OP Sequence

OP: 「恋の歌」 (Koi no Uta) by Fujiwara Keiji

「たまこラブストーリー」 (Tamako Rabusutourii)
“Tamako Love Story”

I once said that what Tamako Market lacked was romance, and that it didn’t make good on its potential by bringing real change to its characters’ lives. Now, with Tamako Love Story, they’ve done that. So the question becomes—did they succeed?

Unused Potential

It turns out my final impressions for Tamako Market were prescient. The original series had maybe four good episodes—the first one (introducing Dera), finding out Midori is gay, Anko’s crush on the nerdy boy, and the love story of Mamedai (Tamako’s Papa). And with the exception of Dera’s introduction (which was good mainly because it was so unexpected), every one had to do with romance. As I anticipated, I can hardly remember the rest.

Tamako Market smacked of unused potential, and a show so enamored with the status quo that it didn’t do anything. Built like a light romance and told like a slice-of-life, it ended up being unsatisfying because nothing changed. They never dared to shake up Tamako’s comfy life in the shopping district after the first episode.

And true to expectations, this movie fixed that problem. The characters did change by the end. For that, I’m happy at least.

One Romance, with a Side of Midori

The entire movie focused on Tamako (Suzaki Aya) and Mochizou (Tamaru Atsushi), which I think was a missed opportunity. What of Choi (Yamaoka Yuri) and her prince (Shimono Hiro)? I would have liked more than a token glance at them, or of Dera (Yamazaki Takumi), or everyone else for that matter. Kanna (Nagatsuma Juri) got a little development when she climbed the tree, but what of Shiori (Yamashita Yurie) and her plans to study abroad? (I thought she would end up studying on Dera’s island.) It kept the story tight, but if you were more interested in Choi than Tamako, you’re out of luck.

But it was all about Tamako and Mochizou, with a little extra time from their ill-fated third wheel, Midori (Kaneko Yuuki). Midori’s story was predictably bitter, with her being wise enough to know that this Tamako would never fall for her, so she pulled away. That hurt, to see someone do all the right things, and not be rewarded for it. We hate seeing that. It sucks. It’s also how the world works. I feel bad for her, even though there was little chance for her to win. But that was a small part of the movie. Mostly it was Tamako and Mochizou.

Too Much Time, Not Enough Story

The question I keep coming back to—why wasn’t this included in the original series? For all the episodes I have zero recollection of, the plot of Tamako Love Story could have been folded into the original TV run without problem. It probably wouldn’t even have taken a full three episodes, what with how much padding this movie had. Some of it was to good effect—I prefer to take a romance slow rather than rush. And KyoAni remains excellent at visual storytelling, and those simple moments that are cliché and predictable, yes, but still work. But much of the movie was just slow. For its hour and twenty runtime, it had maybe an hour of solid content, maybe an hour ten. And yes, the extra hurts.

Change, But Not Very Much

The story was sweet, don’t get me wrong. And Tamako’s realization that she does indeed love Mochizou was very sweet indeed. For all it hurt to watch Midori’s love go unfulfilled, despite her doing all the right things, for a good guy like Mochizou, who steps forward when it counts, to win the girl was gratifying to see.

Yet—they’re together now. That’s it? The payoff was surprisingly small for the amount of time it took to get there. Which in a way, is good … this is a small story, not a grand one, and something sweeping would have been out of place. But shooting forward in time to show them together and happy would have been the best thing of all. We want that. We desire those clean, happy endings, for how rare they are in real life. And what we got was the beginning of a relationship. Which is great! But it’s also, in many ways, the least interesting part of a relationship. Seeing them have not just the chance at happiness together, but seeing that realized would have made my day.

I think of Ano Natsu de Matteru, where (spoiler alert) the payoff was much greater. It was still coy, but the resolution paid off everything we went through a hundredfold, once we were able to process what had happened. This, though, just … ended. And though I’m happy for our main couple, I can already feel their story fading from my memory the way so many of the original episodes did.

Which brings me to an old opinion of mine—KyoAni needs better writers. They are technical masters of the craft of anime, but they lack the auteurs who can tell a vibrant story with the tools they have at hand. Amaburi proves this in spades, because the underlying story is good—it’s the first truly well written KyoAni series since Hyouka. Everything since—and Tamako Love Story included—was second tier. serviceable, and occasionally good, but it never glowed, even though it had the potential to.

