Hello esteemed readers, this week I will be covering some sort of anime. This doesn’t happen very often, so it might be a good idea to pay attention; it might go on the quiz or something. Anyway, Kyoto Animation’s newest project, Tamako Market, recently started. Tamako Market can ostensibly be considered another of KyoAni’s K-ON!-esque series. I’m not the biggest fan of KyoAni’s recent works, but anything KyoAni puts out is usually pretty significant. Funnily enough though, Tamako Market subverted some of my expectations, though not in the way many of you might expect.
Tamako Market’s set in a marketplace, and a pretty lively and engaging one, too. The main character, Tamako, knows all about mochi from her father, who runs a mochi shop in the marketplace. She has a younger sister, two female friends who go to high school with her (and also have families that run shops in the marketplace). Her neighbor is a guy whose family also happens to run a mochi shop. Everyone lives their day-to-day lives, all in a rather cute and light-hearted sort of way.
So far, so KyoAni? Well, it wouldn’t be a KyoAni show without some sort of gimmick. Where K-ON! had music, Hyouka had mystery, and Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! had childish/adolescent fantasy, Tamako Market has a talking bird. A talking bird with some very strange mannerisms, at that. This talking bird, Dera, comes from a strange country, and is looking for a bride for his prince, who is, thankfully for potential brides everywhere, a human being. Pretty soon, the bird finds himself become one with the market life, though he does try to poach Tamako and some of her friends from time to time.
At Tamako Market’s core is the day-to-day market life, and how everyone in the market interacts with one another. While these interactions are framed in the same cutesy manner that KyoAni is known for, they are a little different from the norm, as the characters all live and work in the market. Granted, conversations in other KyoAni series tend toward each show’s respective gimmick, that’s not exactly the case here. I mentioned that the gimmick was the talking bird, but surprisingly, he’s soon treated like any old character (and not as a talking bird would be treated realistically, but that’s another discussion for another time). Conversations just as equally revolve around the market as they do Dera’s strange antics, which would seem to make the market just as much a gimmick as the talking bird.
Tamako Market looks like it will have some sort of main plot in the following episodes, which would probably revolve around the bird, his prince, and their efforts to find a suitable bride. I can see that becoming the core, which may be a little disconcerting for those who find the market more engaging. What we have so far is familiar enough to make Tamako Market fit in with other recent KyoAni titles. Those who like this type of core will certainly enjoy Tamako Market, and those who don’t may not.
If there were elements about Tamako Market I did like, they were some of the smaller details. Tamako Market is actually a pretty progressive show, as it’s pretty LGBT friendly. For instance, there’s a transgender shopkeeper, and nothing is ever done to point out how absurd it is or anything; no, if anything, the shopkeeper belongs in the market, and is treated as human being. In another scenario, we have two girls in the show, and one of them has feelings for the other. Again, this is treated quite normally (and not perversely in any definition of the word).
Tamako Market doesn’t stop there though. The music shop had some nice touches as well, what with the variety of songs you could hear when scenes took place there. For instance, in the second episode, the owner puts on apparently an old French love song. A heavily mangled cover, of course, but nonetheless, a pretty decent choice. There are also the mochi making tips littered throughout the show, especially in the next episode preview.
I suppose watching a show for the small details like this isn’t always the best idea, especially if the core elements aren’t very appealing. I find it a little difficult to bring myself to watch it. Though this show won’t convert any haters, Tamako Market is another refreshing treat for KyoAni fans. If enjoy their works, I’m sure you’ll enjoy Tamako Market just as much.