It’s 2013! Moving on…
Tari Tari doesn’t sound much. But it turned to be above average, and had a couple of nice things in it. It isn’t a serious music show, not in the sense that characters pursue professional music careers, or become musicians. Rather, it’s a show about how music enriches lives and having fun with the time you have. The characters are high school seniors and they give serious consideration to what they will do after graduating, which I would like to be addressed more by other anime.
There are three main characters: Konatsu, Wakana, and Sawa. At first you think it’s Konatsu who’s the “main” main character, but it turns out to be Wakana, who has an extended character arc that’s resolved by the first third of the show. From this reluctant, disgruntled girl, she mellows out considerably. Wakana is pretty much the real driving force in the show, and the main conflict revolves around her.
What about Konatsu? She’s the glue that holds the little club together, and the prime mover in the show. She doesn’t get much attention because most eyes are trained on the more attractive Wakana and Sawa, but Konatsu is my favorite, being someone who doesn’t let failure stop her from doing what she wants. Despite enduring the ridicule of her former clubmates almost every episode, she still keeps a firm resolve and doesn’t lose sight of her goals.
Sawa is interesting, but not so much with her character arc, which is a more pedestrian daughter-versus-father conflict. I like how that turned out (Sawa doesn’t get what she wants, but is still trying), but it’s also my least favorite part of the show, which forced drama that isn’t Tari Tari’s strong point.
Rather, it’s about Sawa and Taichi growing closer together, which isn’t forced, and played out tastefully without any of the cheese we see in high school romances. The anime doesn’t outright tell you they’ve fallen in love, but the seeds are there. The part where Sawa leaves for America and Taichi stops her, without the show letting us hearing their short exchange (experienced lip-readers help?), was something I really liked.
Sadly, the last part of the quintet, Wien, was underdeveloped. Wien didn’t go much beyond comic relief, the funny foreigner who tries his best to understand Japan but keeps on failing (despite not being an actual foreigner). I even found his obsession with super sentai too stereotypical and extraneous in relation to the rest of the show, making it unbelievable. Worst, many scenes play out with him in the background, outright ignored altogether. I wonder how tighter Tari Tari could have been without him in the equation, but maybe just having one guy would’ve turned it into a harem show.
On a final note, Tari Tari ends in a good epilogue–we’re treated to a peek on where the characters are, having gone their separate ways. Life goes on, but their shared experiences changed them for the better. I haven’t really felt like this since… Honey & Clover?