Posted on 27 September 2013 with categories: Anime Reviews, Tamayura


I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series.

Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: why did this series, of all shows, get a second seaso? What can it add to the OVA and the first series? The big problem with this show is that now that it’s ended, I still haven’t gotten an answer to that question. Yeah.

So what does this second season end up doing? Well, in terms of characters… Potte starts a photography club. You’d think that that would train her leadership skills, but in the end only one girl ends up joining it. That one girl gets the most character-development out of the entire series, but it’s surprisingly similar to the development that Potte went through in the first season. The best part was probably the attention to Potte’s dead father. Again most of it was already done in the first season, but there was one particular episode that brought something new to the table.

And as for the side-characters… oh dear god. They were definitely the worst part of this sequel, because all of them have been reduced to simple stereotypes. In the first season they were diverse character. Here however, they eitehr are neutral, or force their quirk way too much, with hardly anything else. This series seems to think that once you have developed your characters, you can just leave them as they are and they’ll keep magically working. Quite a misguided idea!

As for the stuff that the characters do in this season… it’s okay. It’s still a good show to relax with and all, but everything they do is again so surprisingly similar to the first season: they go on random trips with Character A, they go to visit Character B;s house, they drop by Character C. Everything just strikes me as if the creators had no idea what to really do with this series once it started, and then just settled with some vague idea that just kept the status quo.

Tamayura was supposed to be the spiritual successor to Aria. Aria’s second season took its characters and developed them to actual characters. Tamayura’s second season likes to repeat itself. Perhaps those with more patience than me will appreciate it for what it is, but I’m quite a bit disappointed.

Oh and if you want to know why the second season has such a weird subtitle: ‘More Aggressive’ is just a bad translation to which the creators got the contextual meaning completely wrong. Sortof like that guy who got a Chinese tattoo on his arm.
One-Sentence Review: It’s not really necessary to watch this: it doesn’t really add anything to Tamayura, nor its characters.
Suggestions:
Aria
Kaze no Shoujo Emily
Maria-Sama ga Miteru

Posted on 3 September 2013 with categories: Tamayura

Yeah, the second season of Tamayura is all about Potte. The rest of the cast, with the exception of perhaps that new girl, don’t get to stand in the spotlights unlike what they did in the first episode. It’s about her coming to terms with her father, and further pursuing photography. The rest… is mere details. The question’s whether that alone is good enough. Up till now, this series left things to be desired. I was really waiting for this show to come with something really good.

That came with episode 9, which showed Potte meeting the other best friend of her father. I love this guy and how he thinks back to who used to be his best friend. The creators nailed this workaholic who has long since grown up and who gave up his passion for photography in order to pursue other things, and yet his old personality is still there. He’s still got the interest in photography, and the memories he made in his past.

For me this was the best episode of the second season so far. It got Potte thinking, it was heart-warming and genuine, and what also was very important was that it didn’t repeat itself.

The rest of the episodes need to be more like this. Obviously not the same, but Potte really needs to significantly develop (given how much buildup she’s gotten) and the show needs to take its concepts further in some way. I’m not sure how they’re going or planning to do that though.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 21 August 2013 with categories: Tamayura

Something weird happened. Like, I watched these three episodes over the course of multiple days (time issues), and now that I’m sitting down and writing an entry after watching episode 07, I realize that I have no clue anymore about what episodes 05 and 06 were about. Seriously, I remember dreaming away a bit and all, and they went on a trip… thingy… but apart from that I’m blank.

Now, there are two possible reasons for this:
1) My memory is degrading really badly.
2) Nothing worth remembering happened in these two episodes.

While I fully admit that my memory isn’t perfect, it’s time to give a bit of a critical eye to this second season of Tamayura, and mostly the big picture: what exactly is the point of this sequel? At the beginning, this seemed to be about Potte starting her own club, and taking her passions further by standing out of her comfort zone. Beyond that though… what else?

We have this new selection of characters… who are there but have yet to make a lasting impression. The cast beyond Potte made no development whatsoever so far; like, has anything been added to their characters, AT ALL in this second season?

