Title: Tamako Market, たまこまーけっと
Producers: Kyoto Animation, Animax, Pony Canyon, Sentai Filmworks
Genres: Comedy, Slice of Life
Duration: 23 min. per episode
Tamako knows just about everything there is to know about mochi. When she’s not attending her first year of high school, she even invents new flavors and varieties for her family’s mochi shop. But with the help of her best friends Kanna and Midori, two girls whose parents run businesses in the same shopping district, Tamako’s determined to make the best of things. And what’s with up with that strange bird fluttering around, the one that speaks fluent Japanese? It’s all very mysterious and overwhelming, but at least Tamako always has one thing she can count on: No matter if your day’s been good or bad, there’s something sugary and delicious waiting at the end of every adventure whenever you take a walk through Tamako Market!
Fansubs watched: Mazui
So this anime is by the same team that produced K-ON, so we’ll know that this is going to have a coherent plot, deep philosophical themes and complex characters. Ah, who am I kidding, it’s going to be all about moe and random cake eating. The first Episode of Tamako Market is an odd first episode, they throw out every single character there is in this entire episode, or so it seems since about 16 noticeable characters appear. But there is a twist to this typical moeness, a stand out character that is the bird, Dera. Tamako Market has the usual fun things are fun motif, so if you want something other than that, it’s probably not going to be for you.
The episode starts with three girls running around being all cutesy, heading home after school. The girls part ways and we follow the black haired girl, Tamako. She goes into a street and starts to buy lots of food and other items. All while we see random glimpse of a bird and other more dramatic scenes, narrated by some older voice- the bird. The bird seems to be the main narrator of the show, and steals the spotlight. The talking bird, Dera Mochyucky, is a total contrast to what the show is. He is over dramatic, perverted and rather arrogant. It’s just that he’s totally out of place and his character is amusing for being dramatic. The other main character is Tamako herself, the black haired girl whose father owns a mochi shop. Tamako is quite a popular person and is very cheery and friendly. She is usually working hard at the mochi shop and goes to school, with a baton doing what ever she does. She has two friends; Kanna and Midori. They both go to school together and are part of the same club, I assume. Another character is Mochizou, Tamako’s childhood friend whose father owns a rival mochi shop across the street. Despite their fathers being on bad terms, Tamako and ‘Mocchi’ are good friends and there may be even a hint of love. Tamako also has a younger sister called Anko, and she seems rather uptight. The rest of the characters are all adults who are shop owners around the plaza, including some girl that sounds like a guy…
The bird attacks Tamako and she responds by sneezing, and even throws the bird away after it reveals itself to be able to talk, despite the bird being somewhat friendly. Tamako leaves the shop and the bird hops on her head, causing her some mishaps. Tamako buys a book about birds and heads home. She meets Mochizou outside the shop to see both their fathers arguing about the new name of Ooji’s mochi shop, owned by Mochizou. Tamako goes inside her shop but the bird on her head gets injured, and everyone carries it inside to let the bird rest. Anko arrives back home and eats a mochi, while complaining that she should be called An by her grandfather. The bird finally wakes up; Tamako is pleased, and announces himself to Tamako’s father and Mochizou, whom are rather surprised.
The bird introduces himself as some royal bird who needs to find a suitable bride for the prince of his country. He states his name and gets thrown out since his last name is Mochiyucky, not the best name if you have a mochi shop. Tamako and Anko head to the bathhouse to take a bath, and the bird follows. They find Mochizou leaving the place and enter, and soon the bird arrives and demands to enter the bathhouse. The bird goes berserk in the bathhouse and manages to catch a glimpse of Tamako and Anko undressing, leading to the usual nosebleed. Anko starts screaming and Tamako seems unfazed and throws the bird back over. The next day, Tamako is busy working on making Mochi while the bird sleeps with Mochizou. At school, Tamako sits down during club time with Kanna and Midori, where they just sit down and eat some mochi. Then Tamako gets hit with a shuttlecock and a rather blank and bland girl picks it up. In the meantime, all the shop owners and adults are planning for Tamako’s birthday, which is on New Year’s Eve.
After school Tamako visits a music shop, with the bird randomly appearing and hopping himself on her head. At the music shop, the owner plays a track where Tamako responds that it isn’t it, saying to the bird that she is looking for the song her mother use to sing when she was little before she passed away. After having some coffee, she goes right back to work at the mochi shop, where the Dera starts to ear some mochi, quite a few actually. Dera plans to leave Tamako before new years. Fast forward to New Year’s Eve, the shop is busy handling lots of mochi orders, being the busiest day of the year. Also, Dera seems to have eaten too many mochi and have gotten rather fat, but Tamako is still able to have him on her head. Some shenanigans happen with Anko, and the shop is in full production of the mochi. The bird, sticking with his plan, is ready to leave but he is too heavy to fly, so he can’t go anywhere.
Towards the end of the day, all the mochi orders are done and Dera visits them, telling Tamako about him leaving. But Tamako gives him a freshly made mochi, which he eventually chokes on. Everyone arrives with presents and sees Tamako calling for help, saying that the bird is choking on mochi. Mochizou mistakes the choking for Tamako and pats her back repeatedly, and Tamako’s father eventually rescues Dera by turning him upside down. Tamako is glad that Dera is all safe and sound, and everyone leaves at the stroke of midnight, where they all realised that they forgot to give Tamako her presents. Another birthday over, Tamako is rather sad that she got no presents but Anko gives Tamako her phone with all the messages from her friends wishing her a happy birthday. Later on when everyone is asleep, Dera’s eyes light up and beams to the ceiling like a projector, and two people are seen; one waving and repeatedly says the bird’s name.
