Tari Tari – 07

[Doki] Tari Tari - 07 (1280x720 Hi10P AAC) [ADD3F144].mkv_snapshot_07.40_[2012.08.12_23.16.14] [Doki] Tari Tari - 07 (1280x720 Hi10P AAC) [ADD3F144].mkv_snapshot_10.41_[2012.08.12_23.19.15] [Doki] Tari Tari - 07 (1280x720 Hi10P AAC) [ADD3F144].mkv_snapshot_20.04_[2012.08.12_23.30.10]

As much as I enjoy the comfortable familiarity of Tari Tari, there are times I wish it would surprise me a little more.  But then, “to thine own self be true”…

[Doki] Tari Tari - 07 (1280x720 Hi10P AAC) [ADD3F144].mkv_snapshot_02.16_[2012.08.12_23.10.33]I was really hoping TT wasn’t going to go in the direction it always seemed most likely to go after the Wakana arc concluded – straight into a three episode story about Sawa.  In the first place that was the eminently predictable choice, and one that would likely ensure that the male characters would never receive any real development to boot.  As well, I’m really not crazy about Sawa as a character, truth be told.  I don’t dislike her but I didn’t find her peerless perfection over the first six eps all that interesting, and I don’t like her much better as a moody princess either, based on the early returns.  Building a drama around her feels a little forced to me – there’s a clockwork quality to it, as if putting the check-mark in the right place was the main goal.

[Doki] Tari Tari - 07 (1280x720 Hi10P AAC) [ADD3F144].mkv_snapshot_02.33_[2012.08.12_23.10.50]But then, Tari Tari really isn’t about breaking the mold or even new ground – it’s about giving us something familiar and trying to package it attractively.  So far it’s done a very good job with that – largely thanks to its quirky sense of humor and the fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously.  So there was never any real reason to hope the series wouldn’t immediately go exactly where it has, into a dramatic arc about Sawa – and if it was going to do so, the conflict between she and her father over her future was where all the foreshadowing has been so that was the logical landing point.  And I’m sure it’ll be fine, though I didn’t find this episode to be one of the more compelling the show has managed to date.

[Doki] Tari Tari - 07 (1280x720 Hi10P AAC) [ADD3F144].mkv_snapshot_03.27_[2012.08.12_23.11.53]Apart from the shift to Sawa as the dramatic center, this episode actually delivered quite a bit of the same.  Wien is still struggling with his Japanese, and the subject of some fairly mean-spirited trickery by the girls, who convince him via the art of Japanese wordplay that the culture festival is actually a time when the white rhino locked in the school basement is released.  He also gets his usual pre-open and very brief in-episode development tease, this time a letter he’s writing to “Yang” where he expresses his frustration at having no idea what he wants to do (another commonality with Wakana).  Taichi remains almost completely vestigial, and the girls generally ignore both the males when they aren’t teasing or insulting them.   Konatsu is back to plotting ways to outsmart the Vice-principal, this time in getting the Choir Club on the main stage for the culture festival, and generally acting the buffoon.

[Doki] Tari Tari - 07 (1280x720 Hi10P AAC) [ADD3F144].mkv_snapshot_04.00_[2012.08.12_23.12.33]Probably the best part of the episode for me, though it was very brief, was Wakana’s interaction with her father.  This has become the most interesting and relatable relationship in the series, and their quiet moments of affectionate banter are quite charming and believable.  I love the way he makes her say “Please, dearest Father” when she wants him to cook the rice, and the way he makes her a love-love bento that embarrasses her in front of Konatsu.  We also have what I suspect might be the final arc of the series set up, as the Chairman is concocting some sort of scheme that he’s intimidating Principal Colonel Sanders to cooperate with (perhaps Miss V-P will end up siding with the good guys in a heroic fight against whatever the chairman has up his sleeve).

[Doki] Tari Tari - 07 (1280x720 Hi10P AAC) [ADD3F144].mkv_snapshot_07.54_[2012.08.12_23.16.28]As to the Sawa drama which is the main focus of the ep, it’s pretty basic stuff.  Her father thinks her dream of pursuing horsemanship as a career is frivolous, and tells her so quite boorishly.  She tells him she hates him and that he should go bald, and her Bohemian Mom tries to keep the peace.  She also appears to be starving herself – possibly with the intent of making herself a more desirable candidate to an equestrian academy she’s applied to but seems to have rejected her (Konatsu naturally gets this completely wrong, imagining she’s been rejected by a married older love interest with kids) and it’s here that Taichi has his one relevant moment of the ep.  As an athlete he recognizes the signs she’s trying to lose weight quickly and awkwardly but sincerely tries to help and receives nothing but abuse for it from Konatsu and Wakana.

