Tari Tari Ep. 1: Where’s David Lynch when you need him?

P.A. Works isn’t the first studio to share a particular visual style across different series. After all, Shaft has been peddling the same look for years now, delighting some and annoying others. In other words, it doesn’t really bother me that Tari Tari looks eerily similar to Hanasaku Iroha, a previous P.A. Works production.

What does bother me, however, is just how sterile everything looks in their anime. Take, for instance, the screen cap above. Look at the detail in that potted plant — how lifelike and natural it seems. The wood texture on the far side of the screen, the individual plates and pans in the kitchen, the way a single light source is reflected in the hanging picture to the top left — everything is so technically pristine just like how it was in Hanasaku Iroha and Another, but is this actually laudable?

I wasn’t a big fan of Another. For a horror series, it just lacked the right atmosphere or je nais se quoi. You can turn down the lighting and de-saturate the pallette, but that does not mean you have created horror. In a previous post, I detailed my exact apprehensions with the series, but to make a long story short, Another was simply too pretty to convince me that fear lurked within its frames. But look at this:

Is this picture of a disheveled girl covered in grime particularly scary? No, but it certainly beats this:

Yes, I’ve seen the “gory” death scenes in Another, but there’s more to the grotesque than just pretty girls covered in blood. Now, let’s return to Tari Tari before this post morphs into another rant about an old anime series.

Granted, Tari Tari is not a horror anime. It appears somewhat slice-of-life-ish from what I’ve seen. So yes, Tari Tari doesn’t have to be grimy or alien or strange. A show depicting high schoolers and their fairly white bread suburban lives (and concerns) need not ooze with subtext. But certainly, there’s a middle ground between the visual styles of, say, Kaiba and what P.A. Works has done in its latest attempts.

Tari Tari looks pristine and that’s precisely the problem. It’s coated in tens of layers of wax and buffed to an obnoxious sheen. The animation lacks soul. Everything is so processed, so manufactured, so lacking of imagination — P.A. Works has given us the white picket fence of anime. I’m glad that they appear to have such a large budget, especially when you consider how animation quality tends to drop in most other series. But I’m also glad that they have yet to “gentrify” adapt anything I particularly enjoy plot-wise, ’cause their visual style is so uninspiring. For anime, that’s kind of a big deal!

If only Tari Tari‘s boring perfection served as a veneer for something subversively sinister about anime’s penchant for PG-13 melodrama, but unless David Lynch has infiltrated the studio, I highly doubt it.

A few caveats before we continue. Impassioned assertion does not mean that I’m attempting to make statements of facts. I’ve heard this complaint before, and it is silly. It is a waste of time for me (and you!) to qualify every sentence I write with “I think” and “in my opinion.” ‘Cause honestly, of course it’s all subjective.

Anyway, content-wise, I don’t have much to say about the first twenty minutes or so of Tari Tari‘s plot. Watching Taichi show “Wien” around was about as exciting as watching paint dry. Like Hanasaku Iroha, some of the characterizations don’t seem particularly nuanced. The main girl appears to be a spazz much in the same way that Ohana was. The blunt music teacher is painted in the oh-so-familiar broad strokes that made previous P.A. Works “antagonists,” like Ohana’s grandmother, so initially infuriating. Granted, P.A. Works has never seemed to really care about subtlety if we are to judge their previous efforts.

In any case, I’ll wait till next week to talk more in-depth about the characters and their problems.

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16 thoughts on “Tari Tari Ep. 1: Where’s David Lynch when you need him?

  1. alsozara

    That’s pretty apt really. The animation is nice, but soulless. It suited something like Hanasaku Iroha pretty perfectly, I thought but it’s just not gonna work for every series, and PA Works just refuses to vary their style. I also don’t think it’s as adaptable as the Shaft style either.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Fin’s a Shaft fan through and through. I can’t say I hate them, but their schtick hasn’t excited me in a while (more accurately, since the first Arakawa series).

      Reply
  2. A Day Without Me

    I was genuinely shocked to discover that I enjoyed this first episode, although I agree wholeheartedly on what you say regarding the animation… I think we agreed previously on thinking that the backgrounds in Hanairo weren’t actually all that hot, though; to me, they seemed muddy at best (granted, I only lasted about four episodes or so into that mess).

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I was genuinely shocked to discover that I enjoyed this first episode,

      People also genuinely enjoyed the first episode of Hanasaku Iroha before it showed its true colors. Plus, one of the girls give me too much of a Minko vibe.

      Reply
      1. A Day Without Me

        Mmm, not so sure about the Minko vibe; we actually got a rounded picture of her, and she only started yelling because the presumed moe girl kept pushing. The rest of it she was just quiet, withdrawn, and only was not in interactions with her father. Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but she seems like she’ll be a decent character instead of just some horrible person who acts shitty constantly.

        First ep of Hanairo was okay, but we could already tell that two of the three leads were going to be crappy. So I’m taking this as a good sign, the characters seem at least decent thus far. I’ve disliked every show P.A. Works has had prior, though, so it could certainly just be all downhill from here.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          Well, you know I actually finished Hanasaku Iroha. If I’m jumping the gun a bit on the Minko thing, chalk it up to PTSD. ;v

        2. A Day Without Me

          XD Certainly understandable!

          Now, so you’re asking to blog a bad show? Dangerous waters, here. Hmm. I think you should do One of Them is My Little Sister.

        3. E Minor Post author

          I could, I could. So far, you’re the only one who have given me a suggestion though so it’s in the lead!

        4. Rongeur

          Seconding about “One of Them Is My Little Sister”. It looks like the most hilariously shitty of the shitty anime coming out this season, for what it’s worth. “Yadda Yadda Yadda H Ga Dekinai” could also have some potential.

        5. E Minor Post author

          I see, I see. On a related note, did you watch UtaKoi? Is it worth trying? I got to a bunch of men complimenting the main character as an awesome womanizer and I shut it off, but then again, it was three in the morning.

        6. A Day Without Me

          Eh, haven’t seen it yet, not sure I will – someone said the woman in the first story is basically a tsundere, so I was all, “meh” and haven’t bothered yet.

          As far as Moyashimon 2 vs Kokoro Connect, I would be curious about your take on Kei in Moyashimon 2.

  3. cyth

    There was this Japanese show about seichi junrei where they focused on P.A.Works and how they do animation. They take out a camera and take a bunch of pictures, all 360 angles. What they’re basically doing is they take real life and make it prettier in animation. Anime’s becoming a great tourist marketing tool, but yeah, in some cases it goes overboard.

    Anyway, not watching this, the plot sounds uninspiring as fuck.

    Reply

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