Check out Laevatein’s first impressions here.
Another season, another KyoAni work to look at. This one, of course, is markedly different from last season’s show (Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!). It’s an original piece! I guess you could argue that with the changes Chuunibyou anime had compared to the light novel it was based on, it was almost an original piece too, but Tamako Market is completely and totally original. It’s directed by the guy who brought us K-ON, so that will probably give you some idea of what you’re getting into. Unlike Chuunibyou and Hyouka, Kyoto Animation’s previous two works, Tamako Market is primarily a comedy piece, so it’s definitely a bit more similar to K-ON in that respect.
Considering only two episodes are out, I’m not going to make any sweeping generalizations about the plot. So far though, it seems like a simple slice of life series. The main girl, Kitashirakawa Tamako, is the daughter of a mochi shop owner. She lives with her father, grandfather, and younger sister. Across the street is rival mochi shop, whose owner is fiercely competitive with Tamako’s father. However, his son, Mochizou, is actually quite friendly with Tamako. Both of these shops are in a merchant district that is quite tight-knit, and so far the story seems to be just about the average going-ons of this merchant district.
This is thrown into somewhat of a disarray when, in the first episode, Tamako meets a talking bird called Dela, though Tamako refers to him as Tori (which means bird in Japanese). The bird has apparently been sent on a mission by his prince to find him a bride. The circumstances of this still seem to be a mystery (why does the bird talk? what kind of kingdom sends talking birds out to find a princess?), but small tidbits have been revealed. Apparently Dela is from some sort of tropical nation, which is evident from the weird movie that was shown in the second episode. So far there are a few mysteries in the show, but at its core it’s a comedy/slice-of-life series and I honestly don’t see that changing anytime soon.
The characters are okay so far. Tamako is your generic happy-go-lucky girl cheerfully running through life. While she’s not incredibly interesting by herself, I think her relationships with other characters are pretty interesting. Particularly with her mochi counterpart, Mochizou. It seems Mochizou has a little crush on Tamako, and I imagine that will lead to some cute circumstances coming up in the show, which I’m looking forward to. Besides that, Dela and Tamako’s relationship is pretty funny too. For some reason sneezing on a bird like Dela is tantamount to a confession of love, and Tamako met Dela that way. While the misunderstanding seems to have been cleared up by the second episode, their relationship remains interesting and I’m curious to see where it goes. Dela as a character is haughty and incredibly fond of mochi. He’s also gotten quite fat from the first episode, which is funny.
As far as the quality of art and animation goes, it’s standard KyoAni fare. Which is to say, it’s definitely top-quality stuff. Of course, that’s one of the reasons I picked up Tamako Market to begin with; KyoAni does an incredible job in those respects. Nichijou and Hyouka and Chuunibyou can all attest to that, as far as their recent shows go. I would really love it if KyoAni did a new action series. The little fantastical tidbits of Chuunibyou showed off some very impressive scenes. For whatever reason though, they’ve stuck to more slice of life and comedy things, where the nice animation is a little bit less apparent. Tamako Market is still a high-quality production of course, my gripes are more about what the studio chooses to do and not with what they actually do.
So far Tamako Market is an interesting show, and I’m excited to see how KyoAni’s first original production turns out. There’s a lot of potential here, so it’ll be cool to see just where it takes the studio, and what it means for their future productions.