Tari Tari continues to chart what looks like an extremely predictable course as it nears the finish line. In contrast to Kokoro Connect, which comes up with very interesting ideas it sometimes struggles to execute, TT generally doesn’t offer anything new or exciting, but pulls it off with a lot of charm. I’ll be surprised if we see anything we aren’t expecting to see next week, but I’ll be shocked if it isn’t likeable and entertaining.
Taking stock, we have a heartless and greedy school administrator who’s so greedy he won’t even allow the kids from the school he’s closing to build housing for rich old people (hissss!) to hold a final White Festival, on the grounds that it might delay construction. We have exquisite props thrown in the trash while every other box from the same shelf is untouched, with the doe-eyed boy who made them heroically sleeping on computer chairs to try and rebuild them. We have the plucky club president shaming the snotty Vocal Group president into singing because she loves it, and the butt-clenchingly uptight vice-principal finding her heart through her love for the beloved mother who died too young. And if all that weren’t enough – it’s raining. Is this an anime, or a British Christmas pantomime?
We’re pretty much into the “to thine own self be true” phase now. Konatsu is annoying people to try and get her way (I notice her brother voted with her at the Student Council meeting, despite the way she tortures him). Wakana is focusing on sharing her mother’s last song with the world, and bonding with Nao-san. Sawa is using her charm to try and win over the local business community into helping promote the renegade festival. And it was a pretty active week for the Frog Brothers, especially the forgotten one, Taichi. He’s struggling to get the others to take him seriously in anything he does, and coming to grips with his rapidly-blossoming crush on Sawa. As for Wien, he’s being Wien – impossibly positive, naively optimistic and unfailingly supportive, the only one who shows any faith in Taichi. If there’s anything that keeps all this from getting maudlin, in fact, it’s that none of the Choir Club are sitting around feeling sorry for themselves (OK, Taichi a little bit) but rather plowing ahead with surprising enthusiasm as they continue to draw a big seven-deuce off-suit from life.
The big question now isn’t whether next week’s finale will go for the heartstrings – of course it will – but just how it will go about it. Will we have a total asspull, where Principal Ikezaki finds his cojones and somehow finds a way to save the school? More likely, I think, is an inspiring outlaw festival that gives everyone one last chance to sing and promise never to forget each other, followed by the school closing but not before the evil Chairman is humiliated in some way. We could also see something last-minute with Wien’s friend Jan (could he show up for the festival? Nah…) and we’re certain to see a big finish surrounding Nao-san and Wakana. And what of Taichi and Sawa – will we get a little open-ended romantic finish in that rare school series that’s resolutely avoided it so far? I’m sure Tari Tari will play by the rules in resolving all this, but it just wouldn’t feel right any other way.