Tari Tari – 09

[Sawa's sawa] Tari Tari - 09 [1280x720 x264 AAC] [BD57E010].mkv_snapshot_11.42_[2012.08.26_21.54.10] [Sawa's sawa] Tari Tari - 09 [1280x720 x264 AAC] [BD57E010].mkv_snapshot_14.07_[2012.08.26_21.57.11] [Sawa's sawa] Tari Tari - 09 [1280x720 x264 AAC] [BD57E010].mkv_snapshot_20.47_[2012.08.26_22.04.15]

Considering that was everything I like about Tari Tari and none of the things I hate, not to mention some long-overdue developments, it’s hardly surprising that this was my favorite episode of the series.

To get it out of the way, yes – it’s shameful that TT teased us with hints they were developing Wien’s character only to ignore it for eight episodes.  That’s especially true given that there was a considerable amount of fluff over those episodes – some of it pleasant enough fluff to be sure, but fluff nonetheless – so it’s not as if there just wasn’t time.  But I was also struck this week by the astonishing lack of concern the other characters (with the occasional exception of Taichi, who’s the most observant member of the quintet) have showed for Wien – he’s never been more than an afterthought or the butt of a joke (when Konatsu asked “Was he always like this?” I really wanted to smack her), and when he was showing clear signs of distress this week, again it was only Taichi who showed enough interest to actually pick up on them.

Nevertheless, better late than never – and at last, it’s Wien’s time to shine.  Turns out that Wien was exactly what he appeared to be all along – just about the nicest guy in the known universe.  In fact he’s so cuddly that his soft spot extends not just to small animals (both Asian and European squirrels have been confirmed) but small children too.  Those letters he’s been writing have been to a 7 year-old boy back in Vienna (Wien) named Jan, the one he’s left his Gambaraijer Red (serious bonus points for getting Hiyama Nobuyuki to voice the TV version) action figure with.  A friendship was formed over Gambaraijer DVDs sent from Japan, and Wien has carried through on his promise to write after moving away – only to have all his letters returned to sender, with news that Jan no longer lives at his old address.

None of that would matter if Wien didn’t work as a character, but he does.  He’s very funny and quite unlike anyone else in the cast, both for his skewed view of Japanese life and his unqualified idealism.  It was indeed strange seeing Wien depressed, given that it’s so contrary to his normal genki nature.  Still, he remember his Gambaraijer promise to “never give up hope”, and this comes into play when Shiho-san recruits the Choir Club to act as heroes (Konatsu is a natural, naturally) to help promote the shopping district.  Yes, it’s convenient – a gig that helps the club raise money for the musical play Konatsu has promised to stage for the culture festival, and gives Wien a chance to be in his element.  But it’s all part of that “Hey, Kids – let’s put on a show!” vibe that’s so much a part of the TT genetic code, so I’m happy to overlook that. 

In fact, writer/director Masakazu-san even manages to loop Wakana’s dilemma into this plot as well.  She’s struggling to write a song (as a way to connect with her mother, mainly) and of course, Konatsu plows ahead under the assumption that she’ll happily write the centerpiece of the musical for the club.  It’s her father who initially suggests that she talk to Shiho-san (who’s now extended her ass-slapping fetish to every female club member), but I figured sooner or later the trail would lead Wakana to Takakura-san, the Vice-Principal – and indeed, that’s where Shiho sends her – as she was the one who seemed closest to Wakana’s mother and certainly the one most connected to the song the Choir Club performed in the first arc.  As of that weren’t enough, the thread surrounding whatever nasty surprise the Chairman shoved down the Principal’s throat is connected as well, and I suspect Wakana will end up helping her with that even as she helps Wakana understand the songwriting process, and her mother.

I think as much as anything what made this episode successful was that it was refreshingly free of the angst that hung over the last two like a Fairy’s gloom cloud.  Tari Tari is at its best when it’s just serious enough but not too much – a sense of silliness and whimsy is a coat it wears much better than melodrama.  There’s plot, but it’s treated like an adventure and there’s always the feeling that things will work out OK.  Wien is a good fit for that mode with his sunny disposition and innate kindness coupled with a childlike lack of guile, and actually making him a part of the group rather than an appendage opens up considerable possibilities for the last four episodes – if they’re pursued.  I would have preferred to see some of that explored before the final act, but if we get a final act that’s similar in tone to this episode that’ll be a very nice consolation prize.

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  1. a

    Konatsu was always self-absorbed. Not sure that merits a strike.

    Good to see the group well rounded for a change. More of Taichi would be nice as well, but I think that was taken care of a few episodes back.

  2. P

    I'm sorry Enzo but you're gonna have to own up now. Considering both TT and KC is now developing their male characters, ur rant is making u look silly now 😀

    Still <3 you though.

  3. A

    Totally agree.

  4. Considering how I said that it was very possible this might happen, but I'd still consider it too late to make up for ignoring them for 2/3 of the series – no, I don't see that. Especially as these two shows were only a small part of the overall argument.

