Details to Enjoy – a Taste of Rustic Flavors in Tamayura

Tamayura girls picture

For one reason or another, I watched Tamayura over the weekend. [1] 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.

Tamayura landscape Takehara

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.

Tamayura architecture Takehara screenshot

Tamayura architecture Takehara screenshot

Tamayura architecture Takehara screenshot

Tamayura architecture Takehara screenshot

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.

Tamayura sunken hearth irori

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, [2] it gives that extra hearth-warming flavor to the setting.

Tamayura dessert orange mousse dessertware

Tamayura cafe

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. [3] The café has all of those.

Tamayura architecture Takehara screenshot

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.


  1. 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.
  2. 2DT wrote a lovely post on Hiroshima in Tamayura. It makes for a wonderful further reading.
  3. Source articles and some corrections in this comment.
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51 Responses to Details to Enjoy – a Taste of Rustic Flavors in Tamayura

  1. Valence says:

    Well , for a show revolving around photography, you’d imagine that the art would be stellar. It truly does reflect the area well, almost as though they based the designs directly off the actual place itself, just like Toradora did, amongst others.

    Also, the extra characters add flavour too. They simply strike you as ‘locals’. Look at that man crossing his leg. I can already picture the old man who sits at the coffeeshop nearby, reading a newspaper every Sunday morning with a cup of hot coffee.

    • Yi says:

      I had a great time watching the stunning scenery. I just loved the streets and the architecture. I’m pretty sure these places are based on real places, which is kind of nice to think about.

      Good point about the locals. There’s a host of side minor characters throughout the anime. While they don’t usually do much, they do help to create this homely atmosphere. 2DT in his post also noted the folksy Chugoku dialect spoken by one of the side characters. All these go toward building an authentic world.

  2. EmperorG says:

    Tamayura is another one of those shows that doesn’t require any deep thought whatsoever to enjoy. Just grab a soda, take a deep breath and enjoy the beautiful scenery along with the K-ON esque quartet (and the otouto). Besides, I so do enjoy hearing the whistler whistle. Very nice orientation on the show comrade Yi.

    • Yi says:

      Agreed. This is a lovely show to just sit back, chillax, and breeze through. It’s like taking a break from the world in Takehara. I love the ponytail girl and her sensitive sense of smell. She has nice chemistry. ^ ^

  3. 2DT says:

    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 that.

    Where on earth did you get this? I want to read what you read. 🙂

  4. VucubCaquix says:

    I’m getting name dropped in all of these blogs all of a sudden. It’s enough to make a man bashful!

    By the way, I hope you’ve enjoyed our little movie and music exchange over the past few days!

    • Yi says:

      As I’ve said before, the Google group is really something special. It’s gotten quite a number of people together to watch anime together.

      p.s. Thanks for all the music/ movies. ^ ^

  5. shinra says:

    :C Don’t even wanna listen the word “photo”….. my Photography Course is really killing me. But if its “Shashin”, I love it!! I really love Tamayura!!!!

    The anime, like Aria, clears all my worries ( one if the worries… Photography. *sigh*)
    OP n ED really is Amazing!!! No one hates Sakamoto Maaya n Nakajima Megumi!!!! For real, NO ONE.

    (Btw, I saw a news bout the seiyuu casts of Tamayura was called in by the mayor [from the same Location of Tamayura] and was award…. and gave a gift of being a Mayor for a day….)

    • Yi says:

      Yep yep. I love Tamayura too and I liked the OP/ ED.

      “Btw, I saw a news bout the seiyuu casts of Tamayura was called in by the mayor [from the same Location of Tamayura] and was award…. and gave a gift of being a Mayor for a day….”

      Now that would be something. The anime does deserve an award.

  6. Shance says:

    Traditional Japan will always be the epitome of what the country should be, especially in terms of paying homage to the glory days it experienced in the past. You can see how the rural areas have a striking resemblance to Feudal Japan, you can see how the traditional properties of a house are mixed with the current trends for business (the mom-pop cafe, for this instance), and with the help of the characters, these story elements give off a very homey and heart-warming feeling for the audience.

    Again, it’s a very nice interpretation of things, so I’ll have to give my thanks to that.

    • Yi says:

      I wouldn’t go so far as saying that traditional Japan is the epitome of Japanese culture, but it definitely has some important nostalgic and sentimental values. It’s a pleasure to see the old town in Tamayura amidst all our busy modern lives.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. ^ ^

  7. Selli says:

    Those desserts are adorable.

  8. Nopy says:

    Wait, there’s more than one episode? I’ve gotta get caught up with everything before the new season starts.

    Tamayura looks pretty… well, pretty ^.^
    The thing I like about OVAs is that they usually have better animation than your typical TV anime. It really makes visual anime that much more appealing.

    • Yi says:

      I think there are three episodes out so far. It should be fairly easy to get caught up. The visuals are definitely a highlight. Love the animation!

