Warning this review may contain spoilers-
Today my review is for the anime Tari Tari , now this is a truely beautiful 13 episode anime and if you havent watched it, watch it now. The storyline is extremely detailed and it has been put together with care. The whole idea was amazing in itself. But I wouldn't recommend it to you if you don't like drama, there is also a chance you would cry but maybe that was just me, it was that amazing. The animation was perfect for the genre and in most cases like the storyline, very detailed. The character designs were simple but still good.
The music again fitted the genre really well but sadly didn't captivate me for some unknown reason. The opening was cute but the ending wasn't as interesting and I think this let it down slightly, but as I said it might just be me and my weird ways. The voice acting was perfect and I think that they chose the actors pretty well. The character personalities were great for the anime, these characters just added to the emotional development put there by the show.
In conclusion, this anime is amazing and like I said in the introduction if you haven't watched it, you should. It is truly remarkable and perfect for you who like drama. So overall I would give it an 8 out of 10 due to a few things, like it was slightly rushed into a 13 episode anime but other than that it is amazing. So thank you for reading.
Has to be said that the summer 2012 Anime season was a bit overrun with slice of life genre anime. However, Tari Tari caught my attention for two reasons; the first being the fact it’s a P.A Works title (The studio is most well-known for Angel Beats, and the winter horror series, Another, both of which I enjoyed), and the inclusion of music. I’m a big fan of K-ON!, so I was always drawn to this title. It started out well, it got a bit dull halfway through, and it ended on a high. Here are my thoughts for this interesting little series.
The show focuses around a group of five interesting characters, all very different from one another, and all with very different goals in life. However, their passion for music has brought them together in order to form the “Choir and sometimes Badminton Club” for their last year of school together. Of these five characters we have best friends, Konatsu and Sawa, transfer student, Wien, somewhat grumpy Wakana, and finally the badminton lover, Taichi. Konatsu is the reason the club started up; she has a passion for music, however after being banned from singing in the schools main choir club after an attack of stage fright the year before, she vows to improve and sing once more. If this means leaving the choir club and starting her own club, then so be it. Sawa is Konatsu’s best friend, and while she does enjoy music, her main goal in life is to be a jockey and the show does a good job of showing her passion for horses throughout. Wien has just come back to Japan after living out in Austria for twelve years, so has a lot to get used to on his return to Japan. We mostly see him with his head in a book reading about Japan, however the books normally aren’t the most helpful of sorts and Wien tends to rely on his friends more than anything for guidance. Then we have Taichi who quickly strikes up a friendship with Wien. Admittedly, he is tricked into joining the new choir club through the promise of getting better at playing badminton, but once a part of the club you see he also cares for music. Lastly we have, Wakana. She’s grumpy and difficult for anyone to get close to in the beginning, however as the story unfolds we learn why this is, and without a doubt Wakana ends up taking centre stage of this whole series.
Maybe this is both why Tari Tari succeeds and is hindered by Wakana. What starts off as a series where you care about all the characters and the club; ends up halfway through with you only rooting for Wakana. The rest of the characters seem bland next to her, even the various problems surrounding the characters seem bland. Of course, this is hardly Wakana’s fault, but you are left wishing the other characters had something more to them. For what starts out seeming like a light-hearted series, it actually goes much deeper than you first expect. All of these characters have problems of their own to deal with (admittedly, some worse than others), and you tend to always be kept on your toes as to what is going to happen or be revealed next. Sadly, apart from Wakana, any problems these characters have tend to be resolved within an episode or two, when they really shouldn’t be. No one gets over things as quickly as these kids do, and it would have been nice to still see traces of how things affected them as the series went on and not just end up where Wakana is the only one who doesn’t forget everything she’s been through. However, while these are mild complaints, the show still carries a great deal of emotion with it, and I sat with tears in my eyes during the final episode. With this show you can easily go from not caring for it, to really enjoying it in the space of an episode or two.
Enough about the story and characters though. What about everything else this show has to offer? Well, in terms of artwork this show is really impressive. When it first started airing many quickly feel in love with its setting, which to be fair isn’t hard. The series is set within a city not far from the coast, it isn’t something I’ve seen very often in recent shows, and watching it is something I always found really enjoyable. The settings look stunning from start to finish. P.A Works have a nice way with character design too, so you aren’t left looking at anything dull in those respects at all. Of course a large portion of this show revolves around music, and does it let us down in that respect? Nope. Granted, none of the soundtrack is truly outstanding, but each tune will stick in your mind well after you finish the episode. It’s all very up-beat and cheery stuff, which fits in nicely with the series. There are some really nice piano pieces thrown in here and there too.
Final word: Tari Tari isn’t an outstanding anime, nor is it amazing. But, it isn’t a bad show either. If you can look past the fact only one character gets major character development and actually has anything to show for it by the end, you will enjoy this series. If you’re a fan of the slice of life genre mixed with music, it’s certainly worth your time.
Time for K-On!!! Or I guess Choir-On!, C-On!? What did the K stand for anyway?
Story - 7/10
The story does start out pretty much the exact way K-On! did. A student wants to start a club, but oh no they need five members, so now she must find others so that she can follow her dream. Through some dealings, and in defiance of the Vice Principal, the new Choir Club is formed, but now they have only a short time to get ready for the upcoming concert.
The remainder of the series has the club focusing on new opportunities to perform, first at a talent show run by the local business community and then at the school’s cultural festival. While the show does stay true to keeping the story about music, and unlike K-On actually incorporating songs and performances by the club, the most important part to the show is the character building that occurs.
They made sure to give the show a good ending that wrapped up the school year, but it still didn’t feel satisfying, as the character’s stories and what was to come for them, demanded a second season. As a single season it was very good, but that also proves to be a downside.
Animation - 9/10
The first thing that really jumped out to me was how amazingly beautiful the animation for this series is.
First and foremost are the backgrounds. At first glance you think the world scenery portions are photographs, with very realistic looking elements, shadows and detail that you would assume were too costly for a series to spend time on. Though not a knock on the series, there were times I found myself spending more time just admiring the artistry occurring behind the actual scene.
Moving inside the art starts to move more into the tradition anime world, but resembling some of the more highly ranked series like Kids on the Slope or Eden of the East. They put a lot of detail into the objects placed around the different rooms, as some come into play as the series goes on.
The characters themselves are probably the weakest part of the animation, which is saying a lot as they are drawn and animated very well. Their biggest downside is their unoriginal look. I’ve already commented how the storyline runs very similar to K-On! and well the characters do too. Miyamoto bares a striking resemblance to Tsumugi, with slightly tinted hair, and Wakana and Azusa can also easily switch places. The only characters that stood out as slightly original looking we’re the adults, who had major differences from your standard Slice of Life Anime look.
Sound - 8/10
Even though it’s not necessarily my cup of tea, I actually liked the music used for the Intro and Outro of Tari Tari. The intro is an upbeat female lead song, Dreamer, that perfectly fits the feel and pacing of the series. It reminds me of a early two thousands LA Alt Rock song, which goes hand in hand with the beach and sunny atmosphere of most of the show. The two outro songs get an extra bump above most we hear in anime, because they actually feature the voice artist that perform in the anime. Both pieces of music are songs sung by the choir during the show, so it makes the ending credits feel more like part of the show itself, and not just an ending.
I was a bit disappointed when I put the disc in and realized they hadn’t done a dub of it. I always find myself doing two or three things at once when watching a series and to have to actually pay attention to the subtitles, or more likely than not pause while I do something else, takes a bit away from the enjoyment. Thankfully I was able to shift my focus during songs instead.
The voice acting was pretty good, but I’m reluctant to really judge it, as I didn’t know what they were saying or how their pacing was. I can say their emotions were very good, as often the characters had to stray all over the spectrum, and their V.O. artist always hit it dead on.
Characters - 9/10
This series really did one of the best jobs at integrating great back story with current storylines. Never did I feel like the writers were trying to shoehorn in details or give us useless flashbacks just to fill in gaps when they couldn’t find better ways of telling us the details. They also found a way to give us over half a dozen decent stories in such a short series, each actually working within the plot.
Oddly enough the main character or the series really has the weakest story of the group. Konatsu is a young girl trying to make up for an embarrassing moment at the prior year’s school talent show. Her chances at redemption are thwarted when the school’s vice principal, who is also the advisor for the choral club, refuses to allow her to sing, assuming she’d get nervous and once again ruin the song. Determined to get the chance to sing, she leaves the club and starts her own, in hopes of performing at this year’s event. Things don’t progress much deeper when it comes to Konatsu’s story, we know she has a little brother and loves to sing, but besides for being the catalyst for the show, theres not much more to her backstory.
A similar fate is had by Taichi, the lone member of the school’s badminton club. We know he is a member because he looked up to his big sister, who was a badminton star, but otherwise his story ends there. Like Konatsu, his purpose in the show appears to be twofold, balance the male to female ratio out a bit, and help provide the reasoning for the group’s comical name, the Choir and sometimes Badminton Club.
The final three main characters really provide the meat of the story outside of the school. The most important of these characters is Wakana. For the first half of the series she’s just there to help out Konatsu when she needs a little bit of help, be it an extra member or someone who can play the piano. But as the story progresses we learn more about why she doesn’t want to join the group, as well as why her original involvement is what not only got the Principal to approve the club, but also to insist he was their advisor.
While Wakana’s story does dominate the second half, they do a good job of trying to integrate others into it so that the story stays interesting. Of all the minor characters quite a few had interactions with her mother. The most prominent minor character is the Vice principal, who belonged to the choral club with Wakana’s deceased mother. She now is the clubs advisor and takes a hard stance against those who don’t respect music, as she always felt as if she didn’t deserve to have a job in music, after seeing how talented Wakana’s mother was. Eventually, after Wakana comes to her for writing help, she softens her stance and realizes music can be a future, but also fun.
The second fully developed story belongs to Sawa. She’s asked to join the club by her best friend, Konatsu, and thankfully she accepts, as at a point they are the only two members. She seems to be put into the show for a source of conflict and so the show can have a small romance component. The first reason is built around her desire to become a professional jockey and her father’s feelings that she should go to college to take over the family temple. The romance part is more playful than serious, as Konatsu think’s she’s depressed over being in love, not over her disagreement with her father, so she and Wakana try to figure out who it could be, finally landing on Taichi. Both plots lead you to believe that they had some good stories for a second season, following Konatsu abroad as she strives for her dream and touching on the idea that, ironically, Taichi actually does have a crush on her.
Our final main subject is Wien, a Japanese student who lived in Austria since he was very young, he’s now moved back and has a hard time fitting in, as he only knows about Japanese customs from various guide books. He plays the role of some comic relief, but also as the voice of reason. Like Sawa it feels as if he was meant mostly for a second season, as there are bits and pieces about a young child he was friends with in Austria who he writes letters to. They end the series with Wien returning to visit him, which again could have provided fodder for an “abroad” section of the series.
There are quite a few minor characters, and while they can’t have complete stories, they do make them interesting. There’s the Principal, who is somewhat eccentric and clumsy for a headmaster, who does all he can for his students, while being pressured by the board to close the school down. Another is Sawa’s mother, who is the polar opposite of her father, she’s the cool young mom who the kids actually want to hang out with. A third minor character is Konatsu’s younger brother, who she often blackmails into her bidding by threatening to show their mother his porn stash. The last group is the Condor Queens, a band who Wakana’s mother wrote music for, they help Wakana learn how proud of her mother was of her.
Overall the writers did an amazing job putting together a cast that not only had some depth to it, but who also made you enjoy their presence on screen.
Overall - 9/10
The creators did a great job of keeping the story fun and light, while still being able to add just the right amount of emotional drama. They also did a great job not straying from the original concept but still adding all the side stories. Of all the new shows I’ve watched recently, this is the first that I can thing of that really went above and beyond in the storytelling, and in such a short time frame.
Combine that with the amazing animation and excellent music, and I would say this is one of my top series of the twenty-teens. Which leads me wonder what complete imbeciles must word at the various Japanese broadcasting companies, as I’ve seen complete garbage get multiple seasons, but this was limited to one.
I liked it. My only complaint would be I was hoping it would finish with more of a bang. Like, usually in a good show, the last couple of episodes are blowing me hardcore on the emotional level. Regardless, I thought it was good.
TariTari makes for a quick, gripping watch for a slice of life show. Packed with character development, internal and external conflicts, and a lot of touching moments, it delivers in many ways that other slice of life anime fall short.
TariTari is about a group of students entering their last year of high school coming together to celebrate music and sometimes badmitten. It's about their struggles to find themselves and to be accepted as they are.
Without including spoilers, it's tough to describe what makes it so good. Where the series starts and where the series ends feels natural and a little bittersweet. It's easy to become attached to the characters because they are relatable on every level. They each have their own desires, aspirations, and quirks that are easily associatable to people we know. It's this type of development and relatability that makes TariTari so likable and memorable.
My only complaint about the series is in the character designs. Several of the characters had the same face. For the first few episodes, I had to continuously remind myself that one girl has pigtails and the other doesn't because, other than a slightly different hair color, they look and (for the most part) act essentially the same. Oddly enough, the supporting cast had a variety of character designs and unique attributes but the main cast looked flat and uninteresting. Maybe that was part of the draw? To make them look as average as possible?
If you're looking for something with a lot of feels, this is definitely the right show for you. I'd compare it to a more somber and slightly more melancholy version of Love Live School Idol Project with all the caffine and sugar removed.