A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow is a yuri, high school romance manga series by Makoto Hagino that asks its readers to accept a pretty unbelievable premise: that a high school aquarium club, where you get to take care of tropical fish and tiny sharks, would somehow only have one member. I mean, am I the only one who thinks that club sounds awesome?!
Konatsu has just moved from Tokyo to a small, sea-side town to live with her Aunt while her father is working overseas. She’s feeling lonely and is worried about making new friends when she visits her new school’s aquarium club’s open house. There she meets Koyuki, a pretty and kind girl who is isolated by her own popularity and the perfect image people have of her in their minds. Konatsu is able to recognize that Koyuki is putting on a brave face, because it is something she herself does, and decides to join Koyuki’s aquarium club in hopes that they can become friends. The two become closer as they spend time together caring for the fish and other aquatic creatures, but are the feelings that are developing between them friendship, or something else?
What struck me the most about A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow is that, despite being a very grounded story, it has some pretty surreal moments. One of the animals that the aquarium club is caring for is a salamander and the girls will routinely imagine it popping up in random locations and speaking to them. The salamander has a symbolic significance within the manga, as Konatsu was reading a story about a lonely salamander in class, and the talking salamander seems to represent the girls’ inner voices. I was little confused the first time it appeared on Koyuki’s shoulder, but it’s very cute and I ended up really enjoying this unusual approach to showing what the girls’ are thinking and feeling.
Konatsu and Koyuki are both rather awkward in their own ways. Konatsu seems to worry a lot; she gets very down when she isn’t able to answer a visitor’s question about a shark and she becomes anxious about upsetting a classmate who had invited her to join the home economics club when she decides to join the aquarium club instead. Koyuki, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have much experience with having friends. She can act poised and confident in front of others, but struggles with deciding how she should behave with Konatsu as they become closer. Both girls also try their best to cover up their true feelings, something that allows them to see when the other is doing the same thing. This connection seems to allow them to be more open with each other then they are with others and their relationship is very sweet and supportive. I’m looking forward to seeing where it will go in future volumes.
A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow is a cute romance about a pair of girls who have troubles expressing their feelings, finding someone they can connect with and be themselves around. I really enjoyed this first volume and I look forward to reading more of the series!
Final Score: 8 out of 10.
For more information on this manga visit Viz Media’s website: https://www.viz.com/read/manga/tropical-fish-yearns-for-snow-volume-1/product/6099/paperback
What did you think of this manga? Did anyone else not realize the salamander wasn’t real until after it started talking? Let me know in the comments!
You can also check out some of my other yuri manga reviews: