’s a classic beauty), but then again, comedy is always subjective.

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