The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: Maegami-chan

Tawawa on Monday 2 Special: An Anime Short Review and Reflection

“Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while.” –Kin Hubbard

During the summer break, Ai, her sister, mother and best friend hit Koshigoe Beach in the coastal town of Enoshima. While they relax, a television crew appears and films them enjoying the summer weather, to Ai’s friends’ chagrin. Meanwhile, a languid day for Maegami and the teacher turns into one of excitement when she teases him, and the junior coworker struggles to find a suitable swimsuit for visiting a place so she can try their Blue Hawaiian cocktails. As the day draws to a close, Ai sends a photo to the salaryman, who laments the fact that his summer is filled to the brim with work. When Ai extends him an invitation to visit the beach with her before the summer ends, the salaryman accepts with gusto. With this, Tawawa on Monday 2‘s special is in the books, and for the present, I find myself completely caught up with what is a frivolous and amusing series about how fleeting moments can provide one with the motivation and drive to get through a week. This particular special released with Tawawa on Monday 2‘s BD and runs for a total of seven minutes, acting as a bit of an encore for an animated adaptation of Kiseki Himura’s weekly manga drawings, which were originally served to give readers a bit of encouragement for the week ahead. In this OVA, a small encore set after Tawawa on Monday 2‘s finale, the characters are given a chance to relax under the summer weather, albeit in the presence of the usual antics that Tawawa on Monday is known for. In Tawawa on Monday 2, summer is presented from four different perspectives, showing different facets of summer that people may experience. From the idyllic enjoyment of a beach, to sleeping in and taking it easy, anticipating enjoying a drink associated with the summer, or, in the salaryman’s case, wishing to be doing anything other than working, Tawawa on Monday 2 manages to show that the breadth of summer is such that, even for folks like the salaryman, there is enough time for one to enjoy themselves even if they are swamped in the moment.

The salaryman’s situation brings to mind my summer from ten years earlier, when I’d foolishly registered for the MCAT and signed up for a preparation course in the months after my term ended, leading up to the MCAT. While my friends spent their summer doing research, hitting pubs around town and even travel, I spent that time indoors with a stack of books around me. As the days lengthened, I found myself wondering if this endeavour would be worthwhile: I gave up watching the fireworks show of a century and advancing my research project further for an exam that was only but one part of what was a potential career path. However, while the MCAT was tough, it wasn’t invincible, and thanks to selfless effort from one of my best friends in the health sciences program, as well as the techniques I picked up from the MCAT preparation course, I ended up learning the secrets of survival. In conjunction with ceaseless encouragement and support from both family and friends, as well as inspiration from watching both Les Stroud’s Survivorman and Adam Richman’s Man v. Food, I found the strength to take, and excel in, the exam. By the time the exam finished, I had three weeks of summer left to me. Instead of seeing the remains of summer as what was taken away, I saw an opportunity to relax and unwind as I hadn’t done for months, and with my newfound free time, I rallied my colleagues from my research lab to finish a journal publication we’d previously abandoned. Summer had been long enough such that, even with an MCAT consuming three-quarters of my break, I had time to spare. I ended up spending a weekend exploring small towns in the province, enjoyed a wonderful steak in the process, watched The Dark Knight Rises, and with some colleagues, successfully published what would become our first-ever journal article. Despite its short runtime, Tawawa on Monday 2‘s special shows how every moment of summer is worth enjoying, even if one’s time is short.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Tawawa on Monday 2 isn’t the first anime, nor will it be the last, to visit Enoshima. 2012’s Tari Tari featured this coastal town prominently, but numerous other series, including Hanayamata, Kimi no Koe wo Todoketai and Seishun Buta Yarō also are set here. In fact, Enoshima is popular enough of a spot such that their official travel website documents the anime that have utilised their town as a background reference, and even provide a handy map for would-be visitors.

  • Of course, Enoshima is just the backdrop in Tawawa on Monday 2, and the focus of the episode is on the characters. For this excursion, Ai’s best friend, a volleyball player, her sister and mother join her for the day’s activities. Ai’s best friend is someone who tends to ruffle feathers among viewers because of her boisterous nature and a strong fondness for Ai, which manifests as behaviour that is quite inappropriate at times.

  • Supplementary materials suggest Ai’s best friend happens to be the salaryman’s niece, and here, I will note again that the lack of names in Tawawa on Monday does make it tricky to talk about things on occasion. Tawawa on Monday is, by definition, a trickier series to write about: episodes are short, there isn’t an overarching theme, and the very nature of the material means that unlike something like Yuru Camp△, I don’t have a surplus of additional topics to bring to the discussion.

  • With this being said, Tawawa on Monday does offer light humour through situational irony: watching Ai’s best friend’s antics in a vacuum is amusing because her attempts to mess with Ai always backfire on her. Because Tawawa on Monday was always only meant to be illustrations for lifting spirits, Himura’s characters are not going to be written with any depth or experience things that speak to the human condition. This is one of those aspects of Tawawa on Monday‘s viewers have long accepted: in its original form, the drawings have proven to be moderately well-received.