Final Verdict

My final verdict for Tamako Love Story remains largely unchanged from the original series. It has a great deal of potential, but it remains unrealized, and for ways that are hard to grasp. I think Tamako Love Story is better than the original overall, though select episodes of the TV series outshined it—Tamako’s father will forever remain the best character in the series to me.

Where the original was confused—built like a love story, told like slice-of-life—this is at least consistent. It’s a love story, and a serviceable one. If you enjoyed it, you’re not wrong to do so! Not in the least. I enjoyed parts very much, seeing Mochizou finally confess was long overdue, and Tamako coming to terms with her feelings was both adorable and sweet. (And Mochizou, you smooth kid.) Yet … it could have been so much more, had KyoAni focused less on the beautiful animation, and more on the hard, tricky work of telling a great story. I wouldn’t have been so hard on the original series if the plot of Tamako Love Story had been included there. At least this gives us some measure of resolution for the star duo, and that’s not nothing.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – It’s a tighter story built around Tamako & Mochizou’s love, & it worked. But the payoff wasn’t what I would have liked #tamakolovestory

Samu helped out with this post, so for his (quite different) take on the film, see his impressions below. If you’re raging about what I’ve said, you might find his thoughts more to your liking.

Samu’s Impressions

I’d consider myself one of the few out there who really enjoyed Tamako Market. For me, it was an overwhelmingly positive watch, bursting with cuteness and heartfelt moments throughout, and above all, it had a sense of community that made me feel like I was part of Tamako’s little market every time we explored the various shops and characters it held. Though I suppose that was where most people didn’t quite like the series so much; having a shifting point of view every episode made it seem much less focused than it could have if it was actually about the title character. Nonetheless, I loved it for what it was, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. As for Tamako Love Story? Well, I think this might have been what everyone hoped Tamako Market was going to be in the first place.

I must say, it’s nice for a change to have a short-length feature that doesn’t stretch itself with unnecessary padding. This movie had focus, an incredibly tight script, plenty of giggles to go around, and it perfectly captured the essence of ‘first love’ between our two leads. While it is funny to think how little we saw of our main character before, this time around it is her and Mochizou that get all the attention, and I wouldn’t change a thing about that. It was without a doubt the best decision to have the film focus entirely on the romantic feelings between them, whilst managing to juggle the many side characters and effectively use them to always drive the main plot forward, never tripping over itself in the process.

When characters are nearing the end of their high school lives, it’s only natural that narratives focuses on themes such as moving on, dreams, hopes, and career aspirations. KyoAni did it recently with Free! Eternal Summer, and with Tamako Market we got a glimpse of what the future holds for a bunch of our characters. That was one of the elements that made this work so well; it’s a tough act balancing such an extensive cast, as is evident by the approach of Tamako Market, but what we have here is great, simple storytelling.

As far as aesthetics go, this is certainly up there as one of KyoAni’s best works, though I wouldn’t expect any less. For whatever complaints some may have for the studio, it’s animation is never one of them, because it’s just so damn stunning. Throughout watching Love Story, I kept thinking how many shots were so well done, how the composition and cinematography was used to its absolute best, and how the pale-yet-colourful palette went perfectly with the various tones, from happy to heartbroken and everything in between.

I could list so many things that I loved about the movie, like the little details or the character animation quirks, but one thing that stood out for me was how brilliant Midori was. Her own personal story was what I was most worried about going into this. Very rarely are same-sex feelings done well, so I was honestly prepared to see Midori get completely trampled to make way for the destined coupling of Tamako and Mochizou. But I couldn’t have been happier with how it was done, and how subtle her bowing down was. I’m sure there are some out there who (somehow) didn’t quite catch that Midori held feelings for Tamako, but KyoAni certainly knew what they were doing by working the magic of Show, Don’t Tell. Her feelings were never made vocal here, but there were so many moments where her careful words and her slight expressions said it all: her sadness when she came to realise she couldn’t beat Mochizou, her disappointment in herself for not being able to confess like him, and her admiration in him for doing so, resulting in her telling a little lie that sealed the deal between Tamako and Mochizou in the end.

