“Tamako Market” is the latest work to come out of Kyoto Animation’s studios since “Chuu2” finished airing last season. An original work created by the “K-On!” production team, it is a straight-to-anime release from KyoAni with no previous media available. As a result, we actually have to watch it and wait to see what happens! Since this series essentially breaks away from the norm of LN to manga to anime (or LN/manga to anime), there is absolutely no previous information available except for what gets released via official sources.
Much like “K-On!” was, “Tamako Market” is a slice-of-life series that revolves around the market in which our heroine, Tamako, lives and helps out in. Also like “K-On!” are the yuri undertones that are brought up…except that the team went from undertones to overtones. That’s right, one of the characters, Midori, has a yuri crush on Tamako. That’s OK, though, because Tamako is more clueless than a harem anime protagonist. Much like how “K-On!” had a pet at some point, so does this series. The only problem is that the pet is a talking bird that makes you want to punt it across a football field and into a meat grinder. Many people may think the bird is awesome, and he does provide needed distraction and comic relief, but he is to “Tamako Market” what Jar Jar Binks was to “Star Wars.”
Despite some of the shortcomings of the series, Kyoto Animation brings fourth is usual outstanding and Herculean animation might to the table once again. The animation is excellent, the story seems to be going somewhere and it’s enjoyable to watch. In typical KyoAni fashion, they actually went out and scouted real locations for their settings. KyoAni’s trademark is that they use actual locations for their backgrounds and settings and just change the names of the places and draw over them through a process called “rotoscoping.”
For those of you who don’t know what rotoscoping is, it’s a process whereby someone films something with a camera and it is then animated over, frame-by-frame. A good example, and probably the most famous, is the scene from “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” where Haruhi and Nagato played in that band during the school festival. That was actually a real band playing the song and KyoAni animated over it. Despite the fact that Kyoto Animation is comparatively young when put up against its peers, the studio has had pretty much has the same animation style since 2003; this was when it released its first anime (“Munto”) where KyoAni was the principle producer.
“Tamako Market” is up to KyoAni’s usual standard of work but it’s hard to determine where the story is going. There is a pseudo love triangle going on between Tamako, Midori and Mochizou. Mochizou, who is the male childhood friend of Tamako, and Midori are in love with her but she has no idea about any of that. Then, you factor in Kanna, who knows about both but doesn’t say anything, and it makes for quite a few comedic moments. There’s even little Anko, who is Tamako’s younger sister, who as a little crush of her own, and we have ourselves a romantic comedy, slice-of-life anime for all ages.
Right now, we can only wait and see what becomes of “Tamako Market.” With no other media available for us to look at, no spoilers for the story and no information other than what KyoAni releases, we’re at the mercy of the studio as we wait each week for the next episode to be released. On the one hand, it’s possible “Tamako” will be like “Chuu2” and whack us at the end with a deep plot and significant character development or it could be like “K-On!” where everyone pretty much stays the same through the whole series. Either way, it makes for a good time and good watching. Let’s just hope that KyoAni doesn’t let us down this time. Perhaps we will see a “K-On!” Season 3 after this…?
- Airs: Thursday, 00:30 JST (GMT +9)
- Studio: Kyoto Animation
- Genre(s): Slice-of-Life, Romance, Comedy
- First Aired: 10 Jan 2013
Tamako knows just about everything there is to know about mochi, the traditional Japanese dessert treats. When she’s not attending her first year of high school, she even invents new flavors and varieties for Tama-ya, her family’s mochi shop. School and growing up, on the other hand, are some things that she’s still trying to find the right recipe for. But with the help of her best friends Kanna and Midori, two girls whose parents run businesses in the same shopping district, Tamako’s determined to make the best of things. It’s complicated though, especially when it comes to emotions and her relationship with her best boy friend Mochizo, whose family runs a rival mochi shop. And lately, Kanna’s been feeling a little odd about her feelings towards Tamako as well. And what’s with up with that strange bird fluttering around, the one that speaks fluent Japanese? It’s all very mysterious and overwhelming, but at least Tamako always has one thing she can count on: No matter if your day’s been good or bad, there’s certain to be something sugary and delicious waiting at the end of every adventure whenever you take a walk through TAMAKO MARKET!