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Anime / The Aquatope on White Sand

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Getting wet is part of the job

The Aquatope on White Sand (Shiroi Suna no Aquatope) is a twenty-four episode anime produced by P. A. Works and began airing during the summer 2021 season. It follows eighteen-year-old Fūka Miyazawa; after she yields her role as an idol unit's centre to a junior upon overhearing her desire to perform, her managers misinterpret this and take this as a sign that Fūka is losing her interest in being an idol. With her dream fading away, Fūka decides to run away and finds herself in Okinawa. Here, she encounters a fortune teller and decides to head east, eventually coming upon Gama Gama Aquarium, which is being run by deputy director Kukuru Misakino, a high school student. Wishing to leave her past behind and stay in Okinawa, Fūka implores Kukuru to give her a job at the aquarium, but quickly learns that working at Gama Game is no easy task.


However, when she learns that Gama Gama is in dire straits and is scheduled to shut down by the end of the summer, as well as Kukuru's resolute determination to save the place she's come to count a second home, Fūka decides to do her best and help Gama Gama succeed – even though her dreams are lost, Fūka feels that it would be worthwhile to at least see things through and help Kukuru pursue her dreams. The Aquatope on White Sand is directed by Toshiya Shinohara, written by Yūko Kakihara, and Yoshiaki Dewa. The series is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.

This show is the third in P. A. Works Thematic Series of "Girls Working" alongside Shirobako and Sakura Quest.


The Aquatope on White Sand provides examples of:

  • Ambiguously Gay: Kūya mentions that he can't stand being around girls and would appreciate it better if he were around "handsome guys" instead.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Fuuka and Kukuru reunite after a couple years and the two resume pursuing their new dreams.
  • Bait-and-Switch: A minor and brief one: Fuuka was not present in the initial Key Visual for the second cour, nor in the trailer for the same, leading people to wonder if she'd be written out of the story. She shows back up at the end of episode 13, and a new key visual for the second cour has Fuuka on it was released the next day.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Fūka is usually kind and patient, to the point that she can be a bit of a pushover sometimes, but she did not tolerate the greedy loan sharks who harrassed the Gama Gama Aquarium in front of her in episode 2, to the point that she actually lost her patience and angrily chased them away by spraying them with a hose!
  • Bifauxnen: Kaoru. So much that Kūya worked alongside her assuming she was a man until told otherwise. When she mentions Kūya was going to appear during a filmed documentary at Tingarla because the producers wanted a handsome young man, he even responds under his breath that she'd that description easily.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Marina Yonekura is of Hispanic descent, has admitted she's had trouble speaking Japanese in the past, and occasionally drops exclamations in Spanish. Her Japanese surname suggests that she's half Japanese and with her history she may have been raised in Latin America.
  • Cooldown Hug: Fuuka gives one of these to Kukuru as she breaks down at the sight of the typhoon ruining Gama Gama.
  • Demoted to Extra: Most of former Gama Gama staff have greatly reduced screentime during Tingarla arc as the focus shift mostly Tingarla staff. Even Fuuka is only relevant in small handful of episodes.
  • Everyone Knew Already: Fūka reveals to everyone that she used to be an idol before working at the Aquarium in episode 4. Umi admits he could tell already, and the rest of the staff tell her he told them that info beforehand.
  • First-Name Basis: After Kukuru and Fūka open up to one another in the second episode, they begin addressing one another by their given names, a sign that they're growing closer to one another.
  • It Was with You All Along: Much of Kukuru's grief for the loss of Gama Gama Aquarium seems to stem from the emotional and re-assuring visions that she and others experienced within it's halls, and sure enough, this element of the series all but vanishes during the second half of the series set at Tingarla Aquarium as Kukuru struggles to settle into the tedium and compromises of a working adult life. In the final episode, Kukuru finally has such a vision like those she experienced at Gama Gama at Tingarla instead, suggesting they are somehow more related to her love of the ocean or peace of mind and acceptance of life moving forward, and never had anything specifically to do with Gama Gama.
  • Jerkass: The Assistant Director at Tingarla is not a pleasant individual, showing little concern or enthusiasm for the aquatic life at the aquarium, only caring about results and achieving maximum ticket sales and guest satisfaction. He seems unusually harsh towards Kukuru (a newbie to office and management work) saddling her with constant projects and work you'd usually not give to a newcomer, and giving her zero slack for any hinderances or issues out of her control, only concerned with results.
  • Jerk Ass Has A Point: The Tingarla Assistant Director is a massive prick, especially to Kukuru, but he is not wrong about their department needing to do everything in it's power to make sure the aquarium maintains a good reputation and popularity with the public to keep the lights on. A previous aquarium he worked for, and left for a Bank, went bankrupt after he left. He's determined this will not happen again.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Meisa the Fortune-teller planned on scamming Fūka with some shady fortune telling in episode 1, but after Fūka willingly lends her a listening ear and allows her to vent her problems with her, Meisa not only gives Fūka her fortune for free instead of charging her like she planned, she also gives her some genuine advice that could help her later down the line.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Fūka is this to Kukuru. Without her support, Kukuru would have emotionally broken down from the burden of keeping Gama Gama aquarium open. This happens again as events at Tingarla drive Kukuru into depression. It also works in reverse, with Kukuru the crutch for Fūka when she first arrives at Gama Gama.
  • Magical Realism: It's a completely ordinary Slice of Life/Coming of Age story, except it takes place in an aquarium that gives people striking visions of the past, and of the future. The magical aspect of the story goes away by Tingarla arc as the Gama Gama has been shut down by that point, although it returns at the end of episode 23.
  • Malicious Slander: When Kūya was in high school, he turned down an Alpha Bitch for a date. She and her posse spread rumors about him, to the point the police were involved, turning him into an introverted gynophobe.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: A 'kijimuna' (an Okinawan trickster spirit) can be seen walking around the places that Fūka visits, and Kukuru suggests that it's responsible for the fantastical vision that Fūka sees when she first sets foot in the Gama Game Aquarium.
  • New Baby Episode: The second half of Episode 3 focuses on Kukuru, Fuuka, and the rest of Gama Gama's staff helping their veterinarian, who came in from maternity leave to help with a penguin and begins labor while at the aquarium.
  • Nice Girl: Fūka is kind and selfless, willing to give a listening ear to those who need it and even steps down from being the center of the song she worked so hard for to let her junior be the center instead when she overhears her circumstances despite her lifelong dream of being an idol.
  • Real-Place Background: The series' events are set in Okinawa called Nanjō, and many locations seen in the anime are inspired by places, both prominent and obscure, around the island prefecture.
  • The Runaway: Upon spotting a poster advertising Okinawa, Fūka decides to run away on the spur of the moment.
  • Scenery Porn: P. A. Works provides artwork of stunning quality; from the detail in the fish schools, to the play of light on the ocean, The Aquatope on White Sand is a visual treat to behold.
  • Shipper on Deck: Maho adores Fūka so she would rather have her brother Kai end up with her rather than with Kukuru, her brother's actual crush who Maho mutually dislikes.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Tingaraa and Tingarla. The latter is correct, but the former was used initially.
  • Spiritual Successor: A Tokyoite fails at city life and heads off to the country where she finds an ailing institution run by a passionate young woman committed to rejuvenating it, and they and their close-knit group of friends work for the good of the community as they mature into adults? It's basically a redo of P. A. Works's previous production Sakura Quest, but with the gorgeous oceanic aesthetics of Amanchu!.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • When coming up with ideas for sweets to sell at the aquarium, the girls first decide on ice cream - only to find out that they are unlikely to get a food permit to sell it. They go with shaved ice instead, because with no dairy, it's easier to get a permit for it.
    • The general premise
    • While in most shows some miracle or stroke of business genius would save the aquarium, none of that is here. It's shutting down, and there's little anyone can do to stop it. Especially after a typhoon all but wrecks the place.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Fūka Miyazawa. After she fails to achieve her dream to become idol, she finds a new goal to support Kukuru with her dreams instead.
  • Time Skip:
    • Episode 13 begins eight months after the previous episode, from Sep 2, 2021 to April 1, 2022 after Gama Gama has shut down and its staff have found new jobs at Tingarla Aquarium.
    • halfway through the final episode, there is a time skip forward two years for an extended epilogue.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: At Tingarla, Kūya spends his work time comfortably assuming that Kaoru is a man due to her short hair and deeper voice. Once it's pointed out that she's actually a woman, his gynophobia immediately kicks in.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Maho, Kai's sister, sounds exactly like an adult woman pretending to be a little girl.
  • Wedding Episode: The final episode features the wedding of a blended family. Kukuru decides there will be no shoes, submitting the idea of a barefoot wedding theme, and sand is spread all around the aquarium for that reason.