And what an end it was. I was half-expecting a scene where Mochizou would poke his head out the window and Tamako would scream her confession there and then before the train went off into the distance, much like has been done many a time before. But thankfully it didn’t work out like that. The returned confession through their string-and-cups in the very last seconds was perfect, as was Mochizou’s reaction; watching him put his hand over his mouth in pure bliss just about made my heart burst. It’s those little details that made Tamako Love Story so easy to love for me. That, tied with concise writing, laugh-out-loud slapstick comedy, absolutely stunning visuals, and the perfect amount of well-captured love to tie it all together. To say I enjoyed this movie would be an understatement. I absolutely loved it.


ED Sequence

ED: 「プリンシプル」 (Principle) by Suzaki Aya
ED2: 「恋の歌」 (Koi no Uta) by Suzaki Aya


  1. Wow, just finished watching this about ten minutes ago and I was wondering if RC would even post! Awesome!

    I totally agree with Samu. Everything was top notch. The animation, character quirks, music, I was glued. Mochizou is by far one of my favorite male leads in anime so this movie was a treat. I was so satisfied until I realized there was nothing after the credits. I wished we had gotten some sort of epilogue or even a nice end card, but overall I’m happy.

    Tamako Market wasn’t the best show, but it had its moments of brilliance, particularly in Mochizou. I rarely ever see a quiet, sensitive guy character like him and I find his story so relatable. Tamako Love Story was everything I wanted.

    1. The last scene with Chitanda and Oreki at the sakura tree just about melted me. Her confession that was not a confession was just beautiful. I so wanted her to hear his answer which was as indirect as her confession. Love story for them. Count me in!

    2. Agreed. Though Hyouka is based on the novel series, which has a history of taking ages to publish a new volume.

      Volume 1 begun in 2000, and by 2012 only 5 volumes were published, the anime covered the first 4 volumes. You’ll have a better chance of waiting for a new Song of Ice and Fire volume.

      That said, I’d still wait for there to be enough source material for season 2, no matter how unlikely it is. Kyo-Ani has a track record of not going back when the source material took too long to produce (eg FMP, Suzumiya Haruhi).

  2. The question I keep coming back to—why wasn’t this included in the original series?

    Well, I think this might have been what everyone hoped Tamako Market was going to be in the first place.

    Those were my thoughts too. Although I wanted the original series to focus on Tamako and Mochizou, I’m good with the fact that an entire movie production was dedicated to it. It felt like a “Hey, fans of Tamako Market, we’re sorry about the lack of romance in the original anime so here is a gift for you” present from Kyoto Animation. Considering not many romantic relationships from manga are tied up in anime adaptations, this was extremely satisfying.

    Thank you for the post, Stilts, Samu, and Random Curiosity!

    1. At one point I was wondering whether KyoAni purposefully didn’t include more romance in the series because they wanted to do this movie and milk the franchise for more money, but for once I don’t think KyoAni was being that corporate. From how the original series was constructed, I feel like they were trying something different that didn’t work (for me—it did for others), and once they realized it didn’t really work, they went “We should have done more romance … let’s do a movie to fix that!”

      1. I personally think that the writers at KyoAni (back then) had no guts to change the character dynamics in the middle of a tv cour, as in not to upset ANY fanships lest you want someone else to be halfheartedly added in just to keep Dera’s quote consistent…

        You wouldn’t want a grunchy girl for the rest of the show after such a character changing arc without any sort of subsequent consequences, would you?

  3. I’m with Samu on this one: I felt like the short run time of the movie was perfectly paced with all the downtime it had working to improve the movie instead of feeling like a missed opportunity. I also don’t miss Dera at all and feel like the movie is stronger for it. The bird represented the full on comedic nature of the show that was actually mostly missing from those episodes that virtually everyone admits to being the best (Tamako’s father, Anko’s crush…) and as such the movie is made stronger for omitting it.

    1. Hmmm, that is a good point about Dera being largely absent from the best episodes. I don’t think he was a bad character though, I think he was misused. The Tamako x Prince red herring was never really believable, but what if it was instead used to make Tamako cognizant of the possibility of romance ahead of a Mochizou confession? If they had introduced the prince earlier and dispensed with that plot point at the 2/3rd point, and then spent the rest of the time working on Tamako x Mochizou (and Choi x the prince, which I still wanted to see more of), then the series would have been muuuuch stronger. And you’d only have to get rid of a few of the crappy episodes, like the weight loss one, the second Midori episode, and the weird one where Dera was going after Shiori.

      I suppose you’re not wrong in the context of the movie, it just ended up making it less enjoyable for me. That may mostly be an outgrowth of my preference for mixed romance stories (i.e. romances where other things are going on at the same time) as opposed to pure romances.

  4. I’m glad to have hear “Koi no Uta” again since it really made me admire how Tamako’s father got the courage to confess to his soon-to-be wife;though I think the movie should have delved more into Tamako’s parents and their love story just to add some parallelism and emphasize the kind of feelings that were swimming in Tamako’s mind. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the movie, since it focused more on the slow realization of Tamako’s feelings then ending it with her confession, that felt satisfying in the long run.

  5. Absolutely loved the movie. It was a simple, yet realistic slice of life/romance with a nice touch of drama that made me wish I could go back and confess to my childhood friend :’) Tamako Market should have been this 100%. A love story like this…shooo kawaiiiii.

    Koi no Uta was timed amazingly in this as well and I remember I had the exact same reaction as Mochizou (gasping and putting my hand over my mouth) once I heard Tamako confess. Romance like this always makes my kokoro go doki doki. So thankful for this movie!

    1. I had the exact same reaction was Mochizou as well! I put my hands over my mouth and then realised that Mochizou did the exact same thing. Ah, it was the sweetest moment ever. Part of me wishes we got an epilogue after that but another part of me was so incredibly satisfied with just that little moment!

    2. Ahaha, those moments are fun, right? I realized I was laughing the same time a character was laughing on Chaika last week, and it made the scene all the better. It’s nice when the story knows what it’s doing well enough to pull out the same emotion in the viewer.

    1. I’d say you could watch this without being familiar with the TV series, since Yamada Naoko (the Director) intended for audiences to be able to jump right in. But as with anything, I’d recommend watching Tamako Market first purely because you will be familiar with the characters for 12 episodes and technically the movie is a sequel, so it builds on what was set up earlier on. I’d say if you’ve got the time you should watch Tamako Market and see what you think. As I said in my review, I absolutely loved it for what it was, but it’s probably KyoAni’s most criticised anime to date. It’s up to you, really!

  6. People seem to love Dera in the TV series, but the whole island/princess/prince bit just seemed superfluous to the rest of the story and didn’t go anywhere. All it did was provide a hook for why Dera was there in the first place. The movie definitely sounds like what should have been the story in the series.

    1. Like I said above, I think Dera was misused. The whole prince red herring was pointless save to get him there, since no one ever believed Tamako was actually going to marry the prince, but it could have been used to advance this romance. Instead, they did nothing with it.

      My main problem with cutting Dera is that a Tamako Market without Dera isn’t a Tamako Market I would have watched. He was the hook that pulled a lot of people in, and he was entertaining (that’s not to be underestimated). They just needed to make better use of him rather than let him exist solely as comic relief.

      But yeah, the movie definitely should have been a substantial part of the story in the first place. Absolutely.

  7. Yeah, I liked the movie too, but as I watched it I couldn’t help but sigh at how much wasted potential the series is… Dera is a MacGuffin that goes nowhere, reduced to a comic relief character. All that build up to befriend Shiori and then like… nothing happens with her. I freaking love the shopping district setting, like how they’re all Tamako’s extended family, but the writers didn’t know how to make it interesting, to make it stand out. Very misused and wasted.

    Imagine seeing this movie with everything that I mentioned done right, it would have been glorious.

