The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: Getsuyōbi no Tawawa

Tawawa on Monday 2: Review and Reflections After Three

“Impressive! You’ve upgraded your armour! I’VE MADE SOME UPGRADES OF MY OWN!”
“Sir, it appears that his suit can fly.”
“Duly noted.”
–Obadiah Stane, JARVIS and Tony Stark, Iron Man

On the commute to work, Ai explains to the salaryman that she’s got two buttons to give him this Monday because she and her sister had been imitating a scene out of Laputa: Castle in The Sky and totalled their shirts, before mentioning that her younger sister is beginning high school, too. Later, while the salaryman leaves home, he’s envious of a neighbour who has a loving wife; it turns out that he’s a teacher, and when one of his students fell in love with him, did what he could to conceal the fact that he returned her feelings. After she graduates, the pair are no longer teacher and student, and the teacher finally agrees to go out with her. During a business trip, the well-endowed junior employee makes no end of trouble for the senior employee, but the two manage to succeed in their trip’s aims and end up buying some sake to celebrate on return, although returning through the airport, the junior’s forgetfullness means that she leaves some keys in her pocket, setting off the metal detector and embarrassing her senior. This is Tawawa on Monday 2, a continuation of the 2016 ONA that adapted Kiseki Himura’s distinct blue-monochrome illustrations, which Himura stated as being done to encourage people in the workforce and students alike at the beginning of every week. The first season had been done by Pine Jam, but Yokohama Animation Laboratory is producing this second season, which opens off in a manner that immediately brings to mind the first: the shorts are snapshots into Ai et al.’s everyday experiences. Through these gentle interactions, the unusual combination of humour and mild embarrassment creates a sense of catharsis that clears the mind and ostensibly adds a spring to one’s step, letting them face a new week with vigour. I can speak to the efficacy of what Himura proposes from personal experience, and it is clear, from both the fact that Himura has continued drawing Tawawa on Monday to the present, as well as the fact that there is a second animated series, others also concur with this sentiment.

While Tawawa on Monday primarily deals with those inevitable moments of embarrassment that are simultaneously tender and heartwarming, there are some stories that are particularly well done (especially considering the short length of each episode). In Tawawa on Monday 2, the second episode serves as this example: a student’s feelings for her teacher lingered for the full three years she was in high school, and this teacher managed to maintain his sense of professionalism about him, doing his best to keep that distance and stopping his own feelings from getting the better of him despite how forward this student is. In the end, once the two are no longer teacher and student, the teacher is able to be truthful about how he feels, and indeed, the two end up getting married. There has always been something about this kind of love that I’ve always found immeasurably touching; while people might know one another for long periods of time, they may not always interact with and learn more about one another, or are otherwise constrained by circumstance. Tawawa on Monday had a similar story, where a salary man encounters a girl from his old high school years later; she now works at the local convenience store, and while she had a crush on him back then, he never really noticed. The feelings of yearning for what could have been permeate these stories, and really creates this feeling of emptiness about the characters who never noticed those around them. I particularly relate to this; hindsight is flawless, after all, and looking back, I may (or may not) have left a small pile of broken hearts in my wake as I strove to pursue my career and professional development without stopping to consider the feelings of those around me. If and when I’m asked about what I’d do provided a second chance, I would not be so foolish and take things up this time around; my circumstances now are rather different, and I now have the time (and resources) to do the sorts of things I couldn’t previously.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Since I opened with Ai’s smile when I first wrote about Tawawa on Monday, I’ll do the same for this introductory post to Tawawa on Monday 2. I remember that when I first heard of Kiseki Himura’s illustrations, I struggled to understand what たわわ meant. It turns out this is a bit of slang for someone who’s got a lot out front. I’ll also get this off my chest before delving further into discussions of  Tawawa on Monday 2Tawawa reminds me a great deal of Wawanesa Insurance, a Winnipeg-based mutual insurance firm named after an unincorporated community in Manitoba with a population of 594 as if 2016.

  • Because of how I process information, I sometimes mistakenly refer to Wawanesa Insurance as Tawawa Insurance. After meeting with the salaryman on the train, Ai recounts how on the weekend, she got into a bit of a flexing contest with her younger sister, who, while pretty stacked, loses out to Ai. I’d never thought I’d see the ripped-shirt contest from Laputa: Castle in The Sky in something like Tawawa on Monday, and especially not in this format. For this post, I had originally decided to go with a quote from Steven Chow’s Forbidden City Cop, but my written Cantonese isn’t of a level where I could quote Chow’s character for the relevant scene, so I’ve fallen back on an old classic from the MCU, referring to how Ai’s bustier than she had previously been.

  • Ai’s mother subsequently remarks that it’s on her to mend her own shirts after this performance. This post admittedly comes out of the blue: I hadn’t been intending to write anything today, since yesterday, I spent a nontrivial amount of time on the Battlefield 2042 open beta discussion. I slept in a little today, spent the morning reading through manga, and then sat down to a delicious homemade burger. As the afternoon progressed, however, I did notice that my old Tawawa on Monday post was rapidly climbing in views.

