As a little girl, Fuu Sawatari’s father taught her to love photography. They took pictures everywhere they went. But after he passed away, seeing those photographs only served as a reminder of her loss, so she locked them away to be forgotten. Years later, her brother Kou finds their father’s picture album, and as he flips through its pages, the pictures remind Fuu of all the happy memories of her father that she will carry with her forever.
Now, as the shy Fuu enters her first year of high school, she once again takes up her father’s old camera, determined to take wonderful pictures that will bring joy and happiness to others.
In Kino's Journey, it is said that the world is not beautiful, which is actually said to be a reason why the world can, in fact, be considered beautiful. Tamayura is a stunningly emotional tale of a girl finding beauty in what had been the source of her sorrow before: photography. Reminded by the loss of her father, she distances herself from his former favorite activity and struggles to cope with the situation she was suddenly forced into.
Tamayura sets off when she finally succeeded in accepting reality and regaining her vitality, which allows her to dive into the memories she has been keeping buried for years. By deciding to pick up photography by herself, she enters a journey to discovering the background of her late father's passion towards making photographs to understand more about him and the emotional value of keeping mementos.
This short synopsis already brings me close to tears. The premise sounds perfect for a highly emotional ride, but what you get was, unfortunately, not elaborated in detail. Tamayura is a 'high slice of life' series, meaning it is almost episodic and doesn't follow a decent story. In contrast to Aria, Tamayura lacks a firmly set goal, and the episodes just float by, so to speak, which is ultimately the reason there is much unused potential in terms of storytelling.
Impressively enough that Tamayura excels in 'floating by', creating a wonderfully soothing and peaceful atmosphere that is well known from the Aria franchise. Instead of integrating plot elements with high depth that encourage the viewer to think and reflect, this show focuses on depicting peacefulness and harmony with every detail it comes with. In the same manner, emotional, mostly beautiful scenes just 'float by' and add some intensity to the entire thing, which is otherwise defined by more or less random slice of life plotlets.
Although the synopsis literally cries out for character development, only traces of it can be found in Tamayura. The character development can be summarized as the process of bonding with friends and becoming more mentally stable throughout the show while discovering happiness. And this applies to all the main characters there are, namely the heroine Fuu and her close friends. It totally makes sense, in my opinion, that an atmosphere-oriented show rarely offers in-depth characters, and I don't consider this a weakness of Tamayura at all. That, what is important in this case, is the credibility of the characters' personalities, which is absolutely present in this show. Both the main characters as well the side characters provide a very consistent personality with authentic attitudes. This luckily outshines the sometimes rather clichéd dialogues.
Those who know Aria are well aware of how much the soundtrack contributes to the peaceful atmosphere that was aimed for with Tamayura as well. The background music turned out as beautiful as the atmosphere created by the characters, thus implying a high fit between the content and the technical dimension. The opening song by Maaya Sakamoto is an excellent addition to that and gets the viewer in the right mood for what is to follow. A noticeable disappointment, however, is the considerable amount of unused potential regarding sceneries and landscapes. A show that focuses on beauty (esp. in nature) would be wise to emphasize this aspect by delivering more impressive images/drawings to enhance the emotional impact. Aria did this masterfully, but that was primarily thanks to a more creative sci-fi setting.
Once again, the director of the Aria franchise has shown his qualities in creating an immersive experience that is defined by shallowness, peacefulness, harmony, and beauty. It absolutely meets my taste, although I would have wished for a decent storyline adding to Tamayura's density of emotional substance. If you are the type for hardly demanding and calming anime, Tamayura can be highly recommended.
(A quantified evaluation can be found on my page.)read more
Dreams. Small or big, simple or far-fetched, related to hobbies, future job or just dreams of making friends. Almost everyone have dreamt of something at least once. Tamayura is an anime about chasing these dreams. And no, not about huge triumphs. It's about achieving small successes and enjoying them.
First of all, if you:
a) automatically mark every anime similar to K-On! as moeblob crap, without even bothering about things like story or characters;
b) don't like slow-paced shows that, unlike mentioned above K-On!, mainly focus on drama than on comedy;
just give up already. You will not like Tamayura either.
Tamayura ~Hitotose~ is a sequel to OVAs (which take place in between 1st and 2nd Hitotose episodes on the timeline, however) and should be watched after them. Otherwise you'll not recognise some gags, and start without knowing most of main cast.
Story - 8/10
Tamayura is, just as the MAL description for OVAs says, some kind of "healing anime". It makes viewers be able to unwind a bit. The main plot is very simple. It resolves around a girl, Fu, who's interested in photography. It's somehow similar to Aria in many aspects (not to mention they share the same director).
However, unlike Aria, which shows an idealised vision of future, Tamayura takes place in our times. It doesn't show how the world could be beautiful, but how it actually is.
Also, in contrast to other shows focusing on everyday life of groups of friends (eg. A-Channel, Yuru Yuri, Lucky Star, Kimi to Boku or mentioned above: K-On! and Aria) Tamayura: Hitotose doesn't contain any completely filler episodes, which don't advance the story at all. Almost every single one either develop characters a bit or shows some of the backstory, which explains their current behaviours. The OVAs didn't have so well-thought story, so it's already the first thing, that shows that Hitotose is better.
Nevertheless, even through everything seem to form a coherent whole, the show is still episodic and not really ambitious in comparison to more complex stories we can see in other series.
Characters - 9/10
Characters are definitely strong point of Tamayura ~Hitotose~. Like I've already stated before, they are somehow developed in almost every single episode. Their backstories are very well-presented, too. As the characters develop, we can also see that they have more depth than it was shown in OVAs.
Every girl has a bit different personality and different interests as well. Yes, different hobbies. You won't see anything like light music clubs or gondola companies here. Photography could be the core of story here, like mahjong in Saki or drawing in Hidamari Sketch. However, not focusing on only one thing makes Tamayura somewhat more universal.
These two things also makes them seem more realistic. Probably no one wonders why Azusa Nakano started to play guitar, or why Akari Mizunashi decided to become undine in Neo Venezia, leaving her family behind on another planet. Such information usually aren't considered as important, but in fact they are essential for the most of the story to take place. And they are provided in Tamayura.
Art & Sound - 10/10
As far as I'm concerned, only average thing here is design of characters. Sceneries are really wonderful, they just make you want to take a photo of them (oh, well, you can still take a screenshot).
Taking into account, that the production hasn't very high budget and its studio is almost unknown, backgrounds in urban areas have really many details such as irregular bricks in the old pavement. So do many objects such as Fu's camera.
The animation is fine, however unlike in fantasy or shounen shows, in slice of life anime it isn't something you pay much attention to.
Music fits very well, at least if you don't find singing in BGM annoying. The opening and ending both fit in climate of the series, whereas the second one is quite meaningful, especially if you connect lyrics, story of Tamayura and photos shown in it.
Enjoyment and Other Aspects - 7/10
The sole purpose of this series is to relax viewers, allow them to chill out after rough day and forget about the shadows of everyday life. In this aspect, Tamayura is almost perfect - it has calm slow-paced story, sympathetic characters and pretty sceneries, it also has some kind of 'warm feeling'. OVAs, with duration of only 2 regular anime episodes couldn't do that better than TV series, cause there wasn't enough of them and viewer, who happened to like it, was left with deficiency, wanting for more.
It also has an ability to show how beautiful the world is. For me, who lives in industrial region, chimneys of factories, power plants or ironworks don't seem to beautify the surroundings. Nah, it even makes everything uglier. Therefore, it was quite shocking for me, when Noire and Maon looked at a red-and-white-painted factory chimney and said that it was... beautiful. It made me come to conclusion, that maybe they really aren't that bad as I always thought. It forces to think, if it is Tamayura's reality being idealized, or is it just our view of the real world as something vile, foul.
It is also really good, that they resigned from needless fanservice that appeared once in OVAs. In my book, such series shouldn't have any, really.
It seems everything is fine, but... you wonder, why I gave enjoyment only seven points of ten? Well... Despite all the relaxation and manifestation of world's beauty, the humour in this series is just average. In combination with really slow-paced story the whole thing can be really boring for everyone, who is expecting comedy, action, or just isn't in mood to watch something like that. Enough boring to quickly give up on it.
Tamayura is an anime about the world around us. However, it shows everything around in way more positive, yet gentle way. If you are in mood to spend your fabulous time on watching something peaceful and optimistic, something without overcomplicated story, deaths, sex or shocking plot twists, I can highly recommend Tamayura to you.
Final grade: (8+9+10+7)/4 = 8.5 => 9 of 10read more
There's a few different types of anime. There's anime that's written to excite, and there's also animes that bring out laughter. And then, there's animes like Aria the Animation (and it's sequels) and Tamayura: Hitotose, where there is only one purpose behind it - to make the viewer smile, and to bring joy to their hearts. I suppose Tamayura, is an anime that you could call heartwarming, and there's no doubt that that's quite the fitting descriptor. Because it really, really is quite heartwarming indeed. Watching Tamayura, brought me so much joy and warmth that no shounen or seinen anime has ever brought me. I can’t even begin to describe the warmth that Tamayura poured into me through it’s telling of the stories of a group of friends.
That being said, because Tamayura really is, when you boil it down, a slice-of-life anime, it really isn’t for everybody. If you like your anime girls clad in armor wielding legendary swords and fighting epic assassins and overthrowing evil families, Tamayura is probably not for you. If you like animes where every single episode is a cliffhanger, and you’re absolutely dying to see what happens to the kid ninja next, this anime’s probably not for you. But, if you like to enjoy the stories of the lives of four high school girls, and like to enjoy an anime where you can relax and plaster all your worries away, then absolutely watch this anime.
Because realistically, that’s all Tamayura was meant for. It wasn’t meant to be a massive blockbuster in the anime world, it wasn’t meant to be an adaptation of some famous manga, no, not at all. In fact, I’m pretty sure (no, I’m absolutely sure) that Tamayura: Hitotose, was written for the sole purpose of helping people find good in life. It seems like the entire anime as a whole, constantly aims to show people the positive sides of life, and fill their hearts with warmth as they display possibly the most positive of emotions only to be bested by the final season of Aria.
In that sense, there really is no plot - there is no suspense, no rising action, no climax, no finale, there really is only daily life, a daily life that’s filled with the joy and happiness of four high school girls. In fact, the development of said girls, is probably the greatest achievement if Tamayura: Hitotose. The wonderfully told story of Fuu and her friends, as well as her photographic past, was not only heartwarming, but extremely motivating. Actually, I’m sure that's exactly what Junichi Sato aimed to create - an anime that fills people with joy, hope, and motivation, just like his previous creations, namely Aria the Animation and it’s sequels. Of course, having watched both, it was pretty easy to draw parallels in style. Both animes, have this incredibly peaceful feel that nothing else can replicate. It seems like I could just wash my worries away and immerse myself in the world of Fuu and her friends forever, and remove all the weight off my shoulders.
Unfortunately though, since I watched Aria, I can also see why Tamayura is not as good as Aria. The reason why I brought Aria up, even knowing that reviews should not include other animes, is because it proves my point very well. The place that's “lacking” per se, in Tamayura, is it’s setting. Obviously, a quiet town definitely fits Tamayura very well, but the problem with this is, is that it narrows the audience, as it makes the anime “less interesting” for a certain demographic. But, this goes both ways. Personally, I wouldn’t have changed a thing - while the setting may have been monotonous, and slightly boring, I found that not only did it fit the anime quite well, the way it was described painted a very peaceful and quiet atmosphere, something perfect for Tamayura. On the other hand, having such a normal setting means that the anime has to rely on it’s other aspects to make it interesting - and daily life like the one seen in Tamayura, isn’t always the best medium of choice when trying to create a great anime.
Of course, if I had to name one thing every decent anime needs, is great animation. And Tamayura has good animation. Although not as artsy and incredible as Aria, Tamayura has that modern, smooth, and flowing animation that also comes off as quite peaceful. Of course, like the setting, it’s also quite normal. Which personally, I liked.
The same goes for this series - I quite enjoyed it. It filled me with a soft, warm happiness that no other anime, save for Aria, gave me. To me, it was the anime that I would sit down and truthfully enjoy, no matter what happened to me that day, Tamayura would still have made me smile. And it did, quite often.
So, thank you, Junichi Sato, for putting a smile on my face. Thank you, for an anime that gave me a warm happiness that seems to be easily forgotten in this fast-paced, action-packed world.
I’ll definitely look forward to Tamayura: More Aggressive.read more
I give this adorable, warm, and fluffy anime from the slice-of-life master himself...a 95/100!
Have any of you seen the anime Aria? Well, apparently it's famous for being a sweet, calm, heartwarming, and just downright relaxing anime, which warmed and relaxed the hearts of many. It's based on the popular manga by Kozue Amano, and it's gained a massive fanbase. Oddly enough, it also inspired the director of said anime, Junichi Sato, who is famous for working on anime like Sailor Moon, Goldfish Warning, Ojamajo Doremi, Kaleido Star, and Princess Tutu, to work on more slice of life anime just like it. He began working on "healing anime", which are anime with basically no epic plots or fan service or violence or anything of the like. Just plain, calm, heartwarming, touching, and relaxing anime about characters who go through their daily lives while growing up and learning to appreciate the small things in life. His second healing anime, Umi Monogatari, doesn't REALLY fit the healing anime standard, and while I didn't really like it as much as I would have, it's still a nice little anime. However, his third healing anime, Tamayura, is what I consider Sato's personal best, and for many many MANY reasons to come!
Now before all you moe haters go bashing and flaming this anime (like the person who reviewed this show here, giving it a 3 out of 10), saying it's nothing but a rip off of K-ON and is nothing more than moeblobs doing moe things and all that garbage, let me tell you this: prepare to be proven wrong. Okay, yes, K-On DOES have a rather strong fan base and did start the new wave in moe. In fact, I'm one of the many who watched it. Unfortunately, I grew tired of watching K-On upon seeing it's second season stretch to 26 episodes, as it became more about the girls doing stupid things and becoming nothing but exposition bait. I actually liked the episodes were Hokago Tea Time WEREN'T present!!! Basically, my initial liking for K-On dwindled down to nothing. But Tamayura? Tamayura...is a VERY VERY VERY different creature entirely. It's not about music, not about mindless moe, not about stupidity or fan service, and not about trying to do stupid things in order to get an audience! I'll explain more further down.
The story's about a young, partially timid but sweet girl named Fu Sawatari who loves taking pictures and wants to be a photographer when she grows up, like her idol, the photographer Riho Shihomi (voiced by Akari Mizunashi herself from Aria). Some years ago, her photographer father died (they don't explain how so just deal with it), and her interest dwindled after his death. But years later, she regains interest and her family moves to a peaceful town called Takehara, where they used to visit on their spare time. Fu makes some new friends in the form of Kaoru Hanawa, a strong-willed girl with a love for aromas, Norie Okazaki, a rather hyper and rambuctious girl with a love for baking, and Maon Sakurada, a timid and soft-spoken girl who loves whistling but has other dreams up her sleeves. This group of friends are close-knit, but they all have different dreams of their own, though at times they're unsure about what they want to do with their lives or what's the right path for them. As Fu and her friends would find, dreams and choosing paths is much more complex than they initially thought.
