“So, your body’s changing. Believe me, I know how that feels.” –Steve Rogers, Spider-Man: Homecoming
Maegami manages to convince the teacher to take her to the beach, and the salaryman receives an invitation to visit a local farm that weekend, although he confesses that his neighbours’ love-making has been keeping him from sleeping well. Later, the junior and senior office workers spot the teacher buying an engagement ring, and the junior wistfully remarks she could get married. Maegami and the teacher soon move to a different apartment after the teacher proposes to her. Maegami later introduces herself to her new neighbours, Ai and her family. When the topic of relationships come up, Ai and her sister daydream about their ideal relationships. On lunch break, the junior and senior office workers watch a programme featuring cheerleaders. It turns out the lead cheerleader is also quite popular with her classmates, but is fond of teasing her childhood friend. On a company vacation, the junior office worker soundly defeats her senior in ping pong and share a conversation whilst in the baths. She wishes to go on another trip with the senior worker, causing their coworkers to wonder if the pair are seeing one another. While the cheerleader shows off her new swimsuit to her childhood friend, Ai’s friend accidentally wrecks Ai’s bra after attempting to lift Ai so she can clear the blackboard, and the two subsequently go shopping for a new bra. Finally, the day of Maegami’s wedding to the teacher arrives, and after the ceremony, Ai manages to catch the bouquet that Maegami tosses; Maegami wishes Ai the best in capturing the salaryman’s heart. The senior and junior office workers pass by, and the junior wishes she could get married. Later, Ai and the salaryman meet on the train en route to school and work, respectively, and both vow to do their best this week, too. Thus, Tawawa on Monday 2 draws to a close, bringing with it a series of endearing moments arising from what can be described as fateful encounters adapted from Kiseki Himura’s Twitter comic.
Whereas Tawawa on Monday’s first season focused on Ai, and occasionally presented other characters, Tawawa on Monday 2 has a narrative that weaves all of the different stories together. All told, Tawawa on Monday 2 suggests that the world is a smaller place than one might expect; the comings and goings in the lives of others may also impact one’s own life in unforeseeable ways. In Tawawa on Monday 2, Ai and the salaryman know of Maegami and the teacher. Similarly, the junior and senior office workers have also seen Maegami, even if they’ve not formally met, and the pair have also watched the cheerleader on television. These stories all appear disconnected at first glance: all of the relationships are in different stages. Ai and the salaryman are friends, although their thoughts wander towards romance. The junior is quite unaware that she’s making the senior uncomfortable with her suggestions about wanting a relationship, while the teacher and Maegami have accepted their feelings for one another and get married at the end of Tawawa on Monday 2. Despite these disparities, there is warmth and friendship in each dynamic: Tawawa on Monday 2 indicates that whether it be something as intimate as kiss before heading to work, or simply being able to run into one another on a busy Monday morning train, there are constants in life worth looking forward to. Moreover, one needn’t be in a relationship to find meaningful human contact, either; although it is clear that the childhood friend, senior office worker and salaryman do yearn for a proper relationship with their love interests, even just being able to spend time with those around them is enough of a reason to get out of bed, head out the door and take on a new week with one’s best.
Screenshots and Commentary
- Originally, I had planned to write about Tawawa on Monday 2 all at once, but an uptick of interest in my old Tawawa on Monday posts piqued my curiosity. To my surprise, it turned out that Tawawa on Monday had a second season, which explained the influx of readers looking for Tawawa on Monday related posts. While I can’t say with confidence that these are my best posts in terms of offering readers with something unique, I can say that, like the drawings they originate from, Tawawa on Monday 2 is entertaining despite its short run.
- Irrespective of what anime I’m watching, whether it’s a slice-of-life, adventure or something with more symbolism and imagery in it, I tend to consider what the work is trying to tell viewers through its themes. This is something that drives my enjoyment of a work, since seeing the themes is equivalent to walking a few kilometres in the creator’s shoes. Through Tawawa on Monday 2, I get the impression that Himura suggests that it’s small moments that make things worthwhile, and while he may have chosen a very specific kind of moment for Tawawa on Monday, one could easily generalise this to simpler things in general, whether it be a bit of courtesy from someone, or being able to watch a particularly striking sunrise while going to work.
