The Fish is a Harsh Mistress

Sora to Umi no Aida [Space Fish: Between the Sky and Sea]

Sell your stupidity rather than your knowledge, for you always will have an ample supply.
— Werner Twertzog‏ @WernerTwertzog

I’m going to do a review of The fall 2018 anime Sora to Umi no Aida also known as Cute Girls Fishing in Space because this one is so bad that no one else is going to bother reviewing it so I will get traffic to my blog.

However since it would be a waste of energy to actually type this out I will instead try to dictate the review using Google Docs feature mentioned by @scalzi on Twitter. GDocs now has the same voice typing functions as Android phones, so I’m going to give it a try.

Hey this is not bad at all. I have a head cold.

I’ll figure out later whether or not I’ll go back and correct this or just leave it as it is. (Nope, have to correct, big time. Still easier than typing the whole thing.)

The premise of Sora to Umi no Aida is that all the fish in the oceans on Earth died off but instead of a global apocalypse due to starvation and civil wars it was Ho Hum Oh Well until Japan, nostalgic for fish made giant Dyson spheres full of water and fish and stuck them in some kind of orbit.

Now all we need are cute girls in form-fitting space suits, some competition between them and the guy fisherman, giant fish in tanks in space and some completely incomprehensible smartphone app fishing deities that somehow can be used in a game tie-in to promote coastal fishing in Japan and somebody’s Chamber of Commerce.

I have no doubt that somehow Japanese taxpayers money is getting wasted on this -bucket of fish guts- innovative storyline. Not my problem; I don’t live in Japan. As long as they don’t try to tie it in to a dodgy idol group whose scumbag promoters overwork their underage girls to suicide, I will be able to watch this without too much stain on what is left of my soul.

I love how the title animation starts with a multi-section panel of the girls in question with their mouths open like they just got hit upside. Or like fish out of water. Surprisingly enough the fan service Is not too pronounced or it could be worse. As well, the girl characters are not simpering idiots even if the main character is a classic good-hearted air-head. The earthside settings are at some Japanese coastal city [the city of Onomichi in Hokkaido Nope, South of Hiroshima, on the setao Inland Sea] whose scenery gets a lot of cameo shots (later: ) and these are fairly well done. The storyline two episodes in is setting up a more or less routine do-your-best-trial episode, in which our heroes will have to learn to work together in order to capture 3 giant robot tuna, so that they can use the Fisherman’s Union training pool to learn how to pilot their mini subs. The fact that there is an ocean harbor next to the facilities goes unnoticed.

Perhaps there is a problem using the nearby ocean harbor because of the weekly rocket launches up into space, in order to go get space fish so that it can be served at local restaurants…

I watched one episode of an anime about Japanese trains turning into giant robots so I should be able to take this — why should boys have all the fun? it could be a lot worse. The writers are taking the ridiculous premise seriously enough, then they double down on the guardian deity (thing Siege seat concrete it c o n c e i t And what’s with all the random capitalization? okay D&D deity) conceit. I think they want to sell to us the idea that these are historical Japanese guardian deities of fishermen but instead of having Shinto rituals at a shrine, they have smartphone apps that tie into the control circuits of the mini subs and somehow help with the intricate maneuvers needed to harpoon and stun giant space fish.

Did I mention that the fish in space are really freaking big?

I don’t know how they get these things back to Japan. Perhaps they freeze them In giant chunks of ice and then drop them out of orbit. Giant chunks of ice with humongous fish in them impacting the harbor at odd hours of the night. This also means that future Japan did not have to change its Constitution because dropping gigantic ice chunks with fish in them from high orbit is simply a food delivery system and not a weapon of mass destruction. I seem to remember a Robert A Heinlein story about something like this — minus the fish of course.

What can I say? This is two episodes in and I am getting over a vicious head-cold. Maybe it was the Vicks Nyquil. For my next trick I should drop by Anime Feminist and argue that this one has hidden themes of empowerment and not too much fanservice. I haven’t been told off in a comment section recently. Actually the storyline does have something in the neighborhood of purported women’s empowerment, If only you could take it seriously. After all girls fishing squad is being put together by the passionately competent career woman, who will turn out to have some connection the fishing tradition and is trying open the profession to women through this pilot project. She will not fail!

The story might be nonsense but this part is being handled almost respectfully. This could be a side effect of needing the plot point to be taken seriously for the rest of the story to work. It is hard to tell if this is respect or haste. For example; if you’re going to put the women pilots in super-sentai color-coded (1) form-fitting space suits you could at least hang a lampshade on the weird design bits like they did in Hisone and Masotan with the crazed fashionista uniform designer.

In other news, Tsukumogami Kashimasu and Irozuku Sekai  no Ashita kara were/are pleasant to watch.

Also Google Docs voice typing is not a bad way to toss a post together really fast. WIN!


  1. Later: Some good info on Sentai outfit color coding tropes, as used in SSSS: Gridman:

2 thoughts on “The Fish is a Harsh Mistress

  1. I saw two Muda posts in less than a week and did a double-take— there was no way you got two! Posts! Out! Well, expected as much! Finally got around to reading through Darling in the Nippon Kaigi— wasn’t thinking about the reflection on Japan’s political climate so much, but was shaking my head at all the questionable queer presentation. Thank you for linking it to some proto-fascists. Speaking of which, the ads I’ve been getting on Tumblr lately! Anyway, will write a post… someday. Fall break was spent as a depressed, anxious clusterfuck and nothing got done, and now I have five essays due in a week! Yippee!

    • Hey, thanks for dropping by. Yeah, 2 posts in succession even if this second one a test of Google Docs voice typing. Once I had the title, I HAD TO DO IT.

      I am going to try to knock off a few more short, impressionistic voice-typed posts because If I do not write my brain will turn to cheese spread. I am getting nothing else done either, anyway. Maybe ‘Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara’. PA Works eye-candy and a gentle, so far melancholy story, although special boy’s sketches let girl see in color is gonna need a lot of finessing before I buy it.

      Godspeed with the essay pile-up. Felt a shiver just remembering that thrill ride.

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