Tari Tari: Final Review

Managed to finally cram the last few episodes of Tari Tari and now I’m kicking myself for putting it off for almost a week. Truly, a beautiful ending to a beautiful series. I stand by my initial statement of “It’s K-On!, but with music”, except I want to add “and backstory”. Much like the ending of K-On!, I hated to see Tari Tari end, but cheered it on through the final episodes. Leading to an ending I hate to love because it means no more Tari Tari.

While none of the characters (except maybe Wein) really stand out to me, the group as a whole leave an impression that’s hard to compete with. The Choir and Sometimes Badminton Club was just a ragtag group of individuals who were dragged into a project to spite a vice principal who turned out to not be so mean-spirited after all. As the group learned the meaning of music in people’s lives, the character stories expanded beyond the main 5 to include almost everyone teacher and parent in this music-loving town. And as the story progressed, I ended up hating the spineless principal more than the ice queen of a vice principal (maybe because I was more sympathetic to her towards the end).

As serious as the characters took music, there was always time for comedic interjection. I absolutely loved the Market Rangers, Red Ranger Wein is now my favorite superhero, but the whole scene with Wein reclaiming Konatsu’s stolen possessions helps to show just how important music is the lives of the characters while developing them steadily throughout the whole story.

If I have any complaint with Tari Tari, it’s that the ending left a sign of stories to come. While I feel the series has come to a reasonable, well established ending, I get the feeling it’s left open for future seasons which I don’t think would fare very well. Part of the interest in Tari Tari is seeing the 5 high schoolers developing closer bonds together where they used to be simply classmates, leading to an experience none of them could’ve imagined possible as they overcame obstacles and kept true to the music they love.

Tari Tari had a strong set of character backstories and development with a plot that moved with the characters instead of a set, determined goal. Though slow at times, the events around the high schoolers were strongly written. The animation was nothing short of brilliant never seemed to slip.

Final rating: 91

Tari Tari – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

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Tari Tari 5-10: Red Ranger Wien, Hero of Justice!

Apologies for not covering Tari Tari so well, blogging has to take back burner lately as I’m being forced to actually give 100% at school. But now I’m ready to go, as are the Market Rangers! So far, Wein’s internal conflict is the most interesting. Not to diminish the value of the other character’s arcs, especially Wakana.

With only 3 episodes left and Wein’s arc seemingly closed, I’m guessing it’s time to put Konatsu in the limelight, or perhaps simply wrap up her choir’s story at the festival. I’m personally hoping for a big finale to Wakana’s personal bit when the group sings the song started by her mother before she passed away. I think I’d also like more of the Market Rangers. And Sawa still doesn’t have a solid closure as to what she wants to do in the future, either. Is Taichi’s story finished for that matter?

If Tari Tari is building like I think it is, all the closure will come in the last two episodes. I have high hopes for the ending as the series thus far has been quite the emotional ride and I just hope I’m not setting the bar too high, asking too much from the story.

I still stand by an early statement, Tari Tari is like K-On!…but with music.

Tari Tari – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Tari Tari 3-4: Mi Amiga~

Following Konatsu’s less than stunning performance with her choir at the recital, everyone who was scooped into the club proceeds to quit, leaving Konatsu, Sawa, and Wakana as the only 3 members of the club. This is more than enough reason for that she-beast of a vice principal to disband the club, along with Taichi’s badminton club, as he was the only member. To rectify at least one of the problem, Konatsu challenges Taichi to a badminton match, loser joins the winner’s club. Wien (Atsuhiro) also joins Taichi as a member of the badminton club, in a 3-on-2 match. In a close match, Wien seals the deal…by slamming the birdie into the net, landing Konatsu her final 2 members for the “Choir and sometimes Badminton club”, also allowing Taichi to continue onto badminton competitions.

First order in any choir is to perform, luckily the local beachfront business scene is planning large musical festival to draw in the crowds, and Konatsu seems prime opportunity to take the stage. If she could get over her fandom for an older group of musicians who’ve come to town. One of whom stalked Wakana across the town, shouting in Spanish until she found out that he was just excited to see the daughter of an old friend of the band. This aging band ends up teaching Konatsu a few important lessons about committing oneself to music and to that music brings people together. They also teach Wakana that no one ever leaves music…

Happily performing for rather critical children, Konatsu’s choir is making strides to integral character development. However, Wakana has yet to sing…will this be addressed soon or is going to be a lingering issue throughout the series? And like feal87 asked, how long will the general life development last, and when, if at all, will the romance or life-altering drama commence? Right now, I’m comfortable with the slow pace Tari Tari is moving at, but surely it’ll have to pick up and move into more serious plot-devices. Also mustn’t forget the letter Wakana received from the band member, a letter written by her mother when she was born. Is this something that’ll bring Wakana back into music, or will the story let it sit for a few episodes before bringing it back up? Sawa also seemed unusually perturbed, I’m curious as to whether it was simply because she was upset at Konatsu for getting off-track, or if something more seriously is happening and yet to be revealed.

Tari Tari – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Final Review

….*sigh*…I kinda don’t wanna do this *just do it* but *do it*….okay, here we go. Back with the 4th final of the Winter 2012 season, Senki Zesshou Symphogear. If I don’t sound very enthused with this one, it has almost everything to do with the ending, I rather enjoyed this series, until around episode 11 or 12. But…that ending…all the laws of physics and time continuation…broken…and the power ranger outfits…and the cut back to episode 1.

Even a bad ending? I don't know...

Senki Zesshou Symphogear follows the story of Hibiki, an average over-enthusiastic girl with a yuri-esque best friend, Miku. One day, at a Zwei Wing concert, the “ageless threat” to humanity, the Noise, attacked. Sacrificing her life, Kanade, one of the two singers of Zwei Wing, saves Hibiki, and scatters fragments of her Symphogear relic in Hibiki’s chest. Cut to a few years later, Hibiki and MIku are enrolled in a musical academy, as is Tsubasa, Kanade’s duet partner from Zwei Wing. Originally upset to see HIbiki using Kanade’s relic to activate the secret power of the Symphogear armor, eventually they become close and even form a bond with full time tsundere, Chris, also a wielder of Symphogear armor. As Noise attacks become more frequent, and harder to fight off, an age-old conspiracy comes to light, as the trio use the power of song to save the world from a Babylonian priestess who locked her spirit within her descendants and has re-awoken to try and unite the world (or destroy it, or destroy the moon, I’m not sure, it was kinda confusing).

Go! Go! Sympho-Rangers!!

If you enjoy mahou shoujo, then you’ll like Symphogear, but, at the same time, being a musically based series, the soundtrack isn’t half bad (don’t take my opinion when it comes to music, audio is subjective, head over to youtube and listen for yourself). The overall theme of the series is that the power of song can unite us all, and words aren’t the only way to bring us together and communicate (a throw back to the Tower of Babel, and how the people of the Earth, attempting to reach God, were scattered across the Earth, their languages differentiated so they couldn’t come together again to reach God).

The Tower of Babel is (what I gathered) where the priestess came in, taking over Ryouko’s body, Fine first attempts to destroy the moon (because that solves so many problems, am I right?) because it embodies the god she tried to reach out to back then, but was rejected. Using the power of completed relics, Fine puts up an impossibly hard fight for the Symphogear trio. But, with song (or rather, boosted phonetic resonance) of their friends from the school, the trio dons newly unlimited armors, but Fine sees their new power, and raises them a city full of Noise legions. *Cut to about 90 seconds and half a dozen atomic sized explosions later* They’re all defeated, now all that’s left if Fine and her devil/red snake/ancient evil weapon powered by the two complete relics. With teamwork, Chris and Tsubasa move the Durandal relic into Hibiki’s hands. With her friends cheering her on, she fights back the “darkness” and cuts Fine down to size.

“Good guy Hibiki”, humble in victory, carries Ryouko off the battlefield for an inspiring end-of-the-series speech on we can all be friends. Big surprise, Fine makes one last move to win, using up her remaining strength to extend Nehushtan’s chain out to the moon-shard and pull on a trajectory with the Earth (I’ll address the physics issues in a minute). Crumbling to ash, she leaves the scene with Hibiki promising to protect the Earth for the future where people can come together. The three girls make a fantastic last shot to eliminate the approaching threat, and really show off the power of their unrestricted armors…ending with a meteor shower that Hibiki leaves for Miku…

I herd u liek rockets...

Miku and the rest of the world continue life in light of the battle and near extermination of the Earth, without the three girls, announced dead. But wait, they just had to keep their survival a secret for secret reasons that are a secret. *sigh* So, on top of not actually dying, they didn’t actually defeat the Noise, they still attack, they’re still a big threat (but wait, I though Fine was the one summoning them? *shut up* but, then, where are they coming from? *don’t ask questions* whatever). Speaking of undefeated Noise, remember all those Noise Fine summoned and the girls defeated? *Yeah* Remember all those explosions as they destroyed the Noise? *Of course, they’re hard to miss* WHY IS THERE STILL A CITY STANDING? *whatever, anime logic*

Now onto physics-related contradictions and other continuity problems with the final two episodes. First, anyone notice how, in the span of maybe 7 minutes, the setting went from early morning, to sunrise, to mid-day. *What happened? Were they taking breaks for meals? Large amounts of daylight time are missing!* Now let’s hit the big problem, Fine pulling the moon onto a collision course with Earth. Let’s address distance, Fine used her chain to grab the moon, in approximately 15 seconds to 1 minute (I’ll allow for the time lapsing and such). In the real world, it took astronauts (in 1969) nearly 3 days to reach the moon (that’s one way). That’s nearly 250 000 miles/minute (more than 20 000x the speed of sound) for Fine to be sending her chain to the moon shard. Now, Fine pulling the moon shard in Earth’s general direction. Let’s break out the Newtonian laws and remember Force (F) equals mass (m) multiplied by acceleration (a) (F=ma). If the shard is approximately one-eighth (being generous) of the moon’s mass, and it was moving at a speed fast enough to reach the upper atmosphere of the Earth (it started heating and glowing, denoting entry) within a matter of minutes, she generated more than enough force to merely crack the rocky ground she stood on. (Unless the dying Nehushtan armor has some magical properties that render Newtonian physics moot, then if that’s the case, forget everything I’ve said). Not that a little bending of real world mechanics bothers me (Hollywood does it all the time, just watch some Mythbusters, they’ll show you), but this sort of blatant misunderstanding of the basic principles around us bugs a former engineering student, like myself.

Don't cry, Chris! I still love you very much! :3

Not really sure how to wrap this up, on the one hand, I really enjoyed the series until it got ridiculously convoluted and hard to understand, then there’s the convoluting and hard to understand ending. On top of the fact that they really haven’t solved the Noise problem or even answered really any questions regarding the Noise. A good soundtrack, B-grade animation, and interesting premise can’t save Symphogear from the jarring conclusion. Final rating:….6.8 It has some good points going for it, and if you like mahou shoujo or musical series, go ahead and try Symphogear, but if you’re looking for a plot with a solid ending (and a better grasp of mechanical physics), I don’t recommend Symphogear.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

 

Senki Zesshou Sympogear: Massive Info Dump, Mankind’s Ageless Threat

What? Anime? Don't be ridiculous...

Back with the 11th episode of the Winter 2012 series, Senki Zesshou Symphogear. 2 episodes from the end, and Symphogear makes a potentially fatal mistake…inordinate amount of information dropped in a restrictive time limit. In a little under 10 minutes we’re informed of Fine’s true identity, the real purpose of the 2nd Division base under Lydian, and the master plan of our daring villianess. Now, individually or together at once, these things aren’t bad to know, but without any build-up or leading introduction, it certainly feels more forced and like I didn’t really know anything this whole time.

Lydian falls under assault from the Noise, at Fine’s (Ryoko’s) command. Miku stays diligent and makes sure all the students are evacuated to the bunkers before trying to escape herself. After joining Ogawa and starting down the main shaft of the base, they run into Fine, clad in her Symphogear, ready to bring her plan to fruition. But the 2nd Division isn’t to be taken lightly, as the Commander goes toe-to-toe with the former friend, nearly stopping her in her high-heeled tracks. But not before she can sneak in a cheap shot, and proceed to activate Kadingir, stealthy hidden as the 2nd Division base all along. The true purpose of the base from its inception was the collection of potential attuned and research using the phonic resonance generated by the students, along with the reconstruction of the ancient, god-reaching Tower of Babel.

Long ago, when all the world’s languages were split at the tower of Babel, Fine was merely a princess reaching out to loved god, who refused to come amongst the humans. From that day on, Fine lived as a buried consciousness, behind all the great paradigm shifts in history. 12 years ago, when Tsubasa first activated a relic, Fine’s consciousness was activated from deep within Ryoko’s genetics. Now, she’s returned to rebuild the tower, Kadingir, and eliminate “the confusion of the earth” by destroying the moon with Kadingir (a massive ion cannon). It all makes sense now (/sarcasm).

Whatever, so long as the girls use Symphogear to save the day, I guess I’m happy. But, that’s not the case, instead we’re treated to the courageous meanderings of Miku and the girls hiding underground… At least Chris has the chance to shine, when she launches herself in near orbit to take on the ion cannon, armed with her swan song…no, wait! DON’T DO IT!!!!!!

Chris launches her all out assalut swan song to counter the ion cannon blast, a fatal sacrifice that depletes a symphogear user’s life force in exchange for a massive power output. Her valor was not in vain, as the remaining ion blast only chips a portion of the moon, and she seems to be able to recover (please, let this be so!!). But now, Fine is left with a (I’d imagine) still function ion cannon that can easily bend the world at its knees. And we still don’t have much more solid information on the Noise, or how they play into this? Fine said the symphogear armors were merely toys for garnering government cooperation. What does that make the Noise? Expendable pawns in her power trip?

