Tamako Market: Anyone Can Love Anyone They Want


When I watched the first episode of Tamako Market, Midori stood out to me despite the scant scenes she was in. Maybe I’ve finally configured my yuri goggles to work properly, but it was clear as day that she harbored some feelings for Tamako, which was further expounded in the next episode.

Now, this doesn’t sound worthy of a blog post, if not for its subtle and nuanced execution. Usually in anime, girl’s love is portrayed in a very distinct manner, using signifiers like blooming flowers, copious blushing, and affectionate gestures that could be read in multiple ways. But Tamako Market is not a yuri anime, at least gleaning from the show’s tone. Midori acts in a realistic manner of a girl in love with another girl–her inability to express her feelings to Tamako and her subsequent depression is played in a natural way, not for laughs or titillation. It’s shown in an earnest and thoughtful manner, while keeping in line with the show’s light mood.

A problem I have with yuri stories (i.e. stories of the yuri genre) is that a lot of characters wear their hearts on their sleeves, where anyone but the densest person could catch on to what they’re feeling. Even then, 90% of the cast turns out to be dense (except for one person with her head on her shoulders who has the unenviable task of breaking the news to the confused parties), which leads to the myriad of romantic slip-ups that the genre is known for. A healthy suspension of belief is required–it’s fine if the romance is good enough despite the question of “who loves whom” all but obvious to a third party, but it crashes badly when it doesn’t work. Tamako Market sidesteps these genre limitations by being outside it, by portraying a young girl’s love without embellishment. The result is a refreshing breath of air.

The episode concludes neatly: Midori is back to her normal self, her brief sojourn from her friends’ company refreshing her perspective, aided by a talking bird, an astute coffee shop owner, and a French song. Midori still has a long way to go, but now she can continue with a little more conviction.

And this, for now, satisfies me.

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5 Responses to Tamako Market: Anyone Can Love Anyone They Want

  1. omo says:

    I see it on the other side: it’s a world where the viewer can remain dense if they choose to. Part of the most annoying thing about people w/ yuri goggles is their incessant need to ship, and the dangers of doing so; for me the point is the romance, not who gets it on with who. A lot of Yuri genre stuff play metagames on this fact and I think it distracts from their duties as solid storytellers. For a story like Tamako Market, which so far relies heavily on charm, it can be suspension breaking. I think they want us to begin thinking about the strange things happening so far but not pierce through its magical atmosphere yet, so it might want us to only do the yuri goggle thing just a little. The question remains if that is even possible.

  2. Subtle lesbianism is subtle. So subtle in fact that I didn’t even notice it when I was watching it.

  3. gerardo says:

    Yeah subtle lesbianism but the embellishment is still there, Outside yuri genre limitations we face romance genre limitations. I once joked that maybe the best and worst manga love stories are between two men.
    So if anyone has feel like me that love between two women in manga has not been appealing to them, then this series wont change their minds.
    On the same joke a friend said I had selective sexism (not cool) well I´m still waiting a series to “cure” me of my prejudice against yuri. At least Tamako Market is in the “not hate list”. So for me that really dont like yuri thats a big compliment.

  4. yamabeee says:

    Is amazing this serie show a yuri character complex like Midori, even shows with more yuri content of this season

  5. In the film Tamako love history, Midori is a heart broken for your friend, and hopeless, she meet in Kanna some much what a simple friendship, the love is loocking for …

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