    Besides – I'm not so sure there was any real movement on this score in KC this week (Aoki is definitely still a cipher, and did we really dig any deeper into the root of Taichi's issues?) and TT's Taichi is still basically part of the Greek chorus despite being the most observant and mature person in the group.

    If all you saw in that post was a critique of TT and KC, you're totally missing the forest for the trees. The point isn't the symptoms, it's the disease.

  5. F

    Enzo, this plotline with Wien has been building throughout the series. "They didn't do it soon enough" is just being petulant. In fact, you went out of your way to ignore the aspects of this plotline that were established earlier in the show.

  6. S

    Well, Enzo. Your critique of KC (and TT, if this episode is what I think it is) was what made all your rants sour. But you wouldn't listen to that, because you, well.. I better not say it. But I'd like to say that being wrong is one thing, and it's how you respond to it that defines you.

  7. A

    This is why you should not judge a show until it is over.

    Personally, I am greatly enjoying the development the male characters have been getting lately.

  8. V

    Well I think Enzo already knew that but he just needed softer examples for his topic so he picked KC and TT. Regardless of the examples he used, his topic still stands on its own merit.

    And really Enzo, why do you have to hate Konatsu so much? She's defnitely the least perceptive of the group but that doesn't mean she's insensitive. She's still very considerate and is usually concerned about her friends.

  9. P

    To me Konatsu is a just moe version of Chihaya from Chihayafuru. Same VA too. She's a genki girl allright but she isn't obnoxiously uncaring or anything – far from that actually. She probably the cast member that just wants everyone to get along and have the most fun they can before their high school life runes out.

    Doesn't mean I like her the best though, granted I did at the start but after Wakana's arc and her post-character change, she's definitely my favorite. Sawa was my least favorite from start to finish but she's definitely no "big-breasted" tall shy girl (e.g. Nako from Hanasaku Iroha) which seems to be the norm for girls who pack that kinda rack.

    Can't say much about the guys yet, since Wien Arc is only halfway through, though I do question whether Taichi's development is already "finished" since we don't have many episodes left.

  10. Vanth, I said this way early (maybe ep #2 or 3?) but for me, Konatsu is like all the things that annoyed me about Chihaya and very few of the things I liked. I doesn't help that Asami Seto (why did I never notice she's almost the same name as a "Korra" character) is basically using the same voice, but Konatsu hasn't shown any growth at all, really – and I don't find her to be especially likable.

  11. F

    >implying Chihaya wasn't incredibly moe

  12. H

    Konatsu just doesn't really pay attention to anyone else. We've seen, what, at least three times where she's been talking to someone who hasn't paid attention, they indicate they haven't been paying attention, and she's completely surprised. This time it was V-P Takakura, and we got that "Huh?" reaction out of her.

    I think she's likeable enough, because she does care about other people, she's not overtly malicious. She's just not very empathic, and prone to jump to conclusions based on her own limited experiences.

  13. S

    God damnit, your favourite? But I just dropped it last episode!
    Geez, now I'm going to have to watch it…

  14. H

    I'm actually a little disappointed that Wien's "troubles" seem to be done and dusted, with just that little bit of talking about it. I did like the recursive nature of his inspiration, tho: he's inspired by the heroes to become an inspiring hero (and will he then inspire someone else to be a hero to inspire others?). Actually, that might be what I hope for in the next episode, that rather than Wien's worrying about Jan just getting the others to feel sorry for making fun of the hero bit and going along to make him happy, that he actually has more of an inspirational effect on the rest of the group to take what they're doing seriously, both the hero gig and their festival gig. I worry that unless there's some greater impact to Wien's involvement of that sort, it'll just feel shallow, as I kind of felt this episode was.

  15. I'm not so sure the issue with Jan is done and dusted – I'll be disappointed, if so. I'd like to see Wien do what he can to try and find him, and if the club members have any consideration for him at all they'll help him do so.

  16. H

    Maybe we'll see that, but it seemed to me that Wien brushed those ideas off as unnecessary, and I think it might be out of the scope of the show.

    Although, if I was looking for a way to write it, and boost / redeem another character at the same time, this would be the perfect time for Konatsu to step up and put some of her enthusiasm to work for something besides being self-absorbed, and try to give Wien a step up in finding Jan. I figure that her motto is something like "nothing ventured, nothing gained", even if her ventures are sometimes orthagonal to the rest of the world.

  17. A

    Konatsu is always self-absorbed, that's why I can't stand her.

    That being said, I actually enjoyed this episode! I was actually shocked too when I reached the end and not spotted anything I overtly hated. The way Sawa shot down her mother and the way Wien had taken an angst bat to the face was kind of grating, but I could live with that. I greatly appreciated Taichi's "I'm surrounded by idiots" sigh near the end of the episode. At least the guy who showed the most temperance sees eye to eye with me.

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