Tatami Galaxy Episode 1April 25, 2010
Tatami Galaxy 1 (四畳半神話大系, Yojō-Han Shinwa Taikei)
Plot 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.”
- Director: Masaaki Yuasa (Cat Soup, Happy Machine, Kaiba, Kemonozume, Mind Game)
- Music: Michiru Oshima (Fullmetal Alchemist, Nabari no Ou, Soranowoto, Xam’d)
- Original creator: Tomihiko Morimi
- Original Character Design: Yūsuke Nakamura
- Art Director: Shinichi Uehara (Backgrounds/Art Director: Aoi Bungaku, BECK, Millenium Actress, Ninja Scroll, Paprika, Paradise Kiss, Paranoia Agent)
- Chief Animation Director: Nobutaka Ito (Key Animator/Animation Director: Ah My Goddess The Movie, Cat Soup, Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, Kaiba, Kemonozume, Mind Game, Nodame Cantabile, Samurai Champloo, Steamboy, Summer Wars)
- Color design: Kunio Tsujita (Boys Over Flowers, Clannad, Kalaido Star, Sailor Moon, Saint Saiya, Superflat Monogram, Xenosaga)
- Maaya Sakamoto as Akashi
- Shintaro Asanuma as “I” (Watashi)
- Hiroyuki Yoshino as Ozu
- Junichi Suwabe as Jōgasaki
- Keiji Fujiwara as Higuchi
- Yuko Kaida as Hanuki
“Koinu to Ame no Bīto (迷子犬と雨のビート; Stray Puppy And The Beat Of Rain)” by Asian Kung-Fu Generation
The OP was OK, but I really liked Mondrian ED with a nice song
“Kami-sama no Iu Tōri (神様のいうとおり; As God Dictates)” by Junji Ishiwatari & Yoshinori Sunahara + Etsuko Yakushimaru
The protagonist goes through intimacy vs. isolation crisis and engages in maladaptive coping due to his social anxiety. The patient presents with narcissistic rage, displacing unsatisfaction with himself to other people who are happily in love. Moreover, he utilizes other defense mechanisms to deal with his trauma. Manifestation of his id, named Ozu, further entangles the poor protagonist in a vicious cycle. The problem is that he does not realize that all men have womb envy, and the only path to happiness lies in creation rather than destruction. Luckily, a psychologist with a prominent chin offers a solution to his problem: freshman engineering student. A Castella filled with freshly manufactured Accela leads to an accelerated insight, one which would take about 20 years of psychodynamic therapy. Puppy is key to salvation.
The plot is not very interesting, and fast monotonous narration can be somewhat annoying, but some people might identify with the protagonist.
The character design and the entire atmosphere that blends realistic images with surreal settings are very well translated from the art of Yuusuke Nakamura to an animation. Akashi reminded me of Dorothy. Also I am glad that Maaya Sakamoto and Michiru Oshima are involved.
Of course, what makes this show shine is Yuasa’s directing. He employs a very wide variety of techniques, especially frequently using acute angles, track ups/backs, and first person perspective. It is nice to watch, but I just couldn’t resist comparing it to Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (SZS).
The key difference is in composition. In the first two seasons of of SZS and even some later SHAFT works, you can clearly see how meticulously each frame is designed – almost perfect. This is not the case with Tatami Galaxy and other Yuasa’s works. While the content and animation can be excellent, there are relatively few poignant stand-alone cells. It is an animation, not a sildeshow after all, but, for me, presence of such artworks makes an anime especially enjoyable and memorable. Nevertheless, I’ll keep watching Tatami Galaxy, the only anime I’ll follow this season.