Sometimes dreams just don’t work out.
It’s hard to think of the loss of one’s dreams as anything approaching “the Good”, but like a couple episodes prior with Wakana, this week’s Tari Tari did a pretty good job of handling the fall of Sawa’s hopes and life plans. Although I expressed worries about the cliffhanger that we were left with last week, as Sawa lay motionless after a fall from Sabure, once again the show avoided extended melodrama by skipping to Sawa and her father hearing the debrief from the doctor about her non-serious injuries, with only the briefest scene of her father rushing through the hospital as she went in for an MRI. And while Sawa’s father seems like a ‘bad dad’, I found the writing very believable as a person. He’s certainly not the great “TV Dad” that Sakai Keisuke was for Wakana, but I found the portrayal to be easily believable as an ordinary father who wants the best for his daughter, even as her dreams had been leading her down a path he felt was doomed to failure. He wants to support her, and help her, but still indulges in the briefest amount of “I told you so!” Let’s face it, a 40-something man, shrine priest or no, is still going to have feelings of vindication when he’s proven right in an argument. And even he sees her pain, and he can’t help but want to keep helping her, so he calls up the equestrian school in futile support of his daughter. Yes, it was a bit of cliched TV, including Sawa overhearing his side of the conversation, but it still rang true to me.
Also believable to me was Sawa’s short period of pouting and moodiness. Even the happiest person is going to have some days where they just feel beaten down, and in the last few days she’s faced the dashing of her sole dream (even the confidently written “nashi” indicating she had no other plans besides equestrian school seems to mock her from her career form), a potentially serious injury, and dealing with pain and self-induced malnutrition. It’s natural that she’s not interested in dealing with the bubbly Konatsu, enigmatic Wien, and no-nonsense Taichi, but it’s also natural that the caring they have for her will help her out of the funk, and allow her to return to a semblance of her former self. I really don’t think it was an unwarranted departure from her character, and found it well within the expectations of a high school girl.
The painful reminders can come from all sides.
The third good thing in this episode was Wakana’s settling in to become the foundation of the choir. From her sharing her personal feelings about music and her mother to jar Sawa, to her support for Konatsu with the Vice-Principal, to her cool-headed delaying tactics of having the V-P paged to slow down the auditions as they waited for Sawa, Wakana’s become the cool and steady rock in the center of the group that everyone is grounded upon. And Wakana has benefited as well, finding a companionship that had been missing for her since her mother’s death.
Wien: “I got this!” Wakana: “Will you keep it down, I’m on the phone!”
Overall, Tari Tari continues to walk a nice line with the amount of drama it puts in and the characterizations of the main cast. Yes, there’s a bit of coincidence and taking the easy way, but I find everyone believable and the situations mostly realistic.
The Bad is that we are running out of episodes, and we still haven’t found out anything about Wien. Hopefully Sawa’s arc is now wrapped up (and I had felt that a two episode arc was possible, because there really isn’t any ‘fixing’ being too big for horse racing), and we can get to Wien’s story of his sister and return to Japan. It would be nice if they could also fit more about Taichi in there, but I think that’s too much to ask for.
The main ugly in the series is the Vice-Principal, who is determined to hold a perpetual grudge against Konatsu for screwing up her concert the previous year. We also still need to find out what the mysterious ‘plan’ for the school is, and that could be pretty ugly too. We didn’t see the Principal’s hair this week, but now that I’ve thought about it, it gets put in ugly, too. And seriously, can’t you put on a helmet when you ride a horse? Please?
Riding to the rescue looks cool and all, but seriously, wear a helmet.