“Everyone will eventually go their separate ways. That’s why I want to preserve this precious moment now.” -Fuu Sawatari
We’re a ways into the Fall season now, but I’ve only just finished Tamayura ~More Aggressive~. I will immediately say that I should have watched this during the summer, when I needed the healing aspect the most. Calming, relaxing and friendly, ~More Aggressive~ continues on the events from ~Hitotose~, and this time, I got the feeling that the anime was gently reminding viewers that even the most familiar (and sometimes mundane) locations can nonetheless be host to memories of incalculable value. As I watched Fuu and her friends spend time with one another, exploring local attractions, I realised that this was exactly the message I needed during my summer, which, while immensely productive research-wise, was underwhelming with respect to travel. Traveling was something I had hoped to do following convocation, but that wish never was realised, and thus, I am now awaiting the most hated of seasons: winter, when there is next to no sunlight at my latitude for the next seven months.
- There is quite a bit of travel in Tamayura ~More Aggressive~; at the second half’s start, Fuu, Kaoru, Norie and Maon visit Chihiro and Tomo in Shioiri, Yokosuka, Fuu’s hometown.
- We’re a month and a bit into yet another academic year, and though I am involved in refining the computer models I built during the summer, I’ve got a bit more time to actually partake in my hobbies. Of course, I saw no fireworks during the course of my last two summers, having outright missed the displays last year celebrating the Stampede Centennial events because I was studying for the MCAT and set to do a practise exam the very next day.
- For the summer events where I am, participants tend to wear more casual apparel (or even cowboy gear) in place of Yukatas. I might be thinking on it a little too much, but now, I wonder what doing an exchange program to Japan would be like. I’ve noted previously that anime is a totally insufficient means for portraying Japanese culture, especially in comparison to an opportunity to go there myself, not as a visitor, but as a student.
- Fuu returns the favour to Chihiro and invites her to Takehara for a festival, fulfilling her promise to take the latter to the “Secret Spot” that her father once watched fireworks from. A long time ago, my parents wondered what it would be like to watch fireworks from inside the city’s landmark tower. The fireworks went off below us and the thunder was muffled: the thrill in fireworks stems from being under the show and being able to feel every burst or crackle the fireworks themselves make.
- Some technical details about photography are present in ~More Aggressive~, but, like K-On!, the emphasis is not about such aspects of an activity, but rather, the fact that individuals are able to do these activities together. It is quite surprising and depressing to see fans forget that this is the core aspect in anime; I have several friends who watch House and Scrubs: they find the shows to be entertaining and don’t raise complaints because of any inaccuracies that may be present.
- Nozomu Natsume is one of Fuu’s father’s classmates, but is not shown here. Despite his harsh critique on Fuu’s photos, he acknowledges that he appreciated Fuu’s father emphasising love in photographs over any technical prowess.
- I’ve taken most of the Thursdays of this term off so far, making use of the time to study or work on applications. After lifting weights bright and early, I’d return home to work. During noon-hour, I enjoyed ramen, and once, a calzone with a side of deep-fried, grated potatoes while watching Tamayura ~More Aggressive~. Today, I enjoyed the fried chicken poutine from Waffle & Chix while finishing the finale. It’s surprising as to how well fresh cut fries goes with southern gravy and maple syrup.
- Fuu and Kanae’s photographs are featured at a local exhibition after Fuu consents to give it a shot. It brings to mind several symposium I’ve participated in as a result of my work with the LINDSAY Virtual Human team.
- The “We Exhibition” makes a return: armed with their experiences from the previous year, Fuu, Kaoru, Norie and Maon put on improved presentations. The event proceeds very smoothly, and Kanae finds herself wishing that such fun times could be eternal.
- Fuu’s mother and grandmother discuss how quickly time has passed wth Maon’s parents, reminding me of how much time has passed even between now and when Tamayura ~Hitotose~ was airing. The last time I watched this series, I hadn’t completed my undergraduate education or written my MCAT yet.
