Tamayura OVA – first impression
October 14, 2010
Tamayura is a 4 part OVA. This “first impression” review is based on the first two episodes. Tamayura is a slice-of-life show about a young photographer. The director, Junichi Sato, is deservedly famous as a master of the genre, because of his work on Aria. Unlike Aria‘s exotic setting, this show takes place in the real sea-side town of Takehara, near Hiroshima. Hashihime has an interesting article about a visit to the real location by the cast. The word tamayura means something like, “transients”, and is explained in the show to refer to spots of light that appear in photographs, also called, “light’s children”. That gives you a pretty good sense of the show; an open-hearted girl wanders around a quaint, seaside community, making friends, and capturing transient moments with her camera.
The OP is a cover of a song that was used in Kiki’s Delivery Service, sung here by the sublime Maaya Sakamoto. I don’t think it is particularly distinguishable from the original, but it captures the right energy for a show of this kind.
True Slice-of-Life shows (the term has been devalued since Lucky Star) are about capturing the feel of a place and a moment. Often this involves very detailed observation. Instead of being driven by character or plot, these shows are allowed to drift a bit, or better, are given the time to explore and observe. As the saying goes, they “take the time to smell the roses”. Tamayura handles this in a couple of ways. First there is great detail in key objects with which the characters interact. For example, we get to see the exact model of camera that Fu uses, and even see how it looks inside when she opens it up to load the film.
Another example is this delicious looking cake. As they eat it (lucky bastards), they describe the way the orange flavor is picked up in the cream.
As we follow the characters about town, we get to take in the sights, including Saihouji Temple, a Zen Buddhist Temple which dates (in its current form) back to 1602.
This sort of show can confuse viewers who expect big developments, when the entire purpose of the show is really to enjoy a walkabout. In fact the plot for the first two episodes can be summed up as, Fu meets a couple of new friends and goes to a photography exhibit.
Either you enjoy these Slice-of-Life shows or you don’t. If you didn’t enjoy watching Aria, or Yokohama Shopping Trip, you probably aren’t going to like Tamayura. If you enjoy these shows, which aspire to capture the heart of a place, give it a try, but don’t expect anything as rich as Aria, because four episodes is not enough to compete with the richness and complexity that three complete seasons can produce.