The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

A School Trip For Just One Day: Tamayura ~More Aggressive~ OVA Review

“We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.”  —Hilaire Belloc

Set between episode eight and nine of Tamayura ~More Aggressive~, this OVA was released a little more than a month ago and as per its title, depicts the girls’ one-day trop to Onomichi after Maon comes down with a fever, resulting in her missing the opportunity to go on a school trip to Okinawa with Fū and the others. When the girls pay her a visit once they return, Norie discovers a sketchbook that Maon was hoping to fill with memories of the school trip, and is moved to tears upon noticing that it is completely blank. Realising that Maon has also become upset over not being able to go, Fū suggests that everyone take her on another school trip just for them. The girls decide to go to Onomichi, where they participate in all the local tourist activities whilst Maon starts filling up her sketchbook. By the end of the day, Maon manages to completely fill in her sketchbook, thanking Norie for crying for her that time.

  • Tamayura ~More Aggressive~ was aired last summer, and I began watching it in September at a rate of roughly one episode per week, finishing in October. It’s been around a year since the series began, and the OVA has been out for quite a while, although I only got around to watching it recently (read, this post is hot off the presses).

  • The locations and activities the girls visit and partake in are typical Okinawa fare. The last anime I watched featuring Okinawa was Soni Ani: Super Sonico The Animation and before that, Azumanga Daioh.  The martial arts style I’ve trained in, Gōjūryū, also originates from Okinawa: as previously alluded to, Okinawa is better known for meats rather than fish. Before I move on to the next image, I would like to note that this beach scene is precisely what comes to mind when I hear Rie Tanaka’s “Midori no Mori”.

  • Those who have been reading this blog closely since around last year will have noted that I’ve mentioned about a lack of time to travel. However, I’ve since taken a step back:: as noted in a previous post, I think that a trip to Japan next summer would be viable and are planning towards making that a reality. The present challenge now is picking a destination, and whether to go with a tour group or do a backpack trip, complete with hostels and fumbling the language.

  • Norie’s tears act as the turning point in the episode, and I found myself empathising with Norie and Maon. Apparently, individuals with a stronger empathy are more likely to experience similar emotions to those in their environment or from stimuli, which would account for why people may cry during particularly emotional moments in TV and movies.

  • As far as destinations in Japan go, I am inclined to do a tour that allows me to visit historical areas of Japan, especially the Kyoto region, or else do a food tour of Hokkaidō. It may come as a surprise, but despite my interest in anime, my intrigue for Japan lies largely within their historical elements and cuisine. As such, exploring locales such as the Ginkakuji and Nijō Castle, or enjoying Jingisukan and various seafoods would be more rewarding than going to a maid café in Akihabara.

  • Before this Japan trip, though, it’s passport-renewing time. Amusingly enough, my driver’s license is also about to expire. As it stands now, I’ll need to renew both, but since both require one other form of identification, if I renew one first, I’ll have to wait a while to renew the other while I wait for whichever one I renew first to arrive by mail. This means getting my driver’s license done first, since I don’t imagine I’ll need my passport until December.

  • As to why that is the case, I’ll presently keep that to myself and return the discussion to Tamayura. Chihiro and Tomo make a short appearance in the OVA, while Sayomi and the others do not make an appearance.

  • A sharp-eyed viewer will notice that, save one scenery image, every other image has more than one person in it. This is no coincidence; as an anime about people, I feel that screenshots with more people seem to capture Tamayura‘s spirit far better than would images having fewer people.

  • After Fū’s previous trip to Onomichi, the girls decide to stay in a Bed and Breakfast, albeit a different one than when Fuū had went last time. The previous one was styled after a Western home, with standard beds, but this one is more traditional and has futons instead.

  • In my final reflection, I noted that I was enjoying a poutine while watching the finale. Today, I decided to grab a poutine from the Smoke’s Poutinerie downstairs before returning to watch this episode later in the day. Contrasting the last one, which had fried chicken and maple syrup, this one has the traditional gravy and cheese, providing a welcome accompaniment to the episode. One would question the wisdom of having poutine on such a hot day (temperatures reached  32°C by afternoon before humidity), I am celebrating the successful implementation of a mini-map in the brain visualisation model.

The Tamayura ~More Aggressive~ OVA is a welcome addition to the series; as per its original run, the OVA is highly relaxing and heartwarming to watch. Travelling with friends lies at the OVA’s core, with the central idea being that it’s who one travels with, rather than where, that produces the most precious of memories. When Maon misses a school trip owing to fever, her friends step up to the plate and offer to help her create new memories where she had missed them before. Norie’s role comes across as particularly important: whereas she’s typically the ever-cheerful character, here, her emotions are brought out and show just how deeply she cares for Maon. Indeed, vacations and even short journeys are memorable precisely because of who one is accompanied by. Fū had previously visited Onomichi with Harumi Kawai and Riho in the TV series: with knowledge of the city, she helps Kanae plan out this trip. Over its course, the girls have a wonderful time, and viewers come out of the OVA with a sense of warmth and tranquility that Tamayura is known for. Throughout the entire series, the relaxed pacing and touching moments belie Tamayura’s core message that through adventure and open-mindedness, many memories are created, to be treasured.

  • The aforementioned mini-map took a few days to implement, since the algorithm was a little tricky to work with, but today, I finished the constraints and the map works as it should. This location is almost certainly real and could be recognised readily by those living in the area, reflecting on how much attention is paid to the backgrounds in Tamayura. Onomichi is located in the Hiroshima prefecture and has around 148000 people. Known for its temples and parks, the city faces the inland sea.

  • As of late, I’ve resumed my hobby of doing pencil sketches. A cursory check on most search engines finds that no one else has done a talk on the OVA. This would make my reflection as having one of the earliest collections of screenshots online.With that said, it is quite understandable why talks are rare: there isn’t much to talk about in a single OVA, and this “review” is really more of a personal reflection.

  • Onomichi is known for its ramen, which is a variation with a touch of fish paste in the stock, as well as chopped green onions and pork oil to accentuate taste. It is a popular local dish, and lines at shops can get quite long. I haven’t had ramen for quite some time now (probably since Tamayura ~More Aggressive~ ended), but was able to enjoy python, ostrich and kangaroo sliders at the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth with several friends, followed by a Skyrail ride over the fairgrounds by nightfall. The night concluded with fireworks with a supermoon in the background, marking the first time I’ve seen a fireworks show since 2011.

  • Maon’s sketches capture all of the fun the girls experience during their day in Onomichi. Contrasting Renge’s sketches, Maon’s sketches are equally impressive, being colourful and convey the emotions of a moment with a gentle and polished art style, reflecting on her progress since she decided to pick up sketching (back in the TV series: I cannot quite recall which season).

  • After Fū mentions “Chain Mountain” as a point of local interest, Kanae suggests actually climbing it, evoking Sayomi’s enthusiasm for doing things. Despite having some reservations, Norie decides that ascending the hill would give them some physical activity and in turn, make dinner taste better, which convinces everyone to participate.

  • Kaori and Norie help Maon up the last steps of the climb, which takes roughly half an hour and is considered to be moderately strenuous. However, as I am wont to believe, the view at the very top is well worth the effort it takes to get there, and as noted long ago, there’s a location not too far from where I live that provides a beautiful overlook of the city’s northern edge. There’s a breeze up there on most days, and last week, I hiked up there with a friend to enjoy the scenery by evening.

  • Maon realises that she’s down to her last sketchbook page and thanks Norie for her tears, as well as everyone for making the sketchbook a tangible reminder of all the memories she’s shared with them on this short trip.

  • Two other girls are encountered at the hilltop; one of them initially feels that the climb was unfruitful, since no one else was expected to make it to the top, but are pleasantly surprised to find Fū and company already present. Plenty of photographs are taken on this short trip, but they feel secondary to the trip itself, and curiously enough, the images lack the namesake Tamayura, which appear in images of great sentimental value.

  • Cheese goes extremely well with fresh-baked bread and tea. As the girls set about relaxing, I’ll take a few moments to note that today, the air where I live had a distinctly Suzhou-Hangzhou quality to it, fueled in part by the high temperatures and the smoke from regional forest fires giving the sky an orange tinge: even at nine in the evening, temperatures remain a steady 29°C, and thundershowers are sweeping into the region.

  • Before turning in, Maon takes one last look at all of the drawings she’s created. As I’ve reached the end of this post, I’ve swept through to make sure things are ready before publishing. Tamayura stands near the top of its field as a slice-of-life anime, and I’ll close off by mentioning that in two days’ time, I will turn my sights towards a K-On! Movie talk as the two-year anniversary to the home release arrives.

Besides praising the OVA for reminding me about just how easygoing and sentimental Tamayura is, it may also be appropriate to speculate on what’s likely to happen for the future, as a special announcement is to be made on August 3. Whatever the announcement is, it’s important enough to warrant a 5400 Yen attendance cost and the attendance of six of the cast’s members. There’s a limit to what can be announced at this event: we’ve seen the girls go through first year of high school after Fū returns to Takehara in season one, and the second season has shown Fū taking the initiative to start a photography club, befriending Kanae and making plenty of new memories in the process. It would seem logical that this announcement will concern a continuation, either in the form of a movie or third season, that would deal with the excitement and melancholy associated with graduation. Kanae has already graduated, and now, it’s the girl’s turn to complete high school and move into the future. I am okay with either alternative: a movie would provide the space and scale that would allow Tamayura to explore unexplored frontier for the series, while a TV series would offer a more episodic depiction and permit for events to be explored with more detail. Both have their downsides, as well. A movie is much less accessible, and the wait would be more substantial, while a TV series may not fully capture the spirits that would be possible in a movie. Ultimately, though, whether the continuation be a movie or third season, one thing is for certain: it will be quite enjoyable to watch.

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