  8. “He was a boy, she was a girl. Can I make it anymore obvious?” He was happy. She twirled baton. What more can I say? He loved her. She would ignore him. Secretly she loved him as well. And all of her friends were there. And there was a happy ending, is what we knew how it would end.
    There was no problem (the anime was how it was suppose to be), but enjoyment for this movie.

    random viewer
    To clarify: Mochizou is one of my favorite anime males ever. Don’t ask me why; right when I saw Tamako Market, I fell deep in love. He is just so loving, adorable, and frickin’ cute. He has more charm than most anime leads and I’m so happy he got what he deserved. I gave Tamako Market a score of 7 SOLELY because of Tamako’s stupidity when it came to the romance aspect of the anime. I’m all about romance, and the fact that I didn’t get any in Market made me so upset. But THIS. THIS made up for it. I smiled like a fool the entire time because of Mochizou’s perfectness. I could ramble on forever about how happy and in love with Tamako Love Story I am, but I’ll end it with this: giving it a 10 because of Mochizou and his much deserved happily ever after 🙂

    P.S. I totally agree. HYOUKA LOVE STORY PLS.

  10. I am not ashamed to admit that Tamako Market was one of the sweetest most charming little shows I had ever had the pleasure of watching in quite some time. I am a big fan of the entire Kyoani canon, but this show spoke to me a little more for whatever reason, but I was always a little underwhelmed by Tamako’s lack of focus and Mochizou’s lack of a confession, so I have nothing but wonderful things to say about this movie. It was the icing on an already lovely slice of life cake and I couldn’t have asked for more. This show was never over the top or loud, just quiet and sweet, and so it felt right for the movie to be just that. I have no complaints. Sleep tight young lovers, and hopefully Midori can find herself a cute girlfriend in college.

  11. The only thing that Tamako Market left without any closure was the love story. And while the Prince, Choi, and Dera’s side of the story may be in their best – short, to the point, and ridiculously funny – for this movie/OVA; Also the majority of the support cast were also of themselves throughout, making this somewhat similar to an extended episode of Tamako Market…Though I’d switch out funny to heartwarming, cause you know, it’s KyoAni normal. And then we have Tamako and Mochizou.

    So…the game changer (and the A plotline for Tamako Love Story)… Mochizou (having decided to attend a post-secondary in Tokyo) finally confessed to Tamako, and in the process, making them the awkward couple for the majority of the movie.

    Ironically (or fortunately), Tamako’s parents were just like them, with her mom’s recording (and apparently badly sang song) being the push Tamako needed to answer Mochizou’s confession – and to mark (the small part of)the parallel the two love stories that occurs in two different generations.

    For the additional push, Midori got over her one sided feelings and got Tamako desperate enough to go after Mochizou

    …it’s rather cold in my region at the moment, and I feel a bit warm watching the movie. Just for a moment though. Still, I felt warm, watching that last scene unfolded.

    ps. Gohei sobbing against Mamedai over Saki about Mochizou’s decision was best served quick and hilarious.
    ps2. Fun separate short is fun and separate from the Market.

  12. After all the build up and Tamako finally telling Mochizou her feelings, I was so pumped up for the scene that followed! Except it never did. Kind of felt ripped off about that really. Afterall, Mochizou just missed the shinkansen to sit his entrance exam for university! I did like the animation of the ED, but couldn’t help but wondered if having a short proper epilogue would’ve made the ending more satisfying. Afterall, we spent well over half of the movie seeing the awkward interactions between our main couple…would be nice to at least see the results of it. Maybe something along the lines of one of the final scenes in Clannad:Afterstory where they show a montage of the characters’ lives.

    And I also think it was a disappointment there wasn’t more Dera or Choi. Both of them were among my favourite characters from the first season. I would have liked to see what the residents of the shopping district really said to Dera just as he left, as I am sure it was nothing like what Dera had imagined.

    Overall, a nice short movie and really hit the themes of change well, but while there was closure in the end, they should have thrown more service in there!

  13. Rejoice for Mochi, his suffering has ended.

    Tamako is cute, and she is capable of being uber-moe cute like this movie. All that needs is a good plot catalyst, like suddenly finding out someone loves her and she too loves him back but is unsure how to say it.

    So this is a Tamako x Mochizou HNNG fest done right, and the market proves it: Sales of Tamako Love Story BD/DVD outnumber average sales per volume of Tamako Market BD/DVD in just the first week. IIRC

    Though not exactly a huge hit as Kyo-Ani’s previous blockbusters Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi and K-ON Movie, this is still much better than the meh Chunibyou Recap Movie.

  14. I thought Tamako Market was so plain and boring back when I watched to the serie, and I still think the same about this movie. None the less I must admit that Tamako and Mochizou story did really deserve a proper closure, denied as such during the serie. I pitied so much Mochizou for being so ignored bay pretty much everybody in the cast. Poor guy.

  15. Loved the movie like I loved the tv serie. Light plot and slow paced story telling is not an issue when the art is this stunning. I still think though that Tamako, despite being the title character, is the least interesting one in the cast. Thus, kind of happy and sad at the same time that Mochizou finally got her love.

  16. Decided to buy the bluray for this XD

    “Love you, Mochizou, Over!”
    That sweetest moment I put my hand on my mouth and gave a perfect applause to Tamako, After a few second of blank screen, Mochizou did the same thing!

  17. It seems a lot of people went into the TV show with expectations and didn’t get what they wanted to get out of it, and missed what the show was trying to deliver. In the first episode I saw the underlying ‘fear’ was that Tamako was going to leave the market for the prince. The rest of the episodes were about how important Tamako is to everyone in the market, making you wonder what it would be like if Tamako left those people. I enjoyed the show based on that. Tacking on a few more episodes at the end and turning it into a romance would have been jarring from my perspective, but I guess it would have made people happier because that’s what they were watching the show for.

    I enjoyed the original show for what it delivered, a fun and diverse cast of characters in a unique & comfortable setting, with a firm resolution at the end (Tamako stays in the market. It’s the title!). I also enjoyed this movie a lot, since it showed how the cute romance-airhead and passionate, caring guy get together (Tamako’s love story. It’s the title!).

  18. This was a wonderful movie.

    But I feel like a lot of people missed the real substance of the film. The following words aren’t mine, but I very much think it warrants a read by the people who watched the film.

    I bet some people have missed the best parts of the film, or the whole plot.

    When Tamako lost her mother suddenly, it was Mochizo as well as Midori who were beside her. While Mochizo grew to care for Tamako as a boy, Midori developed difficult indescribable emotions towards Tamako (which I would not want anyone to call as lesbianism), as well as sort of rivalry and comradeship with Mochizo over who cares the most for Tamako, their best friend.

    Tamako had been helping her family’s business after her mother died, and always related the warm, white, and nicely scenting mochi with memories of her deceased mother (for whom she still buys a flower for prayers every day). In her subconsciousness, the problems of maturing and motherhood was growing on her.

    Mochizo was initially almost giving up on confession. But knowing Tamako’s past sufferings and after hearing Tamako’s memories of and helpless admiration towards her deceased mother, he couldn’t help but confess his love out of true compassion.
    While Tamako is initially very confused, she slowly becomes conscious about maturing and love even by seeing her neighbors. Tamako eventually recognizes how important Mochizo had been after her mother’s death.

    Midori is seemingly the most mature of girls but is actually the one who needs to grow up the most. She is frustrated by her complicated feelings towards Tamako and probably also about her undetermined future (the others have more or less clear visions about what to do after graduation). She breaks the old strangled bond and sets free Tamako (and Mochizo) by encouraging their love partnership as boyfriend and girlfriend, with her little assisting trick.

    Who informed Midori about Mochizo’s short trip (and not his definite farewell) to Tokyo is not shown in the film; it’s left as a mystery. I suspect it was Tamako’s little sister Anko who really liked Mochizo and Tamako, who knew about their difficult feelings, and who heard and knew what Tamako was planning. I assume it was Anko worrying about the two and seeing Mochizo go off to Tokyo that morning, she informed Midori.

    Midori after seeing Tamako off running towards her love is broken-hearted as well as feeling satisfied with what she had done. She is not alone, as Kanna her best friend had always known Midori’s emotions (see the TV series) and comes to her rescue, telling that Midori looks beautiful after having done what had to be done (that is maturing by letting Tamako go free; poetically shown by the pictures of dandelion flying off). Kanna in turn asks Midori to lend a hand in her growing up; that is her overcoming of fear of heights in order to become a carpenter.

