I don’t want to say the OVA version of Tamayura was slow, but I would have needed an IV drip of revv pulse to get all the way through it. So how did the anime fare in its first episode?
OP: “Okaerinasai” (おかえりなさい) by Maaya Sakamoto
It’s a funny thing about Sato Junichi – I tend to either love his stuff or be completely bored by it. I don’t hate any of it – that would be like hating a cute, fluffy kitty much like the one in this series – but some of it just puts me to sleep. My love affair with Ikoku Meiro, OTOH, is well-documented on this site. So I went into this TV version not knowing quite what to expect.
It was definitely better than the OVA, at least for me. Mind you, I pretty much wanted to strangle Chihiro (Kotobuki Minato) every moment she was on-screen. Seriously, that was some of the most annoying crying this side of Stellvia. But the good news is, she’s not going to be around all that much, as our hero Fu Sawatari (Taketatsu Ayana, a long way from Kirino here) is moving to a new town. Except it’s an old town, the town she grew up in. And the reason she wants to move there is one of the lovely elements of this story, as she wants to be there to connect with her father, who passed away some time ago. He left behind a 35mm film camera (that’s what people took pictures with long ago, Kids) and a love of photography, which Fu picks up as another way to be close to him.
That’s a really nice thought, and a heart-warming premise if I’ve ever heard one. Maybe too much so, frankly, but time will tell. For the TV the production has shifted from HAL Film Maker to lesser known TYO Animations, but it retains the languid, photo-realistic style so common to HAL works like Natsu no Sora. If you hadn’t guessed already based on Sato-sensei’s involvement, this emotional palette here is very warm. In addition to the obvious Aria vibes I get a lot of Natsu no Sora from this, and maybe a little bit of Kamichu in the hyper-kawaii characters designs and the beautiful images of seaside Japan in a small city.
There’s never a question that this is going to be likeable, and I know full well how powerful Sato can be when he’s on his game. So it will be interesting to see the TV version’s take on Fu’s move back home – obviously photography is going to be a huge element of the series both visually and dramatically, and we have the “four girls” element with Fu about to unite with childhood pal Kaoru (Asumi Kana) and two friends. We’ve also got the loving Mom and the adorable little brother Ko (Miyamoto Kanako), who’s so cute the photographer Fu sends her initial batch of photos to thinks he’s a girl (and that had me convinced I was misremembering a detail from the OVA for a minute, because he really does look – and dress – like one). The sibling element here could be a good part of the show, as it seems refreshingly affectionate and straightforward, with Ko even hanging out with Onee-san and her friends.
I can’t say the premiere thrilled me, but at least I could drive a car afterwards, which is a step up from the OVA. There’s a quality to this show that really makes me want to like it, so I hope it works out and we can spend some time together.
ED: “Kamisama no Itazura (神様のいたずら)” by Senri Ohe and Nobuyuki Shimizu