Kaushik here, back to review another anime series. This week it’s the recently ended Tamako Market, by Kyoto Animation. I’ve been a pretty big fan of Kyoto Animation’s recent works (Hyouka is one of my most favorite anime ever) so there was no way I’d miss out on Tamako Market. Airing between January and March of 2013, Tamako Market spanned 12 episodes. Interestingly enough, Tamako Market is KyoAni’s first stab at an original anime series. Of course, like a lot of the recent KyoAni work, this is mostly a slice of life and comedy series, with just the tiniest bit of drama sprinkled in.
Tamako Market has a pretty simplistic plot line. It follows the life of one Kitashirakawa Tamako over the course of a year or so, while some strange and crazy (but mostly mundane) things happen to her life. Tamako is the daughter of the owner of a mochi shop called Tama-ya. and is a cheerful carefree girl. She works in the mochi shop with her entire family, in the Bunny Mountain shopping district. If there’s any one thing you should know about Tamako, it’s that she loves the Bunny Mountain shopping district a lot. Way more than you’d think someone of her age (about 14 or so) could love a shopping district.
The story starts off with Tamako meeting a talking bird. Being that this is a slice of life anime, no one is overly surprised that a talking bird could exist, and the bird, Dela, proceeds to live in Tamako’s house for the foreseeable future. It turns out Dela has left the island kingdom he’s from to find a bride for the prince of their nation. Unfortunately, Dela is more or less totally incompetent. Moreover, he’s a big fan of the mochi Tamako’s family makes, so instead of doing his job he just lives with Tamako. More or less, that’s the story of Tamako Market. What follows are a bunch of episodic stories dealing with all of the characters (but mostly Tamako).
As far as KyoAni’s first original work goes, I had expected something a little bit more interesting, plot-wise. Still, being that this is a slice of life series it didn’t bother me too much. Being the type of show this is, the characters are definitely more important than the plot, and in this respect Tamako Market’s characters are definitely more interesting than the plot. Tamako herself is a cute bubbly girl who doesn’t really let much get her down. As a protagonist she works well, but as is the case with a lot of shows like these, characters like her are not my favorite. I will give Tamako extra points for wearing glasses though, which she does at night (likely she wears contacts during the day). They make her look kind of dorky and adorable.
Dela brings a lot of the comedic element to Tamako Market, easily being the most ridiculous character in the show. He’d have to be, considering he’s a fat talking bird. Still, he has a flair for the dramatic and also serves as the narrator for the show. I do rather like him as a character, since he really helps set the show apart from the generic “cute girls doing cute things” archetype… Though not by much. There’s still a lot of cute girls doing cute things. As far as side characters go, my personal favorites would be Kanna and Anko. Kanna is one of Tamako’s school friends. She’s mostly deadpan and somewhat obsessed with carpentering (her family’s business), and she’s a total hoot. Anko on the other hand is Tamako’s somewhat precocious little sister who is adorable because she doesn’t want to be seen as a kid.
Of course the art and animation follow that stunning Kyoto Animation quality I’ve come to love, but the music left a little bit to be desired. Both the opening theme, Dramatic Market Ride, and the ending theme, Neguse, were mediocre at best. The BGM was a little bit better, but nothing spectacular. Over all, while Tamako Market was an enjoyable ride from start to finish, I don’t think it really had the lasting impact of other KyoAni shows like Hyouka or Nichijou. Ultimately this was a good show doomed to be forgotten as the seasons go by.
– Cute characters
– As always, has that delicious KyoAni quality
– Simple plot resolves itself well enough
– As KyoAni’s first original work, it doesn’t really have the impact I’d imagine it would
– At the end of the day, just another slice of life title doomed to obscurity.
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Director: Naoko Yamada
Character design: Yukiko Horiguchi
Music: Tomoko Kataoka
Original run: January 10 to March 28, 2013