452nd G-View Aquatope of White Sand

I went into this show cautiously optimistic. I was like “Just because currently more popular yuri content creators bought into the hype does not mean I will be as ecstatic to see it though I am not pessimistic either.”. Question is whether the show is not only good but worth watching as a yuri fan. Let us find out as we take a look at Aquatope of White Sand/The Aquatope on White Sand.

Aquatope of White Sand

Alternate Title: Shiroi Suna no Aquatope

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Office Lady (Kinda), Slice of Life, Supernatural (Kinda)

Themes: Aquarium, Coming of Age, Marine Biology, Yuri

G-Rating: 8/10

Plot Summary: Gama Gama Aquarium is a small aquarium in Okinawa, an hour’s bus ride from Naha. Kukuru Misakino is an 18-year-old high school student who works there, and she knows about the “secret” of the aquarium: sometimes you can see mysterious things. One day Kukuru meets Fuuka, standing in front of a water tank with flowing hair and a tear rolling down her cheek. Fuuka has given up on her dream of becoming an idol and she has run away from Tokyo to Okinawa. Wanting to find a place to belong, Fuuka earnestly asks to work at the aquarium.

Kukuru greets FuukaPut simply Aquatope is a pretty good work life anime with decent yuri. Let us talk about the work stuff first. The anime is split in two halves. Without spoiling much the first half can be seen as what a youngster aspiring for a dream job imagines working there is like while the second half is a bit more accurate description. Throughout the show viewers learn a lot about marine life, working in aquariums big and small, connecting it to other jobs involving animals like veterinarians or zookeepers and of course each character on the show has a dramatic backstory be they brief or spanning across the entire anime. These range from family issues, feeling aimless/directionless, discomfort at the workplace, personal secrets that might affect your work life, meaningful life lessons about caring for the environment and of course feelings toward coworkers. In a sense watching Aquatope felt like watching SHIROBAKO. Yes they are two entirely different jobs but aside from the difference between making anime and caring for marine life a lot of the behind the scenes jobs are similar such as marketing and human resources to name a few examples. It is all quite fascinating.

Fuuka and a whale sharkThere are some supernatural elements in the form of aquatic visions which serve their purpose well in the first half but are almost entirely absent in the second half. As mentioned above the first half is more youthful while the second is grounded in adulthood.

Moving on to the presentation. The underwater effects are all excellent. It perfectly captures the aquatic ambiance aquariums are going for, specifically medium and large ones though small ones have their own charm too as shown in the anime. The various sea creatures shown from the smallest of fishes to the impressive whale shark are all well animated in 2D and CG. The character designs are nice too, especially the ladies of both light and tan skin. The soundtrack does its job of being calm and atmospheric like an aquarium while the two OPs and EDs are all nice too.

Kukuru asking Fortuneteller for helpBefore we get to our main duo let us briefly go over the side-characters. Most are likable, some are fulfill a role and not much else and a few are intentionally hard to like. To be precise one is hard to like at first but mellows down a bit whereas the other is meant to be disliked and does a good job of being unlikable that by the time the truth about them is revealed it is not enough to change many minds. Then there is Udon’s sexy fortunetelling mom who I would LOVE to have seen more of.

Oh right. At one point it may look like there is “hetero danger” but worry not. This guy mainly serves as part of one of our heroines’ character growth than a love interest so that is not an issue.

Kukuru and Fuuka reuniteFinally we have our main duo of Kukuru and Fuuka. Their whole journey can be summed up as “coming of age”. Some teenage angst but not carried away. Their growths are both very cool and worth watching the show for that reason. As for the yuri…this kind of soft yuri was done better in other anime. The journey was nice but again I have seen this particular destination done better elsewhere. Let me use school progression as an example without spoiling anything. The student got good grades for the most part but in the final year BARELY got enough to graduate. I will say it was done better than in Carole and Tuesday, but not by much. Well, in the penultimate episode I hoped the writers would end their story with a bang and I suppose they gave us something. Better than nothing.

Overall Aquatope of White Sand is a pretty good work life anime with okay yuri. The supporting cast all do their jobs well, the drama and educational portions of the story are all interesting and the main duo’s coming of age journeys are a highlight. While their road to yuri is undeniably good I have seen a similar destination done better in other anime. Maybe they can get away with more in the manga adaptation. In any case it is worth checking out at least once as an anime and maybe the yuri too so long as expectations are kept to a minimum.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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22 Responses to 452nd G-View Aquatope of White Sand

