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

Saki 11: Pushing the Boundaries of Space and Time

Not to be outdone by Teru, Toki raises the bar twofold as she not only manages to see two turns ahead, but after Teru seems to have Toki broken down in the bonus hand, she shines through the darkness, able to see a full three turns ahead! Whether or not this will help is yet undetermined, at the very least it may help provide some insight into Teru’s abilities. Meanwhile, Hanada is pulling defense for her team, designated the “sacrifice” to Teru’s wrath, and Kuro can’t seem to get it together. Although she is being helping by hoarding dora and making it easier for Toki and Hanada to read Teru’s hand, and the dora are kept from boost Teru’s scores as well.

All while Saki sits just outside, she obviously senses disturbances in the force, either from Toki’s time bending or Teru’s spacial distortions, lightening keeps sparking around that mahjong table. Achiga’s plot is definitely winding its way back to Saki’s in order to tie up into a possible joint-conclusion. But with only 4 more episodes, it’ll most likely just put both series slightly closer to the final round of the competition. They certainly won’t be able to go as far in-depth as they have with this first round.

Now then, I have two concerns with Achiga: will Teru fall to Toki’s three-turn time shift, and will Nodoka, Shizu, and Ako reunite? Teru certainly isn’t going to lose that huge lead she’s built, but putting a third stop to her winning streaks will certainly prove a moral victory. If Kuro could manage to help out more, it’d also lift her from near-tears. I was really hoping for more detail, but at this rate, the ending is looking to become rushed.

If they’d just show Arata playing, I’d be okay with this…

Saki: Achiga-hen Episode of Side-A – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Saki 10: Is Nodoka’s chest getting larger?

Groundbreaking…just groundbreaking. Her chest that is. Seriously…how does Saki not live in fear those massive chest-bits? Maybe Nodoka saps the size away from those around her to increase her own bust level. Unfortunately (for Nodoka), there’s not much to sap from with the Achiga team, so they’ll be fine when they reunite, as the scenes with Nodoka dreaming of Ako and Shizu seem to foreshadow.  That’s assuming Teru Miyanaga doesn’t utterly destroy Achiga before Kuro can learn how to hold her own against this monster.

It didn’t really seem like Kuro was playing in the second half, as most of the focus was on Toki attempting to stave off Teru’s monster winning streaks. But no avail, as even her foresight couldn’t prevent victory from simply falling into her hands. And even though the dora is coming to her hand, Kuro is left shaking in her seat as Teru continues to win on her discards.  There’s certainly a lot focus being placed onto this single round, and I’m wondering if the remaining rounds will be as in-depth, or if this encounter with Teru is just being magnified through screen time.

As Toki attempts to see 2 full moves ahead, a skill that’s landed her face-first on the floor in the past, Kuro’s confidence is at an all-time low. Even if either of them could manage to pull off a daring last-minute stop-gap of Teru’s streak, she still leaves her team with a nearly 100,000 point lead over the next team. With Achiga in 3rd, the remaining girls will have to play hard to get over Teru’s monstrous lead. If it weren’t for the short scenes of Nodoka (and her gifted size), I don’t think I’d have any hope of the Achiga girls getting past this semi-final round.

Saki: Achiga-hen Episode of Side-a – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Saki 9: Teru, the “Monstrous” Winning Streak

The first round of the semi-finals and the “monster” mahjong players have come in full force, when we finally get a first-hand look at Teru, the legendary sister of Saki Miyanaga. But not to be taken lightly, Toki also demands attention in the semi-final first round, revealing her power to see turns ahead thanks to a near-death illness. Meanwhile, Teru’s power can only be described as all-seeing and all-knowing, as her command of the table even surpasses Toki’s ability to foresee her moves. Kuro is left in the shadow as the monsters play through the round, only able to occasionally derail one another.

I was expecting something a bit more fearsome playing from Teru, to be honest. The way it was played up, and from what we’ve seen from “lesser” monster players like Miho, Koromo, and Momoko, I was expecting Teru to be able to incite immediate insanity in her opponents. But, instead, she just seems to have a view into each player’s hand and strategies. Though, I guess I can’t complain too much, she DID see through Toki’s future sight, after all. And her streaks seem to expand in power with each passing win, and breaking it only resets it to its starting value.

Kuro is stuck in what seems to be a no-win situation, she just can’t seem to compete with such a see-through skill. Despite how well it’s functioning to bring dora to her hand, there’s no time to build up a winning hand before the monsters end the round in a show of incredible confusion on Kuro’s part.  Honestly, it’s like Achiga isn’t even in this round…maybe she’ll show some new tricks, possibly picked up from their training, on her turn as dealer, which will yield bonuses should she manage to actually play a hand. Hopefully, that glimpse of Etopen is a sign of good things to come for the Achiga girls.

Saki: Achiga-hen Episode of Side-A – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Saki 8: Why Can’t I Hold All This Nostalgia?

In preparation for the semi-finals, and the monster players in wait, the Achiga girls call on some familiar faces to help them meet the intensity of the super powered mahjong so frequent in the original series. In case you haven’t been watching Saki: Achiga-hen Episode of Side-A, it’s essentially just like the original series “Saki”, including the cast, plus a few more, minus the yuri action and some of the crazy superpowers (but that may change with the next episode). After facing head-to-head with varying degrees of, what appear to be, psychic-mahjong powers, the girls confidently head into the semi-finals, and in the first round we see Teru, Saki’s mysterious monster-player sister…

Kuro is first in Achiga’s line-up for the semi-finals, but she’s up against the legendary Teru Miyanaga. Will we see just what makes her so fierce? And how Kuro will compete is another issue, being without a super power herself, she’ll have to rely on dora coming to her hand, but I doubt that can stand up to the witchcraft these “monsters” of mahjong have in store. But just beyond the semi-finals is Nodoka and Saki, so she’ll somehow have to manage.

Perhaps the best Kuro can hope for is to merely survive Teru’s wrath and hold onto as many of her points as she can so the remaining Achiga girls can bring the heat in later rounds. But I foresee each team’s monster players coming into the rounds one at a time. Essentially each Achiga girl having to face down a monster in every round. Maybe this means Arata’s skill will finally be showcased, clinching a win using Achiga’s own “monster” (or at least “very very good”) player in the final round. That’s probably just my own hope, as it’s more likely, based on the progression of this particular series, that (if Achiga wins) they’ll pull it off with a show of non-super power-based play. Unless they’ve somehow gained super powers themselves from hanging around these players from the original series…maybe something in the original series has to do with the acquisition of mahjong power, and the closer the girls get to Nodoka and Saki, the more powerful they’ll become!

Saki: Achiga-hen Episode of Side-A – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket