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Anime Review: Shiroi Suna no Aquatope (First Ep)

Hi everyone! I hope that all of you are having a lovely September ahead. 

It's been a while since I have actually sat down and watched a proper anime series in a long time, and after scrolling through some anime to watch, I was pleasantly delighted to stumble upon Shiroi Suna no Aquatope (The Aquatope on White Sand). What makes it even better is the fact that its a recently produced animation from P.A Works! If you haven't known, P.A Works is my favourite animation studio, and I even wrote an article on it before here so check it out if you want to get familiarised with this animation studio first!  

Shiroi Suna no Aquatope is still an ongoing series, with only about 9 out of 24 episodes so far that has been released. As such, I will keep this review limited to my viewing of the first episode.


Shiroi Suna no Aquatope presents itself as a slice-of-life piece, with two girls as the main leads. This comes as no surprise as an avid P.A Works fan, as they have always been consistent in their slice-of-life genres. It is even more consistent with the fact that this, as mentioned, is a 24-episode series. Hence, we can all be ready for the slow paced, yet relaxing atmosphere this show will bring us. 

In the first few minutes of the episode, we are greeted by a few shots of an idyllic countryside, along with mellow, folk-like sounds in the soundtrack.

Another thing about P.A Works: their attention to the more quiet, yet picturesque setting in the more tucked away corners of the country. It reminds me of Manoyama, the town in Sakura Quest, another of their 24-episodic series they have produced (which I love a lot).

Next, we see a blue-haired girl, Misakino Kukuru, praying by the mini shrine, with a fish head as an offering. She seems desperate for help, and we will know why in time to come. 

We see a bit of Kukuru's life, though not a lot is revealed just yet. 

Kukuru lives with her grandparents, making us wonder... Where are her parents?

This gives a small clue, but its not enough to know her backstory yet.

Okay but one thing we know about her is she rides a scooter to school, as opposed to the usual bicycles we see in other anime. How cool is that?!

The slow, folk-like soundtrack starts to fade out, as incessant horns from traffic punctuates the atmosphere. We then find ourselves in Tokyo now, as we are introduced to the other half of the likely duo, Miyazawa Fuuka. 

After giving up her idol dreams for reasons yet unknown, Fuuka has to move back home to Morioka. It is interesting to note that Fuuka is voiced by Rikako Aida, the voice actress of Riko from Love Live! Sunshine. Hence, it is probably one of the most fitting castings because in Love Live! Sunshine, Riko had to move from the city to a more rural part of the country as well. Another thing about Fuuka: she reminds me of Hitomi from Iroduku: The World in Colours, which is also one of P.A Works creation.

Hitomi from Iroduku

Clearly, Fuuka doesn't want to head home yet. As she glances upon a poster of Okinawa, she decides to maybe take a detour. 

Thereafter, she stumbles upon a fortune teller who gives her advice on what to do next. 

And so, that's what she did. 

Unfortunately, the heat becomes too unbearable for Fuuka, and she collapses. Thankfully, she meets the help of a local, who is actually from a tourism association.

She then introduces Fuuka to a few places, and one of it captures her attention. 

The Gama Gama Aquarium

Fuuka doesn't hesitate to make her journey there. Turning off her cellphone to reduce contact with anyone she knows, she decides to take an extended trip instead of heading home.

The Gama Gama Aquarium gives me the same vibes as the Kingdom of Chupakabura. Although they look old and tucked away, it seems like there is still beauty within its compound, and all it needs is for someone to "save" it to ensure a better future for the building.

Kingdom of Chupakabura in Sakura Quest

And of course, what's inside the aquarium is breathtaking. It almost feels like we are in the same waters as the fishes. 

It's nice to see that Fuuka also takes note of fishes that may be hidden, feeling a sense of similarity with it. This might be a clue on what has happened to her idol career. Maybe she wasn't seen enough to fulfil her dreams, and that's sadly common in the idol industry.

Suddenly, Fuuka starts to enter a dream-like sequence. She gets engulfed into the same environment as the fishes, almost as if she is breathing through it.

It's a beautiful scene, and I can't help but once again strike a similarity with another of P.A Works work, Nagi no Asakura, where the characters literally live under the sea. It is a visual delight. 

Kakichan the boy oyster playing hide-and-seek with Hammerhead

A still from Nagi no Asakura

And then Fuuka is brought back to reality. There, she is then approached by a friendly Kukuru, who explains that the phenomenon can only happen to some people who see it. Although maybe, it might have just been a rumour by her grandfather. 

She then introduces herself as the Director of the aquarium, which is an interesting feat for a young high-schooler. This then sets up more things between the two girls, and we are left with the excitement of seeing where this will go in the next few episodes. 

Overall, the first episode of Shiroi Suna no Aquatope has been wonderfully paced. With backstories that are still withheld from us, we are geared into knowing more about the aquarium in the next few episodes. The soundtrack is calm and beautiful, much like its visuals. Coming back to a P.A Works series is always amazing, and I am not left disappointed. Although the series isn't complete yet, I am willing to wait for more episodes to release so that I can binge it all at one go. If you like warm slice-of-life series like this with interesting main leads, you should try this out!

Written by: kimizomi 

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