    Thus, this isn’t a simple story of a boy meets girl, but it’s about acknowledging love of the family, friends, and good peoples of the neighborhood. It’s about overcoming of burdens and maturing. Kiss or no kiss, is unimportant, as we know that Tamako’s and Mochizo’s story will go on, and the future is implied in the film (the ED of the series and film) which we now know that Mochizo took featuring more confident and intimate looking Tamako. The two shadows side by side colliding in the ED tells their relationship well enough.

    The phrase used for promotion of the film was “Tamako peeled off” and “About maturing”, btw.

    How to mature and find true love is a difficult issue, but there are hints given in this film. If we are careful, we should recognize the reference to the gravity pull, the Sun and the Moon, the apple, and Isaac Newton, who when asked about how he found the law of universal graviations replied that “By always thinking unto them”.

    We know that the part of Mochizo leaving permanently for Tokyo is untrue and Midori made that up. Midori might indeed have gone over to Tamako’s house and met Moichizo on the way leaving for the station; Midori could not tell Tamako straight away about that because Tamako had already left for school. But it is quite likely, I think, that unless she met Anko at Kitashirakawas and heard from Anko what Tamako was up to at school or Anko’s grudging about their recent awkwardness Midori couldn’t have made that decisive move.

    While Anko keeps a calm and cool face, there are moments in the film in which she seems to care about Mochizo and Tamako’s relationship; that is when she 1) sees Mochizo shouting out loud at the riverbank; 2) supports Mochizo’s mother’s plan of leaving the two alone at hospital (when she speaks like a child that she wants to go home and eat dinner); 3) eyes at Mochizo but finds missing at the festival (which is a sign of how awkward the two had become, as Mochizo had probably always been filming Tamako on every occasion); 4) has an unconvinced tone of voice when Tamako asks about what happens if she didn’t forward the message to Mochizo about school cancellation because of flu. I assume that without giving Anko some role in the outcome, the direction wouldn’t be showing these scenes, and the chief animator won’t be drawing this picture on the pamphlet with Anko at the center:

    In any case, this is a movie which merits watching in detail in HD.
    There are motifs of shadow of birds and dandelions flying away inserted several times intended for subliminal effects; especially the silent 1-2 seconds of a dandelion flying away at the classroom scene was brilliant.
    Tamako panicking and seeing nothing but blurred colors after the river scene, and her daydreaming scene while rain starts falling was excellently done with great music.

    KyoAni special package: http://blog.livedoor.jp/sylphwatch/archives/8562112.html

    I don’t think there is a wasted character generally in the film, and I also think Midori was a sort of shadow heroine of the movie. Actually, after the moving sequence of Midori isolated at the classroom and the consolation offered by Kanna, while the two run across the school yard and when Midori bursts out her emotions, Kanna says in a burlesque way “Hiro-in desu-na”, which is probably a pun in Japanese agreeing to Midori’s comment about the yard (and implying their future) being wide open (hiroi no desu) and Midori being the heroine of the love story at the same time (heroine desu). Which would be lost in translation, of course.

    Kanna had known about Midori’s hidden complex feelings towards Tamako from Episode 2 of the Market series, and she is not telling the truth when she said she just happened to come to the classroom to make a shelf while everyone was away (as how can people make shelves with just a few nails and hammer?). Midori, knowing that Kanna came for her consolation, says “Nani sore (what sort of excuse is that?)”. When Kanna indirectly asks Midori to lend her a hand in “also (watashi-mo)” going up to a higher place, she is talking about it both in in a physical and metaphorical sense; that Midori has made her leap to maturity and went over her obstacle; now it was Kanna’s turn, and she wanted Midori’s help as best buddy.

    The pamphlet came with the Movie release in April. There are several versions of packages to the DVD/Bluray sold in Japan; KyoAni Shop version is obviously the most gorgeous with parts of storyboard and a love-letter album to go with the disc. Actually I couldn’t buy it yet as it’s instantly sold out at stores and Amazon.co.jp.

    I think the Movie can be seen from scratch without requiring the audience to watch the series beforehand (just a few seconds of Dera and Choi may puzzle the viewer), but yes it’s made interactively and watching the series should be now more enjoyable. Particularly Episodes 2 (Midori suffers from her feelings; discerning Kanna knows about that very well), Episode 5 (Mochizo and Midori’s rivalry and a sort of comradeship; Midori is already tempting Mochizo to go and confess to Tamako), and Episode 9 (a really well done episode by director Yamada revealing the story about the love song; this can be seen as a prequel to TLS).