  • I thus decided to shoot through the first three episodes to gain a measure of what they were about and write about the series; it is clear that there is interest in Tawawa on Monday 2, and I’d figured that this was likely what people are popping in to read about: for the most part, I write according to my own schedule, but if the metrics suggest a demand for something, I have no problems obliging and providing readers with what they seek. Formerly a first year, Ai is now a second year, and is seen looking over the classroom assignments before her friend shows up and cops a feel, causing all of the people in the surroundings to blush and stare.

  • The character designs are noticeably different now that Yokohama Animation Laboratory has taken over from Pine Lab: while the contents and atmosphere remain the same, it does feel like that Yokohama Animation Laboratory is still finding their feet with respect to how the characters look. At the time of writing, I prefer the designs from the first season more, but I imagine that as this series continues, I’ll acclimatise all the same.

  • The precise relationship between the salaryman and Ai is never explicitly defined, and in fact, the salaryman’s eyes are never shown, either. This was a deliberate choice, so viewers could imagine themselves in the salaryman’s place, and is a decision that brings to mind the reason why most first-person shooter protagonists (e.g. Half-Life 2Halo and DOOM) are unspeaking: it’s so the player can better immerse themselves in the world. In Tawawa on Monday, the salaryman is a stand-in for us viewers whenever it’s Ai’s turn for a story, but there are other stories featuring different characters.

  • The second episode is such a story, following a high school girl’s determined  one-sided crush on a male teacher. This sort of thing is more common than I imagined, and I certainly wasn’t immune to this, either, having developed a bit of a crush on my first-year science instructor and yearbook club advisor. Before readers go off and imagine anything, nothing happened. I did go out of my way to put in extra effort and do well in those classes, but that’s about it. While the ceaseless flow of events in life meant I probably would’ve forgotten these things, I still have the awards for that science class and yearbook hanging around to remind me.

  • The time for dealing out or receiving a kokuhaku in a classroom as the sunset is long past now, and I suppose the only way to have such an experience will be in my dreams or respawns. With this being said, realising one were in love with someone else all along isn’t bad, either. I’ve not experienced love in the sense that poets, writers and singers have expressed, but compared to the me who wrote about Tawawa on Monday five years earlier, I think I’ve got a better measure of what I’d like out of a relationship. Besides the trust, faithfulness, openness and cooperation, one thing I greatly value is someone who can be full of pleasant surprises.

  • One of my favourite songs, Escape (The Piña Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes, speaks precisely to the sort of love I seek. In this song, Holmes speaks of a man who’d grown to find his lady unremarkable and dull, so he ends up writing an ad in the paper’s classified section describing what he’s looking for next. To his surprise, the man ends up getting a hit, and with a twinge of guilt, goes off to meet the woman who answered his ad. When he gets to the café, he is blown away by the fact that the lady meeting him happens to be his current partner.

  • Although the song sounds like it could be encouraging infidelity, the actual point of the song is to show that the people we fall in love with can find a way to surprise us even years later. The man and woman in the song have their love rekindled, surprised that there had been a side of their partner they never knew about. Whenever this song comes on the radio, I always have a smile on my face, and as a bonus, this song featured in The Guardians of the Galaxy. Having done what I’ve done, and seen what I’ve seen, nothing brings me more joy than falling in love with something all over again, and it is such an encouraging thought that all it takes is a change of perspective to experience this anew.

  • Robert F. Young’s short story, The Dandelion Girl, is another example of such love. With a bit of help from time travel, the married protagonist falls in love with a younger girl who turns out to be his current wife. Discovering new things about the familiar is something I am very much fond of: whether it be finding a new footpath in a park I’ve visited since childhood, or learning that an old game of mine has AI bots, thus allowing it to be played now even though the servers are offline, it’s always a thrill to rediscover things as though it were my first time. This part of me has carried over to what I look for in a relationship, although it’s not a must-have.

  • For the high school girl, there is a melancholy as the episode indicates how her feelings for her teacher never waver throughout all of high school: she had promised to conquer his heart before graduating, and despite her efforts, which range from trying to seduce him the same way Sayu had tried in Higehiro, to suggesting that she wants to go out with someone else in order to elicit a reaction, nothing seems to be effective. Even after the graduation ceremony, the teacher appears to have steeled his heart and walk a future without her, despite signs that he has come to reciprocate her feelings.

  • It’s a bit of a tearful moment for both the teacher and former student after the latter learns that he had indeed reciprocated her feelings, but otherwise never exhibited any sign of interest out of professionalism. Fiction oftentimes speaks to the idea that miracles can happen, even against established rules, so it is refreshing whenever something like Tawawa on Monday shows how happy endings can be found without violating any laws (although I imagine folks who are sticklers about things adhering to reality are left disappointed because this deprives them of something they can complain about).

