The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: Tawawa on Monday

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.

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.