First Impressions – Tari Tari

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Turns out “Tari Tari” was Japanese for “That was better than I expected”.

OP: “Dreamer” by AiRI

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[HorribleSubs] Tari Tari - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_02.11_[2012.07.02_12.58.40]It always seemed odd that a premise so seemingly derivative as this one was the only original (not an adaptation or sequel) series of the season.  Formula is definitely the formula this season (not uncommon in summer anime) and truth be told, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot in Tari Tari that sets it apart from its prototype.  We also have the entire operation (direction, composition, storyboard, OP and ED) in the hands of one man, Hashimoto Masakazu, whose résumé doesn’t offer up much to go on in terms of style or substance.  Then again, we also have P.A. Works, a studio that generally produces anime that look fantastic, and whose overall track record is pretty good in terms of quality. 

[HorribleSubs] Tari Tari - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.05_[2012.07.02_12.59.33]So considering how predictable this looked, it was a surprisingly hard series to get a handle on.  And after the first episode I can say that some things don’t surprise at all – it’s very much a generic premise, and looks beautiful – and some do, namely that the writing is quite snappy and even offers a bit of an edge at times.  While the premiere was relatively low-key, it did offer a few good laughs and managed to hook me into the plot, at least a little.  There are a few small tweaks to the boilerplate setup – we do have a couple of boys involved in the group at the heart of the series, though at this point it’s hard to tell if they’re going to be real characters or are simply there to placate those viewers who – like me – are completely burned out on the girls@school premise.

[HorribleSubs] Tari Tari - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.35_[2012.07.02_13.00.03]If I’m to pick one member of the ensemble who’s the “star”, it would have to be Miyamoto Konatsu (Seto Asami, Chihaya herself).  She’s the one who drives the action anyway, as a frustrated singer who screwed up on stage as a 2nd-year and quits the official school choir in frustration because the Vice-Principal in charge (Tanaka Atsuko) refuses to let her do more than flip pages for the pianist.  Battling for top billing is Sakai Wakana (Takagaki Ayahi who, ironically, played young Taichi in Chihayafuru) a talented singer who refuses to sing, and the daughter of a florist.  There’s also Miyamoto’s BFF Okita Sawa (Hayami Saori), who’s in the archery club.  And in the interest of equal time for Y-chromosomes we have Tanaka Taichi (Shimazaki Nobunaga, who was great as Kaito in Ano Natsu), the only member of the Badminton Club (and possibly Miyamoto’s osananajimi – Chihaya and Taichi?), and Wien (Hanae Natsuki in a debut performance) a transfer student just moved back from Vienna (not sure what his real name is) and a dead ringer for Tarou from Ghost Hound.

[HorribleSubs] Tari Tari - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.41_[2012.07.02_13.00.09]The gist of the plot looks pretty straightforward – Miyamoto questing to put together a new Chorale Club from scratch and score points for justice and decency in the process.  I confess a great feeling of nostalgia in watching a Seto Asami character try and find five members for a new club, and she’s basically playing Chihaya here.  We pretty much know who the five members are going to be, though the show does take the time to show Miyamoto blackmailing her younger brother Makoto (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu, very busy this season) into joining  – but as he’s not in any of the promo art I doubt he’s going to stick.  Everyone will battle with their personal demons and find the courage to stand proudly on stage, united by the love of music (and fear of Miyamoto).  In terms of plot, I really don’t think we’re going to see a lot of surprises here. 

[HorribleSubs] Tari Tari - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.05_[2012.07.02_13.00.33]That said, I enjoyed the premiere somewhat more than I expected.  Say what you will about the very cute character designs, but paired with the beautiful scenery (average by P.A. standards, spectacular by most others) they make this a very comforting and easy show to look at.  The cast is solid, with Hanae-san making a very strong first impression as Wien.  I enjoyed the little touches such as the song the choir is working on being “Reflectier” from True Tears (P.A. Works’ creative high point), and also Wien’s hilariously inaccurate grasp of Japanese customs (we clap twice at a Shrine, Lad, not when thanking a friend) – I suspect the book he’s working from was from the same publisher as the Hungarian-English dictionary in “Monty Python”.  There are other funny moments – Sakai’s Dad planting her bouquet in the garden – and some sharp-edged ones, like Miyamoto’s fantasy of ripping the V.P. a new one.  And no, I didn’t think of HanaIro once the episode hit its stride – the resemblance seems to be mostly a superficial one.