  • For comedy’s sake, it turns out the former student also recorded the teacher returning her feelings as a bit of a momento. Anime often poses the question of whether or not someone is worth dating even if they’ve got a few eccentricities about them, and my personal answer to this question is an old standby: “it depends”, and then, within moderation. Hensuki is such an anime, and overall, I’m a Sayuri fan first and foremost, with Mizuha taking second place. Of everyone, Sayuri and Mizuha’s respective things are not troublesome at all (especially compared to Yuika). Of course, answering the question at all gives insight into the sort of person I am, and I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader, as to whether or not one’s opinion of me changed.

  • The third episode focuses on a senior salaryman and his energetic, but sometimes careless junior as they go on a business trip to pitch something for their company. I’ve not been to an airport for two-and-a-half years now; the last time would’ve been when I went to F8 2019, and passing through US Customs is probably the trickiest part of my travels. Watching people going about their business normally in things like anime is admittedly a little weird, and unfortunately, it looks like for the present, normalcy is still a ways away in reality.

  • In any series where ecchi elements are present, I’d have to resort to using animated GIFs to fully portray what’s happening on screen. This is something I’ve never considered doing over the course of my blog’s run, since animated GIFs are bandwidth intensive, distracting, and quite frankly, annoying – repetition has never been witty for me. As they say, a joke is never as funny the second time one hears it, and the reason for this is because an effective joke depends on timing and context. This is why I despise memes and never use GIFs as a response to something someone might say: it’s a sign of respect to reply properly.

  • After boarding their flight, a flight attendant asks if the senior and junior need any help stowing their luggage, but struggles with the latch. The ensuing hassle eventually leads the senior to step in and secure things himself. A part of the humour here comes from watching the senior worker’s expressions while things are going down: even though the men in Tawawa on Monday are presented without any eyes, they are still quite expressive, at least, enough for us viewers to pickup on what’s going on.

  • Tawawa on Monday 2 appears to have improved the background art compared to its predecessor, and after a successful presentation, both junior and senior alike decide it’s time to go ahead and celebrate with a drink or two. In the event such occasions come up, I typically order whatever non-alcoholic options are available. While fiction would suggest that I’m a wet blanket, it turns out that the variety of non-alcoholic options out there is mind-boggling. There are non-alcoholic beers and wines, on top of soft drinks, juices and the like, to the point where I could grab a ginger beer and still partake without getting hammered. My personal disinclination to drink isn’t on any moral grounds: I light up like a Christmas tree and then fall asleep if I’ve had one too many.

  • Unfortunately for the junior office lady, after she comes out of the shower with naught but a towel wrapped around her, the senior worker suddenly loses all inclination to go out, and the next day, he ends up buying a bottle of alcohol for her in place of things. The topic of office romances is one that poses challenges for companies, since it creates tension among coworkers, lowers productivity and in the worst case, create nightmares for human resource. In the realm of fiction, office romances are employed almost entirely for comedy. Tawawa on Monday, being fiction, falls squarely into the realm of comedy.

  • Upon returning through a security checkpoint, the junior’s forgotten about her keys again, and here, I’ll pointlessly reminisce about the fact that, for the past year, I’d been wondering what one of the keys on my key ring were for. As it turns out, this “mystery” key is for my dōjō. With this post in the books, I think that folks coming here for Tawawa on Monday 2-related discussions will have finally have something to read, and now that this unexpected post is in the books, I’ll return next time with a scheduled post for The Aquatope on White Sand.

While Tawawa on Monday has never been the most world-changing or insightful series about relationships, life lessons or the human condition, their ability to endure is a consequence of speaking to people’s desires to love and be loved, to experience warmth and a sense of belonging. Tawawa on Monday‘s first season had aired in late 2016, and I wrote about the series briefly in early 2017; the fact that a second season is running now, five full years after the first, speaks to the fact that this out-of-the-way series is doing well enough to warrant a continuation. I rather enjoyed the first season, and Tawawa on Monday 2 is off to a solid start. The characters here look a little different than their 2016 counterparts, a consequence of Yokohama Animation Laboratory taking over for Pine Jam, but other than that, it does feel as though I never left: Tawawa on Monday 2 is looking quite enjoyable, and I am curious to see what sorts of experiences that the salaryman, senior employee and others will have throughout this series run. It should be clear that nothing crazy happens in Tawawa on Monday, and a part of the magic in this series is precisely because it teases what could happen, rather than outright depicting it. I will note here that I’d originally been planning to write about Tawawa on Monday 2 after the whole series had finished airing later this year, but I do pay attention to my site metrics, and it appears that there’s been a considerable uptick in interest for my old Tawawa on Monday posts. Thus, for the readers’ sake, I’ve opted to write about this series earlier than scheduled so folks have a chance to hear about what my thoughts on this continuation are.

The Careless but Loveable and Cute Junior, Ai and Private Film: Tawawa on Monday OVA Review and Reflection

“Feelings aroused by the touch of someone’s hand, the sound of music, the smell of a flower, a beautiful sunset, a work of art, love, laughter, hope and faith — all work on both the unconscious and the conscious aspects of the self, and they have physiological consequences as well.” —Bernie Siegel

I’ve gotten many enquiries about whether or not I’ve seen the two OVA episodes for Tawawa on Monday, which were bundled with the home release editions. While not mentioned in the original post, the answer to that is I found out about them moments after publishing, and had originally decided to give the OVAs a separate post. In response to the level of interest, I’ve moved up the posting schedule: this Tawawa on Monday OVA review thus comes out ahead of a talk about the behemoths in Battlefield 1. In the thirteenth episode, kouhai-chan is getting ready for work but forgets to zip her skirt completely, eliciting much glances from those around her en route to work. After arriving, her senior mentions this to her embarrassment, and feeling that she’s now spoiled for marriage, has her senior accept responsibility should this happen. The fourteenth episode deals with Ai-chan cleaning up the salaryman’s apartment while visiting, only to discover a Blu-Ray disk depicting a well-endowed woman with a uniform identical to Ai-chan’s. Flustered, she accidentally shatters one of the salaryman’s disks and later, tries to make amends by wearing her uniform for him, only to become annoyed when he suggests they watch Tawawa on Monday together after some disks arrive for him late into the evening.

While the two OVAs initially seem quite disconnected, separate from one another, they surprisingly have a common theme. In the first of the OVAs, the first thing that comes to mind is the stock phrase “[I] can’t get married [anymore]”: it’s been thrown around in a non-trivial number of anime that I’ve watched in response to entering some sort of compromising situation, and a bit of inquiry will find the joke is very dated. Apparently, it’s a relic of arranged marriages in Japan, where people often joked about how strict the criteria for finding a suitable partner, individuals who were “defiled” would not fit the requirements and become “damaged goods” in a sense, hence the phrase. However, since the 1950s, arranged marriages have dwindled in Japan, and the phrase no longer holds much meaning. In Tawawa on Monday, however, given that kouhai-chan seems to be interested in her senior, this might be seen as her way of implying that she wishes to be with him. Similarly, in the second of the OVAs, Ai-chan is shown to be uncomfortable with the salaryman looking at anyone else after discovering his stash, and her means of apology is to sate his biological curiosity; as Ai-chan seems to want salaryman to only have eyes for her, it stands to reason that she’s interested in him, as well. With this being said, I am basing this conclusion on reasoning that might involve several massive subjective leaps — interpreting and predicting romantic interest is not something I’m particularly good at, although I also remark that it’s quite overt in Tawawa on Monday, so that even I can pick up the signals.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • If there was any doubt as to whether or not I’ve watched the OVAs for Tawawa on Monday, this post should answer that question quite decisively. In keeping with how things work around these parts, I’ve done a full-scale post with twenty screenshots, and open with the remark that I have different sets of pyjamas for use depending on the seasons. In winter, I wear the traditional jacket and long pants type, since it goes get quite cold where I am. Conversely, in summer, a shirt and shorts are sufficient to maximise comfort even on nights where the temperatures remain above 20°C.

  • Tawawa on Monday might be about mammaries, but the OVAs also permit audiences a glimpse at kouhai-chan’s posterior: she makes an interesting choice here, considering that she’s set to meet up with her senior later in the day. Since readers have been wondering, “is this scrub even current in their anime knowledge?”, I figured I would make a concerted effort to keep the post interesting through the screenshots. This leads to the question: of the readers who follow this blog, which proportion come only for the screenshots, and which subset of this group stays for the discussions?

  • Getting ready in the morning can take quite some time, and it is for this reason that I’d much rather shower at night: asides from going to bed devoid of any detritus accumulated over the course of the day, it means I only need brush my teeth and wash my face before downing some breakfast and head off to work. By doing everything (including packing lunch and any papers/electronics) ahead of time, it means I can sleep a little more in the mornings before waking up — not being rushed in the mornings contributes to my being a morning person.

  • As a general rule, one should not wear dark undergarments if they are wearing light-coloured clothes on the surface. I’m looking around the post and suddenly realise that I’m doing a cursory talk on clothing, which is a topic I rarely cover. I dress rather simply unless an event requires more formal wear, and I place a greater emphasis on comfort and practicality over style under normal circumstances.

  • I remember from my primary school days that one of the more gentle ways of letting someone know they’d failed to zip their pants properly was with the expression “your zipper must be afraid of heights”. It’s rather more subtle than the commonly-used “your fly is open”, but the senior office worker decides to remark that “black is a nice colour”. Kouhai-chan takes a few seconds to catch on, and during her commute, seems completely oblivious to the trail of embarrassed males she leaves in her wake.

