Tamako Market – 04
「小さな恋、咲いちゃった」 (Chisana Koi, Sai Chatta)
“A Small Love Blooms”
To me, this was the best episode of Tamako Market so far. It kept the fuwa-fuwa slice-of-life atmosphere and the pitch perfect jokes (still mainly centered around Dera), but the episode’s driving force (Anko’s feelings) was both more subtly developed while still coming to a satisfying conclusion. Plus, they managed to spring another (slight) surprise on me in the end. While I have long called myself a KyoAni skeptic, it is undeniable – when it comes to slice of life, KyoAni shines.
Anko-hime and the Festival
I feel like I missed the reason for Anko’s conflicted feelings about the festival. There was certainly an element of her being tired of being a mochi maker’s daughter, where she has to help out in the shop when she could be out with her friends. Yet was there a trace of wistfulness there as well? Where once she got to play Anko-hime (side note: hng~), now that time has passed. Maybe she misses it? There were hints of something like that when she was helping the children get ready for the parade, using the same words that calmed her before. Maybe she misses it, but by the end of the episode it was clear that she had come to peace with the festival, and even grown to like it in her own way.
Edit: it was almost certainly because she had memories of her mother from past festivals, such as the one shown in the first scene. Thank you dear commenters for reminding me of this, and also whooops!
Anko’s Little Love
KyoAni are being shifty ones this season. No one expected Dera to talk before Episode 1, and while Midori’s feelings were noticed by some, they were a surprise to the rest of us when they became clear in Episode 2. Yet here we got my favorite surprise so far – a beautiful switch and bait with the good-looking Ikemen-kun and the kind Megane-kun. Just like Midori and Kanna, I initially thought it was Tatsuya-kun (Igarashi Hiromi) who had caught Anko’s eye, so when it was revealed that her crush was Yuzuki-kun (Fujimura Konomi), I damn near whooped with glee! Score one for the kind-hearted glasses boys!! Viva la gentle nerds!!
But Anko’s mega-cuteness aside (though I could watch an entire episode of nothing but that, hng~), I enjoyed the sentiment of the episode. For a little girl she probably didn’t really know, but whose place she remembers so vividly being in, Anko missed a chance to spend time with the boy she liked…but in the end, her efforts were still rewarded. Anko really is a good girl for picking the nice boy, and it’s a good story that rewards them both. To quote Dera’s ending narration:
“Even if your feelings or wishes do not come true, or if things don’t go as you planned, on another road grows another flower. A new flower blooms there. Ah, nice bath.”
The bath part probably wasn’t important. Moving on.
Dera & Mochizou Switch Places (Sort of)
Once again, Dera was the funniest thing about this episode by far. From Tamako fattening him up to the great golden tori chase, he was just hilarious! He didn’t push the plot forward much this week (aside from clueing in Tamako and co as to where Anko was hiding), but I think a lighter hand may be the key towards using his character effectively. Other notables: his forcible landing on Anko’s head, the fat Dera hat, and him enjoying being the star of the parade waaaay too much. I swear, that bird is too pompous for his own good. I love it!
But one of the funnier things to me was how Dera and Mochizou traded places in a way. Whereas usually it’s Dera who is the butt of all the jokes, this week he was looking good in his dashing robe and gold paint while Mochizou was getting made fun of for his name and looking pathetic after carrying the shrine. Poor guy! He can never seem to show his best side in front of the oblivious Tamako.
Tamako is Still Dense
Speaking of, Tamako is still dense. I have a question though – why is it that when Tamako is dense about love, it’s cute, but when it’s a male character it’s annoying? Where double standards go, women – whether in reality or in fiction – are almost always the ones who get the short end of the stick (heads out of the gutter, people), but this may be one of those times where guys aren’t so lucky. Is it?
Well, no. The problem is that male characters are frequently the main characters of romances, and are made dense to stretch the story out. This is slice-of-life with a dash of comedy, so even if Mochizou was the main character and oblivious to Tamako’s love, I don’t think it would grate too much. Okay, sure, perhaps dense male characters can’t be cute quite so easily, but they can certainly be funny, and that would work just as well. No foul!
Still, I really enjoyed it when Midori mentioned how she was kind of relieved that Tamako is so dense. A smart girl, that Midori. Tamako’s denseness is the only reason she hasn’t noticed Mochizou’s blatantly obvious feelings, and thus the only reason Midori still has a chance. Well, that and the fact that Tamako’s sexual orientation is unknown, unless love towards the shopping district or mochi counts.
Looking Ahead – Midori or Mochizou?
The preview hints at some more fun in rabu-rabu land next time. Will it center around Midori? Mochizou? Both? All I can say for sure is that chances are, Tamako will still be dense, and Dera will be ridiculous. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Anko-hime comes to peace with the festival, & grows closer to her crush as well. D’aaaww! #tamakomarket
- Loved how it took a while for Tamako to realize how heavy Dera had become. Her neck must be super strong by now! Like I’m talking the Hulk’s neck grafted onto a Japanese schoolgirl’s body. You’re welcome for that mental image.
- I like how Anko is always wondering when Dera will leave, even though he’s the only one who calls her An. He may be a creepy bird, but he is a gentleman, and he listens to your requests. That counts for something, right?
- Once again, I shouldn’t have been surprised that Anko’s crush was Yuzuki-kun, because KyoAni hinted at as much from the get-go. If you go back to the first scene he and Tatsuya are seen, it’s Yuzuki that speaks first, causing Anko to hide. Sure, she could have hidden on the assumption that those two would be together, but it’s not likely! It’s the little details that make these things fun.
- Dera-chan is like Tamako Market’s gold painted Bond girl, except…in all ways but the gold paint. Fortunately for us.
Full-length images: 03.