"The Aquatope on White Sand" lives up to its title by being a cumbersome and overlong anime that offers interesting characters in a fantastic setting but never reaches its full potential across its 24 episode run.
A young woman named Fuuka has given up her opportunity to be a music idol in Tokyo, a depressing turn of events that has her running away from the big city and family to the sunny beaches of Okinawa.
Listlessly traversing the island, she comes across a tour guide who helps her out and takes her to Gama Gama Aquarium, a small ailing attraction that is a month away from closure.
The aquarium has some mystical mumbo-jumbo happening, wherein people occasionally see visions of dead relatives or find some solace in magical episodes that only they can see.
That magic inspires Fuuka to ask the acting director of the aquarium, a high school senior named Kukuru, to take her on as a worker.
Across the first 12 episodes, we see the complexity of emotions and events that make compelling viewing.
Kukuru is adamant about Gama Gama staying open despite her grandparents knowing one-hundred-percent it will close at the end of the month.
All the while, she deals with the fact it's her last connection to her dead parents and the only home she has ever known.
While Kukuru's dream is falling apart around her, Fuuka is recovering from her failed dream and finding comfort in growing into a kind of big sister for Kukuru.