I can’t imagine there were too many viewers who didn’t get exactly what the expected from this Blu-ray etxra episode of Tamayura – for better and worse, I can think of few series less likely to surprise you.
There are many overused words in the lexicon of anime fandom, and I can’t think of one that’s incorrectly applied as often as “slice-of-life”. That topic could be an entire post unto itself, but for now I’ll defer to the wisdom of Inigo Montoya: “You keep using that word. I do not think you know what it means.” Well, in Tamayura Hitotose we have that rare bird, the true anime slice-of-life, of the kind the term could have been coined for. In fact it’s what Triple R from Rabbit Poets likes to call the “Girls Eating Cake” variety of slice-of-life – often quite literally so. This show is cute all the time, unrelentingly, and there were certainly times when it fell back on that and didn’t really offer anything else. Fortunately, this episode wasn’t one of those times.
I said a couple of times during my intermittent blog posts of the series that the best element of it, for me, was the connection between Fuu-chan and her late father through his camera. Quite simply, there was a bittersweet quality to that thread that gave the show a little depth and made it more interesting that the plain old sweet quality it often had. While the camera played a major role in the series, the link to its original owner didn’t very often after the premiere. This episode marks a return to the themes of that premiere, courtesy a conversation that triggers an old memory and a visit from Fuu and Kou’s Grandfather.
Content-wise there’s never too much to say about this show, as the experience of watching it is more about the feeling than anything else. We had a fireworks display, an old yukata, some random messages from Chihiro (who still drives me crazy by breaking out in tears without the slightest provocation) and some shotacon babbling from Norie. The usual food porn was kept to a minimum, but there were some actual recollections of the father, which was very nice. He remains a shadowy figure, never quite showing up clearly in any of the photos we see (much, I suspect, as it became in Fuu and Kou’s memories after a time) but the spirit of who he was is a real presence in this episode, and the show is better off for it.
There’s going to be a second season of Tamayura coming up in 2013. I’m not sure if I’ll blog it – I suppose it depends on what the competition for my time both in blogging and real-life is – but it seems foolish to suspect we’re going to get anything different from what we already have. For me Satou Junichi is better when paired with another writer or director than when he does everything himself, but it can’t be denied that he’s philosophically consistent when he’s the entire creative force behind a series. It’ll be interesting to see what approach he takes in a second season, where with most series you’d expect to see some growth and progression but not necessarily this one.