Alternate titles: Tamayura ~ More Assertive ~
Anime Original by TYO Animations
Premise: It has been one year since Fuu “Potte” Sawatari (Ayana Taketatsu) has moved back to her late father’s hometown. While reminiscing about their adventures, her friends Kaoru (Kana Asumi), Norie (Yuka Iguchi) and Maon (Yuko Gibu) conclude that Fuu seems to have grown quite a bit, which inspires her to become “more aggressive”. As a first means towards this end, Fuu aims to start up a photography club upon entering her second year of high school.
Aquagaze‘s Verdict: You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means
I have probably never had as turbulent a relationship with any anime as I have had with Tamayura. I have gone from loving it to loathing it to loathing myself for loving it and about everything in between. Junichi Satou’s latest has always been the slightly dumber cousin of the feel-good anime family, lacking the gorgeous settings of Aria and Ikoku Meiro no Croisée, or the original directing of Hidamari Sketch, and the overal theme it is trying to narrate has never really managed to find stable footing, not even after 4 OVAs and a one-cour anime. After all, this is the show that tried to make us believe “has a fetish for smells” or “wants to become a professional whistler” are credible character traits. Nevertheless, even the last of the class has something going for them, and all the Tamayura that has come before certainly has not been without its moments of greatness. The melancholic vibes, credible character development, dramatic touches and pastoral setting make it into something that easily offers something unique for those in the right mood.
The issue is that if the certain prerequisites Tamayura sets are not met, it becomes an incredibly frustrating slog to watch. The pacing is absolutely glacial, and this return did very little to turn this reunion into a joyous occasion. In many ways, this first episode of the second season felt like the last episode of the first season, with the majority of the cast nostalgically looking back on how much Fuu has grown. Evidently, the show goes out of its way to pad this tedious reminiscing out with a bunch of flashbacks and stock footage, alongside a bizarre amount of attention for Fuu’s friend back home. Chihiro made some adorable appearances in the first season, but her questionable fascination with creating original characters based on her friends has long outstayed its welcome.
Combine that with Tamayura‘s newfound obsession to call its protagonist “more aggressive” at least once every two minutes and you get a frustrating experience that achieves the exact averse effect the show was intended to have in the first place. The word Fuu and her friends are looking for is “assertive”, as in “having or showing a confident and forceful personality”, and not “aggressive”, as in “pursuing one’s aims and interests forcefully, sometimes unduly so”. It might sound like an irrational nitpick, but for a show that aims to be the exact antithesis of aggressive, it’s enough to completely break my suspension of disbelief, especially since none of the fansubbers taking on this show were clever enough to actually correct it. It is a classic case of English loan words in Japanese no longer meaning what they did in English, alongside such words as “mansion” (means “apartment block” in Japanese) and “sense” (means “style”).
Pet peeves aside, the return of Tamayura is a wholly underwhelming, boring affair that fails to excel at its sole raison d’être. Sure, you are welcome to blame me for not being in the mood to be “healed”, but doesn’t that mean Tamayura fails at its sole ambition? What remains is a boring, almost vapid drag that in the end simply boils down to the umpteenth slice-of-life comedy about a bunch of girls with squeaky voices starting a club. I mean, at least the first season culminated in a friggin’ whistling concert.