Let me start by talking about the animation. This anime is produced by the company Hal Film Maker, famous for works like Princess Tutu, Sketchbook, Futago Hime, and Aria, and wouldn't you know it, IT IS FREAKING BEAUTIFUL. The animation is really top tier! These animators CLEARLY had a big budget, and they used it masterfully. The characters are animated very nicely, from their facial expressions to hand gestures and other fluid bodily movements. The backgrounds are impeccably lush and detailed, down to even the smallest little things that most would find insignificant (I'll go more into that further down). There were a lot of scenes were the sun was reflected on the sea, and they're just beautiful and downright amazing, and anybody who knows me knows that I almost NEVER say the words beautiful and amazing unless I really see something beautiful and amazing! I also notice that the places that the characters go to are actual locations and places in real life! Sato sure did his research, because I can really see that he put a lot of work into making these places come to life, from their food to other traditions, like festivals. I tried looking up the place called Mitarai, but didn't find anything so I can't say much about that, but I sure loved the look of it all!
The same goes for the soundtrack, which is VERY soothing. There's no hard rock, soft rock, rap, hip-hop, bombast cheesiness or anything of the like. It consists mostly of soft piano tunes and low tune woodwind instruments, and they're used quite nicely! It makes the show more subtle and relaxing with the softness of the music. Seriously, the music's just so pleasant to listen to! It's the type of music you want to listen to after a really rough day and just want to take a breath, close your eyes, and drift off to dreamland, full of fluffy clouds and warm thoughts. That's what I think anyway. In the series, a vast majority of the episodes have insert songs sung by the characters' seiyuus. I wish that vocal album would come out already because I want all the songs on it!! The songs, on top of being VERY well sung and well composed, are not only sweet, beautiful, touching, and heartwarming, but their lyrics and themes fully relate to the show and it's message, morals, and themes as well. They're not cheesy high pitched moe pop tunes or hard rock bombast or anything like that. They're like the rest of the OST: totally sweet, pleasant, easy on the ears, heartwarming, touching, and relaxing. And to think I thought Art Garfunkel's songs were the cream of the crop when it came to easy listening! Tamayura's insert songs wipes his out of the water, though I still love listening to him. Man! I'd love to get that vocal album for Christmas, but it doesn't come out until three days afterward!
Now onto the thing that people both love and hate the most: the characters. For this paragraph I'm going to talk about the main characters. Now for all you moe haters and bashers out there, I will confess that yes, it does look as though the characters DO start off as an overused stereotype at first (the clumsy one, the level-headed one, the hyper one, and the shy one), but let me tell you that Tamayura may look like a pointless moe fest, but I personally feel it has the most well rounded characters in recent times! What do I mean? Well, you know how in most fanservice anime characters only do stupid things and not grow out of their stereotypes? Tamayura is another story. It's characters are wonderfully engaging, and even though this is a 12 episode (or 16 episode if you include the OVAs) anime series, they're constantly evolving. The lead character, Fu, loves photography and is a little shy, but throughout the series, you watch her grow into a wonderful person, even though she still has doubts about whether she wants to pursue photography forever. Her friend Kaoru suffers the same problem, only to a higher degree. She may seem lively and level headed, but she doesn't quite know what to do with her life. The same for Norie, the loud and hyper one, who may seem annoying at first, but once you get a good look into her past and motivations for doing what she does, you'll find that she's really a sweet person. However, out of all the characters, the most developed one has to be Maon. I'm well aware of the fact that at the beginning, people didn't like her because she whistled most of the time. I didn't really think this to be a problem, but others did. But for those of you who want to continue the series but fear that she'll never stop whistling, fret not, because the more you watch the show, the less and less she whistles on a regular basis. I can't say why because of spoilers, but she has the most edge in the show. Maybe even more so than Fu. But these are real characters with real doubts and real dreams that they want to pursue, not bland and pointless moeblobs.