[Doki] Tari Tari - 07 (1280x720 Hi10P AAC) [ADD3F144].mkv_snapshot_09.05_[2012.08.12_23.17.38]In the end, distracted and depressed, Sawa winds up falling off her horse during archery practice and apparently being knocked out cold.  Not much of a cliffhanger given that we’re only at episode 7, but there you go.  I don’t see any way this story is going to be as gripping as Wakana’s or as fun as Konatsu’s – it seems to be in an awkward place of “too serious to be fun and not serious enough to be dramatic” – but perhaps the next two eps (and Sawa) will surprise me.  In the meantime Wakana has officially joined the Baka Brigade in the ED, the surest proof yet that she’s clearly part of the group now, both officially and spiritually. 

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  1. A

    Anaemia (or anemia), not amnesia.

    Yeah, it was a predictable and lackluster episode, but I'm keeping my hopes up for the conclusive episode nine.

  2. Well, my way is funnier, but yours does make more sense…

  3. A

    You might want to hold onto that idea for the next episode. Heroines usually suffer memory loss after falling off horses.

  4. S

    Not sure about Taichi, but judging from this episode and next week's preview, Wien is surely going to get a development. Wonder who (or what) is he yelling at?

  5. Wien makes the preview almost every week, then gets 30 seconds in the episode. Not holding my breath.

  6. H

    I actually thought this episode was one of the more fun ones they've had, with almost constant laughs through the first 2/3 of the episode. Especially the White Rhino and "Onegaishimasu, Otoo-sama." And Wakana is an excellent complement to the rest of the group, especially the two other girls, slotting in between them nicely in temperament.

    Maybe I'm just covering for my predictions of a Wien arc, but I'm still hoping that Sawa's can wrap up in 2 episodes. It's somewhat disheartening, but the truth is that you can't always be what you want, and the size of a horse jockey, like the figure of a dancer, is one of those things that's going to be a limiting factor. The only way I see the story going is with her realization of that. Of course, that might be just my overly logical engineer self speaking up.

    (I do take a little bit of schadenfreude pleasure in the fact that the nasty girls who are 'seriously working' towards a career in music will likely wash out just as completely. The attitudes of our heroes in the show is much healthier – i.e. music is an enriching experience but not the entirety of life)

  7. A

    I feel you on your complaints about the girls getting all the screentime.

    I am hoping so hard Wien will get his own arc. It seemed hinted at in this episode with that letter, and frankly his problems are much more interesting to me than Sawa's.

  8. K

    I, too, am hoping for some character developement regarding the boys. As of now, I only care about Taichi, because he seems more "fleshed out" and comes off as a real person, which is propably due to the fact, that he had some amount of quality screentime – like his 10 seconds of fame, when he worries over Sawa's condition, only to get shot down by the estrogen brigade of course (girls are scary, indeed).

    In contrast, Wien is just stage props, comic relief and all. If he doesn't get some attention soon (why is he even there? What's his purpose in the story?) I just won't care, even if he gets the most melodramatic storyline in the last episode. Because it will just feel extremely forced, like the all too convenient instant drama with Sawa right now.

    p.s. Wien not only seems to have trouble with japanese customs (though I would love to see the "White Rhino Festival"), he also seems to have some serious issues when it comes to german grammar and spelling. I mean, as a German I'm pretty used to the fact that my language's getting butchered in Anime all the time, but for a character who is supposed to have lived his entire childhood in a german-speaking country (you have to give those whacky Austrians that at least), this is some bad babelfish/google-translation…and for a series so polished, that really rubs me the wrong way.

  9. I can't argue with that – if you see your language getting mangled (and I don't mean a difference in dialect) that's a legitimate beef.

    I feel as it Taichi – while he perhaps got more development early on, even if strictly as an extra – is even more vestigial to the story than Wien at this point. And I have to say, in addition to being treated badly by the writers the guys are being treated pretty badly by the girls, too.

