I have often professed my undying love for fluffy, relaxing, atmospheric anime, so it is little surprise I really enjoyed Tamayura. Tamayura is a short anime OVA detailing slices of Fu’s life as an aspiring photographer living in the beautiful Takehara. The anime is a stunning tour of the streets and landscapes through Fu’s lenses.
The scenery really is the highlight of Tamayura. The anime successfully portrays this old city with all its complexities, culture, and flavors. It employs numerous long shots, slow pans, and still shots to really place the characters and the audience in this picturesque world. Further, the soothing music and soft-spoken dialogues help to create a light mood. Nothing is truly serious and nothing really needs our full attention. All the emphasis is on the scenery and daily minutia.
Although nothing seems to happen amidst the lazy atmosphere, the anime packs incredible depth. The scenic window into the girls’ lives is perfectly driven by Fu’s photography. The intensity with which Fu pursues her photography comes across to the viewers easily. She always has her camera and she is always looking for the best shot. This element to their characters adds warmth to the quaint story. It is such a fulfilling moment when Fu finally understands her own style and her own approach to photography, so much so that I also feel the growth Fu experiences.
Further, Fu’s back story – the memories of her deceased father lost in time – gives a lot of significance to her passion. Photography is not just a hobby, but also a connection to her father. It defines Fu’s motivations and gives the story meaning. Tamayura is thus more than just a pretty picture of girls in a gorgeous environment. It is also about Fu’s discovery of her dreams and her past. And it is so poignant and so heartwarming to watch her get closer to those goals.
Although the audience shares these moments and the beautiful scenery with Fu, there is still something missing. Many of the side characters are quite bland and seem to only exist for Fu to have a conversation. They do not “pop.” In fact, even Fu suffers a bit from this throughout most of the OVA. It is not until near the end when it becomes clear how much photography means to Fu that she truly feels like a dear friend. Ultimately, much of Tamayura becomes forgettable, and I am left with a few snapshots of events and gorgeous cinematography.
Still, this distance between the girls and the viewers has its own charms. Tamayura is like a fleeting getaway with nice strangers. We met on a trip, shared a nice afternoon picnic, told warm stories about ourselves, then each went our own ways.
- I go into further depth about the scenery and details in Tamayura here. That post could be considered an extension of this review.
- I love Fu’s various adorable and funny as heck expressions.
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