I try to be open to pretty much everything. However, upon going through several iterations of what I refer to as “Youth Drama” animes, I have come out bored and upset that I watched that instead of trying to review something fun. Like a show about the Cthulhu mythos, reimagined with cute anime girls. However, this week I am here to talk about Tari Tari, a show like, Natsuyuki Rendezvous, Moyashimon: Tales of Agriculture, and Angel Beats. Yes, I have shown myself to not be a very big fan of this subgenre. However, a show about people being happy might just be enough to get me out of this runt, hit the jump and find out.
Tari Tari Review
Length: 13 (Sub) Episodes
Studios: P. A. Works and Sentai Filmworks
Streaming at CrunchyRoll
“The story centers around five Japanese high school students who are too young to be called adults, but who no longer think of themselves as children.” Is the line that made me give this show a shot. After all, I am Seventeen, I can relate to adolescents. Yet, that is not what this show is about. I am going to be unconventional and just talk about the “meaning” behind the story first, because it is just so blatant by the end.
As I have said before, according to a guy I know who lived there for a while, Japan has this thing where after they leave high school, their lives are bleak routines without the tiniest bit of stimulation that can normally be received. They need to secure kin at an early age, or they will be trapped in the loop and birth rates will go down. Well, I spiced it up, but that’s the gist of it.
There are exceptions, but the general consensus does not really have a lot of time for the indulgence of becoming a fan of something, and the very mediums that are associated with Japan are often viewed not unlike they are viewed here. At least in terms of people who do anything “perverted”. A trope in anime that makes me think that some writers have never talked to an actual woman who they were not trying to snob. And this show is about how singing is the ultimate artform, and how it is the one true expression for leaving behind your youth and going towards the future where you only get fun from looking back on memories as a kid. In other words, Japan’s media has made me think that the country is crude stew to live in.
I could probably end it there, yet I have yet to talk about the show. Tari Tari centers around three girls and two boys who are trying to live out their dreams, with varying levels of reason for why they want to pursue them. Say what you will about Angel Beats, and I did. But the characters at least had a reason for their goal and some closure to pursue, here with just five high schoolers, the show struggles to give them all a purpose.
Going through the five kids in no particular order, we have Konatsu, a cheery blond-ish girl, who after messing up during a choir recital, was put in charge of flipping pages for the pianist. However, she does want to sing, because she likes music and she must sing publicly, or her self esteem will crash. Yes, maybe I was just zoning out or forgetting reasons for character actions, but that must be saying something, since I started the show a week ago since I began writing this. I would not mind this so much, except for how she is the one who calls people to action, even those who are just okay with singing and have other interests. However, she also had a fight with the head of the choir club, so maybe this is just revenge.
I’ll admit to finding K-On boring and forced at certain points, but at least there the characters had a drive to performing music and they had it as their primary hobby, except for one, who grew to love it! Here, the only character who really seems to care about music as an artform, even though I call BS on anyone who simplifies an artform to one form, this being vocals accompanied by piano, sorry if there is a genre for that, I do not know it. Wakana is a girl who grew up with a very cheery, happy Mother, yet she did not appreciate her, and never got into her love of music. This causes her to center her life around continuing her Mother’s ideals, to the point where it almost feels like she just wants to avoid her actual self, and become her Mother 2.0.
And this brings up what I call Bakuman Syndrome. Both these shows focus on people who are creating art, but the show is not about the creation of art, just the drama around it. For example, imagine a documentary about a novelist, where they rarely talk about the writing process and just show what unrelated crap was going on with their lives and talking with publishers. That sure sounds stupid, doesn’t it? I mean, this show contains about four actual songs based on a listing that I found, which is just pitiful for a show that is, at its core, about music.
Well, considering how the other three do not seem to be that big on music, I might be wrong here. Let’s start with Sawa, a girl who is interested in Archery and horse riding. She is pretty much begged into the club, along with everyone else, by Konatsu. And while she says that she likes to sing, her plotline involves her trying to get into a Jockey school, even though she is tall and has pretty large breasts when you realize this show is trying to be realistic with its plain visuals. But why does she like horses? I dunno, I guess she grew up with them and it was an escapism from her dad who comes off as a prick, only to do a 180 due to… Unseen revelations.
I can apply a very similar explanation of the character Taichi. He is this school’s sole badminton club member who also happens to be a good singer. No real reason why he liked it, just that he picked up a racket and got hooked. Which I suppose is realistic, yet that does not mean it makes for good narrative. I do like how he is not super great at it, but his entire role feels, well, pointless. Oh, and this is rich, after having one scene where Taichi gets a shot of Sawa’s underwear, the show acts like they are a couple when the ending comes! Yeah, saw a panty shot and got infatuated with her, because lust is real love!
Oh, we have an Austrian in ou- What? How the hell did you come up with having an Austrian character who has no difficulty with speaking and singing Japanese? Holy crap did you miss a bucket of ideas there! Okay, he left Japan when he was six, yet why would he speak it in Austria for 12 years? He forgot everything about their culture from when he was a kid, but he still speaks the language with little to no hiccups? That is just wasteful! Although, I do need to say that having him did bring up the best part of the show, where it alludes to Super Sentai tropes by having the main five act out scenes for a shopping center.
Yes, a show that is primarily about culture and music, is best when it has a guy who was raised in Austria sing a Super Sentai theme as he chases down a purse snatcher. Oh, and bringing up a child with cancer who finds comfort within watching a Super Sentai show with somebody? That is pretty lame. I mean, what do you gain from this, other than an excuse for, his name is Wein, just let that show you how much I care about him, to have some “depth”.
Despite all that, I still have not gotten to my biggest gripe, the ending where the stakes are “raised”. Sorry for spoiling this, but if you’ve been reading this far, you probably don’t care. Due to Japan’s dwindling birth rate, the school is going to be converted into an apartment district and it is up to these kids to stand up to the man with the help of their advisor, who did jack prior to this. They need to keep the school’s spirit intact and have a final festival where they have the last fun they have in their- Wait? Everything afterwards is happy? So doing that was entirely pointless? Everyone is getting what they wanted, so their lives will be filled with happiness and it was not a descent into sorrow? …Are you trying to say it was because of how they did have a final piece of expression before they were “adults”?
Yes, standing up against people is perfectly fine, and I like it when people question authority, but this show is so certain that it is right, it is inspiring, and this is what everyone should and has experienced, that everything else just falls flat. Maybe I am being bitter, however here is the thing. I need to be made to care about these characters, and I kinda do, but I do not care about their situation due to how this could all be avoided if the causes of conflict used logic. Why would working outside of school be an issue when the school is closing down after everyone currently enrolled graduates? Why would it care if their students do not represent themselves properly 24/7? Why is music worth taking seriously? Is it the only true art? I ask because everything else seems to be based on supporting the claim of it being the true expression within this show!
Oh, and while I do consider the few songs they use to be beautiful, with the intro and outro being alright. There are only really four or five times they really sing. Yeah, only sing a handful of times in a show that is centered around music. Am I just missing the point here? And most of them don’t really end, they are cut off! Guess the quality police were coming on by, and they had to sink back to mediocrity. Meanwhile, all I have to say about the animation is that it is just there, not really doing much, and not really trying to. The actual animation is pretty smooth and everything, howev A realistic aesthetic applies to 95% of this show, with red-blonde and brown hair notwithstanding, which results in me just being able to say that it looks very meh. That is actually one of the few positives I can list after going through this mess of a narrative, that it looks more meh than anything.
I really cannot say much good about Tari Tari. It is rare when I see a show that fails on nearly every level, yet this is what I have here. I might just not be “getting it” yet when I am just aggravated by something like this, after going all the way through it, I don’t think I am missing something, as much as that something isn’t there. As much as I dislike the show, I cannot really call it bad. Believe me, it is filled with problems, but despite my tone, I can’t get all that worked up about the show. I expected something introspective, and I got something that unsurprisingly came from the people behind Angel Beats. If you take away everything I sorta liked about that show, I guess you’ll come up with this. A complete mess of a narrative, and one of the very, very few things that I find to be next to irredeemable. It is not the kind of bad I will loathe over time, but the kind that I have forgotten as of posting this review. But, trust me, I’ll get to the former come Christmas… Even though my review will be hard to follow due to how much that “show” does wrong.