Well, every high school anime needs a swimming episode, and every high school anime needs an episode at the beach, since we’re short on time, why not combine the two? This weeks episode of Tamako Market stays true to the almost-formulaic clichés of the slice-of-life anime genre, something that almost leaves you questioning, if these clichés are so ubiquitous, why bother calling them clichés to begin with? They might as well be compulsory, requiring the Japanese censors to see them before letting you air your show. “Oh, you don’t have a school fair episode? screw you then.” My peeves towards the anime affinity towards school fairs, beaches, swimming pools, clubs, and school roofs aside, this was a pretty good episode for the series.
I can hardly imagine doing an episodic review of Tamako Market without devoting a paragraph every week to simply how cute Tamako and her friends are, and this one is especially adorable. I’ve always thought that one of the vital aspects of what makes something cute is how vulnerable that something is, after all, in the realm of evolutionary psychology, our adoration of the adorable can be attributed to a necessity of caring for the vulnerability of infants. Tamako’s inability to swim, coupled with her (adorable) nightmares resulting from her fear of swimming embody this philosophy of adorableness. What might just kill you (but doesn’t), can only make you cuter.
The interjections by Dera also seem less annoying this week, and might even be something akin to being funny at times. But, even with the lightheartedness of Dera’s dating advice, the usual innocent obliviousness of Tamako, and the happy-go-lucky nature of the setting, Tamako Market manages a continuation of the character development previously touched by episode 2; gracefully threading the line between the facetious and the melodramatic, what Tamako Market does in this episode is laudable. It delves upon the seriousness of issues pertaining to relationships and unrequited love, while remaining true to the overarching ethos of the series, innocence. Anything remotely close to drama over here is done half in jest, and thankfully.
What doesn’t bode to well, however, is the object of Mochizou, and Midori’s affections. Yes, yes, you’d hear me sing praises of how cute this character is. Oblivious, vulnerable, innocent, cheerful, Tamako is cute. But her character seems to leave anybody with the slightest tendency to foresight with doubt that her character would be the type that’s suitable to be a love interest. With the banality of Tamako’s character type, the potential for conflict-and-resolution besides the superficial as well as character development, something vital for any good romance, is kept to a minimum. It seems that any attempt to develop either character’s relation towards her is bound to end up nowhere, nowhere good at least.