- Of course, anime dealing with those sorts of things would unlikely be to garner as much attention. Once Maegami and the teacher end up together, their lovemaking becomes sufficiently energetic so that the salaryman can overhear almost everything through the thin apartment walls, keeping him from sleeping. The salaryman briefly wishes he were doing that with Ai, only to stop and chastise himself for going thinking such thoughts. The desire for closeness does have a negative impact on the salaryman, leaving him a little dejected, and so, when Ai messages him to ask if he’s available to hang out over the weekend, he immediately accepts.
- Tawawa on Monday is the originator of the so-called “Tawawa Challenge”, which became a bit of a fad amongst Japanese and Korean online communities. Because of their sheer size, Japanese and Korean fads can completely dominate all social media for a time once they gain enough momentum. In general, I greatly dislike internet memes because they depend entirely on repetition to be effective; in a discussion with a friend of mine, we concluded that proper humour comes from context, expectations, and timing. Making something comedic, then, is to set a context, and then subvert expectations at the opportune moment.
- This is why Michael Hui, Sam Hui and Steven Chow’s movies are hilarious, as well as why jokes within the Marvel Cinematic Universe are funny when we are first exposed to them – they are unexpected. Similarly, in ecchi anime, the bulk of the humour comes from timing a moment to maximise embarrassment amongst the characters. Tawawa on Monday actually does not have many of these jokes, instead, relying on gentler moments to put a smile on viewers’ faces. Generally speaking, misunderstandings tend to happen with the other characters, and wherever Ai is concerned, things are family-friendly.
- By all standards, Tawawa on Monday is tame, and the most risqué it ever gets here is when the characters show off a swimsuit, move around a great deal, or when tease one another. Tawawa on Monday 2 pushes things slightly when Ai remarks that the salaryman seems uncommonly apt at milking cows, and it doesn’t take much of an imagination to see where something like this could go, especially in a series that is as up front about mammaries as Tawawa on Monday 2.
- While Ai and the salaryman enjoy their weekend outing to the farm, I’ll note that I’ve not been to a farm since I was in preschool; back then, they were fond of taking us to a petting farm on the northwestern edge of town. In those days, this petting farm would’ve been located quite a ways away from the edge of town, but owing to the fact that the subdivisions have grown uncontrollably over the past few decades, the petting farm is now only half a kilometre from the edge of town. When I was younger, I wondered how long my commute to work would be, since newer communities were always built further away, and a look at things suggests that, were I to buy a place in the newest community, my drive to work would jump from being a manageable 30 minutes, to 45 minutes.
- To wrap things up, Ai and the salaryman enjoy a soft-serve ice cream made with fresh dairy before heading back into town. On their outing, the salaryman finds that everyone he encounters on this day has a similar figure to Ai; some of the staff at the farm were pretty stacked, and the salaryman gets distracted when the car wash attendant begins wiping down his vehicle. Fortunately, Ai doesn’t notice: she’s more curious to know how the salaryman would react were she to ask about swinging by his place after. Tawawa on Monday isn’t Higehiro, so this is one of those questions that will wisely remain unanswered.
- Quite separately, the junior and senior office workers speak with one another over a few beers when the former swings by the latter’s place. After the junior has a few too many, she falls asleep, leaving the senior to wonder what on earth to do about her. Here, I will note that while it works for Himura, having unnamed characters makes it a bit tricky to refer to everyone in a discussion. I am reminded of Steven Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer, where a majority of the characters have no names, and while Chow might be able to direct a film where no one refers to anyone else by name, this does make it difficult to know who one is referring to when talking about the story or characters.
- Writing about Tawawa on Monday 2 brought back memories of why the original series had been tricky to capture good screenshots for – the camera has to pan frequently to show full-body shots, and landscape images aren’t always the best for these moments. Some writers get around the formatting limitation using animated GIFs, but I don’t use them simply because even in an age of multi-core processors, the act of rendering and decoding an animated GIF is expensive compared to video playback, where encoding algorithms have become so efficient that one could have multiple videos on a web page and suffer next to no performance lost. For me, moving images can be a little distracting, so I eschew them altogether and simply strive to find the best frame for a given moment.
- When their mother finds a racy-looking bra, Ai and her sister are asked if it belongs to either of them. This ends up setting the stage for revelation that Maegami has moved to their apartment building; Ai and her sister meeting Maegami becomes a bit of a turning point in Tawawa on Monday in that until now, the different vignettes were relatively isolated. In the first season, Ai and the salaryman only ever meet on the train, and the junior and senior office workers similarly had their own little world. There’d been a few unrelated segments involving a personal trainer and a convenience store clerk, as well, but they never were a part of the main story as Tawawa on Monday 2 has done.
- Connecting the characters’ story together makes the world of Tawawa on Monday more plausible and believable, as well as provides more opportunity to really flesh out a world that was originally about disparate, disconnected individuals. Looking around, because Tawawa on Monday 2 is a series of shorts, discussion for it has been limited. From what I’ve been able to see, people have similarly enjoyed the fact that the different segments are connected. Folks also indicate that giving the male characters voices whilst refraining from rendering their eyes creates a sort of discrepancy.
- I do get where these individuals are coming from – voicing the characters means that, even though they’re supposed to be stand-ins for the viewer, hints of the voice actor’s own personalities show. This sort of effect is precisely why first person shooters of old had silent protagonists: developers argue that this would allow players to play their character in their own way and become the character. In later games, trends shifted away from this, and these days, characters from Halo, DOOM and Wolfenstein are voiced, giving them a unique personality. There are merits and drawbacks to both approaches, although I do feel that if the males of Tawawa on Monday 2 are to be voiced, it would be nice to properly render them, too.
- During the discussions I’ve seen, people are able to keep it mature and focused; in fact, the only exception comes from a single individual who argued that Maegami’s choices were immoral owing to the fact that student-teacher relationships represent a violation of trust by authority figures, and that nothing changes even after Maegami has graduated. This individual is grasping at straws here, since the teacher only chose to express his feelings once the pair were no longer student and teacher. The same individual had also popped in on a discussion about The Aquatope on White Sand and argued the anime was skating over the horrors that occurred in Okinawa and therefore, was being insensitive about history.
- I’d contend that it was this individual who is being insensitive by foisting ignorant political opinions unto others – the choice to mention the mass suicides during the Battle of Okinawa and then contrast it with the tropical beauty on this island in The Aquatope on White Sand is meant to show how peacetime replaces horrors with normalcy, and that this is something people should be mindful of. Moreover, this individual incorrectly asserts that The Aquatope on White Sand is being “corrupt” and “dishonest” in its aesthetic. I counter that this is not the case; fiction oftentimes will abstract out other moving parts in life so that a particular learning can be presented. If works were to be wholly realistic, there’d be enough factors playing off one another so that a story cannot be reasonably resolved in a fixed timeframe.
- This is why there are narrative devices fiction will employ to ensure that a story can conclude on a meaningful note if it is appropriate for said story. I’ve always found that individuals like these are putting in a little too much effort into trying to be the smartest person in the room – rather than making an effort to understand the story and objectives, they take it upon themselves to pass judgement on every moment an author has made a “mistake”. I’ve never figured out why people feel compelled to do this, especially in series where there is no significant philosophical, sociological, psychological or political content.
- For Tawawa on Monday 2, talking about the cheerleader and her childhood friend proved to be the most tricky simply because I have no easy way of referring to them. Some folks call the childhood friend “baldy”, but this doesn’t fly with me, since “baldy” is a nickname that is used in both Sam Hui and Michael Hui’s films. I would therefore end up calling the childhood friend 光頭老鼠 (jyutping gwong1 tau4 lou5 syu2), but this name would only have meaning for me. To keep things consistent, I’ll refer to the childhood friend as such, and comment on the fact that every time he’s around, he’s clearly conflicted.
- On one hand, he’s clearly attracted to the cheerleader, but is also embarrassed by her antics. The cheerleader herself is very fond of teasing him, and decides to strip down in a bid to “persuade” him to let her copy his assignments, after her modelling work cuts into her time to study. Back in high school and middle school, it never took such persuasion for me to help fellow classmates with their work: while I never gave out answers for free, I would take the time to explain how to reach an answer and walk people through until an almost-answer, after which it’d click for them. The persuasion was unnecessary simply because the process also helped me to understand something a little better. Again, were Tawawa on Monday 2 to work like reality, I can imagine that the show would have far fewer viewers.
- One can imagine the sort of trouble that could accompany someone around if their childhood friend was this open: in flashbacks, the cheerleader has no qualms with asking her childhood friend to check out her assets, even though he has no inclination to do so. Things are exacerbated by the fact that she tends to mention him a great deal, even giving him all of the credit when she manages to throw a strike at a local baseball game and is subsequently interviewed about it. It is clear that the cheerleader is very comfortable with who she is, but at the same time, she also knows how her childhood friend feels about things.
- In reality, people are rarely so straightforward and upfront with their emotions, so this is the one area where I will count Tawawa on Monday 2 and its predecessor as being “unrealistic”. A recurring theme in many works of fiction is that, were people to be more honest about themselves and how they feel, many conflicts could be avoided. Of course, this is the sort of thing where hindsight is twenty-twenty, and it is only in the aftermath of something where a better course of action can be spotted more readily.
- Of the stories seen in Tawawa on Monday 2, the cheerleader and her childhood friend most closely resembles those seen in the original Tawawa on Monday, being a relatively self-contained series of events. In Tawawa on Monday, I found that a lot of the events that occurred were left ambiguous, creating a sense of yearning amongst the characters; this is probably Himura’s way of saying that the people we develop crushes on may also reciprocate, but for our own reasons, people choose not to act on these feelings more often than not. There was one story in Tawawa on Monday‘s first season that stood out to me; a new salaryman runs into a lady who’d been a fellow classmate, and although she loved him, he never returned her feelings.
- I suddenly feel that, were something like that to cross my path in reality now, I would absolutely take that chance and at least get to know that individual better over a coffee or similar. These stories were always my favourite, both in Tawawa on Monday and in other contexts: there’s something immeasurably romantic about having lost an opportunity long ago, only for the heavens to present one with another shot. Over the years, one would gain a better measure of themselves and what they’re seeking, so if the heart is still saying “yes” after all that time, then one’s way forward would be clear.
- It is not lost on me that Ai and the salaryman actually make only a limited appearance in Tawawa on Monday 2: the series is predominantly focused on Maegami and the teacher. While I adore that story greatly, Tawawa on Monday‘s short format means that any time spent with Maegami and the teacher is time not spent on anyone else. Here, Ai gives her friend a death glare after the latter’s antics causes her bra strap to snap during class.
- As recompense, Ai forces her friend to accompany her to pick out a replacement, although in the end, Ai herself must foot the bill. This topic had been covered in a very tasteful and mature manner back in Yama no Susume, and I had a reader remark on how when properly done, anime can cover all sorts of topics without ever overstepping into the realm of the inappropriate. With this being said, Tawawa on Monday isn’t exactly Yama no Susume, and the only thing sharing these two series share in common is their extremely short runtime.
- At the store, Ai and her friend run into Maegami, who remarks that this is the curse of being well-endowed. Curiosity led me to take a look at some supplementary materials, and it is stated that Maegami ended up using a variety of techniques to boost her own bust in an attempt to win the teacher over. A quick glance around finds that all of the techniques are ineffectual at best. I imagine that anime parody these techniques precisely because which appear to be little more than an old wives’ tale; size is a consequence of genetics, body composition, age and a host of factors.
