Prince Mechya Mochimazzi arrives at the shopping district and everyone assumes it’s to “collect” Tamako, who still goes to school, but her mind is preoccupied. Finally, she decides to politely decline the offer, but Mechya tells her she was never a candidate; Dera confused Tamako’s smell with that of the flowers the florist stocks. The Prince and Choi return home, but Dera stays until New Years, after which he plans to leave without saying goodbye, but falls asleep in a bouquet Mochizou orders for Tamako’s birthday.
One thing this series has made abundantly clear is that the Bunny Mountain shopping district is a wonderful place to grow up, live, work, and play. There’s never a dull moment, and just about every day has a festival atmosphere. Another thing made clear is that Tamako loves this place very much, and everyone in it. She has that big medal to prove it, along with the love of everyone else right back at her. Which is why despite knowing next to nothing about the outside world, she declines the offer. It turned out to be a misunderstanding anyway, but Tamako didn’t know that at the time she made her not trivial decision.
Frankly, we couldn’t see her anywhere else but the district. Perhaps one day she’ll pick up on Mochizou’s feelings, return them, get married, and they’ll grow old running the mochi shops, training their children to do the same. Happens all the time; absolutely nothing wrong with that. One thing this series lacked was a district character who had actually been in the outside world and came back. Something tells us that while people may stop by for extended visits, like Dera and Choi, ultimately this is place you either leave or stay. And Tamako doesn’t want to leave. She’s never felt lonely or restless here. It’s where feels she belongs, and it’s more than enough world for her.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
- Tamako’s dramatic sneeze – and Dera’s reaction to it – we’ll miss that bird…
- In another future scenario, perhaps it will be Midori who wins Tamako’s heart and they get married. Would suck for Mochizou, but it’s Tamako’s choice to make, and she’s not ready to make it yet.
- We’re not sure Choi will be able to bring that hammer on the plane…
Choi Mochimazzi arrives at Usagiyama in search of both Dera and her prince’s bride. Distressed by his increased girth, he blames Tamako, who set up a “trap” that cost him the will and ability to leave the town. As a suspicious Choi spends more time with Tamako and experiences the hospitality of the shopping district, she concludes there is no such trap, and that the townsfolk are merely kind and generous people. When Tamako asks whom Choi is looking for in a bride, Choi suddenly reacts as if Tamako is that bride.
Throughout the show’s run, Dera has been the wild card that’s kept it from being just another shopping district slice-of-life in which guys never get the girl. Now Dera’s boss, of sorts, is in town, and combines the exotic foreignness of Dera with the relatability of a human. After all, Dera is at the end of the day, a bird, and a tool of sorts. One wonders why a society that can put circuitry into a bird to turn it into a communications device would walk around in bare feet and wear such primitive clothing, but to each their own.
Choi serves well enough as a fresh fish out of water, and even buys into Dera’s lame excuse that he was trapped into staying…or is that lame after all? While they mean no ill will, Tamako, her family, and the shopping district have nonetheless conspired to create an environment so comfortable and welcoming, that it’s hard for anyone to leave…or remain thin. And then, at the end, we’re faced with something we probably should have seen coming long ago: that lil’ Tamako may (may, mind you) be the bride the Mochimazzis have been looking for all along. But that would mean leaving everything she knows.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Summer arrives, and Mochizou grows so troubled by his lack of progress with Tamako, he enlists the aid of Dera, whom he takes along to a class trip to the beach. Midori finds out what he’s planning and tries to stop him, warning him she’ll protect her. The next day, while swimming, Midori learns from Tamako what she and Mochizou are to her, and she softens her stance on Mochizou.
Tamako’s utter cluelessness with regards to romance and Mochizou’s complete lack of guts and initiative conspire to form a perfect storm of uselessness. In fact, the futility he senses due to Tamako’s denseness fuels his inaction in a vicious cycle. Tamako boils their relationship down to a couple of labels: “childhood friend” and “mochi-making buddy”, which, while technically true, are not the whole story. The trouble is, she may never hear that story; she’s just not emotionally available enough.
Meanwhile, Midori gets super-defensive when she learns Mochizou is trying to court Tamako. They quarrel, leading the ever-perceptive Dera to conclude they both love “the Musume”. Tamako tells Midori “I love you”, but Midori knows Tamako’s feelings for her aren’t anything like the ones she’s feeling for Tamako. Though Midori sorta makes up with Mochizou, their rivalry for Tamako’s heart should continue – even if neither of them has a chance against her thick skull.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
P.S. The comic relief was ably handled by Dera, who was chased by a cat, a gull, and a dog, all while looking out to (a very beautiful) sea and thinking of his prince.
The Usagiyama summer festival approaches, which means the mochi shop is at its busiest. Tamako’s little sister Anko wants to go on a Sunday trip to a museum with her fiends, among them a boy she likes. Her father forbids it, but eventually allows it after her grandpa negotiates a compromise. When the day arrives, she’s so caught up in the festivities that she isn’t able to make it anyway. Instead, her friends come to visit her. She runs and hides in her wardrobe, embarrased, but the very boy she likes comes in and coaxes her out, offering her a gift.
As far as we know so far, there isn’t a boy Tamako currently “likes”, nor is there any indication she’s remotely interested in boys. In that regard, her little sister Anko (sorry, “An“; it’s apparently cooler) has already surpassed her, on top of being better at making mochi than Tamako was at her age. The blissfully dense Tamako doesn’t even realize her sister likes a boy, because she’s too busy being content with her life in the shopping district as a mochi maker’s daughter. Anko, though admittedly still young and phase-prone, is far more restless. For one, nobody is calling her by the name she prefers.
She’s also annoyed that she’s being forced to work on the date she wants to hang out with friends. But after grand-dad steps up to the plate for her and she wins her freedom, she bumps into the florist with the manly voice on her way to her museum date and helps with the elegantly-dressed girls in the parade. They remind her of herself, and that priceless moment when she first looked in the mirror and saw a princess. Once it was clear Anko wouldn’t make it, she realized it wasn’t the end of the world. As Dera (who was painted gold this week) says in the end:
…even if things don’t go as you planned, on another road grows another flower.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Kitashirakawa Tamako is the daughter of a mochi maker in the Usagiyama shopping district. One day while visiting the flower shop she finds an unusual, pompous talking bird named Dera Mochimozzi inside a bouquet. He claims to be a member of the “royal court” searching for a bride for his prince, but ends up living with Tamako and her family at the mochi shop Tama-ya.
KyoAni’s latest series is an affable slice-of-life/comedy with a tinge of supernatural in that there’s this very strange and very proud, arrogant bird. The instantly-appealing shopping district setting has a warm, cozy, lived-in feel to it. Tamako has everything she needs in this district – her home, a mochi-making business in which she is integrally involved, family, good fiends, a potential love interest across the street. And now it seems she has a pet bird.
Mochimozzi adds an element of whimsy and unpredicability. He’s a frequent source of sight and sound gags, and his formal, aloof voice (provided by Yamazaki Takumi) gives him lots of character. Tamako herself, by contrast, is just your ordinary unassuming girl: friendly, hardworking, upbeat…and sometimes the unwitting target of shuttlecocks. This series wasn’t originally on our Winter watchlist, but it’s so darned charming we’re going to give it a go.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)