  • Access to my old office on campus was controlled by proximity card readers: strictly speaking, it’s not necessary to push a card directly against a proximity reader. Security cards have a magnetic stripe on them, with the particles polarised as either north or south. This arrangement equates to binary information, which readers can detect — a proximity reader will listen for small fluctuations in a card’s magnetic field to allow or denote entry, and readers with a more powerful solenoid can allow the card to be read without touching the reader surface, hence my assertion. Of course, this would deprive viewers the chance to watch kouhai-chan push hers into something.

  • Kouhai-chan’s expression is priceless after she realises what’s happened, and remarks that she’s spoiled for marriage. While some chalk this up as lazy writing, I have a feeling that it’s probably done as an in-joke for script writers, rather similar to how cartoonists will white out a panel and claim it’s a polar bear in a snowstorm, or else, some character testing out their new super-flashlight. Most comic strips do not deal with such humour, and it was only through Bill Amend’s Foxtrot that I became aware of a cartoonist’s take on making comics. Prior to that, in Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes, Watterson spoke frequently about the sizing of panels and using space to properly depict Calvin’s adventures with Hobbes.

  • Completely focused on the day’s work, the senior office worker is unaware of kouhai-chan’s remarks about having him take responsibility of the damaged goods: she’s really implying that she’s interested in him. For all of my remarks about matters of the heart, I’m green in this field in spite of all that theoretical background, and I’ve got the feeling that being out of tune with signals people send may mean I might not be able to lay claim to the achievement of breaking exactly zero hearts throughout the campaign called life.

  • After seeing the senior worker’s reactions, kouhai-chan smiles mischievously, bringing the first OVA to an end. Unless my intel is completely off base, there are only two OVAs at present, although personally, it’d be nice to see more of Tokumori-san and the trainer, as well.

  • Ai-chan’s look of horror when she discovers the salaryman’s stash is priceless, and her cheeks flush in shock at the contents revealed. It brings to mind a scene in Tomorrow Never Dies, where Bond is looking through Henry Gupta’s safe to locate the GPS encoder and finds it under a pile of adult magazines. Pierce Brosnan’s Bond merely grabs the encoder and prepares to leave, while George Lazenby’s Bond outright takes a centerfold from the safe of a German lawyer suspected to be in contact with Ernst Stavro Blofeld in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

  • While there are some commonly-used, modestly effective techniques out there for hiding directories containing these materials from people (one of the most hilarious suggests I’ve seen is renaming the directory to “System.dll”), if one has a partner who happens to be savvy in computers, one should really just bite the bullet and wipe out those contents. Something as simple as doing a virus scan or disk cleaning and discovering a 50 GB folder is enough to give it away. A good file shredder is useful here: they work by writing over the sectors containing the data in multiple passes, scrambling the binary values there randomly with the goal of making sure the data cannot be pieced back together.

  • While lecturing the salaryman on his viewing habits, Ai-chan accidentally steps on and breaks another one of his DVDs. The aftermath is not shown, but Ai-chan does feel quite guilty afterwards. Here’s a bit of trivia I neglected to mention in the previous Tawawa on Monday post: the salaryman is voiced by Junji Majima, who provided the voice to Tamayura‘s Kazutarō Dōgō and Hanasaku Iroha‘s Tōru Miyagishi, Tora Dora!‘s Ryūji Takasu (I’ve finished that one for around a year now and loved it) and Rei Hizuki of Sky Girls.

  • When he returns home from work, the salaryman finds a sullen-looking Ai-chan camped out at his front door, evidently guilty of breaking one of his possessions and waiting for him to return such that she may apologise in full.

  • Her “apology” takes a very unusual form: she makes it clear that she’s uncomfortable with the idea of the salaryman looking at other women, and in order to exhaust his desire to continue doing so, had arrived dressed in her work uniform. She is prepared to give the salaryman a good look at her even though she finds it mortifying to do so, and when the salaryman expresses shock rather than acceptance, Ai-chan is prepared to take things to the next level.

  • Throughout the second OVA, Ai-chan’s actions got me curious about the origins of modesty in humans: humans are the only species on Earth to wear a substantial amount of clothing and cover their genitals. To see what I could learn, I found a paper by William Thomas, published in 1889, that suggests that modesty is a behavioural trait that evolved from our social structures, to avoid unnecessarily exhibiting messages of courtship. If this is true, it would have likely evolved in conjunction with the development of clothing in early human populations.

  • While the other Tawawa on Monday episodes ran only for around four minutes in total, including the ending song, the last of the OVAs runs for a full minute longer. After Ai-chan wonders if the salaryman is expecting to see more, the lights turn out, and the observer’s mind will begin wandering. However, before anything crazy can happen, a deliveryman shows up with a package for the salaryman. While this may seem unusual, I have had someone appear at seven in the evening to deliver a package; I remember vividly, since the package contained my MCAT study package.

