Saturday, February 5, 2011

Anime Review: Tamayura OVA

Tamayura is a 4 episode OVA by Sato Junichi, whose most recent project, and biggest influence on Tamayura, is Aria. While Aria is a much more effective iyashi-kei anime, Tamayura is a fine way to pass some time.

Tamayura takes place in the seaside city of Takehara. (Based on the actual city of Takehara in Hiroshima.) The protagonist, Sawatari Fuu, likes to take photographs. In photos taken where there's a happy, gentle atmosphere, small, fuzzy floating white balls that Fuu calls "tamayura" show up. Years ago when her father (who also liked photography) was alive, Fuu took a photo of him, and a lot of tamayura turned up in that picture. Fuu, an idealist who frequently falls down while getting caught up in taking photos, is friends with Maon, a girl who mostly communicates by whistling, Norie, a girl who raves about things she considers moe (to remind us of who this OVA is aimed at, I guess), and Kaoru, who likes smelling things. (Kaoru's eccentric trait isn't played up nearly as much as the others'.)

The first episode establishes the characters. My favorite episode was the second one, in which Fuu visits her favorite photographer, who had given her a ticket to her photography exhibit and, after meeting Fuu, encourages her to pursue her passion for photography. In the third and fourth episodes, Fuu, her friends, her little brother Kou, and Kaoru's older sister Sayomi, look for the place where Fuu's photo of her dad was taken.

Tamayura feels like the anime equivalent of vanilla yogurt. It's pleasant, but doesn't leave much of an aftertaste. (Ideally, iyashi-kei should leave one feeling happy, relaxed, and as if one's heart had just been squeezed.) It has some cute moments, but I couldn't remember the characters' names after finishing it. (I looked them up on Wikipedia.) The best thing about Tamayura is its depiction of its setting. Takehara promotes itself as the "Little Kyoto of Aki" because of its wealth of historic buildings, and Tamayura captures that aspect beautifully. I haven't visited Takehara, and Tamayura makes it look like the kind of place that would be a good choice for a relaxing trip. It would be nice if the characters were more memorable, though.

There isn't any yuri at all (not that I care for this series), but this is the sort of story that draws, "Is there yuri? I'll watch it and see! Hoho, I can slash these girls with mah yuri goggles"-type commentary from yuri fans. (As will the upcoming TV series, no doubt.)

Story: C+
Art: B+ (Great backgrounds, okay character designs.)
Overall: C+

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