  1. Yea, so this kind of went in the direction of my 2nd scenario from last episode’s comment. I called it about them having a “I’m home” moment, but I will say I think it was better done here than how I imagined in my head, so that’s a plus. It’s pretty much as you said. It was a pretty good coming of age SoL with an aquatic backbone and subtle yuri. I think it’s safe to say it’s definitely there (unless people just don’t want to see it), but they played it safe by not calling it out directly. There were several subtle nuances that suggested it, however. Of course, the bond between the two goes without saying, but making it a point to call out gay penguins also could be seen as an indirect confirmation. They basically left it open for us to make our own interpretation. They could’ve been great if only they were brave enough to take that final step, but I still praise them for an overall well-done show. I personally did enjoy it a lot, actually. It tied everyone’s journeys up nicely, and so I don’t really feel like I lost. Perhaps, though unlikely, we can hope for an OVA that may give us more on Fuuka x Kukuru’s reunion and after story. If not, I’m satisfied with what we got for the most part.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Yup. They went with the subtle route and gave us enough hints and obvious signals to legitimize Kukuru X Fuuka’s relationship so it wasn’t a waste of time. Plus the show as a whole was pretty good.

      A post-epilogue FuuKuru followup OVA would be unlikely but much appreciated.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. monsta666 says:

    I really did enjoy Fuuka and Kukuru with my fav of the two being Kukuru. Her boundless energy and the way she held her heart to her sleeve was very endearing. Fuuka was kinda like the voice of reason that stopped Kukuru going off the deep end.

    We got a lot of growth from both girls and Kukuru’s managed to get rid of her tunnel fish vision and see the broader picture whilst Fuuka went from the confused directionless girl to one who firmly knew what she wanted. I have to admit Chiyu really did piss me off but mellowed out big time and so I was okay with her by the seasons end. As for the boss, I think he was just the character we were meant to hate. The classic foil nothing more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. monsta666 says:

    As for yuri, it was quite subtle and I am not sure if something was actually there although we can certain imagine there was something there! On the one hand Kukuru kept mentioning Fuuka as an older sister implying a familial relationship but the segment at the end about the penguins practising free love was a hidden implication that the girl’s relationship has more than meets the eye! Which side of the fence do you lean towards? The writers left it for you to decide!

    I did write a review for this and like you, gave it an 8/10:

    https://fansub.tv/threads/aquatope-of-white-sand.30956/

    Liked by 2 people

  4. chikorita157 says:

    Overall, the show is definitely interesting, especially how Fuuka’s and Kukuru’s relationship allow them to find a new dream after their first dream shattered. Sure, the second half has some up and down, mostly due to Kukuru’s a-hole boss, and his redemption arc is a complete copout, I don’t believe it. Still, I think Chiyu’s redemption is believable, although it doesn’t excuse her bullying of Kukuru. Then again, she treated her poorly in the first half of course.

    It’s good that the relationship with Kukuru and Fuuka flourished and thankfully, Kai didn’t ruin it. I don’t think he has a chance given his lack of development and courage to confess his feelings. It’s probably a good thing as people would get angry if they really made Kai and Kukuru canon, when Kukuru shows no interest in him, besides using him as a punching bag. Either way, I feel that PA Works has maybe mastered the work genre type of shows.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      It was less redemption and more a poor attempt to explain his lameness.

      Yup. Absolutely no reason to shove in Kukuru X Kai at the end as it was one-sided from the start and his only role was to expand Kukuru’s story.

      No wonder I thought about SHIROBAKO while watching this show. Same studio. That explains it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. yoorie19 says:

    Finally it ended. For me in a good way.

    After reading Nettaigyou wa Yuki ni Kogareru (A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow), or Hanige for short, I expected Aquatope would be some kind of the same. But with lots of sign it signaled from the very start of the project, U35 as the character designer, or the “yuri compass” as the first key visual, my hope rose as high as the sky. But then suddenly they release Kuuya and K*i (I have to censor the name, sorry). My online circle suddenly threw their hope for this title, however I remain believed it would be something sweet even though there would be no “love” said blatantly by the two. That’s the lowest standard I set. But episodes by episodes just couldn’t tease me more with Fuuka and Kukuru’s interaction and relationship, somehow more than sister, but not yet a lover.

    The last episode aired, I couldn’t get a sleep at all. Waiting for it while having a stomachache. All of the bad scenarios jumbled in my head since Fuuka decided to have a “long-distance relationship” with Kukuru. But then, geez! Distance and time couldn’t get their heart separated. “Far from eyesight, but near in heart,” an old song from my home country taught them that maybe, lol.

    It ended magnificently. I almost cried after the meeting after the two years time skip. The simple “tadaima” and “okaeri” I longed for weeks after knowing Fuuka and Kukuru would be apart because of their jobs.

    It was a majestic series about the evolution of two girls who met because of their dreams got ruined. The coming-of-age theme in their little world called Gama Gama, and then got reunited as the part of bigger society in Tingarla. Caring and supporting each other and also the creature’s lives.

