Tamayura -More Aggressive
Continuing her life in Takehara, Fu Sawatari wishes to become more assertive. This leads to her starting a photography club at her school.
It seems like one-sentence plot synopsis is all I can do for this show most of the time. Whether it's needed is up in the air; Tamayura doesn't really follow a plot strand as much as just leisurely draws its path as it goes. This being the second season -- third, if you count the OAV -- this probably shouldn't come as a surprise to you. Assuming you're here because you have watched the OAV and the Hitotose TV series, you probably already know what to expect, so let's talk about what this season has.
TYO continues its decent animation work for More Aggressive, an amusing misnomer for this quiet breeze of a show. There is a certain nice flow to it, but, as it was for the first TV series, it's still a bit hard to tell just how deep the quality hole goes. I would assume it's still good, since the characters still move with a spring in their steps. The background art also still gives off the scent of location research, much as Sato did with Aria; if this show is anything to go by, Takehara is a lovely town. Enhanced by all this is the very nice score, including yet another lovely opening theme by Maaya Sakamoto.
You'll meet all your friends here too, still. Fu is there, as is all her friends, her mother, her brother, her grandmother and the slightly unhinged teacher at her school. Komachi is still there, too, fighting Nori for Fu's adorable brother, Kou's affections. And since no season should be left behind without some additions to the cast, More Aggressive brings two new additions to the table; Mutsuko Shimokamiyama, a female teacher who is about as unhinged as Kazutarou Dougou, with the two of them sometimes teaming up to bring some life to the series, God help us all. The second arrival comes in upperclass...girl, Kanae Mitani. Being a year older than the other girls, she's basically only in it for this season, since she will be moving on to college once the year is over. She is, if it can be believed, even more soft-spoken and socially challenged than Fu, and it takes a lot of awkward, panicky dialogue before she decides to join Fu's new club.
From there, the show falls back into a little too familiar a routine. With kanae pulled along for the ride, the girls go on various adventures, mostly to find treasured locations or experience the local festival, as it was in Hitotose. To break off the repetition, More Aggressive ties in a little closer with Fu and Kou's late father, and some of the things he did in his youth, the people he met and eventually the woman he married. And they do all this while still not showing us, the viewers, his face. If I ever were to feel closer to Aria through this show, then the moments with Fu's father would be it.
It's not that the show is unpleasant -- far from it -- but I mentioned some disappointments with Hitotose, and those disappointments unfortunately carries over to this season. Tamayura is still a show with the bad habit of reminding us too often how wonderful everything is instead of selling the point properly, as if it didn't trust itself to let us figure it out on our own. Sato really should trust his ability to set the mood and let his location and music do the rest. There is a scene near the end of this show that illustrates this point perfectly; Fu and Kanae is sitting along a wall having a whispered conversation about the year they just had, after a repeat of their "We" exhibition. Most of it is fluff -- empty back-and-forths about the moments we already witnessed throughout the show and them thanking each other profusely for the experience -- but the show still manages to pack a punch when it shows Fu's friends, pretending to sleep in their sleeping bags. Their expressions says more than words could ever convey.
The voice cast does their usual great jobs, though I could not help but miss Erino Hazuki's Riho Shihomi. She still has her parts in this show, but the "Erino Effect" (or maybe I should call it "Akari effect") is lessened in this season. Thankfully, Ryou Hirohashi is still here as the wonderfully antagonizing Komachi. Her continuous spats with Norie are a blast. In effect, she's more like Working's Aoi Yamada rather than Aria's Alice Carroll.
My misgivings notwithstanding, Tamayura -More Aggressive is a really pleasant show -- just the thing to wind down after a particularly stressful day, or even adding to a relaxing one. It's not on the level with Aria, and in a stretch, I would even compare Sato's earlier work, Umi Monogatari, as better than this. That's why I realize it's probably unfair to compare shows of this pedigree to each other, because when you lump it in with the rest of the anime world's contributions, Tamayura -More aggressive is quite capable of standing on its own legs.
Still as pleasant as ever. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: There is nothing really off about this show; it's simply too pleasant and inoffensive to want or need to go somewhere it shouldn't. You should probably be more afraid of your kids being bored with this show than anything else.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital Source.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Tamayura -More Aggressive © 2013 TYO Animation, Tamayura Production Committee.
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