In the meantime I’m still dreaming away with that awesome soundtrack, but what were the characters doing in this episode for example? Potte entered a competition, they attended a festival, they went to Potte’s childhood friend… haven’t we seen this in some way before or am I going crazy? To me it really seems like this show is just repeating itself. Though granted, the ending wwas charming.

Why did I originally like this series? It’s because it did more than most slice of life series about a bunch of random girls: it had strucuture, and characters who felt charming and had depth. I feel like that depth and energy is missing in this sequel. Or more like, it lacks: it’s not completely absent, but not fully there either.

Comparing this to Aria The Natural, Aria’s second season: that series was rather tough to get through due to how slow it was, but it was varied, and it continued to add to its cast. And it didn’t do this just by introducing a bunch of new characters, but also slowly building further upon the main cast. When is More Aggressive going to do that?
Rating: 4/8 (Nice)

Posted on 30 July 2013 with categories: Tamayura

Seriously. This is one of the cutest anime that I have seen in a long, long while. I mean, over these entire two episodes, I just kept going “d’awwwwww” at just about everything the characters did. That is very rare for me: usually I hate series that aim to be cute. The big reason for that is that 90% of those characters are not characters: they’re either cardboard cut-outs, they try to play up their cuteness too much, plain stupid, contrived, and just plain underdeveloped. Tamayura has something that makes the entire cast different from that.

What Potte is trying to do: that really invoked empathy from me. Perhaps my own shyness connected with her, or perhaps it was because of how much development she already has. These two episodes really were about overcoming shyness, and they really did that well. Even beyond Potte, that one teacher was a very nice touch, about how it took him like, 20 tries to ask what he wanted. And the whole performance. It was so bad, yet so adorable!

The new character already feels right at home after four episodes, and the great thing is that she doesn’t feel forced in, but it was more than logical for her to appear. The rest of the cast, Potte’s friends, they’re close to her and all, but most of them don’t share her passion for photographing,and the ones that do are either much older or younger. Here she managed to find someone of her own age and experiences to connect with.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 12 July 2013 with categories: Tamayura

Hell yeah, Tamayura! Let’s get more aggressive! Rawr!!!

On a serious note, I’m glad that this series has returned now, and it hasn’t lost its touch of making me just dream away while watching an episode. The last time there was a series that did this so well was last year with Natsume Yuujinchou Shi. The very misleading title of this series seems to refer to Potte’s growth: her taking her hobbies further, and starting a photography club at school. It’s time for the characters to explore all of the things they can do.

And that’s actually very good, because the one thing I want from this sequel is progression. At this moment, this sequel can’t just do the same thing that the first season did: it needs to be like Aria: continue in the same style, but bring in heaps of character-development. I mean Im glad and all that this show got a second season, but the main reason for it is so that it could get a chance to exploit its potential. Not pander with random slice of life again. A pointless sequel is just a waste of a good budget.

Whether this really paid off will obviously take a few months to really become apparent. So far, the first steps have been made though, with Potte starting the photography club, and the introduction of this new character. But there needs to be more. Potte already had a sempai to look up to, and the first season was all about realizing your dreams. Come on, Tamayura! Be ambitious!

Also, I’m not sure whether or not this is because it’s been a while since I watched the first season. But I actually found Norie funny, along with her antics around Potte’s little brother.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 20 December 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Tamayura




It’s a common premise: you have a series that’s about a bunch of high school girls and you follow their daily lives; it’s that simple. It’s far from my preferred genre though, and I find myself bored with most of them. There are, however, exceptions. Having the guy who directed all of the Aria series behind this also helps.

The cast does need a bit of time to warm up (especially if you haven’t watched the prequel OVAs), but for me, this was one major step above the usual series in this genre. For one: it spends a lot of time on fleshing out and developing its characters. Every episode is dedicated to showing different sides of the cast, or having them develop as a character. This is all very subtly done, ad the characters themselves are all very believably acted, with some very impressive and fluid animation that remains very consistent throughout the entire series.

Sato Junichi also uses this one trick that also worked really well with Aria: well written dialogue and voice overs, containing subtle morals that all of the characters can relate to. It again works very well, and all of this leads to a very heart-warming series with a genuine cast of characters.