  • After seeing that the package consists of anime disks, the salaryman asks if Ai-chan would like to watch Tawawa on Monday with him, and she becomes indignant that the salaryman is into that sort of thing. This is particularly amusing, considering that they are in Tawawa on Monday, about to watch Tawawa on Monday. Presumably leading to an existential crisis of sorts, or in internet-speak, causing a divide-by-zero cataclysm (even though mathematics certainly does not work that way), the episode chooses to have Ai-chan delay any watching to spare the writers of having to work out what would happen if they watched Tawawa on Monday.

  • While the existence of a soundtrack for Tawawa on Monday is not outside the realm of the expected, I was quite surprised to learn that the release price will be 7020 Yen (80.38 CAD at the time of writing), especially considering that there are only sixteen tracks for a total runtime of twenty-two minutes. The music in Tawawa on Monday is nothing noteworthy, but well-composed to add a genteel sense to the events of the anime. For those who are interested, the soundtrack is set for release on January 16.

  • As her rant progresses, Ai-chan becomes more animated and invariably pops yet another button. Outside of Tawawa on Monday, there’s only one other anime I’ve seen where someone’s assets have caused buttons to pop off a shirt, and surprisingly, it comes from Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?? — during the second season, Sharo gives Chiya her uniform to try out, but their different figures results in a button popping off with enough force to deflect off Sharo and still travel a few meters in the opposite direction vector, resulting in much indignation from Sharo (and humour for the viewers).

  • Tawawa on Monday thus ends with Ai-chan covering herself up after her buttons fail, and the aftermath remains as an exercise for viewers. The OVAs definitely were fun to watch, and like the anime proper, is not something that can be easily explained to observers. I recommend watching this somewhere secure, preferably with a wall to one’s back and a roof overhead. In the meantime, I’m signing off for the evening: the Flames and Oilers are deadlocked at 1-1 after three periods of play and are set to go into overtime.

I believe that, with these two OVA episodes under my belt, I am truly done Tawawa on Monday. My opinions of this anime short have not changed since I last wrote about it: it fulfils the role of what is known as a “guilty pleasure” in my mind, and these OVAs certainly continue on with the tone that the regular episodes had before them. However, there is a more subtle element that is presented in both OVAs concerning how Ai-chan and kouhai-chan think of the men they spend time with. While seemingly minor, it does drive Tawawa on Monday towards a different direction than merely being an amusing form of #MondayMotivation: at present, I’m not certain if there will be a continuation of Tawawa on Monday in an animated form. Kiseki Himura is continuing to publish art to his Twitter at a regular rate, and although I’ve read from unverified sources that Ai-chan enters some sort of relationship with the salaryman, I’ve not actually seen anything for myself to suggest this is the case. Continuing Tawawa on Monday with a more full-fledged story could prove to be challenging, and with the entire series now in the books, I imagine it to be unlikely that Tawawa on Monday will continue to be adapted in the near future.

Tawawa on Monday: An Anime Short Review and Reflection

“I am ordering you…TO SURRENDER THAT AI!!!” —Captain Del Rio, Halo 4

Known best for his blue monochrome illustrations published weekly to Twitter, Kiseki Himura’s Tawawa on Monday (Getsuyōbi no Tawawa) received twelve episodes of four minute long shorts that capture moments from the lives of workers and students, in particular, the interactions between Ai-chan and the salaryman, who happen to meet on the train every Monday; even amongst their hectic lives, their moments together serve to lessen the stress that they experience. Intended to serve as Monday motivation of sorts, it was quite surprising that Tawawa on Monday received its own anime adaptation, and perhaps even more surprising that the episodes could not be hosted on YouTube, who bluntly state that the videos violate their community guidelines. However, there are other means of watching these episodes — their content and short length means that they do not offer much in the way of a cohesive narrative, but nonetheless, Tawawa on Monday serves its intended purpose quite effectively. While Tawawa on Monday may seem far removed from the sort of thing I would normally watch, it has proven to be modestly effective in acting as Monday motivation.

Despite not offering much in the way of discussion, Tawawa on Monday appears to be crafting a virtual variation of the notion that there are different means of maintaining wellness even during busy and stressful times. Through Ai-chan, Tawawa on Monday reminds viewers that people are biologically hardwired to be receptive towards touch from individuals they trust; a hug or even a glancing brush releases oxytocin, which counteracts the effects of cortisol (a stress hormone) in lowering blood pressure and decreasing anxiety. Experts caution that hugging or touching random people will not have this effect and elevate stress (in more ways than just a physiological response), but in Tawawa on Monday, the salaryman and Ai-chan develop a closer bond when he resolves to protect her while they ride the train on Mondays. Their weekly chats cause the two to become friends, developing mutual trust for one another for the two to begin caring about the lives and experiences of the other. Watching their interactions thus conveys a sort of virtual experience to the viewer. While perhaps not directly decreasing stress levels, Tawawa on Monday nonetheless suggests that random chance can produce situations that confer something that individuals can look forwards to as a means of summoning the motivation to get through a week, and that well-being can come in different forms, such as lifting weights and visiting the dentist to ensure they remain healthy.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Before I delve into this post further, I have two remarks. The first is that this post might be a little less family-friendly than the content I am wont to posting, but one of my secret resolutions of 2017 is to branch out and explore different directions with this blog. The other is that a part of me watched and finished Tawawa on Monday just so I could use one of Halo 4‘s most infamous quotes (AI and Ai-chan) in an anime-related post.