    The message is also clear. We have to love the mother earth and her creatures no matter which, whether humans or just as tiny as fish.

    And yes,the penguin couples at the end were Kukuru and Fuuka’s favorite. Choco and Shiratama. Yes, they symbolized Fuuka and Kukuru. In my views, the penguins signified that their “mothers” were “in that kind of same relationships”. K*i hoping them to be happy also means the happiness for the both “penguin mothers”.

    Anyway, it was a good show and making me all eyes every Friday. Keep jumping on the tribune and celebrate the win, mates! Aquarium Tingarla #FullSenyum 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      Precisely. They gave us something. They had to go down the hints/symbolism route but hey, the message was loud and clear for people who paid attention. Would have loved for them to be more open with it but I suppose this will do. “That’ll do pig, that’ll do.”

      Good stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Little Viktoria says:

    I put this series on hold around the halfway point, since I was getting so emotionally invested that I didn’t want to go any further if it was going to end with a big disappointment (with the guy ^^). I didn’t read the full review or comments, but skimmed enough to know that it didn’t go there. Looks like it’s safe to watch and enjoy for least for some subtext ^^

    Liked by 1 person

  7. opaco1234 says:

    The best part is the girls could reunited again even after years that is quite uncommon

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mauron says:

    Probably my favorite, and the gayest, of the PA Works “Working Girls” anime (Hanasaku Iroha, Shirobako, Sakura Quest, and this). The Venn Diagram of “people I believed had some romantic interest in the opposite sex” and “people with kids” was a near perfect circle.

    “Penguins are cool with gay marriage and age gaps.” So besides Kukuru and Fuuka, Chiyu and Kitty attendant who probably had a name?

    Speaking of Chiyu, she had a reason to gripe at first, but the way she dragged it out was… as mature as the high schooler she got grumpy at.

    Assistant Plankton made more sense when I though he was trying to ruin Tingarla. The bank manager now working in marketing and not something like, you know, finance, made about as much sense as sticking Kukuru there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      SHIROBAKO and Aquatope are my favorites. Hanasaku got better as it progressed.. Didn’t watch Sakura Quest.

      You mean Kaoru, not Marina.

      Chiyu handled her gripes with Gama Gama poorly.

      “Mr Congeniality” is lame.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Kotori_Sonoda says:

    To be honest I put this show on hold for this season but not for any story reasons – there was just a lot of mecha stuff on the plate for me this season so I decided to put it on hold for a while!

    Skimmed through your review and it seems like it’s a show i should get back into soon enough! As always solid review.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Nick says:

    Sad to see this one end, I really enjoyed it.

    Very good work-life show, a nice break from the usual school-life setting most anime have. Aquariums are a lot of work behind the scenes and it was nice to get a taste of that through this show. Granted I’ve only ever been to an aquarium a very few times in my life, but they do look amazing.

    Fuuka and Kukuru are wonderful characters and I really liked following their stories each week. Both girls had their struggles along the way but they made it through with the help of those around them. I liked in final ep showing them go their separate ways, following their dreams and doing what they wanted to, but at the end they were reunited again. Such a touching moment.

    No real complaints overall. A minor nitpick is probably how the first half of the show featured some supernatural elements with the local shrine god but that wasn’t ever really explained over the course of the show, especially for something being in the OP each week. Not that it had an bearing on the show, but I thought we’d maybe get some more info on that. Like I said though, not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things.

    All in all it’s great to see P.A. Works making another excellent show and I hope they keep this up with their next project.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Educational show, great protagonists whose relationship was lovely but could have been amazing were the writers given more freedom, at least I assume they HAD to take the subtle route.

      I think Sakura Quest is the only work life P.A. Works show I have yet to see. The other three, Aquatope included, were pretty good.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. yurimylove says:

    Overall a nice series, with decent subtext. Always happy to watch a somewhat realistic work setting in anime, a nice change of pace from the tons of high school or isekai ones (not that those settings are bad but variety is the spice of life).

    Liked by 1 person

  12. skydragonx8 says:

    I finally got around to finishing the last 2 episodes and I loved it in the end! It is just a beautiful story of 2 girls’ coming of age story.

    The highlight is 1000% Fuuka and Kukuru’s relationship, they are always there for each other and care for each other, in their lowest moments and support each other! Every time I see them together I always get so giddy and smile!

    The supporting cast are also fantastic as well, super likeable (well for the most part, still not a fan of Kukuru’s boss but even he had a moment where he wasn’t such a total dick) and you get to see some of them grow as well along the story which I love!

    Overall I just love this show with all my heart, it is heartwarming and beautiful with amazing characters and a really great story as well!!!

    P.S. the 2 year time skip moment between Fuuka and Kukuru, at the end was just AHHHHHHHH!!!!! Yeah I love this show with all my heart.

    Like

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