After EP24 FINAL REVIEW “The Aquatope on White Sand” “Shiroi Suna no Akuatōpu” (白い砂のアクアトープ)

After EP24 FINAL REVIEW “The Aquatope on White Sand” “Shiroi Suna no Akuatōpu” (白い砂のアクアトープ)

SPOILER ALERT: Many spoilers follow. Read at own risk.

The final episode 24 of Aquatope was the best ending to a story in recent memory. How much story they told and resolved in just 23 minutes and 40 seconds! Some anime cannot even tell that much story in a whole season!

MS Yūko Kakihara is the author of Aquatope, and many may remember her as also the author of Iroduku: The World in Colors(2018) for in which color was the central plot point. It is then no stretch to think that color in Aquatope would have meaning or sense.

MS Kakihara opens her story in a most unexpected fashion, with a history of Kukuru’s hair styles. First a baby with no hair ornament, a little girl with a green bulb ornament on a single left braid, a young teen with a fish ornament on that single braid, and then her shell ornament on the braid as we have seen her for the most part. There is one more change of great significance at the very end. Hair styles for women are sometimes a personality marker for maturation or growth as they are here presented, and of course, Kukuru’s hair is blue as are her Mother and Father.

Blue would then be a trope for Kukuru. During the very ending from run time 21:24 through 23:08, Kukuru does the first word play (1): on Fūka’s name using the poetic allusion of “snow fluttering on a sunny day”. As snow is white, Kukuru transitions the allusion to “bleached, white coral on a white sand Okinawan beach”, perfect for Okinawa. White would then be a trope for Fūka.

Blue as in Aqua and White as in Sand are literally in the Title, “The Aquatope on White Sand: The Two Girls Met in the Ruins of Damaged Dream”!

Once the hair styles are quoted in detail, we begin the process of stocking The White Sand Dome by the entire staff which ends at run time 4:59, story dated as March 2, 2023.

This is simply one of the wonders of Aquatope which fascinates on many levels. We readily reacted to the technical aspects of actually doing an Aquarium stocking which is so well done here. Some might criticize the story, that we are now 5 minutes in, and all we have done is mark hair styles, and fish stocking. Where is the story? But this misses a serious point.

MS Kakihara’s story is that people working together create value as the young people in this segment indeed do.

Then on March 19, 2023, we open The White Sand Dome to host one of the most beautiful weddings either fictional or real which we have ever witnessed. This beauty even reduces Miura, the wedding planner, to tears! She then congratulates Kukuru(B: 2002-10-8) who at 20 years of age has produced a stunning success. (Fūka was born B:2003-5-17, she is actually the little sister!)

The following day, March 20, 2023, The White Sand Dome is opened to the public, and is a major popular success! But Kukuru is still unsure! Gama-Gama was fun, but Tingarla not so much, and she asks for advice from her Grandfather. In one of the most trenchant short stories, Ojii confesses to Kukuru that Gama-Gama was not always fun, but his advice is to work hard at all times, moving forward, and then sometimes you will be rewarded. Real life isn’t all fun and games, and defeats and reversals are difficult to avoid, but “Do what’s right, and everything will work out.”! That is real truth!

When Kukuru asks what should she do, Grandpa says look within yourself and you will see your Destiny.

Visions are not Magic Realism. People do have real visions, and the Vision Quest is a staple in many cultures. Abandon Fatalism, one’s fixed Fate in life, and embrace your vision for your Destiny ahead, because one sets their own Destination in life. Fate is not Destiny! Fate is your future fixed by the gods and cannot be avoided! But Destiny is an individual choice based upon the vision of the future which one arrives at from the process of a Vision Quest. The words “destiny” and “destination” originate from the same Latin root, “destinare”.

And then we finish with a vision of Kukuru’s lost family and Fūka within the vision is clearly included as a member of Kukuru’s family.

We are now 16 minutes into the ending, and yet nothing has been resolved.

We now see Fūka fly off to Hawaii for a two year work-study with Kaoru, and we enter a 2 year time skip.

Blue definitely refers back to EP 21 “Dreams of Blue Turtles” and the very denouement of Aquatope where instead of Magic Realism, we are told a story of hard core realism in which the very real magic of Mother Nature’s birthing of life into new life hits square in the face under a full moon. The little guys popping out of the sand were precious indeed!