Now for the minor characters. What I find a problem in most anime nowadays is that more and more anime kids don't have any parental authority figures in their lives. Tamayura, however, subverts this overdone cliche by giving each character a family. What a wonderful breath of fresh air! Fu's family is awesome (her mother, grandmother, and little brother), though I wish they went into more detail about her late father. I kinda didn't like Kaoru's sister Sayomi for various reasons, but not to a high degree. Other characters are given some nice and subtle presence too, like a okonomiyaki shop owner and frequent customers who come by (and who are given an episode featuring their development). But the side character I loved the most is Fu's childhood friend Chihiro. She's sooooo ungodly cute! I want to hug her, she's so adorable! She may have only appeared for a few episodes, but even she becomes a nice and versatile character by the end of the series. Some of you may find some of her antics somewhat annoying, but I found them very endearing. However, the character I find to be the most refreshing is a new character by the name of Komachi. When she first appeared, I immediately thought she was going to turn into another Minko (UGH!!!) because of some stuff. But the more the episode went on, the more she realized that just because something looks like what she sees doesn't mean that it IS what she sees (watch the episode and find out). Thank GOD she didn't turn out the way I dreaded!! Another thing I want to mention: do you notice that more and more anime are showing characters who are UNGODLY stubborn, fill their heads with a bazillion delusions and never want to hear other character's reasons for doing what they do and usually respond with overused phrases like "This has nothing to do with you!" (My GOD I hear that sentence in EVERY ANIME I WATCH NOW!!!) and how they NEVER let the other characters clarify themselves? For me, I think this has become a very fatal flaw in all anime that came out since 2005. THANK GOD this anime subverted this overdone trope, BIG TIME!!!
Now I must speak of the premise. It doesn't look like much, as it's been done many times before, but NEVER with this much substance and meaning behind it. It's simple, but in this case, it's sublimely well done thanks to the directors and writers that actually KNOW what they want to do instead of randomly slap some pointless fan service in it. Also, there's quite a lot of symbolism in this anime (Not Utena or Mawaru Penguin Drum type symbolism, mind you), the biggest one being the blue ticket that Fu carries around. It has no destination and it seems insignificant, but it represents the vagueness of the future, but that it's okay to change your path in life when you feel it needs to change. There's no set path in life, and it's fine to move around freely and try new things. It changes and changes and then you finally arrive at your destination. Many people in real life deal with the problem of trying to decide our future (I know I'm sort of going through that phase), and it's normal because we don't know what will become of us. I also noticed that there's a lot of sky and ocean scenes, and I think they also symbolize the vastness of the future and the world around us. Sato's labeled this as a healing anime, and I think he means healing in the way of helping people overcome the every day struggles that we all face in life. Tamayura isn't anything big, but for me, it felt like a really big warm and fuzzy bear hug that squeezed all the troubles out of me with it's sheer warmth and pleasance and fluffiness. I could be wrong here, but I think the Tamayura, those little light balls that appear in photos sometimes, may represent happiness or the feeling of being at ease or joyous. I have no idea if the big pink fluffy cat, Momoneko, represents anything...BUT HE IS SO CUTE!!!
What do you think, moe haters and bashers? Think this is a pointless moe anime now? Well, I don't really consider it to be moe. In my view, I think of moe as the act of animating teenaged girls into looking, sounding, and acting younger than they should just for the purpose of gaining a nerdy male audience (Kodomo no Jikan and Ro-Kyu-Bu are GREAT examples of this). Tamayura isn't trying to get an audience, nor is it willing to submit to horrid and overused tropes to become known or to get its message across. It's simply a sweet and heartwarming anime that teaches us to appreciate the little things in life. Who knows, maybe it'll help you turn into a better person. Unfortunately, as much as I LOVE Tamayura, the anime AnoHana still beats it in my book because of how much it hit me with long repressed memories that I had forgotten and how nostalgic and dramatic it was. But that doesn't mean I hate Tamayura for lacking those qualities. Yes, Tamayura doesn't have a lot of conflict, nor is it epic or bombastic. But I don't mind. Sometimes we need a little peace and quiet once in a while, and Tamayura is definitely one of those peaceful and serene anime that lulls you into a happy dreamland.
If you ask me, Tamayura is the epitome and pinnacle of gentle and serene slice of life anime done absolutely right, hands down. Still think this is a moeblob fest? Well...you heartless person. >:Pread more
Curious if you’ve ever watched a Nozomi Entertainment release? If you own or have seen Revolutionary Girl Utena, Yakitate!! Japan, Junjo Romantica, or Martian Successor Nadesico – then you’ve seen a Nozomi Entertainment release. Check out what else they have.