Recap: Valentine’s day is approaching and the Bunny Mountain Shopping District (yes, they apparently live on Bunny Mountain) brainstorms ideas for the occasion. Tamako herself seems to have a few admirers but who will she give her chocolate to?
Jel’s Thoughts: Having now seen two episodes I’m starting to appreciate why Tamako Market is so charming: It feels old fashioned without being naive or overly romanticising tradition. Aside from having actual old people in the cast, you have jokes your grandparents would love (like Tamako getting nervous at the meeting) and Stoner Coffee Shop Guy spinning tunes from decades past. And yet we also see the show isn’t afraid to think more modern, whether it’s small details like Mochizou’s earring or much bigger ones like the possibly transgender florist or the impending same-sex love triangle that seems to be developing. Neither side is shown as good or bad but just part of the very full life that Tamako leads.
While that does create a charming atmosphere, this episode did reinforce my concerns about the uneven directing we saw in the first episode, lingering on in some scenes longer than necessary while cutting away from moments that could have used a little more time to boil. Ultimately Tamako’s story, which is the important one, is well covered but I still feel like they’re trying to handle too much at once. In particular the B plot of the episode about Midori’s feelings felt a bit underdeveloped and I couldn’t quite make out what had her down. Is she tired of everyone’s high expectations for her? Lovesick? Both? Does she even know? Maybe we’re really meant to find out later.
Despite that criticism though you can’t help but smile when watching this show. Tamako’s irrepressible enthusiasm for mochi is far more endearing than oppressive, and seeing her finally win over her stubborn father with her Valentine’s Day idea was clearly the highlight of the episode. Maybe moe dads will be a new trend? For the romance connoiseurs Tamako’s paper cup telephone call with Mochizou was incredibly sweet and they certainly aren’t shy about subtly unsubtly clueing us in on the other girls’ feelings.
So even if Tamako Market is having a little trouble reining everything in, there’s still plenty of good material here to work with, and that’s even before I remind everyone Dera has PROJECTOR EYES and works for some mysterious foreign prince. Looks like next episode will focus on Glasses Girl from the bath house, so maybe they’ll settle down into some more focused storytelling next week.