    Alas, there were some poor filler episodes like Episode 7, and the ending was too abrupt without a convincing conclusion, which resulted in rather poor sales and reviews for a much expected series. But seen from hindsight, I am glad that we had the TV series as an etude which we can trace back from a masterpiece.

    Some people might have missed some details out the movie and the series.

    1) Mochizou was only going to Tokyo for a preview. Midori hyped it up as if he was leaving for Tokyo for good for the sake of Tamako.
    2) There are moments when viewers are made to question whether it was just rivalry (enmity) that Midori felt towards Mochizou in the course of the series and the film. You’d have to watch the series and the movie to know that she doesn’t just have harsh feelings towards Mochizou.
    3) Tamako is a character almost wrapped in a hard shell in the series. She had been helping her family business ever since her mother passed away, and if you watch the series closely, she is trying to act like her mother towards Anko (particularly when Anko is sulky). She denies any approaches by Mochizou unconsciously and rejects becoming a princess consciously for the love of her family, family business, and the market arcade in the series. She is tough as Robocop. Now in the movie, she’s peeled-off/stripped off (たまこ、むけました). What makes a girl like Tamako change ? Has Tamako as character drastically changed from the series? No, not at all.

    Watch the confession scene again. Tamako talks about titty mochi while talking to a boy of her age (Mochizou almost gives up on confession, hindered by her infancy). She then talks about mochi, or in reality, memory of mother, being white, soft, warm, that she’s grown much larger but still aspiring to become like her mother (Mochizou decides to confess, knowing her past hardship and from true compassion, grabs her arm). Tamako lets go the titty-mochi stone, the symbolism of infancy.

  19. In case people missed it, they DID throw us a small bone in one part of the credits. If you look at the shadows on the grass, you can see a long-haired girl (Tamako) lean her head on a boy’s arm (Mochizou).

  20. After almost 2 years, I finally got what I wanted. Tamako Market: Romance-department.

    I’d say, KyoAni certainly is the best when it comes to conveying teenage romance. Hope they keep making anime w/ this kind of romance rather than harem, BL, or supernatural-fantasy-action. (Not that their previous works are bad)

    Red HeartGold ZX
  21. Anybody here knows what’s the title of that song Tamako and her friends used during their baton performance? It’s a classic Japanese song which I’m very familiar with the tune but never knew its title.
    Thanks in advance! 🙂

  22. I’ll be honest here and say that the first time this post went out, I skipped your post Samu – Sorry it was too much reading! But having read it, it’s a soliddd post. Good job, and thanks for putting the effort in to also post on a movie that someone was already covering.

  23. The movie saved the series. It made the series worth watching. I gave the series an 8 out of 10 because of the moments that just made you smile, but after watching the movie it’s not only about those fun “slice-of-life” moments, the movie had a perfect soundtrack and also hidden signs that a lot of casual watchers probably would not spot on right away, so I gave the movie a 9 out of 10.

  24. Lamentably, i’m very dissapointed with this movie, because i expected something more dramatic or tragic and not so cute and colorful like the anime. Don’t get me wrong, but to me is just an exagerated love story with more of the same :-(. It would have been better if the writer added a subplot like a fight between Tamako and Midori (becuase of Mochizou), or a disease in Tamako’s grandpa instead of a choking with mochi, something that create a big impact in Tamako’s life, because her life is too perfect >:-(.
    At least have some pros: The characters (although the characters would be better if it wasn’t for the plot and the dialogues), the extraordinary animation and the wonderful music.
    Well, this movie is not what i expected :-(.

    1. By the way, the Hinako’s death would have been a great excuse to make a good dramatic history, but the writer of the film pass over this part of the plot, because she doens’t look affected or pained in all the film. It would have been better if at some point of the movie, Tamako falls in a depresion because she misses a lot her mother or something like that. I hate the overcuteness of this movie and the anime, all is too perfect >:-(.
      Well, nothing more to say, is a overcuted movie with unnecesary symbolisms.


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