The day before New Year’s Eve, the girls set up their second annual “We” Exhibition. They fall behind, but finish strong with help from Shimokamiyama, Dougou, and Yakusa. Kanae is sad about the fact that come next year she’ll have to focus on exams, and that she’ll have to leave the photography club. The next day, a large crowd awaits when the doors are open, and the exhibition is a resounding success. After ringing in the new year, Sayomi picks everyone up before dawn to see the sunrise by the seaside, where everyone yells out their hopes for the new year.
There were times during this episode when we were worried that Kanae was going to disappear in a wisp of vapor on the stroke of midnight, so apprehensive she was of the coming new year. Part of us wanted to jump into the tv screen, give her a shake and say “Honey…everything will be fine!” She’ll always remember the past year as the year she broke out of her shell, inspired and supported by Fuu and her friends. As Maestro says, Kanae and Fuu shaped each other in that year, and they also enriched each other’s love for photography, and life in general. We like how their year is documented in photos and exhibited in chronological order, so that anyone who cares to can see the progression of their friendship along with their growth as photographers.
When the bells chimed midnight, the new year began, Kanae was still there in one piece, albeit having closed the lens cap on her camera. The series pulls out all the stops for the tearful, heartwarming final scenes that take stock of the past year and all it meant to everyone. We especially liked the sweet “parent meeting” in which Potte’s mom and grandma and Maon’s folks marvel at how far their kids have come since deciding to move to Takehara. Sayomi shows up to make sure the girls don’t miss the first dawn. Kanae makes sure to savor her last moments with Potte as her president: when the sun rises, she’s aggressive and pulls her in for a big ol’ hug, thanking her for a wonderful year. Potte tears up and reciprocates, which makes everyone else tear up…including us. A bit.
Rating: 8 (Great)
Chihiro visits Takehara for the upcoming fireworks festival, which she and Potte promised to watch in yukatas from their secret base years ago. Chihiro meets Kanae and sees the photography club in action. Riho invites Potte and Kanae to participate in a museum exhibition with her. Potte tentatively agrees, wanting to take pictures specifically for the show. Sayomi takes everyone to a hilltop with a fine view of the fireworks, but everyone leaves Potte and Chihiro alone in the isolated spot, which they liken to a secret base. From there Potte snaps photos of the fireworks using a tripod.
It’s a rare and precious thing to be able to fulfill a deferred but not forgotten dream, even if it was a silly little idea cooked up between you and your childhood friend when you were just little pipsqueaks. But Potte (AKA Fuunyan) and Chihiro share a deep bond of friendship, and both wanted to see that shared dream come true. As it happens, the dream was fulfilled by happenstance: Kaoru’s adventurous sister happened to run into them and lure them into another deathmarch, which led them to the “base” they dreamed of. And it’s a lovely spot.
Potte may only be president of herself and Kanae, a painfully shy upperclassman, but Chihiro is still impressed by her presiding skills, and when she musters up the aggressive enough to accept Riho’s offer. We wouldn’t be surprised if the entire season runs by without another person joining the photography club, but that exhibition could be a very big deal for both Potte and Kanae. The show is a goal that could inspire them to create their best work yet, will give them exposure in that world, and boost their confidence. With old dreams fulfilled, it’s time to fulfill new ones.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
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.
Rating: 8 (Great)
- 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.
Fu’s old friend Chihiro comes to Takehara to visit her and meet her new circle of friends. She finds them all warm, friendly, and energetic as they tour the town and sample the food. She’s also glad that Fu is doing so well. Kaoru’s sister invites them to an hours-long hike all the way to and up Kurotaki Hill. Chihiro comes away with many new friends and happy memories.
Everyone has their little quirk: Potte is always snapping pics; Maon is always whistling; Norie is always yelling or jumping around; Kaoru is…actually pretty normal, but she has a weird older sister. Add Chihiro – the crybaby – to the mix, and you have a veritable motley crew of quirk. But damn it all if it isn’t a charming-as-all-hell crew. The whole episode was humming with positive vibes.
Chihiro has trouble making friends, and had every reason to worry that even Fu had possibly abandoned her for new, less skittish friends. But there was no such conflict or competition to be found here. Everybody’s happy! And honestly, with all that great food and stunning scenery, how could they not be? Other nice details: Chihiro making little stuffed guys for everyone, and Potte’s mother was once in a motorcycle club – rad.
Junior high student Fuu has decided to make a big change in her life. She’s moving back to her birthplace of Takehara, to be near the Seto Inland Sea, attend a new high school, and make use of her late father’s camera she inherited. This episode is mostly a flashback of her life before moving, documenting how much her father and his pictures have meant to her, the build-up to her decision, and saying her goodbyes to her best friend Chihiro. Armed with a blessing from her mom and a published photographer friend of her father, he strikes out Takehara, where she goes by the nickname “Potte.”
Man, that was just a lovely, warm, calm, breezy episode of anime. The landscapes and twisting roads and stairs of the hilly town are exquisitely and imaginatively rendered. The palette is subtle, muted, but still lush, adding to the realism. But it doesn’t just look beautiful; all the people are beautiful as well. No excessive proprietary jargon; no factions, just real friggin’ life. And a girl starting fresh, like Ohana in Hanasaku Iroha…only without the yelling and no love interest. Sure, there’s crying, but it’s established that Chihiro is a crybaby…though when Fuu leaves, both of them have grown more “aggressive”.
Fuu/Potte is out to make her dearly departed dad proud; to carry on his tradition of capturing little scenes and moments often forgotten in the course of life. He taught her a lot, including how to work his very slick Rollei 35S mini-camera, and all that knowledge is still in her heart. The Camera is the tool to draw it all out, and replace her grief with happiness. She says if she can capture those warm happy moments just right, the “Children of Light” will come out. Sounds like a terrorist group, but we’re sure it’s not. Photography is used early and often to provide back-story and imagery from the past, and by episode’s end, we felt we’d learned a great deal about Fuu in a very short time. We want to learn more still.