Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei
Title: Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei (The Tatami Galaxy)
Genre: Dark Comedy
Summary: When a college dropout stops for a late night bite at a mysterious ramen stand, he crosses paths with a self-proclaimed deity of matrimony. This bizarre meeting sends the young man hurtling through a horrifying flashback to his not-so-glorious college days when the influence of a cruel new friend turned him from a hopeless romantic into a mischievous “black cupid.”
Review: I was pretty dead-on I would say when it came to this anime. As my first look suggested, don’t put this one on your anime watch list. The Tatami Galaxy, as some call it, was fun to watch because it was different from the rest of the anime out the past two seasons. It could possibly be different from every other anime, but I can’t say that for certain since I haven’t seen all the anime out there. The art style is something that will probably stand out for everyone. It is a very old type of animation that combines real life scenes with animated characters and buildings. For example, a scene where they would be standing near a lake would have the characters sitting on the banks, but the water would be filmed through a real camera. I personally enjoyed the art style very much since it was a good change of pace from most of the anime you see. However, this is about the only area where The Tatami Galaxy really shined. The opening theme song had its moment, but nothing to really take note of (unless you enjoy strange music videos). The storyline of The Tatami Galaxy is interesting for the first two-three episodes. The anime quickly goes down hill as you get bored of watching the same characters, especially the protagonist. The story has a somewhat predictable outcome, though the journey may throw you off, but the base of it is obvious. I found myself more frustrated that the series hadn’t already ended around episode seven or eight. Considering this was one of the shortest anime I have seen, that can’t be a good sign. The idea of time rewinding and starting again was neat but not a good hook. The underlying message was probably something to take notice of (if you care to find out what it is watch the series, I rather not spoil it here) and it did get me thinking. Unfortunately the thoughts quickly withered away as more interesting things caught my attention, such as a thread of string. As for it being a dark comedy, I can see where that comes from. Personally didn’t enjoy the comedy; the style can really only go so far. As I mentioned in the first look the voice actors read dialogue at a ridiculous pace. I was amazed how fast they needed to speak, especially during the monologues.
This will get any English speaking viewer frustrated. I did manage to keep up during most of the series, but there were times where I needed to rewind or even pause to read what they were saying. It got to the point where I occasionally figured the dialogue probably wasn’t that important anyway.
Final statements: There really isn’t much to say about this anime other than its art style and opening theme song (areas that helped the rating the most). The anime is unique, I give it that. Sadly this was not one of the cases where unique was the right way to go. If you enjoy dark comedy then you may enjoy it more than I did. However, from what I’ve seen this is an avoid watch, as I predicted earlier.
I agree the narrative is definitely fast, but it’s deliberately paced like that. It may be fast for subtitles, but let’s remember this is intended for a Japanese speaking audience originally. Besides, you could just take it upon yourself to read faster.
This show definitely is also not for everyone, because of the aforementioned speed of the subtitles and the art style which may not be to everyone’s tastes. However, you give the story and sound production much less credit than they deserve. Sure, if you watch. Not only is the soundtrack good, but the voice acting is great; It takes some serious acting chops to be able to do such a fast narrative for an entire show. The storyline is no less impressive or engaging. Though it may seem episodic, there are things that overlap, and by the end all of the puzzle pieces fall into place, like the majority of good stories. It’s tied together very gracefully in the last two or three episodes, if you bothered to watch them.
This is destined to be a love it or hate it kind of affair. Obviously you didn’t find it to your liking, but I’d recommend it without hesitation to everyone, because if you do find it engaging, it’s not something you’re going to want to miss.
First I would like to say thank you so much for your input and taking the time to comment.
And yes I agree completely that the voice actors/actresses are very skilled and I hope to see them in later anime that I watch. The art style actually was really cool as I mentioned in my post, and probably the thing that made me originally hooked. As for the fast paced subtitles, I actually read them just fine (to a certain degree), but for the average English anime watcher I would see them getting frustrated. I do hope that people give respect to the actors for this difficult job.
It was the storyline that kind of did it in for me. The storyline at first was captivating, but I did lose interest. I can see this being a love/hate anime, so some people may want to pick it up. Just not my cup of tea.
Thank you so much for your comments they are always welcome! Hope to see more of your input in later posts 🙂