It’s definitely a series that needs to grow on you, because the characters definitely do not show themselves off right from the start. This does lead to a few annoyances that you just need to sit through, like a really big crybaby, or a character who does nothing but whistle. Plus Sato Junichi’s habit to go with the weirdest looking cats imaginable.

Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a heart-warming slice of life series then this is a very solid choice. This is very relaxing and heart-warming, and it’s short and to the point with only 12 episodes and 4 ovas.

Storytelling: 8/10 – It’s slice of life, yet things happen here. Excellent at creating a heart-warming atmosphere.
Characters: 9/10 – Well developed in a short time, excellent acting, although you do need to get used to the cast.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Lots of animation, fluid and consistent, and a very good soundtrack.
Setting: 8/10 – The town in which this all takes place is actually very detailed and fleshed out.

Suggestions:
Aria the Animation
Windy Tales
Hitohira

Posted on with categories: Tamayura

The first part of this episode was pretty much what we expected: celebrating the end of the year by organizing a large exhibition, restaurant, shop and theater for the lead characters. Although it still was weird to see people celebrate the end of the year in a completely different way from what I’m used to. (What I’m used to is mostly staying inside, watching random television and everyone massively igniting fireworks all at the same time after the clock hits 12).

What this episode showed me was that Japanese really treat the end of the year as another festival, where you can informally visit a lot of places, hosted by all kinds of different people. Is that true, or was that an exaggeration by this series? Last episode there were perhaps a bit too many people who came to just view Maon’s performance, and this episode too had the characters acting like magnets for other people.

And then, this episode suddenly closed off with Sayomi taking them on another trip, and her car getting stuck. I must say, that was quite a creative way to end this series with. It was fully on-topic, giving Potte a reason to remember her father again, but at the same time it was so random and whimsical that it’s definitely going to be memorable, rather than the usual carefully built up ending or aftermath. I like it.

The past half year, Sato Junichi has really delivered. First with Ikoku Meiro no Croisee, and then with Tamayura. They filled in for each other perfectly: Tamayura didn’t have an as interesting setting as Croisee, it on its turn did not have the forced drama and had much better acting. I’d count neither among the best slice of life series I’ve seen, but at the same time both were really solid and interesting.

I tried following other slice of life series this year, but that didn’t work as well as here. I’m still not exactly sure why, but these two series did not try to be funny: they just let their characters speak for themselves. Nichijou could have been nice if its jokes weren’t so hit and miss. A Channel just degenerated into boob jokes, while Yuruyuri went down even faster with its lesbian jokes. Those just aren’t the shows I want to watch. These two series however had characters who knew who they were, a solid setting to back it up, meaningful dialogue. That kept my attention.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 13 December 2011 with categories: Tamayura

“Oh yes, today is christmas”.

I find this a very typical line here. Christmas stands synonymous for a warm-hearted feeling, so I pretty much expected this show to fully use it. And then this episode came, and it actually showed that it doesn’t need it. This episode was charming beyond belief, even without the Christmas feeling.

I think that out of all of the characters in this series, the best developed one is actually Maon, and not Potte. Every character is of course very well rounded here, but Maon has this extra edge, where she actually managed to crawl out of her shell very believably. The whistling really shows this: in the second half, she only used it when feeling down. What once was the start of her development now has turned in this reminder to herself of how she should try out many different things.

As a writer, I could really relate to this episode, and what it means to keep living up to everyone’s expectations. A writer’s block is inevitable sometimes, and while at first it seems like just simply putting your mind to it, in practice things don’t go as easily. Personally I’ve found that looking at your work from a different angle works best, with the challenge being finding that angle. This episode portrayed it wonderfully. It was also a very un-typical story, and yet it was exactly something that you’d expect a high school girl to write.