It is here, on Yameru na Island after witnessing the miracle of life where new dreams begin to crystallize for both Kukuru and Fūka. ( The fictional “yameru na” translates into English as “Don’t quit! Kukuru and Fūka are literally on an Island telling them not to quit!!!)

Kukuru will return and complete her assignments, and Fūka is energized by Ocean life conservation.

After the two year time skip, it is now April 1, 2025. The story opens with a clear, intentional focus shot of Kukuru’s new hair style, double braids, tied in the back with a 5 point starfish. Kukuru has become a star at Tingarla and there is even talk about her becoming the Director!

Fūka and Kaoru fly back to Okinawa. Kukuru messages Fūka to meet her at their shrine. A Blue paper airplane appears out of the woods, and wraps around a running Kukuru, and then they embrace. Fūka says,

The Blue paper airplane is actually constructed out of one sheet of paper, Blue on one side, and White on the other. That can be clearly seen as the plane passes Kukuru,

In the very last scene, with the girls walking away, we see that the Starfish ornament in Kukuru’s new hair style, is now an actual star.

In the beginning, Aquatope throws a curve ball, and seems to hint that Magic Realism will be used, and yet, no magic ever changes anything, it’s hard core realism all the way down, and of course, that is the most wondrous abstraction of all. The only thing the Kijimuna ever does is eat the offerings, and steal Fūka’s Straw hat! The Real Magic of “The Aquatope on White Sand” is the vision thing, that all human beings are fully capable of doing what Kukuru and Fūka have done.

When your dreams are damaged and fail, then that is the time to dream new dreams, and set a new destination in your life, a new destiny!

The Aquatope on White Sand (白い砂のアクアトープ, *Shiroi Suna no Akuatōpu”), subtitled “The Two Girls Met in the Ruins of Damaged Dream”

This is beginning of the end of the story.

Highly Recommended!!!

A technical analysis follows as to the linguistic basis for the ending word play and it’s involvement with color.

Both Kukuru and Fūka engage in word play (1): and (2): which establishes the exact nature of the relationship that they share. Kukuru says (1): and Fūka counters with (2):! What is hidden and implicit in this exchange is the author speaking (3): where she puts Kukuru and Fūka together as FAMILY which was visually established earlier by the vision which they both shared.

Kukuru says (1): ( Fūka = {wind, flowers, coral})

Fūka says (2): (Kukuru = {soul = (kokoro = {heart, mind, spirit, soul}) } )

Implicit (3): FAMILY = ( {Fūka, Kukuru} = {wind, flowers, coral, soul} )

Fūka clearly confirms this by saying, “I’m home, Kukuru.”

Language definitions:

COMMUNICATION: Sense → Sound → Text

LOCATION: Sound and/or Text used as the Name relationship to locate. Sense is of no importance with regard to names. The use of a name to locate is the entire sense of a name.

Modern convention is “Text:” as in LOCATION: above. This sentence uses the Name Relationship, rather than the Sense Relationship.

In Tokyo Japanese, or Standard Japanese, Fūka’s Language kukuru くくる, is a verb which means to tie or bind together, hence to tie-dye silk, Batik style. kokoroこころ, is a noun which means heart, mind, spirit, and by extension soul.

These two words have an extreme symmetry both in text and in sound, but quite different meanings as to sense. The kkr consonants match exactly and the vowels uuu to ooo!

In the Okinawa Japanese Dialect, Kukuru’s language kukuru くくる is the same both in Text and Sound with Standard Japanese, but as to sense takes on the meaning of kokoroこころ, a noun which means heart, mind, spirit, and by extension soul.

I have not been able to find out why this is so. The extreme symmetry might indicate an interesting history in Okinawa for the two words.

The very ending dialog in EP 24 between Kukuru and Fūka explains in detail the nature of their relationship with elaborate plays upon words.

The script reads:
21:24 Fūka: “I’m home, Kukuru”
21:54 Kukuru: “Hey, Fūka…”
21:57 Kukuru: “I never knew your name meant “Snow”.
22:55 Kukuru: “Yeah?”

23:00 (Picture of bleached Coral on the beach)

Fūka: “Yeah. “wind flower” refers to the Snow that flutters on a sunny day.”

