Saturday, March 30, 2013

"Tamako Market" Anime Review

In our world today, most people turn to anime for over the top action or thought provoking thrillers (Dragon Ball Z, Death Note, Naruto, ext.) but there is something that anime has brought that most people glaze over. Aria was one of the first anime I experienced as a child and while it contained a very slow paced plot (since it was a slice of life), it literally made my day watching it. It contained characters and music that were so in synch it made it such a unique watch. Years later we have Tamako Market which in a lot of ways mirrors what I loved about Aria.

Story: 6.5/10
In a slice of life anime, it is hard to get a large amount of appeal unless they rely on moe type stuff to get a large viewer base. While Tamako Market does have some moe elements, it is the very spot on pacing and character development in which Tamako Market in my honest opinion becomes a spiritual successor to Aria. Both shows follow a small cast of characters on their daily routines while also taking place in a seemingly conflict free world in which they are free to do whatever they fancy. Both shows also bring out the question, “What do I want to do in life?” Both Aria and Tamako realize by the end of the show what and where is their true calling. Since all the show does is follow the main characters, you might think it would get boring real fast. Well you are wrong on that front because the character interactions are all funny and/or engaging. The character Dela who is a bird who talks usually steals the spotlight in the scenes he takes place in since he is usually both the starter and resolver of conflicts due to his all mighty personality. The anime does rely on some gag type comedy but nothing is overused beyond their usage. One recurring gag is when someone sneezes on Dela, he takes it as an act of courting since it is such an action in his home country. The plot does start out a little slow in the beginning but the show steadily brings in new elements to add towards the final episode. While it isn’t the most thought provoking plot, you will still hopefully enjoy the interactions between the characters.

Animation: 7/10
The animation is a little lacking but by no means horrible. The colors are on the plain side but in terms of the actual animation the show does a really good job of keeping a smooth frame rate especially on the scenes where there are objects in motion. Character models are nice throughout the entire season; nothing really else to add.

Sound: 9.7/10
So I happen to be very much into acoustic qualities and how it affects film. A lot of people do not understand how an amazing score/soundtrack can really make something shine. Visuals are important but it is the sound that makes your chest shake during an explosion or the emotions you feel when a character is crying and the voice actor is doing a great job expressing the in-film character’s emotions. In the case of Tamako Market it happens to all of these things but the music takes the main prize. The music used in this show is light, cheerful, and used perfectly in all the scenes. The opening song is also amazing as it is catchy and has great instrumentation. The soundtrack is so good that I plan on buying the OST when it comes out.
Best opening song...EVER
Characters: 9.5/10
Slice of life shows HAVE to have a good cast or it goes to sh!%. Unless you have a show like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei that has a character for literally every possible situation, your limited size cast has to provide scenes that are pleasing to the audience. In my honestly opinion, I think that the characters of Tamako Market did an astounding job providing thirteen funny and enjoying episodes of goodness. All four high school students (plus the bird Dela) do an excellent job interacting with each other in both mundane and unique ways. The scenes where Mochizou and Tamako talk to each other from their rooms using the two cups connected by a string reminds me of my youth when that seemed like the cool thing to do. The interactions between Mochizou and Midori were interesting to watch since Midori is overprotective of Tamako and Mochizou is so fu#$ing clueless about girls. The star Dela really brought the show together with his personality and lack of knowledge. I don’t want to sound fanboyish but I am having a hard time trying to find anything wrong with the cast. I am pretty sure that anyone who watches this show will enjoy the characters.

Overall: 8.2/10
This show is not going to appeal to everyone. I and many people are getting fed up with the anime industry’s push for more and more slice of life anime with a heavy emphasis on moe. It seems as if studios are becoming more reserved on making a new amazing action adventure or thriller type anime. When Fate/Zero came out it was a breath of fresh air because it was awesome, fresh, new. I want more anime that takes risks BUT in the mists of all the moe crap going on currently, something arose from the garbage and gave me something to look forward to each week. Tamako Market is the rainy day anime of the 2000’s. With an amazing soundtrack and cast, I honestly cannot think of any reasons why someone might not like this show. Don’t go into it thinking it is going to wow you with emotions and actions; just sit back, relax, and watch some youngsters live out their life. You might even laugh along the way.

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