  10. U

    Tari Tari is getting harder to digest as the weeks go on.

    The girls are acting like spoiled brats for most time. They are very selfish and self centered and their interactions with the male characters are not enjoyable to watch. Is their behavior justified by their age? Partially. Of course, adolescence is not an easy part of life to deal with, from both the youngsters and the adults perspective. However, it is not it is certainly not normal for them to be this annoying and disrespectful.

    It's not only about Wien and Taichi being used as comic reliefs and not having enough screentime. Every male character in this show takes a hit.

    Sawa's father, despite being very realistic and giving genuinely good advice for her daughter's future, not only is hated and demonized, but the show also banalizes his more traditional personality by having Sawa's mother act as a more versatile, according to what the plot wants her to do, in a way that makes his advice seem redundant. I have no doubt that Sawa is going to achieve her dreams and the plot is going to make her father apologize to her.

    Wakana's father, who is also a very good guy, is completely hopeless without his wife and is not treated like a father at all. He seems more like an older, talentless brother. Konatsu's brother is a toy that only serves to be constantly bullied. Oh, and let's not forget the principal, who is autoexplanatory to my point. Last, but not least, there is the director, who seems to be a plot device do absolve the vice-principal and make her a good character.

    Long story short, Tari Tari takes emasculation on another level from where Hanasaku Iroha left off. I mean, its not like it needs to have Kingdom's level of GAR, but at the very least, an unbiased writing that didn't get in the way of my enjoyment.

  11. H

    I really don't agree with you at all on this. Do teenage girls act like they're the center of the universe? Certainly. But this show is also about them. It's not about Sawa's father, who I don't agree is 'hated and demonized'. He's a point of conflict, yes, but he's also very believable, and in his interactions with Sawa, yes he comes off as boring and traditional, but Sawa also comes off as impetuous and unrealistic. A lot of the charm of shows like Tari Tari isn't the wish fulfillment, it's the lesson learning by the characters, and I'm pretty certain that Sawa is going to learn a lesson that you can't always do what you want because there are factors outside of your control. I found the entire exchange between Sawa, her father, and her mother to be entirely believable and ultimately fair.

    I think you're similarly unfair to Sakai, who has managed to keep their store running after the loss of his wife, and be a supportive father to Wakana. Again, there is rebellion, but of a lower level, because he doesn't push it to the same point, and Wakana's troubles are not the same as Sawa's.

    The show is certainly not about the emasculation of male characters, in my view. And it's certainly not comparable to HanaIro, with both Jiromaru and Enishi being especially weak characters.

  12. A

    I agree with Ulisses. You can't compare Jiromaru and Enishi with Taichi and Wien because that's stupid to compare 2 of the 5 main cast with 2 of like 7 side characters. If the only 2 male characters are being treated so far as comedy relief, then you know they're getting the shaft.

  13. s

    The show certainly deserves criticism of its poor portrayal of males in this show, but I think you're piling on when you suggest that Wakana's father is an example of that.

  14. I agree with some of Ulisses' points here, though certainly not all. I do think Wakana's father comes off well – sensible, kind, clever. I also don't think the males in this show suffer the kind of blatant Okada-like indignity they did in HSI.

    However, I do agree that Sawa's Dad is pretty much a cartoonish ogre of a father, a piñata of a character. And I think the boys are generally treated quite shabbily by the girls – which is a much larger problem when the writing gives no indication that this is wrong in any way. There's more a sort of general sense that guys are an inferior species, and thus being treated as such is just the natural order of things.

    If anything, that's what really nettles me in Tari Tari. It's not so much that the guys are so much worse off here than in other anime (guys being ignored or emasculated is pretty much the norm these days) but that TT purports to be an ensemble show that treats all the main cast as important and in practice, is anything but.

  15. H

    I wouldn't compare Taichi and Wien to Jiromaru and Enishi, but I think they can compare to Tohru, at least in their importance to the story. I was comparing Jiromaru and Enishi's roles to roughly equivalent to Sawa and Wakana's fathers, and I think both fathers come off far better than those two characters in HanaIro. As I said, I thought Sawa's father's attitude and position was entirely believable. I don't know if it's his fault that he only gets 3 lines.