[Fūka’s name 風花 are Kanji nouns literally meaning [風 wind] and [花 flower] and by poetic extension like Snow fluttering in the air on a sunny day. Anime is full of this scene where we see Cherry Blossoms in the Wind falling to the ground like Snow Fall. The anime Hyouka(2012) in its ending scene of EP 22 “The Doll That Took the Long Way Around” has as it’s ending Eru Chitanda who positions herself in front of a giant Cherry Blossom tree, so that Hotaro Oreki sees her backstopped by the tree when the wind picks up and it does indeed look like a snow flurry! Beautiful scene by the way, as only KyoAni could create]

23:05 Kukuru: “Fūka’s is a perfect name in Okinawa, though.”
23:08 Fūka: “Is it?”
23:08 Kukuru: “This island’s made of wind, flowers, and coral

Kukuru is making the first play upon words, “wind flower” is like Snow Fluttering down is like white, bleached Coral on the White Sand of an Okinawan beach. She adds coral to Fūka’s poetic allusion [Fūka = {wind, flowers, coral}]

23:16 Fūka: “Wind, flowers, coral,…
23:19 Fūka: “and Soul.

Fūka here uses the word kukuru くくる in its Okinawan sense of “heart, mind, spirit, soul and not as a name. Fūka makes the second play upon words by adding Soul to the list] [Kukuru = {soul}] This results in [Fūka = {wind, flowers, coral, {Kukuru = {soul}} }] Linguistically, Fūka adds Kukuru to her own name.

The third word play is hidden, but implicit.

In the First word play by Kukuru, she adds “coral” to the poetic allusions. In the Second word play by Fūka, she adds “soul” to the poetic allusions.

What then is the Third word play, and who does it?

In the Tokyo Japanese sense of kukuru くくる, Yūko Kakihara (also author of “Iroduku: The World in Colors” 2018)” steps into her own story, and has both Kukuru and Fūka, kukuru each other’s names!!!

This is brilliant, and comes from the nature of the observer or narrator in a story. We were made aware of this by the following comment:”One thing that I think many commenters on the show have missed is that the majority of the story is (essentially) seen from the viewpoint of Kukuru. This is especially true once we move from Gama Gama to Tingarla. If we see little of her boss (and what he does), it is because Kukuru (wrapped up in herself) does not see what he does — and does not seem to care much about finding out. It is NOT that he does no work himself. While Kukuru is not a “narrator”, a lot of what we see is equivalent to experiencing the viewpoint of an unreliable narrator. Of course, some parts of the story reflect Fuuka’s perspective — and others may be neutral — but it is a mistake to think that what we see of Kukuru’s work experience is anything like an objective representation of what is actually going on.” – Michael Kerpan

We had missed this entirely, but then the ancient words of Mr. Pywackett’s ancient Comp Lit professor suddenly came to mind. He always stressed that a story has an Eye, a point of view from which it is being told. The Narrator can be anyone, a character or characters in the story, an abstract voice explaining the story, or even the author stepping into his or her own story.

Here the author steps metaphorically into her story, and implicitly explains that both Kukuru and Fūka have “kukuru’ed” each other’s names together. In Tokyo Standard Japanese, kukuru くくる, is a verb which means to tie or bind together, hence to tie-dye silk, Batik style. The end result of the word play is that Kukuru and Fūka are now bound together like tie-dyed silk. This third play extends outside the story, and is never stated in words, but can be observed as such from the word play itself, i.e. both girls are binding self to the other. Kukuru binds Fūka to Okinawa, Fūka binds Kukuru to herself, and Yūko Kakihara literally kukuru’s Kukuru and Fūka together!

( Fūka = {wind, flowers, coral} UNION Kukuru = {soul} ) produces the Result Set of FAMILY = {Fūka, Kukuru} = {wind, flowers, coral, soul}.

This was actually shown earlier, in the vision, where Fūka is included in Kukuru’s family!

The two girls at the very end, have become sisters and they belong together in and to a family!

Then to finish one of the very best endings in anime, the Kijimuna launches his second Blue/White Paper airplane which fly’s up into a deep Blue Sky (Kukuru) filled with billowy Cumulus White Clouds (Fūka), heading towards the Infinite Zenith of the stars (The Starfish) as Kukuru’s hair ornament.

How indeed sweet, this ending is!

MS Yūko Kakihara is a brilliant and master story teller, and certainly deserves far more recognition within anime fandom than she has received.

© 2022 Folwine P. Pywackett (mox024)

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