And holy crap, this thing will end next week! Overall, I’ll be content if it ends there though. That makes this series short and sweet, unlike Aria, which requires a lot more effort to fully watch. If you add these 12 episodes to the four episodes of the OVA, you pretty much get the perfect length: 16 episodes. This is something that a lot of other producers should realize. Sure, it’ll probably be a bit harder with continuous stories and all, but what I’m saying: producers, be creative. You’re working in the anime industry, so it shouldn’t be that hard to find inspiration.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 6 December 2011 with categories: Tamayura


Once again: what a heart-warming episode. Finally it’s Kaoru’s turn to get an episode, and this may just have been the best of the character focused episodes so far. If anything, this episode stood out because of how well acted it was. Not just Kaoru (who was wonderfully portrayed, by the way), but the entire cast really shined in this episode. To me, this was the episode where the cast managed to reach a new level.

It’s not just that Kaoru’s development and place with the series as the one who isn’t sure what she wants to do has been grounded. It’s also how this reflected to the rest of the cast. Potte admitting that she sometimes doubts whether she really wants to continue with photography for the rest of her life. It’s small, but THAT was a terrific addition to her character. Or take Maon: she’s now miles away from the girl who only whistled at the beginning of the series. Norie’s puke story was also both hilarious and adorable, but also the way in which she said it was very natural, compared to how over the top she was when we first started out with her.

Ten episodes in, and I really have to say: the creators succeeded in creating an absolutely wonderful cast. I dislike the type of slice of life shows where just nothing interesting happens, but this show struck a terrific balance. It was a bit weak at the beginning with the one-sided characters and a bit too much crying, but all of these flaws pretty much went away as this show solidified.

At the start of this series, I kept hoping for this show to deliver that final “oomph” in the end. It’s tie to see whether this show can set itself apart even more. This isn’t a manga adaptation, so the creators can fully plan in an ending of theirs, rather than this show just ending on a random story.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 28 November 2011 with categories: Tamayura



Sato Junichi. Do yourself a favor. Get a cat.

Remember the episode from Aria? The one which was entirely devoted to President Aria? Well, for a moment, it actually looked like this episode would in its entirety follow around the big white blob that is Momoneko-sama. It got surreal at times, turning into this bizarre parody of the silent movie to narrate what he was saying.

THANK GOD though, the second half of this episode was about something completely different. And it was wonderful. It’s been a while since I watched such a down to earth portrayal of love sickness. The character it centred around only appeared in one scene before, but her characterization was already terrific.

With three or four episodes left, I do hope that the creators will use this time to do something special. I mean, this episode was a step into the right direction, but I want more. This show already has excellent characterization for just about every of its characters. Now use that.

Also, I’m not sure if I’m the only one in this, but I always really feel sorry for the voice actors who are tasked with voicing simple animals. This episode thankfully wasn’t as bad (seriously at least these cats had some really good voice acting, even though there was absolutely nothing feline about these… things), but it’s especially bad when a voice actor is called in to voice a cow in the background… doing exactly one “mooo”. Do these people feel any pride in their work?
Rating: ** (Excellent)

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  • Friend
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 08:15 AM)
    :-)
  • Friend
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 08:11 AM)
    @Bam I’ve sent you the rough sketch via Deviantart. Don’t expect too much, It’s only done to show the perspective and lighting.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 06:43 AM)
    @Friend: I’m excited to see it, but unfortunately hadn’t had long access to desktop to draft mine yet :/
    You might wanna leave an indication on yours as to where the shaman goes if you can, that would be great.
  • Friend
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 06:34 AM)
    Woah, that was a long discussion about the Inca O.o
    @Bam I’m nearly done with the rough draft, maybe a few more hours.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 06:20 AM)
    @Vincent: That was pretty much the entirety of it. We were destined to cross Mississippi and inhabit the west, so why not take an active part in manifesting our supposed fate?
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:34 AM)
    @Vincent No shit.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:14 AM)
    @Bam Slightly. Did americans use manifest destiny as an excuse to steal land from the natives?
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:05 AM)
    @Vincent: I guess we were slightly more honest about it. It is funny how we use the fact after the matter as evidence of our divine providence. It’s like holding a gun to somebody and saying “fate wants you to die”, proceed to shoot them, and then say “see! I was right” lol
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:56 AM)
    @Bam But unlike the american concept of manifest destiny, the Japanese used it as an excuse to wage what they were really doing: a war to hoard resources.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:52 AM)
    @Vincent: I see. A similar doctrine to Manifest Destiny.

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