Episode 2 of The Aquatope on White Sand follows Fuuka’s first day of work at Gama Gama Aquarium. This episode is laid-back and playful while making an effort to further expand upon its characters.
A place to call home
Aquatope episode 2 picks up where episode 1 left off, with Fuuka begging Kukuru for a job at the aquarium. After bringing Fuuka back to her grandparents’ house, not only does Kukuru’s grandpa agree to hire her, but he invites her to stay with them for as long as she needs. Fuuka seems to settle in right away; helping Kukuru’s grandma make Okinawan doughnuts and peeling edamame on the porch for dinner. It looks to be a peaceful and cozy setup. Considering Fuuka came to the island on a whim, things are working out well for her so far
Meanwhile, Kukuru meets up with her friends to discuss her plans for how to keep the aquarium in business, as we learn it’s on the verge of closing. The aquarium requires some costly upgrades, and Kukuru plans to pay for these by drawing in more customers. Her passion and determination are abundantly clear, as she vows to devote her entire summer to this task. Her efforts to revive the aquarium will no doubt be one of the major plot points throughout the series.
Fuuka’s first day
Fuuka’s first day of work goes about as well as you’d expect for a novice aquarist. Kukuru starts her off with the difficult task of feeding the penguins, and poor Fuuka fails the task miserably; getting pecked by the hungry birds and dropping their food everywhere. Finally, in a display of slapstick comedy, Fuuka slips on the floor and plunges into the penguins’ pool.
Given it’s Fuuka’s first day on the job, Kukuru isn’t as gracious with her as she should be. She harshly reminds her of the importance of the animals’ safety and accuses her of not caring about her job. While this interaction doesn’t paint Kukuru in the best light, her actions are a testament to her commitment to her job and love of aquatic life. Kukuru’s passion and single-mindedness seem to be her defining qualities thus far. Pair this with her youth and the stress she’s under as acting aquarium director, and it’s understandable why she reacted the way she did.
On the other hand, Fuuka seems to be Kukuru’s polar opposite, with her meek and compliant demeanor. She apologizes profusely for her mistakes and immediately takes Kukuru’s words to heart. She’s still reeling from the loss of her last job, so being scolded so harshly would sting a little extra. It isn’t until a couple of unsavory businessmen show up at the aquarium, trying to swindle Kukuru, that Fuuka shows a bit of spirit. Not only does she yell at them after they break the aquarium’s precious handmade welcome sign, but she chases them off with a hose.
A loveable cast
As if the lead characters of Aquatope weren’t endearing enough, in episode 2 we get to see more of the series’ loveable side characters. Kukuru’s fellow employee Kuuya is already shaping up to be the most relatable character, with his subtle sarcasm and complaints about his long shifts. Seeing him come out of his shell when drunk was one of the more amusing parts of the episode, as was his bromance with Kukuru’s classmate Kai.
Kai appears to be a kind and sincere person, offering to work at Gama Gama Aquarium to help Kukuru achieve her goal. His blushing when being thanked by Kukuru suggests he could be a potential love interest if the series doesn’t go the yuri route like some viewers are predicting. Kukuru’s female friends Karin and Udon, also offer to help in any way they can. It looks like keeping the aquarium afloat is going to be a team effort.
Aquatope episode 2 ends with Fuuka opening up to Kukuru about everything; her lifelong dream to become an idol, and how that dream eventually crumbled. We find out that Fuuka gave up her position to a younger member, who wanted her dying grandmother to see her center stage. Eventually, her managers talked her into quitting, believing her to be unmotivated. Fuuka’s passivity over the dream she worked so hard for further builds on the meek yet considerate persona the show has presented us with thus far. It would be great to see Fuuka grow into a more assertive character throughout the series and Kukuru into a more patient and empathetic one. Despite the differences between the two characters, the chemistry between them is great, and I sense they’ll learn a lot from each other throughout the season.
As they talk under a starlit sky, Fuuka promises in earnest to help Kukuru achieve her aspirations. She clearly sees herself in Kukuru; someone trying desperately to hang on to their dream. It’s worth noting how pleasant and uplifting the soundtrack is during this scene. The OP, which was revealed in this episode, is also stunning.
Episode 2 of Aquatope further convinced me that it has the potential to be this season’s sleeper hit. It’s aesthetically pleasing, full of endearing characters and pleasantly relaxing to watch. Aquatope is available to watch on Crunchyroll. You can also vote it as Episode of the Week in our poll.
Official website: aquatope-anime.com
All images via Crunchyroll