[HorribleSubs] Tari Tari - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.54_[2012.07.02_13.01.36]It’s small things like that which turn a boring and played-out plot into a series with real character, and there’s reason to hope there’ll be enough of them to keep Tari Tari (P.A. Works and “TT” – hmm…).  And when a character like kindly and pregnant Ogawa-sensei (Kimura Akiko) says “I hope they don’t have a weird chemical reaction and explode” when classic genki girl Miyamoto goes off to recruit classic angry girl Sawa, that tells me that Hashimoto-sensei gets the fact that he’s dealing with very familiar themes here, and understands the need to poke some fun at them.  I take my cue from the ED – the eye is drawn to smiling Miyamoto and Okita in the school courtyard as they tap their feet to music only they can hear, but I’m watching the girl in the distance, staring at them as if they’re crazy.  Maybe I’m projecting too much of my own hopes into this, but this just might be a series that’s more interested in mocking clichés than perpetuating them.

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ED: “Shiokaze no Harmony” by Shirahamazaka High School Chorus Club

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18 comments

  1. A

    Found a typo. Tanaka Taichi is the only member of the Badminton club, not Archery.

  2. TY. I had the BFF in mind when I wrote that, I guess…

  3. a

    Seto Asami likes playing the genki girl who chases after her dreams rashly. Hahaha! Well it was nice to hear her singing voice. (Correct me if I'm mistaken)

  4. You already heard it in the Chihayafuru ED, though!

  5. a

    Hahaha but I prefer her singing voice in Tari Tari and to be honest I skip EDs most of the time. 😛

  6. J

    those badminton skills…zomg

  7. S

    You'd be amazed at how skillful students are at badminton. Not only is it a regular P.E. sport, but the badminton clubs are taken super serious. At sports days it is a popular event.

  8. I

    I dropped Natsuiro Kiseki because it lacked variation and was just another anime about four girls messing around.

    Funny how if you remove one girl and put guys along with Asami Seto (Who's younger than me, Shoocking) it becomes much better. But better it was.

    Asami Seto is the perfect Genki girl since she makes even me feel Genki when I listen to her. Singing was adorable too. Sawa dresses like a barmaid where I usually get hammered, so I get to see her twice a week instead of just once woohoo.

  9. F

    I know what song I want to hear Sakai sing. BUTOBASU!

    Can't decide if my favorite is Konatsu or Sawa. Sawa's fashion sense is…amazing.

  10. S

    I wasn't planning on watching this at all since I usually don't watch these type of anime. But after reading it starred Chihaya's voice actress and featured badminton, my personal favorite sport, I decided to give it a try.

    I was definitely surprised how good it was. The animation was nice to look at, and the characters were fairly likeable to watch. I'm not sure if I'll be following this on a weekly basis, but this first episode did catch my interest.

  11. S

    Chihaya's seiyuu was a selling point for me. After hearing how she brought Chihaya to life, it is hard to imagine a better fit for the role.

    I dunno why, but the animation for running in the OP looked weird too me. I don't know if I saw running in the show itself, but the OP running looked weird.

  12. d

    Hmm, the drawing and overall vibe reminds me of hanasaku iroha for some reasons… I wonder why? Could it be the 3 girl combo setting? Anyway I am not feeling this at the moment.. Since GE said that it's better than expected, I may check it out down the road -after dialing down my expectation way way low-, but not too keen on it at the moment. The setting and storyline at a glance sounding very generic, so… (why is every 3rd or 4th girl character seems to be a singer/idol wannabe recently, I wonder. Now if I may [talking in an old man manner]: youth these days… Why couldn't they be a cool girl character wanting to be a scientist or something. It's always either doctor -for a noble profession- or singer/idol. Well… having said that, I guess it's always been that way everywhere, not just modern Japan!!)

  13. I think the reason it reminds you of HanaIro is that is looks like a pale imitation of it – this is PA Works after all. But as I said, once it started I never really thought of HanaIro. The tone is very different.

  14. b

    Wakana = Minko, Konatsu = Ohana? Hope not.
    I like how Sawa looked in that dress in the last part.
    And Wien is certainly an odd one but not his fault I guess.
    I'm not bought yet into this but let's hope it does deliver something with the addition of 2 males in the 3 female cast. Still, with my experience with PA Works, best not get my hopes up too high.

  15. S

    I liked the first episode a lot more than I was expecting. Nothing really felt like a trope. And the "My hovercraft is full of eels" moments were just awesome.

  16. My nipples explode with delight.

  17. K

    This series has the same PA Works in-house character designer Sekiguchi Kanami (true tears, HanaIro) and HanaIro composer Hamaguchi Shiro, so of course the characters feel familiar as though we're watching HanaIro again.

    Konatsu's cuteness and energy moves the story, her BFF Sawa (with hawt figure to boot) acts as her support and voice of reason, with Wakana in the no-nonsense (tsundere?) role with sad past. Throw in two guys, one very down-to-earth, the other out-of-this-world (i.e. fish-out-of-water foreigner), and a group destined for lots of fun is thus assembled.

  18. B

    I liked it. This season seems light on real quality so I'll be satisfied if shows can just entertain me the way this one did. So far leaning towards Sawa as my favorite character because she has such a nice hat.

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