Tamayura: More Aggressive – 04

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Potte and Kanae snap pictures all over school and town, but still haven’t decided on what to perform at the Cherry Blossom Festival. Dougou suggests they perform a dance as he plays the guitar, with the photos as a backdrop. They then visit the stage in the middle of the park, which contains one thousand cherry trees, each one planted in honor of someone. Potte and Kou’s mom tells them they have trees too, but they were planted somewhere secret. On the day of the festival Dougou is injured, but Potte and Kanae improvise, singing and dancing to a folk tune, and the crowd responds favorably. After the performance, Kou and Komachi show Potte and the others their trees, which Momoneko helped him locate.

In Bleach, Senbonzakura is the name for Kuchiki Byakuya’s bankai, a devastating cloud composed of millions of tiny petal-like blades. But here, it’s just the name of a cultivation project in Takehara’s public park. (Go figure.) One thousand trees were planted, each in honor of people the planters loved. In the case of Kaoru, Potte, and Kou, they were planted when they were born, and have grown larger and stronger as they did. Those trees are one more discovery that brings Potte closer to her dad, to the point where she even gets to “see through his eyes” by taking a photo of the tree from the same angle he did. The tree changed from photo to photo, but the sky and mountains remained the same.

They’ll be the same long after both Potte and the tree pass away, as well. But until then, Potte wants to return the love her father had for her and the town by making her mark on it as he did, through photography. When her performance hits a snag, President Potte refuses to give up, and she and Kanae put on a show not just to stir up interest in the club, but as thanks for everyone who pitched in with ideas, assistance, and emotional support. They didn’t bring the house down, nor did they perform beyond their abilities, suddenly turning into talented idols. They just hunkered down and did their honest best. We wouldn’t be surprised if they’re rewarded with more prospective members.\

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

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Tamayura: More Aggressive – 03

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Potte still has no other members of her photography club, and she freezes up at the club presentation in front of the school. Kaoru, Norie and Maon attempt to make contact with Mitane, but she runs away. Dougou and Shimokamiyama not only recommend she snap photos for the school yearbook, but also use the stage at the upcoming Cherry Blossom festival to promote the club; she agrees. She finally tracks down Mitane, and she asks her to join the club; an enthused Mitane gladly accepts.

Well, we were wrong at the very end of last week’s synopsis: Mitane didn’t come to the club and join, the turned tail and retreated. Turns out she’s even shyer and less sure of herself than Potte, and on top of that she feels guilty for using Potte as a subject without her permission. But before they’d met or spoken any words, both of them formed a picture (if you will) of who the other was: in both cases, good people they want to share their love of photography with. Both are also overthinkers, as Potte kept her distance out of worry that it was presumptuous of her to start a photography club at all.

Turns out idea of a photography club had been bouncing around Mitane’s head since she was a Freshman…and that’s where the idea stayed. Pottem on the other hand was “aggressive” enough to finally start one, and once Mitane has spoken to Potte, a new door has now been opened that will serve both of them well. Both are in awe of the others’ work and are excited to learn how and why they take pictures. We think they’ll both support and inspire one another. But will two incredibly nervous girls be able to recruit others to the club?

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Tamayura: More Aggressive – 02

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Potte hands in an application to start a photography club, but is weary of becoming its president, but Kaoru, Norie and Maon encourage her. Komachi shows them a magazine in which a photo of Potte was selected, taken by one Mitane Kanae. At school, Mr. Dougou informs her that her club was approved, and a new teacher, Ms. Shimokamiyama is her adviser.  She confirms that Mitane is a third-year at the school and shows Potte to her club room, where Kaoru, Norie, and Maon present her with club-warming gifts. The photo studio owner tells her about the photographer who inspired her dad. Mitane shows up to join Potte’s club.

The new “aggressive” theme of Tamayura continues this week in its characteristically soft and fluffy way, as Potte is nudged by friends (and nudges herself) towards presidency of a photography club, which she is hopeful will help her grow as a photographer and as a person. When she’s confronted with the possibility of a superior photographer at school; someone who was “aggressive” enough to not only enter and win a contest, but do it snapping Potte of all people. How could soft, fluffy Potte possibly compete with that? Well, the answer is, it’s not a competition, and Mitane isn’t necessarily a better photographer, she’s just different.