- The page quote was chosen because for posts like these, I’ve usually got nothing too meaningful to quite from; for such scenarios, there’s a host of humourous and comical quotes I can draw from. There are some jokes that are stymied by a cultural barrier; for instance, if I were to remark that Maegami and the teacher were “playing mahjong”, only folks who’ve seen Michael Hui’s The Private Eyes would understand what I’m saying. As such, I will aim to bring something to the table that folks can appreciate. So, I’ll stick to Captain America’s remarks in a detention video sourced from Spiderman: Homecoming – it certainly does seem to fit with the recurring trend in Tawawa on Monday of Ai growing past her namesake.
- After coming home, Ai is surprised to see her mother and sister throwing her a 100 centimetre club party, leading to this reaction of resignation/exasperation. With this particular milestone, it would appear that Ai’s beaten out every other person in Tawawa on Monday, although it’s not one she’s terribly proud of.
- The finale has Maegami realising her dream of marrying the teacher. Ai, her sister and mother both attend the ceremony, while the junior and senior office workers pass by, leading the junior to openly wish she could get married some day, causing the senior no small amount of embarrassment. I would imagine that both do have feelings for one another to an extent, although both are too bashful to admit it, creating a sort of status quo that leads to the junior being very friendly towards the senior in ways that could be misinterpreted.
- After Ai catches the bridal bouquet, Maegami approaches her and wishes her the best in capturing the heart whoever catches her fancy. The bouquet toss is said to be an ancient tradition, and whoever catches the bouquet is next in line to get married. That Ai’s mind goes straight to the salaryman makes it evident that she’s come to like him greatly, although where things end up is something that remains to be seen – a part of the charm of Tawawa on Monday is the fact that the dynamic between the salaryman and Ai is a not-quite relationship. In my time, I’ve had far too many of these to count, and while this can seem depressing, being able to have someone to talk to proved cathartic and calming. If and when I’m asked now, the responsibility for not kicking things up a notch falls entirely on me: I’m the sort of person who doesn’t fall in love until much later, when I get to know someone better, but I’m a bit slower here, so by then, that individual’s gone.
- Tawawa on Monday 2 ends with Ai and the salaryman promising to do their best this week, too. The twelfth episode is the finale for the series proper, but there is an OVA that I am planning on watching and writing about. Having said this, I do find the task of writing about Tawawa on Monday 2‘s OVA a little daunting; writing for Tawawa on Monday 2 proved quite tricky, since it deals with a topic I’ve not any practical experience in. I hope that my posts on Tawawa on Monday 2 are at least readable and somewhat entertaining for readers, and I’ll wrap up by saying the next post I write about, for The Aquatope on White Sand, will be something I am more learned in.
With Tawawa on Monday 2 in the books, it is clear that the first and second seasons are as different as night and day. The first season had been a ways more disconnected, resembling its origins more closely in that there wasn’t a cohesive storyline to follow. By comparison, Tawawa on Monday 2 still showcases glimpses into the characters’ lives, but everything is linked together by the fact that Maegami is getting married to her love; her experiences positively impact Ai and her sister, as well as give the junior office worker a bit of a push. The senior office worker has similarly spotted the teacher picking out an engagement ring, and finds himself wondering if he should ask out his junior. Ai also knows of the cheerleader, who in turn has been seen on a television program the office workers were watching. These connections mean that, compared to its predecessor, Tawawa on Monday 2 is a shade warmer; rather than a sense of empty longing, Tawawa on Monday 2 feels cozier by comparison. I imagine this is a consequence of the fact that the first season had simply been a set of original net animations meant to bring the original sketches to life, whereas by Tawawa on Monday 2, the series has been better established and therefore, able to really bring out the original feeling that Himura had been attempting to convey: not only does conversation bring a bit of joy into one’s lives, but they can also be a driving force behind bringing people together. Altogether, this isn’t a bad outcome for a series that is better known for teasing viewers with a world where bust size clearly does not adhere to the normal distribution: it is no joke when I say that, were Tawawa on Monday to have less-endowed characters, the series would still be effective in its conveying its messages. However, the curvaceous characters form much of the series’ appeal, and I imagine that, were Ai and the others a little less stacked, viewership for Tawawa on Monday would likely be lessened.