  • Tawawa on Monday‘s first special came out over five years ago, focusing on both the junior coworker and Ai herself. It is always surprising to learn that a great deal of time has passed between different instalments of a series; back in January five years earlier, I wrote about the Tawawa on Monday special and found it to be a welcome addition to the series, although I’d expressed my doubts that we’d see any more of Tawawa on Monday in an animated form. Five years later, I’m eating my words: the series is evidently popular enough to have received a second season and a corresponding special.

  • A ways into the episode, Maegami and the teacher are shown as sharing a quieter moment together: when Maegami teases him after taking a shower, he takes her in a bridal carry. Although the pair aren’t seen again for the remainder of the special, their inclusion was presumably so that the special could give everyone a bit of screentime. Tawawa on Monday 2 had featured the pair in prominence, to the point where Maegami and the teacher had more screen-time and development than Ai and the others.

  • Tawawa on Monday had originally cycled between glimpses into a range of characters’ experiences, beyond that of the salaryman and Ai, but its first animated season presented vignettes that were largely unrelated. By Tawawa on Monday 2, the characters’ worlds became increasingly intertwined: Maegami and the teacher end up moving in to a unit besides Ai’s, and the progression of time became more apparent.

  • While Ai, her best friend and younger sister frolic in the water, her mother is content to lie down and take it easy. In order for her to rest comfortably, Ai’s mother has excavated some of the sand away so it’s not uncomfortable for her, and when Ai’s best friend spots this, her imagination goes into overdrive as she becomes flustered thinking about Ai’s mother. Moments like these mean that Tawawa on Monday is, generally speaking, not a series suitable for everyone: the series itself has only a minimal amount of character growth (in a literary sense), and the themes don’t extend further than reminding viewers to take things on step at a time.

  • As such, it shouldn’t be too surprising that Tawawa on Monday recently found itself amidst yet another controversy: when the Japanese newspaper, The Nikkei, ran a full-page ad with Himura’s Ai, captioned “I hope this week will be wonderful”, Huffington Post Japan ran a story with interviews from academics about how such an ad can promote unsafe thinking. However, a quick look around found that, besides Anime News Network providing an English translation of things, the issue has not been as prevalent a topic as I initially thought: it’s not trending on Twitter, and even Anime News Network’s discussion only has about fifty or so replies. Coincidentally, distributors ended up making Tawawa on Monday‘s first volume free to download for a limited time.

  • I’ve never found it necessary to pay much attention to controversies of this sort; instead, I prefer to simply watch what I like (and skip what I do not). Bill Watterson puts it best in Calvin and Hobbes: in a conversation between Calvin and his father, Calvin asks, given that freedom of expression entails opposing censorship to ideas one found distasteful, then it should be okay for him to be exposed to shocking and offensive art forms. Calvin’s father begins to explain to Calvin that people also have a responsibility to be culturally educated and make critical distinctions between what a work is conveying and reality, only for Calvin to complain that his father is stalling for an answer.

  • The complete answer from Calvin’s father would have been that, if people have the maturity to handle offensive and shocking content, then exposure to it wouldn’t be a problem in and of itself. The implication here is that Calvin is not yet ready to handle such content, but in reality, as people mature, they gain the experience needed to assess things with a critical eye. Allowing organisations (or individuals) to make this decision on our behalf, then, would stand contrary to freedom of expression. That Bill Watterson had spoken of these topics decades earlier speaks both to the insightfulness and maturity of his thinking: through Calvin and Hobbes, Watterson suggests that at the end of the day, it’s up to the individual to take responsibility for how they approach what’s out there.

  • As such, I have no qualms about the existence of content that is counted as shocking or objectionable, nor would I have any problems with people enjoying things that I personally would not. This way of thinking, unfortunately, is not always observed: I had found out about the controversy only when one of AnimeSuki’s members made a post praising Anime News Network for “writing objectively about a noteworthy topic”. In reality, Anime News Network had only done the work of translating Huffington Post Japan’s article into English.

  • If memory serves, Tawawa on Monday 2‘s special accompanied the BD when it released back on Christmas Day. At that time, I would’ve finished watching Tawawa on Monday 2, found it an amusing but unremarkable series, and began focusing on my to-do list for 2022. Tawawa on Monday 2 largely remained forgotten until this recent controversy, and I was reminded of the fact that I had been intending to write about the special. In a bit of irony, then, one could say that sometimes, controversies do impact what I do watch.

  • With Tawawa on Monday 2‘s special in the books, I contend that there are worse ways to spend seven minutes than watching everyone make the most of a beautiful summer’s day. The weather stands in stark contrast with the pleasant weather of Tawawa on Monday 2: yesterday, a massive snowstorm swept into the area and left behind a mess of slush. Sunny skies and warmer temperatures today have allowed most of the slush to melt; jarring it may be to watch Ai et al. chill on a beach, watching the special here in April creates less of a disconnect than were I to have watched things back in December, when the daily temperatures did not exceed -20°C.

