Tamako Market

Genre(s): Comedy, Slice of Life, School, Comfy

Age-Appropriateness: 12+ (mild language, occasional partial nudity)

Platforms: VRV/HiDive

Episodes: 13

TheAwersome Rating: 8.2 / 10 (Heartwarming, sweet joy)

Premise: Inside the Usagiyama Shopping District lies an eccentric but close-knit community of business owners. Tamako Kitashirakawa, a clumsy though adorable teenage girl, belongs to a family of mochi bakers who own a quaint shop called Tama-ya. One day, Tamako stumbles upon a talking bird that presents himself as royalty from a distant land. Dera Mochimazzui, as he calls himself, states that he’s seeking a bride for his country’s prince. Intent on his mission, Dera follows Tamako home and develops an addiction to mochi, becoming painfully overweight and subsequently unable to fly back to his homeland; thus, he takes up residence with Tamako’s family and becomes the community’s beloved mascot.

TheAwersome’s Thoughts: This was such a sweet and fun time that channeled a wonderful vibe to land it high on the Comfy list. What really makes Tamako Market shine isn’t the comedy (which is good, not knocking it) but its absolutely wholesome close-knit community vibe. The relationship of all the shop owners and their families is so tight and fills you right up with a double-portion of warm fuzzies. If you, like me, enjoy those hole-in-the-wall hidden gems that feel a whole lot more personal than larger, more popular shows, then Tamako Market is a perfect fit for you. You can tell that it was made by a lot of the same team that did K-On!, not only from the character design but that good human element.

TLDR: A heartwarming joyful show with people caring for each other in that good KyoAni way.

Something that warmed my heart right up was hearing about the making of this anime. It was originally planned to have more supernatural elements and more romantic drama. But, after the team went to a local shopping arcade to do field research of what they wanted it to look like, they were met with such overwhelming care and generosity by the community. Seeing the community that ran the shopping district, and that group of people caring so much about one another, they knew that that had to be the true Essence of Tamako Market. Story-wise there isn’t too much going on. There isn’t great character development, it isn’t a coming-of-age story, but rather a beautiful love letter to small-town tightly knit communities.

With all that goes on in the world, it’s important to remember that those around you are your world, and you might be theirs. While the wholesome and caring shopping district of Usagiyama might not be entirely realistic, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible. There’s an optimism and a powerful love that shows things not entirely as they are, but how we want them to be. For such a year as this, it’s important to remember that you, yourself, are a large part of what “The World” is to someone, if not many. As such, you are and can be such a powerful force for good, brightening and coloring your own and their life.

I wasn’t surprised to learn that Naoko Yamada, who gave us A Silent Voice, K-On!, and Liz and the Blue Bird, was the director of this as well.  

There is a movie, Tamako Love Story, which will be reviewed next week.

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