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[R2 DVD art (Japanese)]
AKA: たまゆら (Japanese)
Genre: Slice of life, comedy.
Length: OAV series, 4 episodes, 20 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by Right Stuf International.
Content Rating: PG (Nothing objectionable.)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Aria, Natsume Yuujinchou, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou.
Notes: This OAV is included in Rightstuf's release of its sequel series, Tamayura ~Hitotose~ for the North American market.



In the town where her late father lived, Fu Sawatari follows her interest in photography, fueled by an old photograph of her father in a place she's been to but do not remember. Nicknamed "Potte" by her friends, she's a bundle of nervous energy and nostalgia.


There isn't a whole lot to say about this show. It's a four-episode OAV rounding up a grand total of an hour or so of... well, to be honest, it's fluff. Mostly anyway. On the bright side, it's also made by Junichi Sato, the go-to guy when you want to make something relatively simple, yet immensely enjoyable.

Watcing Tamayura, I get the impression that Sato's work on Aria left a deep impression on him, which eventually lead to the creation of this OAV. Both shows are mostly about characters following their interests, and while it's not certain that Fu will make a career out of her photography, she follows it with the same kind of passion that Akari did about her Undine career in Aria.

Sato is also one of the few that can make a show about cute girls doing what they feel like and not making me feel like a dirty, old man for enjoying it so much. Then again, Tamayura never really goes on a tangent about the girls themselves, instead selecting to focus on the things they experience. In that respect, it's really a whole lot like Aria. It's also just as sentimental and sappy at times -- with lines that will, no surprise, remind you an awful lot about a certain aforementioned show -- which may or may not work for you.

Tamayura is mostly about Fu. She's a young girl with a keen interest in photography, mostly thanks to her father. When she returned to the hometown where her father grew up, she brought her camera with her, and its through that and the photographs taken with it that the town's story and its surroundings come to life. Fu is actually pretty goal-oriented despite her seemingly scatterbrained personality and her general inability to communicate with people she doesn't know without panicking. She also has a little brother, Kou, who acts like your average bundle of energy despite his extremely bishounen looks.

Fu also have three friends. Hanawa Kaoru, Fu's first real friend, is the sensible one of the lot. Then there's Sakurada Maon, who communicates partially through whistling, and Okazaki Norie, who is Maon's friend and who later takes a strong interest in Fu's adorable little brother. The rest of the cast constitutes mostly of Fu's mother and grandmother, Hanawa Sayomi (Kaoru's big sister) and Shihomi Riho, who is the recipient of Fu's photograph and also gave her an old unstamped ticket as a keepsake. Lastly, we have the unnamed photo shop owner who develops Fu's photographs and repairs her camera. It's a small cast, and seeing as Tamayura is a mere four-episode OAV, we don't really get a whole lot of character development from these people.

It's a shame, but the briefness of this OAV might turn some people off, or, even worse, turn licensors away. It's short -- almost painfully brief -- but it's also incredibly pleasant. Being an OAV, the animation is very nice, and while nothing about this show can be counted as energetic, there's still a very strong atmosphere around the place and the people in it. Like Aria, it's considered a "healing show", so it's to be expected that the music is of the quiet, acoustic variety. (The opening theme is, in fact, a reimagining of Kiki's Delivery Service's closing theme, which I actually wasn't aware of.) Whoever was responsible for the casting even went and brought back the actors for Aria's Aria Company. Hazuki Erino plays Shihomi Riho, who plays her character a little different but still reminiscent of Akari, and it's always a joy getting to see and hear her doing another role. Ohara Sayaka, Alicia's actor, plays Kaoru's big sister Sayomi, making her sound almost exactly like Alicia. And last, but certainly not least, Matsuo Yoshiko takes on yet another grandma role as Fu's mild-mannered and supportive grandmother.

Short as it is, Tamayura remains a very enjoyable show to watch. It doesn't quite carry the same kind of weight that Aria did with me, mostly because it didn't have enough time to establish itself like Aria did. Despite that, Tamayura is a must-see if you're into this kind of thing. It's short and pleasant, which is just the kind of thing I feel everyone should take in every now and then. And if this leads to a TV series in the future, all the better for it.

Short, but VERY sweet.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: I can think of absolutely nothing inappropriate or offensive in this show. However, most of the day-to-day wisdoms and slice-of-life truisms will most likely be lost on the very young. Tamayura isn't specifically aimed for children, though Fu's antics might still entertain some of them.

Version(s) Viewed: Prelicense digital source
Review Status: Full (4/4)
Tamayura © 2010 Hal Film Maker, AT-X
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