Anime Review: Tamayura Hitotose Episode 1

Anime Review:
Tamayura Hitotose Episode 1

What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.

Series Premise: Tamayura: Hitotose is a weekly anime televisions series starting in October 2011, a sequel to the 2010 4-part Tamayura OVA series. After the death of her father, Fu moves back to her hometown after several years away. Taking up her father’s hobby of photography, she works to shake off her shyness and make new friends.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:

Spoiler-free Series set-up: Fu’s father passed away several years ago, and ninth-grader Fu Sawatari has been reluctant to dredge up old memories or to form new friendships. But one day her younger brother pulls out an old family photo album, reminding Fu of happier moments in the past. Picking up her father’s old camera, she realizes that she has an interest in photography. She rashly suggests that she wants to return back to her family’s hometown of Takehara, and her mother makes the decision that they should move there. Leaving her good friend Chihiro behind, Fu travels to Takehara to begin a new life and her first year of high school.

My Impressions: Yay, I’m more than halfway through my walk through the Fall 2011 season (and nearly done with all the episodic TV series). Better late than never, right?

Ah, Tamayura. What can you say about a series which is purportedly named after those fuzzy white spots you get on photographs when you have specks of dust on the lens? Back in 2010, there was a four-part OVA, I watched the first episode and gave it a solid thumbs-down because it was inoffensively boring. I returned back to finish off the remaining three episodes in preparation of this new series, and realized it didn’t get any better, earning a less-than-stellar “C” letter grade.

So here we are, a brand new twelve-part television series, and I’m not exactly hopeful that it will turn out any better. What I learned from the OVA series is that Tamayura is about as exciting as watching paint dry. Then putting on a new coat of paint and watching it dry again. And again. It’s very much like K-On, only with out the fast-paced action!, excitement!! and drama!!! you’ve come to expect from such a hard-hitting series as K-On. Not only that, but it also has one of the most annoying side characters in the existence of anime: a girl who whistles instead of talking. Gah, it’s enough to make my brain bleed out of my ears in anticipation.

But instead of continuing where the OVA left off, it goes back a full year as a “prequel”, when Fu was still in junior high school away from Takehara, when she was still fumbling about the death of her father and unsure of her future. There’s no annoying whistling-girl, but instead Fu’s best-est friend in the whole wide world (and only friend, apparently), Chihiro, who is the world’s biggest crybaby.

And god help me, it wasn’t that bad. I was expecting to hate this based on my previous experience with Tamayura, but if you completely set that aside and view this first episode as if it’s the first time you’ve heard of the series, it was a reasonably decent introductory episode. And I am judging this based on *this* episode, not on previous ones. As such, I am surprised to find myself giving this a tentative thumbs-up. The first episode does a good job of setting up the series, we get a good idea of who Fu is, and where she’s going (as in her own personal journey of growth), and while it was slow and unexciting, I did not find it as disinteresting as the OVA.

But what about the next episode? Now the show begins in earnest as Fu arrives in Takehara, and we have annoying whistle-girl to look forward to. Will this be an improvement over the lethargic OVA series, or will it be in the same mold? There is precedent that it could be worth watching: after all, I did pan the one-shot OVA for Nichijou, but I have turned around and given the regular series a qualified thumbs-up. I guess we’ll see how it shapes up next time around.

The verdict: – Based on this episode alone. I know, I can’t believe it either.

For more information:

Sampling of Online Reviews:

  • “It doesn’t succeed in being deep, but does it succeed in being cute and fluffy? Yes. Yes, it does. It’s got that sweet, slice of life feel to it and simply drifts along at its own pace. Fuu is cute, the animation is cute, and the photography element is a nice touch to keep things from being too banal. If it’s enough to keep an action-loving nut like me amused, it’s got at least some substance.” – Metanorn
  • “~zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz~” – Draggle’s Anime Blog
  • “This really is what I want from a slice of life series: realistic characters, visible growth, and plenty of scenes to relate to. Knowing the creators we’re not going to get a slew of boob jokes or other bad comedy, nor was the drama in this episode forced or cheesy. Really, ideally every episode needs to be like this. Potential: 85%” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
  • “There’s never a question that this is going to be likeable, and I know full well how powerful Sato can be when he’s on his game.” – Lost in America
  • “Tamayura is, exactly as it’s advertised, the prototypical healing anime. Adorable girls do adorable things to lush backgrounds, little plot, and tinkly piano music. There are lots of reflective inner-monologues, long pans of scenery porn, spiritual undertones, and darling dialogue that doesn’t resemble how real girls talk in the slightest. But turning out exactly the way I expected isn’t a bad thing because I also expected this to be very good.” – Sekijitsu
  • “The atmosphere to this series is very “fluffy”, with softly colored artwork and cutesy little goofball personalities adding to the charm here. There is no mistake that Tamayura is aiming to be a simple iyashikei (aka healing) anime, and as of now it’s definitely doing a good job. Grade: 7.5/10.” – Emory Anime Club
  • “Now this is what you call a good slice of life. Sato Junichi does it again – that just about summarizes it. Grade: 9/10.” – Asrialite
  • ““Beautiful” is just doesn’t sum it up – it exceeds well beyond what we can possible say simple in a single word.” – Seventh Style
  • “The first episode was dangerously close to the Drama Llama-sector, but managed to avoid the worst land mines about Dead Parents.” – Jinx


Thumbs-up for Round One: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Working Season 2, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki, Shinryaku Ika Musume Season 2, Ben-To, Chihayafuru, Guilty Crown, Phi-Brain, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, Fate Zero, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Hunter x Hunter, Tamayura Hitotose

Thumbs-down for Round One: Morita-san wa Mukuchi Season 2, Kimi to Boku, C3: CubexCursedxCurious, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, Majikoi Oh! Samurai Girls, Shakugan no Shana Final, Mashiro-iro Symphony: The Color of Love

Coming up next: Persona 4: The Animation, Maken-ki, Cross Fight Bedaman, Digimon Xros Wars II, Sengoku Paradise Kiwami, Gdgd Fairies, Sora no Kiseki, Kyousougiga, High Score, Infinite Stratos OVA, Hidamari Sketch SP, Boku wa Tomodachi OVA, Lupin III Movie, Ao no Exorcist Special, Queen’s Blade Visual Book, Deadman Wonderland OVA, Toradora Special, Dragonball Z Episode of Bardock, R-15 OVA, Hoshizora e Kakaru OVA

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2 Responses to Anime Review: Tamayura Hitotose Episode 1

  1. Pingback: Anime Review: Recap of the Fall 2011 Season (after watching the 1st episodes) | This Euphoria!

  2. Pingback: Anime Review: Tamayura: Hitotose Episode 2 | This Euphoria!

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