With K-ON being a big success for being nothing but cute girls eating cake with a side of music, expectations of this would be along similar lines. For the most part, it seems rather different but this is form the basis of one episode. One big thing is that there are males in this anime, which seems to be absent and extinct from K-ON (except one teacher and a brother). It seems that the series will take place around the mochi shop and the surrounding district with all the shops and the large population of minor characters. The setting is different from K-ON and the show seems to have more substance than it due to one thing, the bird. Dera seems to be the star with his witty and voluptuous comments and his royalty being above all, despite him being a bird. It is odd to see a talking bird, and they somehow handle it quite well, and especially a bird that talks in such a manner.
He also seems rather undignified and lacks the social norms of living in an urban environment since he’s probably from a tropical castle or something of the sort. The other characters of the show, the main ones, have a definable personality. Tamako is hardworking and respected – not very clumsy as well, Mochizou seems like the typical childhood friend who has feelings for Tamako, Anko seems like a stuck up but has the usual moe side and Kanna is best girl. The rest can be ignored for being support characters and the father plays a hardworking and caring fatherly role. But the owner of the flower shop seems to have a gender crisis, well from my view, that the owner looks like a female and sounds like a male. It’s not like on of those traps, but a legitimate crisis. Well, it can’t be too weird considering there’s a talking bird that has a projector inside of him.
As for the story, nothing really much came out of the episode other than the last second reveal. It seems that Dera is on a hunt looking for his prince’s bride but he is stuck in Tamako’s area. The prince could either visit Tamako or somehow have Dera bring her to him, unless Dera thinks another girl is much better suit. As for the other shenanigans, there is probably going to be some development between Tamako and Mochizou, some of what her friends do and that bland girl (she’s in the opening). There doesn’t seem to be anything deep of yet, nothing that is confusing or complex, but it is just a typical moe show from the creators of K-ON so what would you expect. There is also an ongoing search for the song Tamako’s mother sang to her, she is most likely going to find it in the future and also reveal how she passed away. Other than that, the plot seems to be relatively calm and be a comedy slice of life for the most part, like K-ON. But hey, it could pull a Chunnibyou and turn out to be rationally different for the better.
The episode has given me different vibes to what K-ON was about, since the first episodes of both series are rather different. Maybe Kyoto Animation wanted a more defining series rather than usual moe blobness, but of course there are moments of randomness and mochi eating. The fact that Tamako is in a club means that there will be fun times at school, but we don’t really know what club she is in other than the fact she whirls a baton. Maybe it’s some rhythmic sport or something of the sort. It seems that school itself may not play a big part in the series, since none of the main characters are starting school as first years, like the majority of anime nowadays. So most of the setting will be around the street and shops that Tamako visits and her mochi shop, which Kanna and Midori don’t seem to visit. Anyways, more Kanna would be awesome.
And now the animation, and first to state the obvious: all the characters look like the characters from K-ON. The designs, the eyes and hair are all very K-ON, maybe it’s because it’s by the same people- mystery solved. Sure, they could’ve done something else or change their design vastly, but many moments close-up of Tamako or Anko will remind you of the main characters from K-ON. This isn’t a bad thing, since I believe most of the audience for this anime watches it for this very reason. So the character designs are all K-ON, which makes it easily adorable and cute, for most people. It’s not like they’re recycling any designs, but rather their eyes are too reminiscent. And there are male characters in this anime, so that’s something different. The backgrounds are all very well detailed and look fantastic. Kyoto Animation are known for very detailed backgrounds because they use real life locations in their anime, and seems to be no exception. The entire anime is all very bright and cheerful with lots of colours on the characters and backgrounds. The majority of Kyoto Animation’s anime have a high visual quality, and here is nothing less.
As for the music, most of the BGM is all lighthearted and playful. There aren’t any heavy music or anything of the short, just plain old slice of life music. And the voices are done quite well, and seems that the majority of the actors and actress are quite new, so well done. And the bird, props to his deep contrasting voice that makes things more hilarious. This episode does feature an opening and ending. The opening song is rather happy, upbeat and sounds alright, but it isn’t anything special. There really isn’t much to say but the opening song has that cutesy factor for a cutesy anime, but it doesn’t really grab me. The animation throughout this is all very colourful with numerous coloured stars flying across the screen and all the different coloured hair of the large cast of support characters. The ending song is quite different, it is not as cheery and upbeat as the opening, and neither is the animation. Though, the song is very nice to listen to with its use of syntheses for the vocals. The song is unique and does grab your attention. And the visuals for the ending are beautiful. Much like the second ending for K-ON, it focuses on the main characters looking quite beautiful in different attire. It uses lots of different focusing techniques and colour filters that makes it somewhat interesting, but the focus is the lovely Tamako. Just look at her. Also, Aya Suzaki, the voice actress of Tamako, sings both the ending and opening songs.
Look at that Fabulous bird.