Fri 25 Jan 2013
There have been numerous occasions while I’ve been watching anime where a particular episode or series in general hits a bit close to home. Kimi ni Todoke was the first to do so as I related to most of what Sawako went through in the series. And now I add Tamako Market to that list. I saw a lot of myself in Asagiri Shiori as she struggled to cope with her shyness and really reach out to Tamako. That’s something I dealt with growing up. Trying to reach out and make a friend wasn’t one of my best qualities growing up. I suppose if I played badminton, wore glasses, and was a cute girl, then maybe I would have had a bit more success. Who’s to say.
We are now formally introduced to the final member of the Tamako Market moe girl circle. And in grand fashion too. I wasn’t expecting Kyoto Animation to put such detail and attention to introducing Shiori. But here we have an entire episode devoted to just her. I was a bit worried at first when watching the preview for this episode of how it would all play out. But once everything started falling into place with introducing her not only to Tamako and Mochimazzi but the entire Bunny Mountain shopping district, I started to really enjoy this episode. Almost too much even. There were multiple times in this episode where I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear. Some of that comes from the comedy, like Mochimazzi falling for Shiori at first sight and trying be really suave and impress Shiori to the best of his ability even though he’s a bird, or how incredibly awkward it was to watch Tamako’s dad and Yagi-sensei converse with one another as if they had just committed some heinous crime and were trying to avoid the topic altogether. But the biggest factor for why I enjoyed this episode as much as I did was the scene in the coffee shop. Or at least I assume it’s a coffee shop. Either way, watching Shiori break out of her shell and finally tell Tamako how she felt after practicing in the mirror at school and building up her courage was incredibly heartwarming. There are very few feelings in the world as great as telling someone that you enjoy their company, finding out those feelings are mutual, and creating a friendship. Kyoto Animation once again shows that it can portray emotion better than most studios today.
The people of the shopping district really deserve a spotlight, especially in this episode. They have truly accepted Mochimazzi as family despite the fact that he’s, well, a talking bird. It’s as if he’s a person like you and me. Not only that, but the people of the shopping district welcome Shiori with open arms as if she were a regular visitor, solely based on the fact that she goes to the same school as Tamako. I can’t tell if that’s based on how friendly they are as people in general, or if they just love Tamako to the point where they have immense admiration for anyone she may know. Even when Yagi-sensei visits the shopping district they greet him and thank him for taking care of Tamako as if she is their own daughter. For all they know Yagi-sensei could be a serial murderer disguised as Tamako’s teacher yet they are willing to give him the Nobel Peace Prize at the drop of a hat. The shopkeepers of the Bunny Mountain shopping district really give off a very warm, welcoming feeling whenever they are on screen. It makes you appreciate the people in your own community that you may take for granted. Say what you want, but this show really is becoming one of the best shows of the season.