Perhaps the best summary of Tari Tari is that it was a nice show with nice characters and a nice story.
Final Episode thoughts
The finale of Tari Tari won’t be a surprise to anyone who has watched the show up to this point. There’s the face off with the nasty chairman, who even throws in lines like “you need to learn how immature and powerless you youngsters are.” There’s the semi-heroic mostly apologetic ‘rescue’ of the replacement Shirosai by the Principal, who manages to whine his way both through an apology to the Choir Club and a plea to the Chairman on the way to (likely) being fired. There’s the embarrassment of the Chairman and the Principal, who accidentally falls down and ends up pantsing the Chairman. There’s even Naoko, who competently steps in to support the Principal, and tells Konatsu that the Vocal Group and the Orchestra have both been practicing their song, and would like to play alongside them.
And then there is the performance itself, which is appropriately cheesy for a high school play, but with an uplifting song at the end. Well done vocal group performances have a special magic all their own, and this one delivers. And the episode is planned well, with the festival finishing in the first half of the episode, leaving the second half for telling us what the protagonists will end up doing. And it’s all predictable and yet still makes you feel good: Taichi gets his badminton scholarship, Wakana is going to study music and asks Naoko to mentor her, Konatsu moves on to college, Wien goes back to Vienna and reunites with Jan, and Sawa goes to the US to try to be a jockey in a land with bigger people. There are even nice side bits thrown in like an apparent airport gate confession from Taichi to Sawa, Wakana and Konatsu getting the smallest bit of revenge on Sawa by smacking her on the butt to inspire her, Sawa’s dad tearing up as his daughter leaves, Konatsu apparently getting an invite to join a singing group in college, and finally, a very Mahiru-like Wakana returning home, obviously older.
Overall a fun episode, full of laughs and tears and hopes. And now, on to the Final Review!
Title: Tari Tari
TV Series; 13 Episodes
Genre: Slice of Life, School, Music
Produced: P.A. Works
Tari Tari’s story isn’t going to wow you with its originality, its edginess, twists and turns, or boldness. What it does is tell an engaging story with ups and downs, and presents a very realistic look at life for a certain group of high school students. And while it never leaves you with your mind blown, at the end of every episode you feel like you enjoyed the time watching it and that it wasn’t wasted. And being a show about a school that has a special music program, there’s plenty of music mixed in, even though only one of the characters is in that music program. The music really helps fill out the story, giving a background and depth that helps make it more fulfilling.
There were some things that detracted from the overall level of the story a bit, tho, like the redevelopment setup for the end conflict (such as it was). The plan just felt unrealistically cruel and designed for maximum umbrage.
The characters are really the heart of the show. Seeing these kids struggle through dealing with their past, discovering their dreams, sometimes finding those dreams unreachable, and moving on and around their roadblocks is the driving force in the show. As always, some characters get more time and attention than others, and some are unsatisfyingly left a little thin, but this is made up for in some surprising development amongst the side characters, particularly the Vice-Principal and Sawa’s father.
The thing I liked the best about the characters in general is how believable their performances were. The kids acted like 17-18 year old kids, ranging between budding sophistication and childish temperament. The adults acted like adults, from Wakana’s almost perfect TV Dad to Sawa’s overly practical yet still doting father. There was only one character who was a pure caricature, and the show poured all of the badness into him, even using him as a badness sponge to take it away from others. Like with the story, it’s one minor misstep in a large march of very good.
The visuals of the show, as is to be expected from P.A. Works, were generally pretty and shiny, with some stunning moments of beauty for me (I don’t think anyone else can do blue cloudy skies so realistically). A bright world, even when cloudy and rainy, and one that was a pleasure to look in on. There isn’t any groundbreaking animation style, no signature effort, but it’s always a nice show to watch.
The sound and music was the star of the show. The main cast was filled out by 5 tremendously good singers (including Saori Hayami, who I absolutely love), and they were easily up to the task of singing some beautiful original songs for the show. I really hope that all of those songs are released as music (singles or an album), as it would be a lovely legacy for this show.
Overall, Tari Tari is what it looks like: pretty, substantial enough, beautiful to listen to, and a nice way to spend some time. It’s not what anyone would call an instant classic, or a must-see show, but it’s definitely a show that is worth making time to watch, for the lovely songs, tremendous visuals, and the generally happy story. I don’t know if it will be one that lasts as a show that people remember for a long time, but it’s a show that makes you happy you spent the time to watch it.