This is review number eighty four. It’s part of the Summer 2012 anime line up and it’s one of the most talked about. It’s Tari Tari. Its twelve episodes about five people in the choir club. Don’t worry; it’s not like a certain slice of life anime with moe blobs. This anime is better. Let’s read on.
Tari Tari is about five different third year high school students who wanted to create a club of their own. Konatsu Miyamoto wanted to create a new choir club after the vocal club’s adviser told her she has no potential. She asked her friend, Sawa Okita, to help her create the club. They need to have five people though and it so happens that Taichi Tanaka, the only member of the badminton club, is told his club will be disbanded. Konatsu and Taichi agreed to join forces. They got Atsuhiro Maeda, the transfer student, to join their cause. The last member is Wakana Sakai, a girl who mostly keeps to herself. They named their club the Choir Club and sometimes Badminton. In this club, they slowly became friends and they slowly began pursuing their dreams even if the rest of the world is seemingly against them.
Taking the Pants Off
I recently finished KyoAni’s anime called Hyouka and so I thought it’ll be a great idea to follow it up with PA Works’ anime “Tari Tari”. I’ve always had the feeling that these two companies are starting an “I can do it better” rivalry that really excites me. You can trace both companies growth and they seemingly do outstanding visual anime but always raising the bar in what they produce. No one else find it odd that Yuri from Angel Beats looks like a Haruhi S. clone? I guess it’s also coincidence that KyoAni’s next anime involved an eye patched girl in a mystery premise. Sure, that’s not PA Work’s “Another”. I like both company and whatever they do is just sweet nectar for anime fans. Ever since Hanasaku Iroha though, I’ve been in fond of PA Works and I’ve always enjoyed their anime. I mostly love them because their anime has a solid story and I always look for a story in my anime over anything else. Their ability to bring forth fan service without sacrificing the story is also something I admire. I have high expectations for Tari Tari and I was not disappointed.
This anime was a bit clunky at first. It had so many things going on that it was very hard to discover the anime’s appeal. The first two episodes introduced the characters but they aren’t a group yet so the anime keep jumping from one character to another. They were all very busy at first and many plot points were established. There is a plot point about Konatsu insisting to create a club so she could sing at a recital, Taichi practicing badminton for an upcoming competition, Atsuhiro trying to get accustomed to Japanese practices after being away from the country for a long time and Wakana being persuaded by people hinting her to come out of her shell. That’s four plot points established in the first two episodes. It threw me off because I didn’t know the anime’s theme. Is it a School anime about five people in a club? Is it like f*cking K-On then? Is this a Slice of Life drama about five friends? I was overwhelmed by the anime and you will mostly be overwhelmed as well. The thing that threw me off the most is that the characters start out as strangers. I’ve rarely seen an anime actually establish the status quo because it isn’t really needed. I was expecting the five main characters to just fall along the line and the story would commence. No, the anime started out with the five friends being nothing more than classmates. It took four episodes for the anime to fix itself. After episode four, you’ll be introduced to all the characters, the status quo and the premise of the anime. This is about five different people tied by one common thing, the club. Even then, the character interaction bugged me because there is a divide between the boys and the girls that I rarely see in anime. The girls would mostly be by themselves sharing each other’s interest while the two boys do the same. It wasn’t like Hyouka where there is one aggressive person that interacts with the whole group preventing any awkwardness. There is a clear divide here and it was odd. It’s odd in an anime standpoint.
The entire anime became much clearer when you watch the fifth episode. This anime isn’t about five people doing cute things in a club (thank f*cking god). It’s also not really about music. Music is present but it’s more of a storytelling device just like how Sakamachi Apollon used Jazz to tell the story. This anime is actually the five characters following their dreams. This was made clear after each and every character was fleshed out and their individual problem is revealed. They all have one thing in common. It’s about a passion deep inside them that drives them forward even though there are others in the way telling them their dream is just non sense. The anime had a theme of “follow your dreams” and I don’t really understand why they didn’t establish it in the previous episodes until I realized that they did. I’m stupid. The theme was already strong when Konatsu was trying to create the club. I didn’t recognize it right away because there were other elements to consider. The whole thing about being in a music club clouded me. Things started to finally line up in episode five where that theme is more prominent. The anime gradually focused on Sakai and her wariness around other people. The second half is where the anime got better because it focused on each characters and their dream that other people tried to relinquish.
The characters in the anime are probably the best I’ve seen in terms of character development. I think PA Works really considered this and they wanted to accentuate this element of the anime. You’ll notice the divide among the sexes in the first half but as each character was fleshed out, their bond as a club got stronger. It wasn’t long before they started teasing each other and sharing their passion with each other. I believe that is the second theme of the anime. The most overused theme ever: Friendship. Cliché as it may be but in the right hands, even Guilty Crown could be f*cking amazing (I think it is though) and a simple theme of friendship isn’t wasted in the hands of PA Works. One thing that I also really like about PA Works is that they introduced “adults “in their cast. I know it’s not much but it’s a huge edge they have over KyoAni. Kyoto Animation loves encapsulating the youthfulness of characters even if they’re adults. The adults in Lucky Star and the adviser of the K-on club are all childish. Most of their anime doesn’t even have adults like Haruhi S. and K-On so I admire PA Works incorporating the bitter sweet personality of an adult. They can b*tchy trampling of the younger characters but they are also very tender inside. A real human personality that I believe, KyoAni can never do. One stand out adult character in Tari Tari is the vocal club advisor, Naoko Takakura. She’s so mean that I want to choke her but in later episodes, she became sweet and kind.
This anime is honestly all over the place. The first half had a lot of elements that it almost ruined the anime. The second half got better and they introduced Drama in the story. I have to say that it was very powerful. It’s not enough to move me to tears like good ol’ Ano Hana but it was nicely incorporated with the theme of “follow your dreams”. I was in awe at how they managed Sakai’s transformation from this cold and very detached person to this vulnerable and kind individual just by incorporating the Drama aspects of the anime. It was amazing. The anime also had Sports, Music and School in it and they were competing elements at first but the anime was able to balance it out later on thanks in part to the story. There was also some Comedy in the later parts which I believe was nicely done as well.
The anime did a great job of building the story up and hyping up the events at the later part of the anime. I believe the only downside in this anime is the clunky first half. I appreciate the fact that they took time to create a status quo other than just start the anime with an established one but it was where the anime was really hurt. The characters could have benefited from the time the status quo needed to set itself up because some of the characters got a lot more screen time that the others. I love Sakai’s story but I was also eagerly waiting for Atsuhiro to be introduced because he stands out in a comedic way.
I guess the lack of arc also hurt the anime. There are five characters with five individual conflicts and the anime could’ve made five different arcs for each. They decided to scatter the stories throughout the anime so Atsuhiro’s conflict was introduced while another character’s conflict is wrapping up. It was only twelve episodes so I can’t be too hard on it. The last twelve episode anime that had five arcs was Zero Tsukaima F and it was awful. This anime needed three more or they could even go for twenty four episodes to fix the clunky first half and to clearly establish the anime’s theme.
I can look past those faults though because the second half is indeed great and the ending was satisfying. I’ve seen some twelve episode anime that couldn’t accomplish half of what Tari Tari did so I’m happy. I’ve saved the best for last though. The best part about this anime is that it’s an Original Screenplay. O.Screenplay is an anime that wasn’t adapted from any other medium like a manga or light novel. This was an anime originally made by PA Works from scratch and I can’t help but admire that. KyoAni can put their own spin in a light novel but I have yet to see them attempt an O.Screenplay. They’re still better at visual presentations though.
Sight and Sound
The characters bear a resemblance from Hanasaku Iroha but the ones in Tari Tari are less spectacular. They were a bit ordinary and their design doesn’t really standout because they’re normal high school students. The one thing that distinguishes the characters is their hairstyle. Each character, even the minor ones, has unique styles that match their personalities. The visual appeal does come out when a character’s face is focused. You can clearly see their soft moe coupled by the clean animation.
The animation is outstanding. It’s not KyoAni level but the attention to detail and the blending of the CG with the background is amazing. KyoAni and PA Works pay attention to even the tiniest details. A scene where light is poking through the leaves has outstanding detail even if it only appears for a split second. The dance scene by Sawa at the later parts of the anime has very nice key animations. Every move is smooth and every pose is accurate. The same goes to Taichi when he plays badminton. There were very little animation but they were all smooth and amazing.
I believe this is also a real place turned anime. The background of the anime is really amazing. PA Works is very fond of making the background stand out and they did a great job here. The angles of the scenes, the lighting and the clean arrangement are something you can’t help to admire. The scenic shots also stand out in the most outstanding way. This is why I love KyoAni and PA Works. They’re love for scenic shots and scenery porn is contagious. They appear for less than a minute but no scenic shot is the same even if it’s of the same place. I love it.
The opening song is “Dreamer” by AiRI. It has a fast beat and a really catchy tune. Airi’s voice really stands out and it’s a shame she don’t do a lot of OP songs. I love her voice. The song nicely reflects the “follow your dream” theme of the anime. The opening sequence introduced all the characters and you get of what the anime is about. You’ll also notice the amazing animation style of PA Works during the OP. There are also some great scenic shots like Sawa riding her horse while the sun is setting.
I love the ending of this anime. There were a lot of songs. I think three but I won’t go through each of them. I want to talk about the ending sequence. The first one features Konatsu and Sawa sitting while Sakai is in the far background. Later on, it’s the four characters while Sakai is near them with her back turned against them. It follows the story of the anime and later on, it’s all five moving through the beat of the song. It’s really nice to know that they put that much effort in the ending sequence.
6/10 “Hang around until the fifth episode, you won’t regret it.”
This anime has a clunky first half but a strong second half. The story is solid, the pacing is nice and the characters are memorable. This is a great anime. I recommend it.