Springtime’s over, and summer’s begun! Music and high-school life meet once again in Masakazu Hashimoto and P.A. Works’ Tari Tari, a slice-of-life drama about five students trying to form their own choir club. Because it’s now a tradition to have an original P.A. Works slice-of-life every year. Here’s the story:
Konatsu Miyamoto was rejected to sing with the other members of her chorus club by the teacher because she was missing “something special”. Being her last year in high school, she felt like doing something crazy: She quit. In the place of her former club, Konatsu comes up with the idea to make a new chorus club, inviting the people around her to join. With dreams in each of the member’s hearts, they live out their high school lives. – ANN
Well it’s not entirely original, since it’s adapted from an almost simultaneously made manga. At first I was sceptical about watching this, but after hearing it’s being animated by P.A. Works (which made Hanasaku Iroha and True Tears, both I haven’t got around to watching yet) and that it’s a coming-of-age story similar to Kids on the Slope (which not surprisingly also carries a music theme), I was immediately hooked. Without a doubt, this is among the most featured anime of this summer with beautiful art, catchy music, and an incredible cast of seiyuu on board.
As far as first impressions go, I am very much impressed. There’s a wide variety of characters here – each different and with veiled complexities – with P.A. Works both doing a splendid job of making each character distinctive from one another. There isn’t much of actual storytelling, since most of episode one is focused on establishing the main cast, but the introductions are done fluidly and with grace. Characters stand out, with their personalities presented through subtle interactions rather than through outright explaining (show, don’t tell).
From the looks of things, the love of music and singing will bring the main five together, just as the pilot teaser said. But things look troublesome already, as Sakai Wakana (Takagaki Ayahi) clearly has a hidden scar of sorts, not to say the other four don’t have their own share of troubles, and this all ties into the overall theme of overcoming the transition from childhood to adulthood. Let’s face it, adolescence is never easy; with each character having a unique background and lifestyle, the steps to adulthood ain’t gonna be easy ones.
Tari Tari isn’t anything ground-breaking, but we don’t watch anime for originality; we watch them to enjoy the moment, and maybe to feel the moment as well. The quality is superb, the artistry is breath-taking, the script is richly-written, and the lead directing effort of first-time Masakazu Hashimoto is impressive. But in the end, it’s the characters we keep coming back to – little Konatsu (Seto Asami) is cute and absolutely lovable with a passionate musical spirit; Sawa (Hayami Saori) has a surprising amount of depth and personality for someone so perfect; Taichi (Shimazaki Nobunaga) seems like a funny but serious guy; “Wien” (Hanae Natsuki) is a hilariously likeable idiot, who might become a fan favourite; and Wakana – although gloomy and abit anti-social – is very forthcoming and blunt.
The musical element is scarce as of right now, but I hope when it does happen that people don’t start needlessly comparing it to K-ON!!, The IDOLM@STER, or Macross Frontier. Fans with a more sporadic taste will find it bland, but it’s interesting enough to grab my curiosity. An extraordinary job’s been done on the surface, and I hope that something deeper is explored within the next 12 episodes. I mean, it’s not every day you find a series as promising as Tari Tari.
Thanks for reading!