Rating: 5 of 5
Availability: Licensed by Sentai Filmworks for digital release sometime soon and home release in 2013, currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Synopsis: (From the MAL Fan Club Page)
The last year of high school is always a time of both looking forward and looking back. Before you lies the future, alternately bright and scary. Behind you lie memories, both happy and sad. And somehow, in the course of one year, you have to reconcile those two and decide where your life is going to go.
For Wakana Sakai, who had started studying music, it’s time to face the tragedy that made her abandon that path. For Sawa Okita, it’s about her dreams of riding professionally. And for Konatsu Miyamoto, it’s about bringing her friends together through the magic of song. Can something as simple as the formation of a chorus club really help solve the hurts and pangs that come with growing up? Can music bring people together despite their differences?
Impressions: Two episodes in, this show has impressed me as one of the finest of the Summer season. Of course, it is a show that hits many of my personal preferences squarely on the nose, so, as they say, your mileage may vary!
However, Tari Tari is perfectly suited for people who enjoy things like slice-of-life, coming of age stories; choral music; breathtakingly beautiful background art; meticulous character animation; and attractive character designs that use realistic character features to distinguish the characters from one another (as opposed to things like brightly colored hair in unrealistic shades).
So far, the show has been very entertaining, with the first episode serving to introduce the characters and the initial plot line of the show, and the second episode totally changing what I thought was going to happen in the show, delivering some very well executed character development, and providing some absolutely beautiful music along the way. I won’t give details about why it was so surprising, but suffice it to say that I was taken off-guard. That doesn’t happen very often, especially with slice-of-life shows. Many comments on other boards mention the feeling that this episode was rushed, but I don’t really feel that. It was unexpected, and covered material that most viewers expected to be more drawn out in one episode, but that is not necessarily bad. In fact, it suggests that the show is not predictable, boring, or slow, which are the most common complaints about shows of this sort.
One of the strengths of the show is the understated manner in which it delivers the story. In introducing the characters and providing further character development, it uses character behavior, facial expressions, and mannerisms to get the point across instead of stating things outright. It trusts the viewer to “get it” when it shows us one of the characters playing with her mother when she was a small child before the OP in episode one, then opens the show after the OP with a teenage girl who looks very much like that mother doing the morning housework that one would expect a traditional Japanese housewife to be doing, chiding her father for sleeping too late among other things, and then heading off to school. It doesn’t have to tell us her mother died. We can tell that she is, at the very least, not there anymore. The natural assumption would be that she died. We can now use this information to parse the characters actions as the story progresses. Similar scenes are used throughout these two episodes, hinting at why the character behaves in a particular manner instead of saying it explicitly.
I give it a strong recommendation and so far it appears to be suitable for even preteen viewers, as there has been practically no fan service or objectionable behavior or language. (There have been a couple of bath scenes, but they have been inverted tropes instead of the expected fan-service, and fairly well done at that.)