I can't tell you what attracted me to this series apart from the name as I thought it was a person, but I was completely off. Luckily, I was persuaded to join up the FYAB group on this and it was well worth it. It's most certainly strange and oddball, but it's quite fun.
Basically, each episode is a two-year campus life of Watashi, who seeks a rose-coloured campus life. At the start of the episode, he picks a club to join and that choice presents a durastic change in the events in each episode. So he can join the tennis club and in another episode the movie club but the events in the two are pretty much different. Pretty much, as there are some events that are shown in previous episodes, events/scenes that can co-relate/reflect what has happened before and give a sense of deja-vu; a "I've seen this before" vibe. It's clever and fun, and that's part of the fun I've had; seeing scenes reoccur in a different perspective.
What also adds to the fun is the comedy, which can be a bit oddball at times but it works. I may not have laughed out loud everytime but it certainly made it more enjoyable. The characters really bring out the funny parts, especially Ozu, a reoccuring devil-ish chap who looks like a demon. He's sinister, manipulative and calculating but is immensely fun when combined with Watashi. And as each episode passes, we get more and more glimpses into the lives of the cast that we would never have gotten if it was simply a linear storyline, or a timeline, to be more percise. The whole groundhog day thing works, it flies and doesn't crash and burn throughout the series.
When I started The Tatami Galaxy, I could barely keep up with the subs, having to pause every minute or every time Watashi voiced (Thought, but speaking his thoughts) his thoughts. It was a machine gun and it annoyed me, but thoughts are quick, aren't they? (Took me a few episodes to process that thought, admittedly) But as the series progressed, I got more and more used to it and was able to keep up to the point where I was nearly on pace with it. And what helped was the VO's. It felt good. I wasn't annoyed at it at all and was able to keep at it, trying to keep up with the subs. It most certainly helped the transition to keeping pace with it all.
It's about time I got to the animation, but going to mention the OP and EP. I may not remember any of the music from the series but the OP/EP combo are strange. Strange as in I didn't enjoy it much at first but it grew on me to the point where I dreaded watching the last episode, because it would be the last time I would hear the OP/EP while watching the show. Seemed so... final, as I didn't want it to end but it doesn't overstay it's welcome. Anyway, brilliant stuff in that area. And the animation that goes along with it.
The animation is a total trip, and I loved it. It's stylish, pretty bizzare at times and at certain times, absolutely beautiful. In particular a scene with bottle rockets. And check out the screenshot with Watashi covered in flames, totally wicked. It's simple and yet at times complex, but the simplicity is what works. It doesn't overcomplicate it everytime but relies on a style all of it's own. It's beauty is in it's style, how it isn't all glitzed and glittered up, shining and buttered up. But it's a love/hate it thing, and I for one loved it.
I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did, and it was a total surprise to me. The groundhog day plot really got me intrigued when I actually looked up a description and the animation only further drew me in. I wasn't hooked at the start, but it's one of those series that either grows and nutures your love for it or a weed that you want to pull out and stomp on. Harsh, but give it a few episodes; it's not one that you can simply decide on with a single episode.
Totally worth judging a book by it's name.
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