I don’t expect every show to be an instant classic, but I do expect them to just try and at least put an effort to give it their all. Tari Tari plays it too safe to take any risks, being a slice of life series is no excuse for sticking to the basics, and even then the basics aren’t even that well portrayed. Another (hah) strike out for P.A. Works.
Now some people are okay with it being a show that never takes risks. In theory that works, but are you honestly going to remember a show if all it did was merely stick to a tried and true formula of which it didn’t even do a good job at doing? I get it, some people really see the good things in anime while I tend to be a lot more critical and to a degree, pessimistic. Tari Tari started off well enough, but it suffers the same problems as P.A. Works’ most talked about series Hanasaku Iroha: they both had no clue how to properly utilize their episodes efficiently.
Tari Tari got the short end of the stick, with only thirteen episodes to make a case that a story of five friends can stick through the bad times and embrace the good times with music. In that regard, Tari Tari’s situation is a lot more forgiving but the characterization is what seperates TT and HanaIro by a thousand miles. Tari Tari could have spent the first half equally showcasing each club member, instead of stretching out the needless fluff (Konatsu and the Condor Queens) and emphasizing horrible melodrama (Sawa’s arc). Just because Tari Tari was a lot shorter than HanaIro doesn’t mean the character development had to be not as solid as HanaIro’s: but instead all we got from the characters was that Konatsu is loud and bossy, Sawa wants to be a professional horse rider, Wakana wants to sing after embracing her late mother’s wishes, Taichi wants to play badminton and Wien..wants to see his friend. From my description, there’s some really good stories like Wakana’s and Sawa’s but the rest are either two-dimensional (Konatsu and Taichi) or almost non existent (Wien). I’m only making comparisons with HanaIro to highlight Tari Tari’s flaws, but don’t think for a second that HanaIro was perfect: it wasn’t, but it knew how to develop each cast member equally well including the supporting cast, though mainly because the show had a lot of time to do that.
To make matters worse, the show adds a last minute Taichi/Sawa romance that falls flat entirely because there’s really no buildup leading up to Taichi’s free show back on episode 11. I had a bad feeling it would happen, and my experience with teenagers and romance series is usually one of the rolling of the eyes. Here, I couldn’t even roll my eyes because that whole ‘romance’ was too short to even feel any sort of emotion! That’s essentially the problem with Tari Tari: it’s a nice show, but having an emotional connection with the story is pretty tough when 2/5 of the cast is treated like crap (Wien and Taichi) for no reason other than they’re boys. I guess I shouldn’t expect every show to treat its male characters in the awesome and powerful way Tsuritama did, but having the girls going out of their way and insulting them on a routine basis, from flat out insults to making them look like jokes just really infuriated me and it’s the reason why I’m being so harsh.
Now, seeing all that criticism, we get to the good stuff. I thought Wakana’s issues were handled well and the scenes with her mom were indeed pretty touching, those were the times I really cared about a character, only the irony is she was dead. The adults in the show are actually really well developed and aren’t portrayed as bumbling morons. It came close with Sawa’s dad, but this show really surprised me and turned him from worst dad of the year to probably the best how he handled the horseracing issue. There wasn’t enough music in my opinion to call this a musical series, but I enjoyed the new song Wakana wrote along with the Vice Principal, the insert songs and the ending theme song (all of the versions). Honestly, Tari Tari isn’t the worst show out there right now, but it is far from being the best. It barely manages itself from heading into awful territory with the good selection of songs, very competent adults (including deceased) and some important life lessons to be learned.
Animation – 6/10: Standard job. Honestly, all P.A. Works can really do well is lovely background art. Everything from storytelling and character development needs some serious attention because it lacks.
Story – 7/15: Never took risks, which was a huge double edged sword. Was it an enjoyable show? Yes. Memorable? Hardly.Treating the male cast like crap did NOT sit well with me at all.
Music – 7/10: I expected a lot more for a show that emphasized music, but what little music there was, it was pretty nice to hear.
Characters – 11/20: Forgettable. They’re nice and all, but forgettable.Though this show surprisingly has well rounded parents (Wakana’s dad, Sawa’s parents, etc.). Wakana herself is fine, but the entire show make it seem that Konatsu was the protagonist. The treatment of Wien and Taichi was despicable.
Enjoyment – 25/45: This show just didn’t do anything to stand out from the vast array of SOL series. People claim this to be a good thing? Sure it beats being completely awful, but every series ought to strive to be the best they can, not just play it safe. Unfortunately, Tari Tari chose to do the later and it didn’t impress me. That, and actively going out of its way to treat the male characters like morons only makes this show dig itself a deeper hole it can’t climb out of.