Tari Tari – 06

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It’s interesting that the two alliterative school life series both succeeded this weekend with episodes that were totally different, but quite true to the nature of what each show is.

[Doki] Tari Tari - 06 (1280x720 Hi10P AAC) [022D7457].mkv_snapshot_02.03_[2012.08.05_16.59.21]Last week did a nice job of setting up the conclusion of Wakana’s arc, and honestly, I really couldn’t have asked for much more from this episode than it delivered.  There are a couple of lingering frustrations for me (whose nature will surprise no one) but on balance this really worked.  Because Tari Tari is a show that relies on gentle humor and wistful tone far more than real drama, an overly theatrical episode like the one Kokoro Connect staged yesterday just wouldn’t have worked.  Thankfully, that wasn’t a problem – the subject matter of the arc packs plenty of emotional punch without needing a lot of embellishment, and it was wrapped up in dignified and understated fashion.

[Doki] Tari Tari - 06 (1280x720 Hi10P AAC) [022D7457].mkv_snapshot_04.26_[2012.08.05_17.01.56]What I liked this week far outweighed what I didn’t, starting with the fact that there was no artificial drama used to force some kind of grand revelatory ending.  Dora was back home safe and sound when the storm ended, but Wakana had a little cold – no big deal.  That cold gave her some free time to think about what had happened with her mother, and the impact it was having on her now.  Rather than one moment of insight that changed everything, it was simply the process of being alive that gave her the perspective she needed to move on with her life.  It was appropriate (and perhaps not coincidental) that this arc aired around the time of Obon, because it delivered a fitting message – be grateful to your ancestors for all that they gave you, and take joy from the fact that you’re alive.

[Doki] Tari Tari - 06 (1280x720 Hi10P AAC) [022D7457].mkv_snapshot_05.46_[2012.08.05_17.03.16]Another nice element of the way this played out was that everyone was involved in helping Wakana get through her dark time.  Konatsu was her usual baka self, but her clumsy concern and accidental wisdom managed to reconnect Wakana to the world a little.  Sawa – seemingly the sunniest and happiest of the group – shared her passion for horses and her belief in pursuing her dreams, and her mother shared the photo of Mahiru and herself, and a cassette of them singing together in high school.  And Wien and Taichi managed to get a smile and even a laugh out of her with their amateurish attempts at training – and in doing so, forced Wakana to recall (and use) a method Mahiru had used with her.

[Doki] Tari Tari - 06 (1280x720 Hi10P AAC) [022D7457].mkv_snapshot_05.59_[2012.08.05_17.03.29]As it should be, though, the most important person helping Wakana deal with her crisis was her father, Keisuke.  He was a model of wise parenting all throughout the entire event, keeping his distance and letting his daughter work through her grief in her own way and at her own time, while letting her know he was always available to talk.  When she asked him questions directly, he answered – even, most painfully, the question of why Mahiru never told Wakana of her illness.  He picked the perfect moment to finally share the half-written song Mahiru had begun, and best of all he discreetly prevented Wakana from doing something she would have forever regretted by throwing away her mother’s piano and so many memories of their time together.  That was a star turn by Dad there in every respect. 

[Doki] Tari Tari - 06 (1280x720 Hi10P AAC) [022D7457].mkv_snapshot_09.08_[2012.08.05_17.06.38]It’s also important that Tari Tari didn’t abandon the sly humor that’s been a trademark as it moved into somewhat more serious territory.  There were several of the oddly funny moments that have peppered the series so far, such as Konatsu’s “I wonder if anyone can tell I’m not wearing a bra” (nothing to worry about, there) and Wakana’s answer when Wien asked what he and Taichi most needed to progress as singers – “Common sense?”  That’s not to mention the note Wakana left her Dad telling him his breakfast was in the microwave – which he opened to find a loaf of bread.  Humor is never more needed than when times are hard, and it just wouldn’t have felt like Tari Tari without moments like that.  We were also treated to tastefully emotional ED montage over the choir club singing Mahiiru’s song – the first time all five of them sang together.

[Doki] Tari Tari - 06 (1280x720 Hi10P AAC) [022D7457].mkv_snapshot_09.19_[2012.08.05_17.06.49]I can’t help but wonder where the show goes from here.  6 episodes of 13 have been completed, and we’ve had a three-episode arc about Konatsu, and about Wakana.  The math obviously doesn’t add up for everyone to have an arc of their own, and – sadly – there’s really no evidence that the series intends to use Taichi and Wien as anything more than comic relief and plot drivers.  If that sounds familiar, it should – and as much as I like this show (a lot) it does frustrate me that it could be even better if it would take the bold step of treating teenage boys as if they were as complicated and worthwhile subjects as the girls.  I suppose the most likely scenario now is an arc focused on Sawa, with the remainder of the series giving us a kind of super-story that ties everything together (including the Vice-principal’s backstory).  Hopefully Tari Tari will surprise me and actually give all three of it’s thus-far supporting “leads” a chance to be the extended center of attention – but to be honest, I think that’s a long shot.

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ED3: “Melody of the Heart” by Shirahama hill high school choir club

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  1. A

    I have lost count of the number of times Ohara Sayaka has played the role of dead mothers.

  2. A

    Beautiful… Was that Vice Principal on the tape with Wakana's mom?

  3. A

    By far the best episode of Tari Tari. Its such an awesome feel-good show.

  4. B

    Great great episode, the emotions seemed honest and genuine and the episode as a whole just worked, it was very well written. With that said, I'm glad Wakana's arc is over. I don't dislike any of the main characters in this show but Wakana is not my favorite, I am ready hopefully for some episodes focusing on Sawa.

  5. It's just the opposite for me – I'm not crazy about Sawa, but Wakana I rather like. I'm hoping we get a focus on Taichi or Wien, but that's probably a pipe dream.

  6. B

    Yeah no sense getting our hopes up too high on that one, I'd like to see some focus on them as well, especially Wien who so far seems like the butt monkey of the show, but the first 6 episodes haven't given me any reason to believe that they will be treated like real characters so I'm mentally prepared to write them off.

  7. I'm prepared to write them off too, but not to totally forgive TT for doing so. Good show, but that's a major fault.

  8. J

    Sawa and Taichi.

    That's all I'm gonna say.

    Wien could have been written off as comedic relief from the start.

  9. A

    i definitely like this episode better than last week. i could never figure out why that letter convinced her to get rid of the piano and also cry that the piano's gone at the same time. the beginning of this episode kinda wrote it off (it's a cold!). she couldn't have regretted doing it then, because she regretted doing it at the end of this episode! i only had 2 complaints about this episode. 1) even in memory form, her mother's a fucking saint. it almost feels like she's too perfect to be believable, you know what i mean? And 2) the end of this episode was even more predictable than the end of Kokoro Connect episode 5. In fact, we saw this coming since the previews at the end of episode 3 where we hear the voice-over of her wanting to be rid of the piano. I'm sitting there last week going "how can she get rid of her mother's 1 heirloom? Not to mention her mom's a famous songwriter, so that things near priceless." The answer was of course she won't get rid of it because her dad won't get rid of it. I mean it's damn near priceless (for sentimental reasons).

    I think i'm more or less done with trying to pick my brain over how much i like this series and just shut my brain off to enjoy it. Next week looks to start Sawa's story, and once again we don't really know much about her other than she's near perfect.

  10. I

    Bet episode thirteen will come and they'll sing either one of Wakana's mother's songs or one Wakana's creating for some music event, all five of them that is.

    Expecting no couples, development for the guys (I think Taichi already had his with the badminton bit) and an arc focusing immediately on Sawa.

    3 = Konatsu
    3 = Wakana
    3 = Sawa
    1 = filler/guy development/fanservice
    3 = Final music arc/development for vice principal/cultural festival

    I like TT but not as much as anything else from PA works or compared to KC and Hyouka. Starting to feel a bit too simple.

  11. P

    Out of the 2boy 3girls main cast anime this season, Kokoro Connect takes the win. However Tari Tari is still an enjoyable watch, I was hoping for some romance when I first saw the premise but looks like was mistaken…

  12. K

    I still have some hope for Wien getting some development, even if only an episode or so. For Taichi I feel like they're content with just adding little bits of him in other peoples episodes. Nothing really significant, but more than Wien.
    Don't let me down Tari Tari!

  13. P

    First things first – Wakana's dad is a f***ing champ! He really understands her daughter and knew straight away that throwing everything related to her mother was not something she truly wanted. At the same time, Wakana crying tears of happiness was a really powerful moment. Imo, tears of happiness or "bittersweet" tears are always more effective at conveying emotion than pure happiness or sadness in themselves.

    And whilst on the topic of drama, what a masterful balance this episode had. From Wakana's dad taking care of her daughter's fever to the flashbacks to Wakana's self-realization, everything was spot on, direction was top notch and the pacing was just right. Some people call this show unambitious, but I call bollocks on that now. How tempting and easy would it have been to have made this episode a melodramatic cry-fest? But, nope the production team of Tari Tari decided to screw that and maintain its posture and kept it genuine, kept it subtle, kept it real. Not selling out to the theatre-loving crowd that love to boast about how much tear buckets they filled! That my friends, takes balls. I haven't seen this level of genuine, restrained subtlety by PA Works since True Tears, and I am leaping for joy atm for they have not forgotten (other shows that comes to mind that showed this level of genuinity was Bunny Drop, Wandering Son and Cross Game).

    And the comedy? Well, with the exception of that crazy Spanish guy, Tari Tari has always used pinpoint, restrained punchlines and it was no different this episode. Precise moments like Konatsu pouting when Sawa jokingly suggested that Wakana was ignoring for being a pain the in the ass, Wakana's dad asking Dora (cat) where Wakana went then finds out that there microwave for breakfast, Sawa teasing that her mother looked better when she was younger and last but not least Wien and Taichi doing "exercises" and being caught redhanded by Wakana. Simple, short bursts of restrained comedy that doesn't linger longer than it should.

    And the final scene of the cast singing Mahiru's song, which continues to being the ending of the episode – Pure win. The music in this series continues to be a solid element of Tari Tari, which if it hasn't already dispelled all myths of being a K-on clone – which K-on severely lacked in the first place anyway.

    @Ishruns & Pain_Killer: Opinions differ, but I do not think Kokoro Connect is on the same level as Tari Tari and Hyouka (Hyouka is better than an average Tari Tari ep on a good week, particularly the less mystery centric ones). Though the characters interactions are indeed excellent, and the drama issues at stake engaging, my main beef with Kokoro Connect is how "tacked on" the body-swapping element feels and how Heartseed seems like a plot device. Seriously, his reason for making the cast switch bodies is for his amusement? Troll and stupid premise much?

    More indepth here: http://www.lostinanime.com/2012/08/kokoro-connect-05.html?showComment=1344261037375#c8725927311604313189

  14. Like I said, a star turn by Dad. At least one male character in this show gets some development.

    If I had to rank the big three, I'd probably have to go with Hyouka at #1. It does the best job at featuring all of the main cast and at its best, the writing is just a bit smarter than TT or KC. This festa arc especially has raised the how quite a bit in my eyes.

    Between the alliterative shows, I think they're quite close – and I appreciate that they're so different. I think KC gets points for being more ambitious and original than TT, and as a result it sometimes misses badly (like last week) TT is, as I said, the "Goldilocks" of the three – more plot and structure than Hyouka, more whimsical and low-key than KC. I don't have a problem with supernatural elements in KC, or with Heartseed – we've seen this sort of character be used very well in sci-fi before, and I'm not ready to pass judgement on what his ultimate motivation is. We don't know yet.

    Sadly, where both KC and TT fail is in using the males in the cast as more than plot drivers and comic relief. They're far from alone in that flaw, but that doesn't mean it isn't a flaw. If I had to pick I'd say this is a more annoying issue in TT, where they truly seem vestigial – almost to the point where it's hard to understand why they were included in the cast at all. So far there's nothing in TT that wouldn't have been possible with an all-girl cast, and that would at least have been honest.

  15. H

    I would imagine we are going to get a little more with Wien if it follows the same sort of pattern it did with Wakana. While we were seeing Konatsu's development, we got glimpses into Mahiru and Wakana's past. Likewise, at the beginning of the previous episode, we saw that scene with Wien and his sister(?) that hints at more for him. I think it's more likely that we'll see a Wien arc than a Sawa arc.

    And at this point, Sawa and Taichi are kind of following a path where they don't really have any big crises, not like Konatsu and Wakana for sure. They both have goals, they both have obstacles facing them, but they don't have any sort of existential quandary facing them, like "How do you face music after your mother has died / after you have made the biggest on-stage blunder?" I don't see how you get much mileage out of "Dad wants me to be a Shrine Maiden or a Civil Servant, and I want to be a jockey." Nor do I see how Taichi's Badminton career can be tied into *anything* the rest of the group does, nor where there's a big conflict. This isn't a sports / game playing show, so I think that's going to just be a personality quirk moving forward, and maybe a place for comic relief.

  16. A

    After all those isolated panels of Wien and sick kid that randomly dotted the first few episodes, and the fact that he is the only character that we have yet to see anything behind the facade of, I am convinced that he'll get his arc.

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