Fortunately, not all is lost. The DragonForce song Seasons outright states that “No winter lasts forever/The seasons pass and the sunlight will shine/On my life again”. This isn’t directly relevant to Tamayura ~More Aggressive~ per se, but I suppose that Seasons is about cycles, and how light will return after the darkness. The aspect of an era ending is one that permeates the second half of ~More Aggressive~: now that Kanae is graduating, both she and Fuu feel a sense of longing as their time together draws to a close. As her exams approach, Kanae feels increasingly isolated, that those happy times she shared with Fuu and company are coming to an end, but the time the finale rolls around, both Fuu and Kanae realise that it is the fact that they had such memories of their time together is what is important. Both girls’ passion for photography has provided the means to both bring them together and will subsequently provide them a tangible means of recalling such happy memories.
- Shinto elements remain strong in Japan despite the introduction of Bhuddism during the Asuka period. It’s common practise for anime to depict their characters going to a shrine and praying for a blessed year during New Years.
- Sayomi’s driving technique border on insane: the girls here react in fright after Sayomi takes her hand off the wheel and eyes off the road. Maon’s expression is particularly entertaining.
- Seeing the first sunrise of the year brings to mind a K-On! OVA, where the girls sleep through the twelfth-hour marking the new year, but make up for it by seeing the first sunrise. BY comparison, I tend to stay up later and wake up at around 1000 the next day.
- While some of the scenes in ~More Aggressive~ might be a little choppy or inconsistent, the good aspects decisively outweigh the bad ones, and this sunrise is a perfect example as to why I say this. The water and sunrise are worthy of Frostbite 3; from me, that is a compliment.
- I wonder how many viewers got some of the proverbial dust in their eyes whenever the girls tear up. Tamayura in general executes emotions quite well: one of the main criteria I have for whether or not a show (not just anime) is worthwhile is whether or not I can feel what the characters on screen are feeling, whether it be excitement, sadness or even fear. Tamayura, CLANNAD and Kanon stack up with things like The Dark Knight Triology and Skyfall in terms of being able to transmit emotions to the audience.
- The Doll Festival is said to be flamboyant and graceful, although we don’t get to see much of it. In the finale, Fuu’s camera breaks down, and she takes it to Maestro for repairs. Without a camera for much of the episode, Fuu sees the world with her own eyes rather than through a camera lens, gaining new perspective on things.
- Kanae proved to be a welcome addition to the Tamayura series; despite being as shy as Fuu, she is very friendly and found inspiration in Fuu’s passion for photography. Despite a hesitant start, she becomes friends with Fuu and comes to terms with her future. After leaving the photography club to study for her entrance exams, she returns to visit after being admitted to her first-choice of a post-secondary institution.
- Fuu’s mother reveals how thankful she is that Fuu is about to move ahead now; taking her to a beautiful viewpoint, she reveals that this is where she had proposed to her father, lifting Fuu’s spirits after she begins feeling a little melancholy at the prospect of everyone going their separate ways in the future.
- Kanae thanks Fuu from the bottom of her heart for all the things they were able to do over the past year. Graduation is portrayed in anime as a time for goodbyes, and when friends move their own separate ways to pursue their own dreams and visions of the future.
- The last words in Tamayura ~More Aggressive~ are simply “arigatou”, or “thank you”. Reception to this installment was positive, although many viewers were left feeling that the series ended on an open note and could potentially see a third season. Whether or not this will come to be remains to be seen, but if there is, I’m almost certain to watch and discuss it.
Fuu’s mother remarks on how far Fuu has come since they had moved to Takehara, reminding viewers on just how much has happened in the space of Tamayura ~More Aggressive~. Over the course of a year, Fuu has taken the initiative to start her own club and put in the commitment to maintain it, Approaching photography with her fullest and best efforts, Fuu is able to come to terms with her father’s passing and in the process, her energy and enthusiasm is passed on to Kanae, who subsequently becomes “more aggressive”, as well. ~More Aggressive~ places a great deal of emphasis on Fuu and her memories with her late father: instead of lamenting what could have been, Fuu ultimately cherishes what has come to pass, and in doing so, is able to move on. Tamayura ~More Aggressive~ is a fitting sequel to Tamayura ~Hitotose~, although as it stands, I’m left wondering if there is a possibility for a third season, which will see Fuu, Kaoru, Norie and Maon graduate, going their own separate ways.