The Aquatope on White Sand is mostly an anime about aquariums, marine biology, and the oceanic environment. So if you love the sea and all the things that live in it, then this is the anime for you. However, that’s not all that this anime has to offer. If you’re a yuri fan, then your yuri senses will be tingling like crazy as you watch the main character duo interact with each other over the course of said anime. Alas though, it never develops into a confirmed relationship. Despite all evidence throughout the anime that Kukuru and Fuuka are in fact in a same-sex relationship.

The Aquatope on White Sand: Details

The Aquatope on White Sand NA key visual.
I challenge you to name all the aquatic critters in this key visual.

The Aquatope on White Sand is a slice of life and coming-of-age (and also secretly yuri) anime with a strong focus on aquariums and oceanic life, as well as taking place entirely in Okinawa. P.A. Works (Canaan, Angel Beats, Ya Boy Kongming!) is the animation studio behind this anime. Crunchyroll licensed this anime for its NA release, while Muse Communication licensed the same for its SA/SEA release.

Toshiya Shinohara is the director behind The Aquatope on White Sand, with Yūko Kakihara writing. Yoshiaki Dewa composed the music for the anime.

Speaking of music: the opening theme music for The Aquatope on White Sand are, in order, “Tayutae, Nanairo” (たゆたえ、七色, lit. “Sway, Seven Colors”) and “Tomedonai Shiosai ni Bokutachi wa Nani o Utau darō ka” (とめどない潮騒に僕たちは何を歌うだろうか, lit. “What We Sing in the Unstoppable Tide”), both by Arcana Project.

They really want to show off the gorgeous animation in this opening.

Meanwhile, “Tsukiumi no Yurikago” (月海の揺り籠, lit. “Moon Ocean’s Cradle”) by Mia Regina is the first ending theme music, while “Shingetsu no Da Capo” (新月のダ・カーポ, lit. “New Moon’s Da Capo”) by Risa Aizawa is the second ending theme music.

And yet there’s also a haunting beauty to this ending.

Voice Cast

The Aquatope on White Sand features the voices of Miku Itō as Kukuru Misakino and Rikako Aida as Fuuka Miyazawa. Other notable voices include Azumi Waki as Tsukimi Teruya, Lynn as Karin Kudaka, Shimba Tsuchiya as Kai Nakamura, and Yōhei Azakami as Kuuya Yakamashi.

Where to Watch

The Aquatope on White Sand Japanese key visual.
So much pretty fish and even prettier yuri here.

The Aquatope on White Sand premiered on July 9, 2021. The anime ran until December 17, 2021 for a grand total of 24 episodes. You can watch the entire anime only on Crunchyroll.

The Aquatope on White Sand: Synopsis

As a Subnautica fan, this gives me happy ocean memories.

Normally, this would be the point where I give you all a spoiler-filled plot summary of The Aquatope on White Sand. However, this is the spoiler-free edition of my reviews…yes, even in spite of this anime ending nearly two years ago as of this writing. Thus, you will be getting the official synopsis from Crunchyroll instead. You can check that out below:

Kukuru Misakino is a 18-year-old girl who works at an aquarium and she encounters a former idol who lost her place in Tokyo and escaped to Okinawa named Fuka Miyazawa. Kukuru and Fuka spend their days at the aquarium, their hearts filled with their own passions. But their precious place is about to be shut down forever. The girls face their dreams and reality, loneliness and friendships, bonds and conflicts… This summer is about to turn a glimmering, new page.

The Aquatope on White Sand: The Good

The Aquatope on White Sand screenshot depicting Kukuru and Fuuka hugging in a very intimate manner.
If you can look at this and tell me with a straight face that this isn’t a yuri anime, then I’ll reach through the screen and smack you with lilies.

The Aquatope on White Sand is clearly an anime for marine biology nerds and aquarium fans. As both of those myself, I thoroughly enjoyed this anime. It goes into very deep detail on how aquariums work, and the biology of various sea critters. All are rendered in stunningly gorgeous animation to boot. P.A. Works went all out with the animation to depict the sea creatures as realistically as possible. From various species of tropical fish, to colorful sea slugs, to the ever-popular penguin, this anime has it all in terms of oceanic wildlife. This is one of the best-looking anime I’ve seen in a while. Even the food looks amazing, and it’s not even a food anime.

The Aquatope on White Sand screenshot depicting a penguin-shaped and a clownfish-shaped shaved ice.
I would totally get those if any aquarium sold them.

However, as I mentioned, The Aquatope on White Sand isn’t just an anime for those who love the sea. It’s also an anime for those who love yuri. Seriously, it’s literally impossible to read Kukuru and Fuuka’s relationship as anything but romantic. The entire anime is focused on not only their character development, but also the development of their relationship together as the years pass. Despite the anime insisting that Kukuru and Fuuka only see each other as “sisters”, their behavior towards each other strongly indicates romance. Not a sibling bond. Not unless you think siblings typically hold hands intimately and stare into each other’s eyes lovingly.

The Aquatope on White Sand screenshot depicting Kukuru and Fuuka holding hands with fingers intertwined and staring lovingly into each other's eyes.
Yes, they are totally sisters…in an incestuous relationship.

The Aquatope on White Sand: The Bad

The Aquatope on White Sand screenshot depicting Fuuka and Kukuru's hands intimately intertwined with each other.
These hand-holding scenes are the closest we ever get to kissing, unfortunately.

It’s amazing really. The yuri in The Aquatope on White Sand is both the best thing about this anime, and the worst thing. Yes, Kukuru and Fuuka’s developing relationship over the course of this anime is beautiful. However, the writers never go all the way with them. We don’t see any kiss between them, or any solid and undeniable indication that they are in a same-sex relationship even though they clearly are. Yes, the story keeps insisting that they only see each other as sisters. I categorically deny this though. Either the writers have no idea how close sisters behave around each other, or they refuse to solidy their relationship.

Either way, the fact that Kukuru and Fuuka never get any kind of closure to their relationship is one of the most frustrating aspects of an otherwise great anime. The only way we can get any kind of consummation of their relationship now is through fanfics. Welp, time to go to AO3 or

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