The question I ask you all today, is Tamayura worth watching? To me, that answer would be yes and here is why. Despite this being as barebones as it comes, and as simple as it comes in regards to Anime, what Tamayura is able to do (well for me anyway). Was provide this certain type of immersion that made you feel relaxed. How it portrayed that feeling is something indescribable and hard to put into words.
Is Tamayura for everyone? No. It isn’t. However, given that Tamayura is a short 4 episodes averaging in 18 minutes in length it is something you can finish literally within an hour and 15 minutes. So in that regard, I do think it is worth watching.
Sawatari Fuu is an amateur photographer, trying to capture the moments of happiness around her with a camera left to her by her father. These moments of happiness, called “tamayura”, appear as light orbs when the subjects of a picture are especially content. She is surrounded by her friends and family as she goes about her daily life and photography.
As a SOL series, the story is very basic. However, as anyone who has watched Aria knows, Junichi Satou is able to create a remarkably peaceful world that the viewer can fall into and relax. The story is more extensively explained in Hitotose, which has a more definite beginning; keep this in mind as you are dropped into the middle of the story already taking place. If this is something that bothers you, go ahead and watch Hitotose first.
The style is somewhat reminiscent of Kyoto Animation titles. The character designs are very soft and cute, but still, have a fair amount of detail. The backgrounds are well done, and especially diverse for a series of this type. Generally, a SOL is restricted to just a few areas like club rooms and bedrooms, limiting the amount of work that has to be done. However, Tamayura explores a much wider array of areas, and rather than the usual small town cityscape Tamayura presents a traditional Japanese town with beautiful architecture. I understand that many of the locations visited in the series have real-life counterparts that they are designed from.
One interesting thing the entire franchise does is show still “photographs” that have been taken, and while these are technically not animated at all, I enjoyed looking at them being interested in photography myself.
My main complaint with the animation is the character detail when not close up. This is a very common animation issue even in otherwise beautiful shows (check out the background characters in the TV and Blu-ray releases of Madoka). It’s pretty easy to overlook though.
While Tamayura has a peaceful backing soundtrack, that is all it has aside from a slightly above average OP. The tracks are commonly repeated if you listen closely. The voice acting is done well, but there is nothing of particular note to set this series apart. The soundtrack might be nice to play while going to sleep or studying, perhaps.
Like dozens of other SOL series, the main cast consists of four girls with several reoccurring side characters. What sets Tamayura apart is the focus on Fuu and her life. While the other characters are explored more in Hitotose, the theme remains that they revolve around Fuu. This is actually a refreshing change, as it sets a more defined theme for the story than others of the same kind.
The cast consists of Fuu, who is kind, soft-spoken, and a bit airhead. She can occasionally get herself into a bit of trouble with her enthusiasm for photography, ending up in some compromising positions and locations. Her friends are all likable, with the very quiet Maon, the boisterous Norie (who reminds me of Usagi from Sailor Moon), and the level-headed Kaoru. They don’t have much time for development in these 4 short episodes, but they are better explored in Hitotose if you find this series and the characters agreeable.
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