  • Machine translations are still limited, since Tawawa (たわわ) translates to “saw” of the variety that is used as a cutting tool. This is, of course, not the main theme in Tawawa on Monday: there are no crazed maniacs running around with power tools trying to maim people here, only anatomical attributes whose statistical frequency defies the normal distribution (in fact, feeling more like a right-skewed distribution). So, I hunted down other meanings of Tawawa, and eventually found it to mean “well-endowed”; as slang, machine translators don’t pick this up, but it feels more appropriate a translation.

  • I’ve not lifted weight for around two weeks now, but I’ve just come out of a lower body day, having spent my first lifting session of the year doing chest and arms. Despite the long break, I’m still bench pressing above my body weight, although I imagine it will take another week or two before I return to the weights I were lifting prior to the winter break (where the gym is closed, or otherwise, open at hours that don’t align with my work schedule). Of course, now that I’ve done leg day, tomorrow’s going to be a little painful.

  • Besides making the most of my alumni membership (which nets me access to lifting facilities at around a third of what signing up for a private gym would cost), one of the main reasons why I lift weights is because it’s a fantastic means of lessening stress: at the end of a good lift, I’m too tired to be stressed by whatever it was bothering me, and so, can return to a difficult task with a fresh mindset. Before any one asks, no, I don’t “check people out” at the gym because I’m too busy focusing on my breathing, technique or are otherwise too tired to look around me. When I lift, my world shrinks to the size of a 2 m³ cube surrounding me, the weights I have to lift, and how I feel before, during and after a lift.

  • The salaryman’s reactions to Ai-chan pressed against him is an amusing but plausible one: she certainly doesn’t seem to mind as much as he does, and each week, gives him a button from one of her shirts as a good luck charm of sorts. Ai-chan is voiced by Sayaka Harada, who seems relatively unknown and is not the same Sayaka Harada who is a script-writer with a handful of contributions to the Tamayura franchise.

  • Admittedly, I was never much of a swimmer, since I never did make it to a point where I could learn some essential techniques, such as deep water entry and the more complex strokes. With that being said, I know just enough to move through water reasonably effectively, tread in deep water and float to maximise survival; I’m no competitive swimmer, but at least I’ll have slightly better odds of survival if I ever fall out of a boat.

  • Tawawa on Monday makes frequent use of panning shots to sweep across a scene in order to depict elements that would otherwise not fit into a single 16:9 scene. This results in a lot of screenshots where only some things are visible; while I’m now versed sufficiently in Adobe Photoshop to stitch the images together, I’m not here to offer images in uncommon aspect ratio. The images are merely meant to augment a post in some way and provide prompts for some of my thoughts, not all of which will fit with the main discussion.

  • Ai-chan teases/flirts with the saleryman by sending him a photograph of her in a new swimsuit for the summer, partially to offset the fact that he doesn’t get summers off as students do. Now that I’m done being schooled, I will no longer get summers off. However, this is a matter of perspective, since I no longer have courses or their associated assignments and exams. From a certain point of view, it means I’m always on summer vacation, albeit one where I’m working on projects and work-related duties. Aside from being conducted at the speed of business, it’s actually not too different than being a researcher at the university.

  • Visions of a girl in a lightly-coloured dress and a wide-brim hat under a sky of deepest blue has always been a quintessential image of the summer, evocative of what the season feels like, with long days where the sun is warm, and so is the comradeship. While I live quite far removed from any ocean, and I may not be in any relationship right now, I have had such encounters under the summer sun, meeting with a friend to hang out while the weather is pleasant and welcoming.

  • I’m not too certain if it’s merely a part Himura’s artistic style, but he seems to have a propensity for rendering Ai-chan’s provocative facial expressions. The illustrations capture this with a greater frequency, and for the folks who are interested, Ai-chan and the salaryman do end up entering a secret sort of physical relationship, although for obvious reasons, this is never explored in the anime.

  • Even if Tawawa on Monday‘s anime adaptation is little more than frivolous fun that doesn’t do anything more risqué than expose the cleft between the girls’ chests, it seems that the anime gained a bit of notoriety after it was removed from Himura’s YouTube channel allegedly for violating the community guidelines, where the anime was originally set to be presented. Having watched Tawawa on Monday to completion, it’s difficult to see how it violates the community guidelines; more than likely, an group of irate individuals with an agenda to push coordinated a plan to flag the videos, resulting in their takedown, but this ultimately proved unsuccessful — if they had succeeded, I’d not have seen this anime.

