Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Anime review: "The Tatami Galaxy"
"Tatami Galaxy" is one of this spring anime that I planned to watch for months now. There are few more, but most of them were 12 or 13 episode anime, and this one has 11 episodes, so it was first to finish. Therefore, it was first from to list to be watched. This will be a bountiful year, since I saw many good spring and summer anime announced on AnimeNewsNetwork.
Reason I put it on my wish list in first place was because it was announced as "seinen", "school life" and "college" anime. Also, somewhere I found that it has some connection with "Baccano!" (I just can't remember what it was: authors, studio or something like that). So I expected something like "Genshiken" with a touch of humor from "Baccano!". I was wrong, but I'm not sorry for it.
Main protagonist is a third year student whose name we never learn. In first episode talks about how he was naive and idealistic and expected to have a "rose-colored life" on campus, surrounded with friends and "raven-haired maidens". For that reason, he joined the tennis club, but unfortunately learned that he has no talent whatsoever. For that, he will get involved with Ozu, evil-looking prankster, and two of them will become known as "black Cupids", ruining other people's relationships, never admitting they can love also. But in the end, he will realize he is in love with Akashi, his year-younger female fellow student. Unfortunately, he will fail to gather the courage to approach her and end angry at himself and blaming Ozu as root of all his troubles.
This is just the first episode. Next one will be told with same characters and in the same time, but main character will join the movie club instead of tennis. And his efforts will end with similar results. Next time it will be cycling club. And so on... In every episode he will try to reach his dreams of "rose-colored campus life" and always spectacularly fail.
Somewhere around fifth episode, I thought that whole anime will be a constant stream of unconnected episodes with same theme, but different context. And I was wrong again. Every episode IS connected and they all help to create a complete picture, which is necessary to understand the last episode. And the last episode is one really great ending. It's amazing how all pieces fall in their place.
I am intentionally not talking about the characters. Except unnamed student, Ozu and Akashi, there are maybe five more important characters. Talking about them would be considered as spoilers. Every episode reveals a bit more about them. Even though sometimes information seems in conflict, last episode give them full meaning.
Jokes are usually very funny. I was more reminded of "Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei" than of "Baccano!". Only objection I have is that the protagonist sometimes talk too fast and I couldn't read all the subtitles (and I read fast). There are lots of details that you will be reward noticing for (for example, price of fortunetelling).
It is interesting how the main character always blame Ozu for his problems, without realizing that everything was his fault and Ozu just gave him the means to the ends. And Ozu is quite an imaginative prankster. They really made a bulls-eye with his look and voice.
From visual side, it looks very nice. Character design varies from super-deformed to realistic. Backgrounds and objects are done (intentionally) better than the people. Colors are very vivid, which means the most to me - I hate "Tom and Jerry"-like colors. I remember that OP and ED are very good, but I really can't say anything about SFX. Voices were nice, though. Oh yes, there was a nice song in anime, in fourth episode I think.
This is very funny anime, but with great and didactic message in the end. Definitely a good watch for fans of seinen anime and intelligent comedies.