  9. Fabienne says:

    Im always impressed that you can put your thoughts about animes into such refined words =)

    I found Tayamura by chance, I like the show with it’s nice slice of life atmosphere and the interesting and friendly setting, I really enjoy such slow paced slice of life shows.
    The very nice look of this show is a big plus, I also like it because it’s somehow related to photography which is my favorite hobby 😀

    The characters are nice too, Fu is so funny when she tries to find a certain angle and shows a lot of effort by trying to take her pictures.

    • Yi says:

      I watched it with some other people and one of them was a photographer. He had a great time picking out the camera and different photography themes. I’m sure you had similar reactions to Tamayura since you take gorgeous pictures. I love your nendo and figure photos. ^ ^

      I love the animation too. It’s really detailed and helps to create such an authentic atmosphere.

      Fu is awesome! Her many expressions are hilarious. And I like her passion. It’s admirable and adorable.

    • Photography is my fav hobby as well! ^_^ Which is the main reason why I watched this series. I have yet to see episode 2! I’m glad I saw this post otherwise I would have forgotten about it!

      If only it were an actual season…

      • Yi says:

        I figured many people will like the photography theme in this anime, and I was right. After all, you do share your passion with Fu. ^ ^

        Anyways, it’s kind of weird how it’s an OVA instead of an actual season. I guess that’s kind of nice in that the animation of OVA tends to be a bit higher. Well, I do hope more episodes come out sooner.

  10. Tamayura offers that fine middle space within the slice of life realms, that is, the middle space between the heartwarming meaningfulness of ARIA and the tea and cake mannerisms of K-ON! Which is to say that Tamayura is totally my kind of thing since K-ON! irritated me with the lack of meaning and direction while Tamayura clearly pinpoints a goal of sorts that the characters work toward and that makes all the difference, especially when they do finally achieve what they seek. It’s easier to be happy for the characters when they finally do reach a milestone or that revelation since we can share in their success.

    I credit this all to the director, Junichi Sato by the way. That man knows how to weave compelling character-driven stories.

    • Yi says:

      That’s a really great way to describe it. I really liked the passion these girls have. It’s both admirable and heartwarming to watch them strive for their goals. And at the end of the day, there’s a little bit of inspiration as well as hopefulness in this relaxed world.

      Junichi Sato is amazing. ^ ^

  11. ~xxx says:


    I hope I could really go there. mean even though it’s animated I could sense that it’s a good place. And, the people there are also good.

    • Yi says:

      I know!! Whenever I see an anime like this, I always imagine myself hanging out there… Just chilling and passing through life slowly.

  12. alucard13mm says:

    hmmm yes, seemingly benign and unnoticeable observations.. becomes obvious in these series. you notice these things but you forget about them because its not really something you would take note of..

    hmmm photography.. crap! i forgot i need to finish taking pictures of 10 insect orders..

    • Yi says:

      Yea agreed. It’s minor things that by themselves, have no significance. But all together, they add something even if we don’t take conscious notes of them.

      Photos of 10 insects? Nice. ^ ^

  13. jessekoonrad says:

    i can’t find the manga any were

  14. Swordwind says:

    It seems nice.

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  16. ETERNAL says:

    Now that you mention it, this show does seem to have a surprising amount of detail in the backgrounds. Does it use a lot of those distant establishing shots to “show off” the environment? At any rate, it looks like the director did a good job of constructing the setting. Shows like this and Aria have no plot to speak of so visually speaking, I suppose it’s important for them to construct a world that you can relate to rather than portray action and aid the narrative with clever foreshadowing (since there’s hardly any action and there’s not much to foreshadow). Nice find.

    • Yi says:

      It does, and it shows off the scenery really well.

      “Shows like this and Aria have no plot to speak of so visually speaking, I suppose it’s important for them to construct a world that you can relate to rather than portray action ”
      Exactly. And that’s why we can get so into the characters and the world, because they seem authentic.

      Thanks for the comment. ^ ^

  17. hisui19 says:

    You always review some good animes! D*mn, you’re really good! Off to watch it, oh and BTW the Blue Friends is amazing thanks again for the review of that ^_^ it’s still ongoing though…

  18. softwerkz says:

    I don’t know about this series but then, I definitely like the illustration of the environment. It really reminds me a lot of Japan. Now, I’m missing Japan already. Heeee.

  19. Fai D Fluorite says:

    I agree with whatever you’ve said ^^

    In fact, if you were to ask me what happened in the last three episodes, I would not remember.

    Same with me!I found it hard to recollect some of the scenes and thought you were talking about the 4th episode.I guess the last one is yet to be released.
    Your slice of life choices are great 🙂
    I finished seeing Aria the Animation upon your recommendation and it was really good!I am yet to see the sequels Origination and Natural.

  20. EmperorG says:

    I just finished watching the 4th episode of Tamayura. I think I shed a tear of joy inside my heart after this episode. Maybe it was the song at the end, or just the scene itself that filled me with joy and sadness at the same time. In any case, I hope this isn’t the last episode, though I have a feeling it might very well be.

  21. lovelyduckie says:

    I’ll at least give this one a try 🙂 but I didn’t care for K-On! but I LOVED Lucky Star

    • Yi says:

      There are only four episodes, so it should be an easy watch. It’s a lot less action/ things going on than Lucky Star though. Tamayura seems to lean closer to Aria for me.

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