Like her dad, Potte takes very candid and naturalistic photos that just happen to come out very lovely. But with the steps she takes in this episode, photography is becoming more than just a hobby to connect with and better understand her dad, but a means to discover the person she wants to become. She’s found her passion and she’s going to give it her all, even if the monthly club president meetings are a little scary. They’ll get less scary. When she gets her club and a fresh, empty room, it’s like a blank canvas, full of possibilities. It’s a canvas she never would have seen had she not been “aggressive.”

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Maon was on top of her game this week; first with her stories of captaining an adventure club, helming a fairy, plus her camera-camel thing. She’s an endless font of very random but sweet comedy.
  • While it’s clear Komachi wanted Potte to see Mitane’s picture, she also seemed pretty proud of her photo of Potte’s brother Kou, complete with a blurry smear of Norie in the background!
  • Shimokamiyama seems to be one of those stereotypical ditzy young teachers. We weren’t that impressed. At least the advisor in Free! has those obscure sayings…
  • Proud of their Potte, Kaoru, Norie and Maon’s heartfelt gifts were products of their own passions: scents, sweets, and drawing, respectively.
  • All we know about Mitane Kanae at this point is that she’s a third-year and she’s not a bad photographer. It will be interesting to see whether she fits in or clashes with Potte and/or the others. On this show, after so long, a new main character is a pretty big deal.

Tamayura: More Aggressive – 01

Sakurada Maon, Okazaki Norie, Hanawa Kaoru, Sawatari Fuu (Seated)

It’s been a year since Sawatari Fuu (AKA Potte) moved back to Takehara. Her friends Hanawa Kaoru, Okazaki Norie, and Sakurada Maon notice her spacing out more than usual. Fuu tells them she’s reminiscing about the last year, and repeats her goal to be “more aggressive.” She later admits that she’s been thinking a lot about starting a photography club at school. after the success of the “We” exhibition. Her friends, including Miyoshi Chihiro from afar – and her family all support her in this, and she decides she’s going to give it her all.

The Tamayura slice-of-life saga picks up pretty much where it left off, with Potte and her friends hanging around town, being very open with their feelings to the point of making each other tear up with emotion. The show remains just as lovely, warm, calm, breezy, and welcoming as before, and plenty of flashbacks are provided to refresh our memories. As for the rather surprising sub-title “More Aggressive”, no, Fuu is not starting MMA club! Back in the very first episode of ~hitotose~, when Potte and Chihiro parted ways, they both vowed to become more “aggressive”, finding their passions and applying maximum effort and energy to them.

“Aggressive” is a far more nuanced adjective than its typical use to denote anger or hostility. The “target” Potte aims to “attack” is her passivity, indecision, longing, and melancholy from loss. She chooses to stay positive while carrying her father’s camera about, the object, even totem by which she’s made friends and found her passion. To that end, she’s starting a photography club, which will be tough, like the exhibition, but ultimately will allow her to explore and share her love of photography while meeting more people.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • It was nice to hear about Potte’s return to Takehara from the perspective of Kaoru, who was worried that Potte might hate the town and still be depressed about her father. To her relief and joy, Potte is just fine, thanks in part to her camera, which is almost a character in and of itself at this point.
  • A random classmate who happens to be passing by catches word of the photography club. We checked the cast list ahead and found out this is probably Mitane Kanae (voiced by Kayano Ai), one of this season’s new characters.
  • Chihiro seems to have gained her own “Norie” of sorts in the energetic Tomo-chan, but we don’t know who voices her yet.
  • That white cat is so damned abstract and weird-looking, but we still love him/her.
  • The dialogue between Potte, Kaoru, Norie and Maon continues to pop and bubble with a nice rhythm and energy. We know all of these seiyus by now and they have good chemistry.
  • Along with the impending Swim Club in Free!, this is the second straight episode in which a “normal” (read, not silly, random, or useless) club is started by one of the characters.

Car Cameos: