Just call Tari Tari this season’s Goldilocks.
We certainly have an interesting trio of school series to ponder over summer weekends this season. In Kokoro Connect we have a show that’s extremely content-based, very much character and plot-driven. In Hyouka we have a show that at its best is almost perversely trivial, glorying in the time-wasting minutiae of school life. And in Tari Tari, it seems to me we have the show that’s trying to get it just right – a breezy and whimsical tone, with just enough plot and character dynamic to add a little spice to the stew. And so far all three are pretty much succeeding – for Tari Tari’s part that “right down the middle” tone applies to the episodes, too – unlike those other shows, I’ve enjoyed all four episodes of TT just about equally. Which is to say, it’s not changing my life or detailing my car, but it’s a more than mildly pleasant way to spend 22 minutes.
I can’t but notice that TT has gone out of its way to show three separate interactions between Wien and Wakana in the last episode + 5 minutes. It could all be coincidental, but if you’re looking for flags you could project one in Wien’s Knight in shining armor “rescue” from our Spanish-speaking friend from last week. I’m not sure romance is ever going to be a component here – I’ve sensed a vibe between Taichi and Konatsu since the beginning, though the preview vaguely hints at Taichi and Sawa, and Sawa and her mother seem very fond of Konatsu’s ass – but if there is to be one, Wien and Wakana seems as likely as any. Wien is a likable fellow but we need to go a little deeper into hos character before much longer – his role in the series has been the most superficial to date.
As to Wakana, it seems fair enough to call her the co-lead with Konatsu, though the balance could be shifting in her direction a bit. At long last we’re starting to delve a little into the mystery of her mother’s life and death, mostly courtesy of the Condor Queens – consisting of the pig man (turns out the little porker is called Poem) and the two fellows who cut into the audition last week. It’s worth noting that Pig Man is played by a genuine gaijin (Jorge Diaz) hardly surprising as his Spanish seemed too good for a Japanese actor. The other two are played by Aoyama Yutaka and Kiyoukawa Motomu, the latter of whom seems to be the one who bonded most closely with Wakana’s mother. It’s through him that we learn that her name was Mahiru, and that she wrote a song – “Amigo, Amigo” – with the trio, which became their biggest hit. The elephant in the room is of course the fact that Wakana still hasn’t sung – in fact, she seems to have given up music altogether, much to the dismay of Kiyoukawa-san’s character. He gives Wakana a letter written by Mahiru after her daughter was born – and I suspect that letter is going to drive the next big dramatic plateau in the series.
Condor Queens play a role in the other thread running through the episode. This one involves Sawa being angry at Konatsu for giving up a spot on the Beach House’s stage to Condor Queens (turns out her Grandad was a big fan, thus explaining the poster in the OP). I can see where Sawa’s coming from here – Konatsu was the one who dragged everyone into this, and she appears to be flaking – and there’s an implication that this has been a trend with Konatsu. Unfortunately though, this all came off as rather rushed, and Sawa’s transition seemed a bit too dramatic – a result of that fact that after Wien, she’s been the least-developed character so far. Sawa has basically been perfect up to this point – cheerful, athletic, tolerant – so we’ve seen nothing of what makes her tick. This might be a good first step, but it wasn’t handled as well as most of the other elements in the series thus far.
I definitely enjoyed the episode on the whole, largely thanks to the likeable presence of the Condors. “You’re graduating from high school – we’re getting ready to graduate from life.” was probably the sharpest line of dialogue from the episode, and it makes a nice contrast to the usual anime pattern of the old gracefully making way for the young. Screw that, they say – they need to seize the moments as they present themselves, and everyone needs to make their own breaks. Next week it seems that we’ll get a token badminton interlude – though not too token, I hope – and lots more on Wakana and her mother, though there are sadly no concrete indications of any real character development for Wien.