Don’t miss the White Rhino Festival!
Having wrapped up Wakana’s struggles with the memory of her mother last week, Tari Tari this week seemed to have a lot of movement for the group as a whole, but in the end mostly focused on Sawa, which unfortunately means I was wrong last week. Rats. Maybe we’ll get to Wien soon, and he did get one scene to himself this week, foreshadowing the conflict he, like so many high school students, feels about what direction his life should take. Seeing the others with so much determination towards an end goal, he wonders what his might be. And yet, the desire to achieve such a goal can be something that causes pain and trouble.
This was a really fun episode. Being the bridge between arcs, there’s the freedom to throw some lighthearted moments in, and they took full advantage with a constant stream of funny lines and a few outright hilarious gags. Playing on Wien’s tenuous grasp of Japanese and friendly gullibility, they convinced him that a White Rhino is kept under the gym, to be let out for a festival once a year. And Wakana wasn’t immune from embarrassment, with the bento her father makes her giving everyone the wrong impression.
But there was also good in the story arc. And unfortunately, what’s good for the story this time is bad for Sawa. Her desire to become a jockey is now clashing with the realities of horse racing, and even for Japanese girls the size of horse racing jockeys is a hard standard to meet, and one that is based mostly on genetic luck. At the moment, she’s determined to fight through it, but that may not even be possible.
The bad is how Sawa decides to try to shrink herself down to jockey size. Eating disorders are no laughing matter, and really put a damper on the fun attitude the show had had up to that point. The contrasts between Wakana and Konatsu enjoying themselves and Sawa purging and starving herself to the point of focus loss and distraction are not subtle, but they do get the point across to the audience. Eventually Konatsu will figure out that it’s not love, but I expect some of Konatsu’s usual misapplied “helpfulness” before the true issue is revealed. The question I have is whether the person to help Sawa will be her longtime friend Konatsu, or new friend, and someone who knows about dealing with loss, be it of people or dreams, Wakana.
The ugly is the last minute of the episode. While handling Wakana’s arc, the show hit a great balance between potential drama and displayed drama, not letting the story devolve into unnecessary shock or tears. And while the preview for next week shows a bruised but seemingly otherwise healthy Sawa, it might have been a little too much for her to have an accident during horseback archery. It was certainly more dramatic than Dora the cat being lost, and a bit more shocking than I’d have liked, especially showing her lying there while others call an ambulance. It might have been better handled with the unseen potential, like Wakana looking for Dora. I’m just hoping Tari Tari doesn’t devolve into overly dramatic setups from this point on.