For one reason or another, I watched Tamayura over the weekend.  Tamayura is a relaxing, slow paced OVA detailing the everyday of Fuu Sawatari and her friends. The anime has little plot, but is instead driven by a singular passion: Fu’s photography. In fact, if you were to ask me what happened in the last three episodes, I would not remember. Despite that, I still loved Tamayura (and not just because of my yuri goggles). What makes this simplistic premise so attractive is its world building.
I have mentioned this before on different occasions when I wrote about fashion. For me, anime like this is all about the details. The same applies to Tamayura. Through the gorgeous scenic shots, Tamayura successfully creates this serene escapist world.
Take for example the incredible architecture presented in various scenes. The beautiful scenery adds to our experience in this gentle old town. It almost feels as if I am taking a vacation in Takehara myself.
This cultural trip does not just stop at the grand architectures or the historic views. It also extends to the hearth of Fu. Behind the café run by Fu’s parents is a traditional irori, a sunken hearth set in the middle of the room. Once a common feature in rural homes, it is nostalgic of an earlier tradition. Although the inori is just another minor detail in Tamayura, when presented all the other ingredients like the architecture and the foods,  it gives that extra hearth-warming flavor to the setting.
Furthermore, a well-built environment allows room for some wacky tangents. Fu and her friends are treated by Fu’s mother to some delicious mandarin orange mousse. The tea cups are from a complete set and the dessertware have chic designs. Fu’s afternoon tea around the inori seems almost anatopistic in such a traditional home. The café must be fairly trendy then. After all, predictions for what will be hot in the 2011 restaurant scene include: the new mom and pop restaurants, multi-purpose spaces, hearth-healthy, and fusion themes.  The café has all of those.
This is the kind of digressive thought process I love to go through when watching a “mindless” series. The fun is in the details. Minor observations propel Tamayura and other anime in similar genre into explorations of culture. Tamayura has so much stuff for us to pick apart, reflect on, and invent. It is the same reason I love K-On!, Aria, and other fluffy anime that has little plot and a rich intricate environment.
- Recently, I have decided to be more interactive with other anime fans on the internet through various channels. One of them is participating in a Skype “live-watch” started by vucub_caquix. Tamayura and this post is the result.
- 2DT wrote a lovely post on Hiroshima in Tamayura. It makes for a wonderful further reading.
- Source articles and some corrections in this comment.