  • Thanks to more pleasant weather today, I was able to head out and pick up my copies of Harukana Receive‘s ninth and tenth volumes. These two volumes wrap up the series, and after watching the anime, I had become curious to know how the series would conclude: the anime had ended with Haruka and Kanata defeating Emily and Claire in a challenging match, and in the aftermath, Haruka and Kanata make a promise to reach the finals and show Narumi that Kanata has found her way anew. I’ve been keeping up with the manga since the sixth volume released in 2020, and the journey in the second half has been solid.

  • With this being said, I do not believe that it is likely for Harukana Receive to receive a second season: although a technically and thematically excellent series, Manga Time Kirara series only receive continuations if their popularity is immense. Shows like Hanayamata, Sansha San’yō and Urara Meirocho were all fantastic series, but only ever received on season to promote the manga. The choice of which series to adapt can be a challenge for fans, especially if the manga do not make their way to local bookstores, and it was fortunate Harukana Receive did receive an official English language release.

  • On the other hand, Tawawa on Monday is unlikely to receive an English language release; official releases are determined based on a series’ popularity and forecasts on how well it would do amongst an English-speaking audience. Because Tawawa on Monday deals with a very niche market, as well as federal regulations, publishers would be hard-pressed to get this series translated here. I’ve always been fairly “go with the flow” about my entertainment, and my general rule is that if certain conditions preclude something from making it over, I’m not going to worry too much about it.

  • The forecast calls for more snow in the next few days, after which temperatures return to seasonal. We’re still two months away from the beginning of summer, but things have been busy enough so that time is flying. We’re now two-thirds of the way through April, and I’m settling into a routine now, meaning there’s been a shade more time I’m able to turn towards blogging. Besides one final post on Project Wingman, I also have plans to write about Machikado Mazoku: 2-Chome. The second season’s proven very entertaining, continuing on from where its predecessor left off.

  • Overall, I had fun watching Tawawa on Monday 2, although looking back, I definitely preferred the art style of the first season; the characters there more closely resembled their manga counterparts, and the artwork appeared to be more detailed. From a visual perspective, the second season’s quality is lessened compared to that of its predecessor. However, the stories that were presented in Tawawa on Monday 2 remain consistent with the series’ themes, and bringing the characters together do serve to create a more vivid universe.

  • As the episode draws to a close, Ai smiles after the salaryman expresses an ardent interest in taking up her invitation to go to the beach together, and with this, I would imagine that this is likely the last time I will be writing about Tawawa on Monday here in the foreseeable future. Unless a third season were to be announced, this post is it for the present. One lingering thought on my mind is the question of why Himura chose to render Tawawa on Monday with its distinct blue colouring in its original form: while one can surmise the choice of colour arises from the fact that blue is supposed to be tranquil and calming, I’ve heard neither Himura or viewers discuss this aspect of the manga. The anime are in full colour, which leads to the question of whether or not they can be said to be true to the original, but regardless of the aesthetic, I’ve found that the anime remains successful in its function.

Summer remains my favourite of the seasons in a given year, and anime have always portrayed the reasons why in a most visceral manner. Deeply blue skies, warm ocean waters, endless fields and the vociferous chirping of cicadas all come together to create a timeless feeling: the way anime celebrates the summer season has become the definitive way to partake in the best weather the year has to offer. From enjoying a freshly-cut watermelon or ice-cold popsicle on the hottest of days, to watching fireworks and trying to outrun an incoming downpour, the length of a summer day invites adventure and exploration, of being outside for longer before the sun sets. Summer customs vary from nation to nation, and the portrayal of Japanese summer customs in anime represents but one of many ways to relish the best weather a year has to offer. However, in having watched a nontrivial amount of anime over the past decade, the customs depicted in anime, of what a Japanese summer looks like, creates a very unusual sense of nostalgia, of longing for something I’d never experienced in person. Until a decade ago, there was no word to describe this feeling: John Koenig coined a new word, “anemoia”. Derived from the Greek words ἄνεμος (ánemos, “wind”) and νόος (nóos, “mind”), Koenig intends for this word to describe that sense of yearning for a time one has only indirectly been exposed to. The sorts of experiences portrayed in anime are a fine candidate for evoking anemoia in people. However, rather than a feeling of sadness or melancholy, longing for a Japanese summer experience has meant that I’ve simply looked in other directions to make the most of my summers, and in recent years, I’ve taken to walking the region around my neighbourhood before settling down to my favourite ice cream or watermelon. For the time being, we’re only a month into spring, and this year, the spring weather’s proven to be quite dreary (since 2022 started, there have been no weekends with pleasant weather at all): in the absence of the sort of weather one can expect from spring, I suppose that another way to enjoy the time available to me is make the most of each day, and find the small things to smile about. Tawawa on Monday 2‘s special offers a few smiles, and this counts for something.

Tawawa on Monday 2: An Anime Short Review and Reflection

“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 HaloDOOM 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.