Shiroi Suna no Aquatope (The Aquatope on White Sand) is undeniably one of the best slice of life anime of the year, though most people are missing the opportunity to enjoy it. Its plot is easy to empathize with and the tinge of drama is just perfect to spice things up. With such beautiful art and an amazing soundtrack, The Aquatope on White Sand is an undeniable work of art. Of course, it’s also entertaining. If we do have a minor complaint, it’s probably Kukuru’s character at the start. She’s not really overbearing or anything, she’s just too childish. Recent episodes, however, show her finally growing up and experiencing the life of an adult. Being overloaded with work, she suffers what even the best of us fails to avoid—burnout. Fortunately, she manages to overcome it. Let's discuss this relatable situation in The Aquatope on White Sand!
Kukuru’s love for marine life is unquestionable. That girl willingly dives into harm’s way to protect the animals without a second thought, which is exactly what she’s done during that strong typhoon. As we all know, this is primarily because she grew up in Gama Gama Aquarium. After its inevitable closure, Kukuru has met constant problems and struggles. She’s forced to enter the world of adults. She realizes that Gama Gama is not the norm, and she has a lot of things to learn. That being said, she still continues to persevere in the hopes that she’ll eventually get to take care of the animals again.
This proves to be wishful thinking. Kukuru has unfortunately been assigned to an uncaring superior, whose only goal is to market Tingaara. While that’s reasonable given his position, the way he prioritizes profit over anything else and his unforgiving demeanor often clash with Kukuru’s personality and beliefs. His constant nagging, minimal help, and lack of consideration have ultimately gotten through to Kukuru, causing her to forget the very reason she loves aquariums. The moment she sees Gama Gama in ruins is the final push that causes her to spiral and crash, a feeling that’s unwelcomingly familiar to most of us.
After reaching rock bottom, Kukuru is at least strong enough to leave her work and disappear without prior notice. She wanders around with no particular destination. She’s like a lost soul that has no cause or goal. While this may give Kukuru some room to breathe, leaving without as much as a note logically worries her close ones, especially Fuuka. Fortunately, Kukuru has people that are willing to support her in such instances, otherwise, her burnout may have led to something more drastic.
Escaping is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can give some time to mull over things and recuperate. On the other hand, something bad may happen when one’s mind is preoccupied with all sorts of thoughts, so Kukuru ending up well is a big relief to see.
While a breather is good, it doesn’t always mean reigniting lost passion. At most, it can only give some time to regain energy to do more work. Rediscovering passion and/or motivation often requires a catalyst. It can be an event, a memory, or even people. For Kukuru, it’s a fortunate encounter with Umi-yan’s wife, who’s been doing research on sea turtles nearby. Seeing thousands of those cute little turtles striving to reach the water reminds Kukuru of the beauty of marine life. Thanks to this, we may be seeing the best version of Kukuru yet soon.
Now that Kukuru has experienced her first burnout and has successfully overcome it, she’s become a full-fledged adult. This experience will force her to realign her ideals with reality, while also strengthening her emotionally. We believe that the next time we see Kukuru, she’s more mature than ever. That being said, we do hope that this kind of thing doesn’t happen in the near future. It’s too frustrating and makes us want to give her superior a well-deserved punch.