  • Ai-chan is a waitress at a family restaurant in her part-time job: she invites the salaryman to visit her workplace, and he complies, ordering a parfait while there. In this post, I’ve not covered kouhai-chan or the trainer at the gym to too much detail, but they are present, interacting with a senior officer worker and sectional manager in a lighthearted fashion. Here’s something interesting: kouhai-chan is voiced by Ai Kayano (Saori Takebi of Girls und Panzer and Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka??‘s Mocha Hoto).

  • Here’s something that the unincorporated community of Tawawa in Ohio would probably rather not associate itself with: originally known as New Palestine, the area was renamed in 1832 after the Native American for “Mosquito Creek”, and a small post office served the area between 1848 and 1905. Today, the population of the area is around 49000. I bet readers weren’t expecting that bit of information to be derived from this article 😛

  • From a number displayed during Ai-chan’s annual checkup, it seems that she carries an extra five kilograms with her in the front. My inner scientist kicks in, and I ask the question: did Tawawa on Monday do their research properly to determine Ai-chan’s name? We begin on the assumption that Ai-chan’s assets’ structure can be approximated as a hemisphere such that the volume V is defined as V = (2πr³)/3 for radius r. The average density of fatty tissue in the mammary would be around 0.9 kg/l, and recalling the density formula p = m/V for mass m, we now have enough to figure things out. The actual calculations will be left as an exercise to the reader, but from the assumption of density, Ai-chan’s assets occupies a space of 2250 cm³ each; using those results returns a diameter of around 20.48 cm.

  • A bit of reasoning then shows that yes, Ai-chan’s name is properly chosen, although her value for p might be a little higher than average. Here, her friend, known only in English as “Volleyball-chan” is messing with her during a school marathon where Ai-chan is complaining about difficulties in running around. However, she finds that with her friend’s help, she’s able to run the course more effectively.

  • The ninth episode of Tawawa on Monday deals with a new character: Tokumori-san, a women working at a local convenience store. She’s voiced by Hisako Kanemoto (Kanata Sorami of Sora no Woto, Ika Musume of Ika Musume), and she reflects on her experiences since high school, wondering why she cannot find someone to settle down with. When she reunites with an old friend, who’s now an office worker, she wonders if he’s noticed her now after all this time has passed.

  • Although not dealing with Ai-chan or the others, the simple story of reunion and hopes for a better future made the ninth episode stand out from the others. Tokumori-san’s remarks that she’s hoping for him to find a suitable partner, but their current dynamics are fine, suggest that her feelings for him have probably not changed too much, so from an optimistic point of view, it is possible that the office worker comes around.

  • I watched Tawawa on Monday on Sunday evenings during the fall season, and now that fall’s over, there are some new winter shows to look forwards to. I’ve got Urara Meirochou and Schoolgirl Strikers Animation Channel on my table, along with the short Nyanko Days. As well, Tales of Zestiria the X and Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! both have second seasons that appear to be worth checking out, but I’ll need to play catch-up and watch the first seasons to both before I can start these.

  • Ai-chan remarks that over the winter break, she’s experienced some “upgrades” and from here on out, would prefer to be addressed by the moniker “J-chan”. Now that I think about it, we’re almost a week into 2017 by this point, and a week ago, I was on the eve of a fantastic hockey game. This week, things are rather quieter: I’ve got the afternoon to myself, and fried chicken is on the menu tonight.

  • Since I began this post with a picture of Ai-chan waving the salaryman (and the audience) off, I will end this post in the same manner. I’ve been aware of Himura’s artwork for quite some time, but hearing about an animated version of Tawawa on Monday caught my interest, and I asked myself: could I manage to find something to talk about in something as simple as an anime short based on illustrations meant as Monday motivation? That this post is a full-sized one answers that question fully, and admittedly, it was quite fun to figure out how I would be able to find topics to discuss that were interesting, (predominantly) safe for work and relevant to the anime at the same time.

Having maintained a stiff upper lip for the discussion, the question that would be fair to bring up would be whether or not I could use a Tawawa moment or two. The answer to that is, I could definitely do with some de-stressing in my life, and I think that a massage would do my shoulders and neck some good. I typically manage my stress by stopping to enjoy the subtle things in life, whether it be the play of light on the buildings downtown during a sunrise, or watching grass waving in the wind while waiting for the bus. When stressed, I tend to complain and crack bad jokes at a greater frequency; this is how I deal with challenges, to ensure that stress does not compromise whatever goals I may have. A reader may then reason that I’ve avoided the question and rephrase themselves accordingly: would I mind having someone like kouhai-chan or bump into someone like Ai-chan on the way to work every now and then? Probably not: it would lead to interesting conversations, for one, as talking to someone and listening about elements in their lives would help me gain perspective of mine. If this is still unsatisfactory an answer, then I only remark that I too, am only human, which should speak volumes about whether or not I could appreciate (or enjoy) things such as Tawawa moments.