Back when it aired, a good number of people criticized Tamako for a great many things. Some found it too safe (didn’t try many things), others found it to be pure moe-crap and well in general, many found it to be boring. But those that liked it, liked it a lot.
Then there are a small number of people out there who herald this as one of the best if not the best anime this year. I, for one, definitely think this Tamako was fantastic and it was one of my favorites this year.
Let’s start this post with a quick comment on Tamako Market’s best character: Kanna.
Kanna is living (well, animated) proof that cute things don’t have to be uninteresting things. She is a fantastic character and is my absolute favorite character in this anime and one of my favorites this year
Through the use of great poses, a great deadpan face, great lines and simple but profound wisdom, Kanna never failed to light up the screen. Any scene or dialogue that involved her never failed to bring a smile to my face. And yet, as spectacular as she was, she never felt out of place.
Often when you are filled with admiration for a single character, you tend to lament the scenes that don’t feature her. You wonder why the entire anime couldn’t be about her and you question the existential reasons behind the rest of the cast.
I never felt that way in Tamako Market. I never felt something or someone was unnecessary.
I suppose part of why I felt that way was because the cast in general was fantastic. I liked every character and there were some characters (e.g. Dera ) whom I loved very much but a great cast is only part of why I felt that way. Nothing felt unnecessary in Tamako Market because nothing felt out of place in Tamako Market.
Everything fit together so well. The animation, the music, the characters, the dialogue, the visuals, nothing felt out of place. I can’t even call Tamako Market a well oiled machine because that would imply some degree of friction. There was no friction.
Maybe that is why a good number of folk did not like this show. There was no conflict. There was little development and little change. But, I personally felt that this was the show’s greatest charm. It instilled a feeling of belonging.
At the end of the show, Tamako was offered the chance to leave the shopping district and become a princess. But, she refused. She had no desire for adventure or travel because she was perfectly content with where she was. She could not be complete without Usagiyama Shopping District and the District in turn could not be complete with her.
The Shopping District could not be complete without any of the characters. That is how tightly coupled everything was.
Tamako Market didn’t just bring the setting to life, it sucked me in as well. Week after week, I would slip away and walk through that shopping district with Tamako and the rest. Week after week, I’d feel a little remorseful the episode was over but at the same time, perfectly content, too.
Like many naive children, I often fantasize about living somewhere else. Maybe if I lived in the colonies, I’d get to fly a Gundam. Maybe if I lived in the FMP verse, I’d get to captain Tuatha de Danaan. And so on…
What I will remember most about this show is that for 30 minutes each week, it made me cast aside my lofty fantasies and made me wish I was but a humble resident of Usagiyama Shopping District.
I couldn’t have said it better myself, Dera.
edit: I totally forgot to mention this until I read the 12 Days posts of other people, but one of the best scenes from Tamako Market came in episode 9. Do you remember how Tamako’s dad loved her mother enough to write her a song and how he still loved her many years after her death? Yeah, that was great! Everybody loves somebody!
Note: I stole this video from Marrow’s 12 Day post on Tamako Market.