January 10, 2013
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Whilst shopping for some flowers in her local market, Tamako Kitashirakawa, the daughter of a mochi shop owner, encounters a peculiar talking bird named Dela Mochimazzi that decides to follow her home. As Tamako and her younger sister Anko go to the public baths later that evening, Dela has Tamako’s childhood friend, Mochizō Ōji, take him to the baths as well. As New Year’s Eve arrives, with Dela having put on weight after gaining an affection for mochi, Dela almost chokes on a mochi, prompting the neighbourhood to help him out, overlooking Tamako’s birthday.
- Anko and Tamako Kitashirakawa in the Tama-ya shopping district. Contrasting Tamako, she is less practical than her older sister and is more fashion conscious. Both characters share traits from Azusa in terms of physical appearance, although Tamako is a lot less serious and friendlier in general.
- Mochizou Ouji is childhood friend of Tamako’s who is in love with her. His father also runs a mochi shop and competes with Tamako’s father. With Dela’s arrival, an interesting twist of events may develop, as the latter claims that being sneezed at is a sign of love.
- Tamako Market is titled after the main character and setting in the series. The Japanese spelling of the title is in Hiragana to reflect on its family-friendly nature (Hiragana is the first script children learn to write in), similar to its spellings for other anime. However, these elements remain trivial: ultimately, an anime does not present itself as a soothing, family-friendly show through the writing system used in its title, but instead, by the content it delivers.
- I have not seen anything with anthropomorphic animals since Kevin Gillis’ The Raccoons. Dela Mochimazzi’s character is regal and pompous, rather in the same vein as “Chiyo’s Father” from Azumanga Daioh. Paired with his ecchi tendencies, I foresee an anime that will induce the odd laugh here and there, but will ultimately be relaxing for the mind.
- Dela has cool laser eye beams, revealing that he might be of South Pacific origin. The cast is incredibly diverse and is set in a very localised area, illustrating how everyone is familiar with everyone else. Insofar, Tamako Market is doing a fine job of exploring uncharted waters, and I’ll probably continue to watch it. For one, it’s fun to watch a friendlier Azusa be friends with everyone in a warm, close-knit setting.
KyoAni’s latest work features something whimsical and novel: an anthropomorphic bird whose tendencies give Tamako Market a decidedly unique and fun twist. Identifying himself to as Dera Mochimazzi, the prince of a tropical monarchy, the inclusion of a talking bird with the intent of finding a bride sets Tamako Market up as something that could potentially reach outside the scope of a slice-of-life, making this into a work that could very well be a heart-warming kind of anime. These elements are already emphasised by episode one, which sees the introduction of Tamako and her family, as well as their interactions. The presence of a large and diverse cast further, set in a microcosm that is Usagiyama, reinforces that this anime is a step towards family-oriented entertainment, contrasting some of KyoAni’s previous works. With friendly characters and an environment encouraging socialising, Tamako Market ultimately takes a bold step in a new direction, presenting something that might very well transcend their well-established reputation of designing K-On! like anime.