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Chris is now a confirmed Tsundere

Back with the 10th episode of the Winter 2012 series, Senki Zesshou Symphogear. As the action comes to head, Chris is now fighting alongside Hibiki and Tsubasa against the noise. But not before she does some soul searching and character development as Fine’s (or is really Ryoko’s?) work begins to crumble as she nears her goal. But more importantly, we can now definitively classify Chris-chan as a solid tsundere!!

After a quick raid on her lab, Fine goes on the run, leaving a bloodbath in her absence. Chris soon makes the scene, with the Commander right behind her. It’s there that he challenges Chris’s distrust of adults and their wishful thinking. It’s actually an adult’s responsibility to make those dreams come true, just like her parents tried to do when they helped refugees of a war that left her orphaned.

Back to Tokyo, where the 2nd Division is having trouble contacting Ryoko. Hibiki isn’t worried, but Tsubasa reveals that Ryoko has no recorded combat training, though Hibiki clearly remembers how she used some sort of superpower to protect her at the chemical plant. Whether or not she’s evil is in the air, but Ryoko has some explaining to do.

There isn’t much down time before giant aerial Noise are detected over the city. Tsubasa and Hibiki quickly move into action, as the huge Noise carriers converge on Tokyo Sky Tower. They seem to be at a disadvantage to aero-Noise, until Chris charges onto the scene! But it’s not like she wanted to help them or anything (oh, you tsundere queen, you). After building Ichii-bal’s power to critical capacity, Chris unleashes a barrage on the airborne enemies, blasting them out of the sky.

But the Noise attack on Tokyo Sky Tower was only the beginning, as Hibiki gets a disconnected phone call from Miku at the school under siege. With Chris on their team now, I’m not scared they won’t be able to save the day, but I’m concerned about the connection between Fine and Ryoko. This appears to be the main conflict of the series, Ryoko conspiring from within the 2nd Division.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Coming Full Circle

Back with the 9th episode of the Winter 2012 series, Senki Zesshou Symphogear. This episode had more in the way of character development than in plot movement, but it still serves to show the characters growing closer together and stronger internally. Miku is officially a member of the 2nd division, so Hibiki suggests a date for herself, Miku, and Tsubasa to celebrate. (Proving that Hibiki is a loose woman and that Miku deserves better :3 jk, but that really made laugh considering the borderline yuri relationship between Hibiki and Miku).

After a day full of typical “date” activities, including karaoke (which would’ve had me more excited…if Symphogear wasn’t essentially built around singing), Tsubasa starts to see, for the first time, the everyday world she fights to protect with Hibiki.  Tsubasa later gives MIku and Hibiki tickets to a concert she’s entered at the last minute as a make-up show for when she was hospitalized. The show is at the same arena that Kanade sung her swan song two years ago to save Hibiki, showing a full circle in character story.

Meanwhile, the commander makes progress winning over Chris. Though reluctant to accept his help at first, her growling stomach betrays her and he’s able to at least help her this little bit by getting her food. He also reveals that he knows exactly what happened to her as a child. Daughter of two musically talented parents, Chris was orphaned but later saved by a U.N. operation that relocated her to Japan. The Commander offered to take in the little, lonely girl, but she disappeared after arriving in Japan. A full investigation was launched, but any one who would know anything was either dead or missing, leaving the case cold and eventually closed. Chris’s distrust of adults spawns somewhere from this, but before she says anymore, she makes a quick escape after finishing the food by jumping out the window and activating her symphogear to run away.

On the night of the concert, Hibiki is already running late when she gets the call from the 2nd Division. She asks the commander to let her fight the Noise and let Tsubasa continue her concert, so it’s just Hibiki and her power punches up to protect the city. No, wait! Chris, the newly good girl Symphogear, is also there to help out (though she plays koi about it)! As Hibiki and Chris fight off Noise attacks, Tsubasa continues the concert for her adoring fans, and finishes off by saying how she’s recently remembered why she sings. She now wants to spread her music and sing her song to everyone around the world (which plays back to a conversation with a music producer trying to get Tsubasa to go international).

Chris is still confused about why she helps Hibiki and the 2nd division fight the noise, while Hibiki and Tsubasa are standing strong in their convictions to protect everyone and use their songs to help the ones they love. Miku is now an active supporter for Hibiki and her double-life, as well as a new friend to Tsubasa. Now all she needs is a Symphogear and I’ll be satisfied… With only 3 episodes left, I’m still concerned that, without a second season, Senki Zesshou Symphogear won’t end on a plot-strong note. If they attempt to pull out a plot and wrap it up, it’ll feel very rushed, in my opinion.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku