I feel like I always have some serendipitous timing with the anime that I watch and what happens in my own life. Recently, I started watching Aquatope and I’ve gotten to the start of the first half. At the same time, I haven’t really talked about this anywhere, but I got a new job. I won’t tell you where, but it’s like a family company that operates by doing metal finishing and non destructive testing subcontract work for Boeing standards. I work in the quality department where I plan how certain parts go around the shop and then certify the completed orders, as in make sure they follow standards, before they go out the door. I’ll be starting my sixth week soon.
How this connects with Aquatope is that feeling of smaller businesses. In the first half of the show, Aquatope is focused on one teenage girl, Kukuru, trying to keep her small family aquarium open when its clearly failing or going to end soon. So there is that massive tension of can Kukuru do it and the answer is no. It closes and Kukuru starts working at modern aquarium, Tingarla, that is a major business with people working everywhere to keep it going. Something which is the opposite for me because I have worked in major companies in specific departments until this new job where the atmosphere is just so much more personal and different then before.
One major thing that Aquatope nails out of many things is that feeling of both the two sorts of company businesses. Especially when an former employee of Gama Gama had ice pops in a fridge meant for fish food or how people don’t actually crossover between different departments at all. That homey feeling is gone, it’s all stale and you get put in your spot and do nothing else but what you are employed to do. Casual talk is less welcome unless you can actual do work while talking. So seeing Kukuru struggle with thinking about her employment at Tingarla in the advertising department she feels like some excellent little bits of drama too that grounds the story so well.
In my own reversal of that, I’ve never had a job where if there is a slow day on my end that I would just help out in another department that needed some help until now. Yes, my main job is doing a lot of computer work, checking standards, and things like that. That is the first thing I do in the morning when I come in before the first truck goes out on its route. Same when for before the afternoon truck goes too. I just love the specifics of doing that. There have been a couple days where I would help prepare parts for painting because that preparation area is the one that needs the most help. It is also strange that my boss is sometimes one of the people involved with that prep or even paints parts when a painter is out for the week.
So once again, I really did start watching Aquatope at the right time for me and it helps me to relate a lot more to what this show is going for. I am also finding that the more homey environment is one that I enjoy a lot. In another life time, I could have been one of those engineers who is stuck in an office using finite element analysis to create and design parts. Something that would fit me too, but I really like where I am and what what I do. It took a long time for me to discover that that is the kind of place that I want to be. And I know its a secure job because the orders are coming in and out at a stable rate because I actively see product orders to know what each customer/fellow company wants in order to plan. I’m pretty happy right now.
This is one of the things I liked about Aquatope, that focus on workplace conditions and differences between the small and large companies and the realities of doing business. It’s a shame the old aquarium couldn’t stay open, but I thought the show really earned that ending of the first arc because we see how it operates and how sheer willpower alone can’t save it. Kukuru being forced to learn to adapt to her new environment was interesting to watch too, and very relatable for me. Now I just wish they hadn’t basically dropped Fuuka’s story a quarter of the way through the series, because that part just didn’t feel complete or resolved.
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Yeah, it is pretty sad that Fuuka pushed into the big sister role. At least it feels somewhat natural for her to like working at an aquarium.
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