Saturday, May 1, 2010

First Look: The Tatami Galaxy 1

EPISODE 1: Tennis Club Cupid

the narrator (just called "I" or watashi in Japanese) at Neko Ramen, home to the best ramen in Japan

The Japanese title for this is Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei. I have a fantastic time spelling it, it's giving me a headache. So, let's just call this by its English title, The Tatami Galaxy. Sounds far-out, which is what this anime aims to be with its generally super flat animation style, super insane color schemes and super fast dialogue but actually super simple storyline. I like it.
the self-proclaimed god of match-making meets the self-proclaimed black cupid

An unnamed college student -- henceforth referred to as "Watashi" (Asanuma Shintaro) -- enters university with the aim to live a "rosy campus life." However, his dream is derailed when he discovers at the very last moment that a "rosy campus life" requires social skills, which he unfortunately lacks. Rendered hopeless by this unseen turn of events, he quickly gets with the wrong buddy, a real mischief-maker by the name of Ozu (Yoshino Hiroyuki). Together, the two of them gain notoriety for being the "Black Cupids," who specialize in playing pranks and sabotaging relationships. It takes one proverbial night at the Neko Ramen and a meeting with the god of match-making for Watashi to change his acquired outlook in campus life and finally take notice of Akashi (Sakamoto Maaya), a pretty freshman from the Engineering Department who seems quite interested in him. But after a two-year history of being a love cynic and with Ozu as his rival, can Watashi really turn a new leaf?

Ozu, the demon, plays Watashi in the palm of his hand

The Tatami Galaxy is weird. It's also pretty funny and spot-on. That is, if you can follow the armalite talk and the abstract images that rapidly flash across the screen. I think the speed is the only thing I take issue in. The rest are hella entertaining stuff. The fact that this anime seems to be rom-com means that it's right up my alley. The weirdness I can take in. I don't normally go for the bizarre (that's Jute's line) but I do appreciate style and The Tatami Galaxy's quirkiness seems more geared towards style than substance. The content itself is pretty normal -- mature normal, which is fine.

All in all, I like it. The characters are interesting. The opening (by Asia Kung-Fu generation) and ending themes -- I noticed them, hee -- are cool. The eccentric animation style fits the offbeat subject matter. And, oh look, it's Sakamoto Maaya again. Damn, she's busy this season.


The Tatami Galaxy @ Wikipedia
The Tatami Galaxy @ ANN


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