  16. A

    I find Sawa's father to be quite believable; he is concerned about a very realistic issue that his daughter does not seem to pay much attention to. What good parent wouldn't ask that question? He doesn't do it in the most smooth way, but most middle-aged males who run a temple don't. Plus he probably has already talked to Sawa about it more "nicely", but Sawa, being the stubborn princess, probably just tossed him a bottle of Rogaine. On the other hand, Wakana's father is probably in the top 2% of fatherdom. You'd be lucky if you had a dad like that.

    I do agree that Taichi and Wien have basically been glorified side characters so far, but that's really not unexpected. I do, however, think Wien will get his development time. Chekhov's gun on all the letters. Sure it's only 30 seconds an episode, but that's 30 seconds of screen time taken away from Sawa Sawas or deadpan Wakana or Konatsu falling into puddle of things. They would not have done it if there was no reason for it.

  17. If the payoff for those 30-second microbits is another 30-second microbits that explains them, does it really matter whether they existed in the first place?

  18. A

    I don't think the only payout from the 30-second microbits is just more 30-second microbits. I think we'll get a actual portion of the story devoted to him.

    Two, I assume that writers of the show are rational, logical people who don't do things without thinking through them. Even most truly bad shows generally have a thought process behind it (may not be an agreeable one). The writing in T-T has been quite competent, so I don't think that they would just throw in random moments of Wien writing letters without having a reason for those moments being there. Unless the writers just wanted to troll us, or if T-T is actually a disguised piece of feminism propaganda, I think they have a legitimate reason for these 30-seconds and we'll find out what that is eventually.

  19. I'm not saying that's necessarily going to happen – just asking "what if?"

    I think the writing has generally been competent, yes. But given how trivialization and emasculation of male characters is the new normal in anime, I don't think that precludes these Wien teases (which after all are very, very brief) ending up having a "payoff" that's quite disposable and very brief. Rather than incompetent or radically feminist, I suspect the motivation would be simply a perception (which I hope is at least partially wrong) that they'd be playing to their audience.

  20. A

    That's the same rationale they gave the writing staff of Guilty Crown! Don't fall for it! It's a trap! I do agree with Enzo on the fact that main male characters of an ensemble cast are getting sidelined for comic relief. They are part of this club, but whenever they talk, the girls (especially Konatsu) has that sort of "yea, whatever" kind of attitude towards them.

  21. p

    Nice to know that I am not the only one who feels that the boys are being sidelined…even though they are more promising than the girls. The anime certainly will devote very little time on them compared to the girls, and I'm afraid that they may even rush their (mostly Wien's) development.

    Strangely, in spite of the little time, the boys are far more interesting. Wien tries hard to appear happy in front of others even though he feels lonely and left out. Taichi is sensible, correctly tells Sawa that she shouldn't lose weight, and is not slacking off just because he has a scholarship.

  22. H

    I agree that maybe Wien is more interesting, especially more than Sawa, but I don't know how much *interesting* depth there is to Taichi. Taichi seems to be a steady guy who does what he says he's going to do, works at what he thinks is important, and tries his best to accomplish the goals he's set in front of himself. While these are all admirable traits in a person, they're pretty boring for a TV character. So while his issues and Sawa's issues are largely the same – Ambitions of success in a sport that has a high barrier of entry, lack of fallback position, lack of familial support – there's a large gulf between the way they will deal with the interruption or collapse of those dreams. Can you see Taichi having a fight with his parents? Convincing himself that a self-destructive training regimen is appropriate? Or even anything that would create drama? It's hard to see, and it would feel forced and wrong if the show tried it.

  23. p

    I do not see how a sensible character is not interesting and therefore not worthy of being focused on – and it is hard to find sensible characters at that age. He may not have dramatic fights with his family, or do something self-destructive, but are conflicts needed to make a character appealing? Sometimes it is just as good to see someone struggle while they try to achieve their goal. Taichi is the only person in his school playing badminton, how does he improve himself when there is no one else at him level, and shouldn't the club's activities interfere with his practice?

  24. All good questions that the series would no doubt focus on if he were a girl. 😉

  25. H

    It's not about a character being inherently appealing. Taichi has an appealing character. If I had a kid like him, I would be super happy. If I was pointing out people to be like to kids, it would be him. But in the context of a TV show it's about a character being *interesting* enough to hold the attention of the audience. And conflicts are pretty much needed to make things interesting. You even seem to acknowledge this, since the scenarios you offer are conflicts. So yes, you could set up conflicts for a guy like Taichi, but then how do they play in the show? We've already seen Taichi training against a wall. We've seen him in a tournament. We've seen him play a goofy bit against the three girls. We've seen him responsibly excuse himself to go practice. Do we really want to see more of that? Would that be interesting TV? I don't think so. Or would we want to introduce a couple of character flaws in him just to ramp up his dramatic potential? I don't see how that helps the character or the audience unless we're playing equal time tallying.

    Sawa has been set up as a flawed character, despite her early help to the others. Wien has been set up as a conflicted character, and imo should have gotten attention before Sawa. But Taichi has not been set up as a character with obvious flaws or conflicts outside of goals he wishes to achieve that he might not within the time frame of the show.

  26. A

    I actually don't see where Sawa was set up to be a flawed character. If anything, she was almost as perfect as Taichi until the plot needed her to have some sort of problem with her dad. If anything, Taichi being so level-headed has made me hate the other characters when they bully him, like in this episode. It's like "he's right, but he's still wrong" kind of woman logic; It's literally "it's not what he said, it's just the way he said it" to start bitching him out for the laughs.

  27. I do sort of agree that Sawa was portrayed as pretty much ideal in the first six eps, which makes her descent into crisis in episode 7 feels forced.

    As for Taichi, while I actually think it makes him a little boring he is incredibly level-headed and sensible, and I hate to see him treated like a useless idiot for it. The whole "Sometimes Badminton" gag is really symbolic of the approach of the entire show towards the boys in some respects.

  28. H

    I do agree with you guys that Taichi is a great character, and it says much more about the other characters, especially the girls, when they browbeat him. And what it says isn't anything good about the girls.

    Maybe it's just my interpretation of the earlier episodes, but Taichi has always seemed like he realizes the limitations of Badminton (and sports), and he realizes the full extent of what dedication to it means, and what washing out of it means. I don't think you can say the same thing about Sawa regarding equestrian subjects (plus, horses are WAY more impractical than badminton). And if they had reversed the two characters, it would probably still have worked, but would we now be complaining about the contrived circumstances they had to come up with to make Taichi have issues, rather than Sawa? I think it would have been much worse, honestly, because he's always appeared more level-headed and reliable.

    Really, the only halfway believable conflict I think they could wedge Taichi into would be that he doesn't get a scholarship. If they did something with an injury, it would seem too contrived (like Sentarou's scooter accident in Sakamichi no Apollon).

  29. p

    "And conflicts are pretty much needed to make things interesting. You even seem to acknowledge this, since the scenarios you offer are conflicts."

    A conflict is a 'disagreement or argument', with others or with oneself, and I didn't intend those questions to be either. Taichi’s only option, to participate in the competition, is to join the group. These are challenges that he has to overcome. Yes, we have seen him practice against a wall and with the girls, but they cannot make him better at the game.

    I do not believe someone being sensible implies that they are boring characters to follow. At least it avoids creating drama based on obviously bad decisions. To me, the lack of such characters makes him worth watching.

  30. A

    "I do not believe someone being sensible implies that they are boring characters to follow. At least it avoids creating drama based on obviously bad decisions."

    Great observation! I think you've just hit the nail on the head as to why I've found this series so groan-worthy. So much of the drama over the arcs have been based on some cliched teenage-angsty obviously bad decisions. I mean they are so obviously bad (ex. throwing away your mom's most precious heirloom, ditching the club you fought tooth and nail to create to be an old Spanish band's groupie), I'm groaning in my seat, going, "OMG, I can't believe they're going with this story." Maybe it's because I've aged out of the target demographic, but when I watch anime, I've now only allowed middle schoolers to make these obviously bad decisions (ex. BRS, Madoka). Anyone older, and I'll just be groaning, "oh geez, just stop with the idiocy!" (ex. Everyone from Guilty Crown).

  31. A

    "But then, Tari Tari really isn’t about breaking the mold or even new ground – it’s about giving us something familiar and trying to package it attractively."

    This is what's making me shake my head at this series. It was adverstised before the start of the season as "anime original", but so far, their "original" = "the same thing".

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