Tamayura Review – More Than Just Gorgeous Cinematography

Tamayura anime scan

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.

Tamayura cafe streets Takehara

Tamayura Streets Architecture

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.

Tamayura camera

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.

Tamayura Father photography

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.

Tamayura Fu Sawatari Kaoru Hanawa Maon Sakurada Norie Okazaki

Tamayura ED Single Melody Nakajima Megumi case

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.

Tamayura sakurada maon sawatari fu 茶みらい mirai (macharge)

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.

Side notes:

  1. I go into further depth about the scenery and details in Tamayura here. That post could be considered an extension of this review.
  2. I love Fu’s various adorable and funny as heck expressions.
    Tamayura Fu Sawatari funny expression

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36 Responses to Tamayura Review – More Than Just Gorgeous Cinematography

  1. EmperorG says:

    Once again, another great review Yi-san.
    This show was indeed an enjoyable watch as your explain in your review. I also agree that even though it was a relaxing experience, the show failed to expand the world of the other characters. I mean, what else can I remember about Whistler girl besides her….whistling? I suppose it’s the fact that she’s the 1st anime character I’ve heard whistle since the beginning of my animeniac career 17 years ago (Age 6). I also appreciate the lesson that this show provides, that to some people, photographs are more than just images, they are images of precious moments captured in time. We accompanied Fu on her quest to locate that special place she’s been seeking since episode 2 and it was a most enjoyable journey. Fu may not be plushie worthy, but she’s adorable nevertheless.

    • Yi says:

      It’s such a airy show with a nice message and chillaxing atmosphere. I don’t really mind that the side characters aren’t memorable though. It adds to the overall simplicity of a quaint world and a light watch. We can breeze through it easily and leave without much attachments.

  2. Smithy says:

    Didn’t know about this title at all but seeing what you wrote about will check it out as it sounds might just be the genre I do like, even if the characters aren’t all that much fleshed out.

    • Yi says:

      Here’s one more huge incentive. Tamayura is directed by Satou Junichi, who also directed Umi Monogatari and one of our all-time favorites, Aria.

      Also, while not all the characters are fleshed out, I didn’t mind that too much. Not knowing the characters that well can have its own charms, especially for a light OVA like this.

  3. kluxorious says:

    I need to watch this sometimes soon. When was the last time I watched an OVA anyway? =\

    • Yi says:

      It’s really slow-paced and very little action happens. There are also few stark personalities. Basically, Tamayura is a very subdued OVA. I hope you don’t find this type of anime too boring.

  4. ariannasterling says:

    I’ll have to check it out for the visual enjoyment, I suppose 🙂
    Great review. Now I know not to expect too much from the side charries.

    • Yi says:

      I really enjoyed both the visual and the atmospheric aspects of this anime. While the characters might not have that wow factor to make us fall head over heels for them, they are quite likable.

  5. ~xxx says:

    I have watched of Tamayura

    And indeed a very good masterpiece.
    I also liked Fu’s facial expressions…

  6. Nopy says:

    Now that I have some free time I might be able to get around to watching this show. I still have my regular anime to go through and I still need to check out Strike Witches and Full Metal Alchemist. Tamayura does sound like a nice relaxing show to watch for the holidays though.

    • Yi says:

      One of the good things I guess is that this is only four episodes. So you can use it to kill an hour or so. It’s certainly relaxing, but it’s also not going to be that memorable a year from now. I actually love that about it; it’s so easy going and so light.

  7. Ryan A says:

    I had a hard time with Tamayura, but I think that’s because I watched only episode 4. It was pretty, but not having a single clue what was going on, esp. being out of the loop on the photo aspect, made the conclusion feel like misinformation.

    There was some cuteness to it, but for sure the cinematography and stills look great 🙂

    • Yi says:

      Hm… Yea. Although nothing much happens in the first three OVAs, I guess you still need to watch it to kind of understand the characters, especially Fu. There’s also the set up for the story about Fu’s father in the earlier episodes. Without watching those, the ending might not seem as touching.

      Love the cinematography!

  8. Fai D Fluorite says:

    Nice review ^^
    Yes Tamayura,indeed is a wonderful slice of life show and I loved seeing it!I just wished it had more episodes,or it could have been turned into a 13 episodes anime series like Aria.
    Is the artist of this show same as Gakuen Alice?That girl looks so much like Mikan (and Fu like Hotaru to some extent!!)
    Tamayura had both the slice of life calmness and plot line too!It was nice to see their experience to find out the place where they along with their father had went long ago!

    • Yi says:

      Interesting that you mentioned Aria. The director for Tamayura, Satou Junichi, also directed Aria. Both have the “healing” soothing factor.

      I’m not sure if the artist is the same as Gakuen Alice, but yea, they look really similar! I think when I watched it, a bunch of people pointed that out too.

      Loved the calmness and the underlying story with her father. It’s such a chill show. I’m glad you enjoy it too. ^ ^

  9. Gelotaku says:

    Haven’t seen this yet, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Guess I should check it out soon~. : )

  10. I’m so behind that I’ve only seen the first episode… It had that Aria feel to it, which I like. But the thing that caught my attention was the opening song! When I first heard it, I knew I’ve heard it from somewhere before… Then I remembered that it’s from my favourite Ghibli movie, Kiki’s Delivery Service! I was pleasantly surprised, not to mention it was sung by Maaya Sakamoto. BONUS! Natsukashii…

    • Yi says:

      Ooh I didn’t even notice that about the opening song. Going back to check it out again now!
      Anyways, love the whole “healing” Aria feel to this.

      • Oh, to be specific, it’s the Japanese opening to Kiki’s Delivery Service. Though to be honest, I liked both songs they used in Japanese and English ^_^

        I could totally hear Aika saying, “hazukashii serifu kinshi!” in each episode of Tamayura, lol.

  11. afkeroge says:

    I see. Another show that I’m gonna love.

  12. EmperorG says:

    for collector’s sake, the 2nd Tamayura OVA was released this weekend. This one has the final 2 episodes in it.

  13. Reltair says:

    I’m behind on watching this since I have to get into the mood for these types of series. It’s amusing to know that I’ll be able to see Fu make more funny faces though.

    • Yi says:

      I actually got interested in this initially because of your first impression post on Tamayura. It turned out really nicely.

      Anyways, Fu’s faces are definitely some of the best moments of Tamayura and there are plenty of those throughout all four episodes.

  14. lovelyduckie says:

    Sold! I’ll watch it. Oh also I FINALLY watched Summer Wars, I liked it. It was a tad stranger than I was expecting but I really liked the family.

  15. Making Sailor Moon princess Usagi Tsukino one of the characters in Tamayura was a really weird decision I don’t understand. I mean everybody expects evil alien attacks if she is present, not to mention Usagi was the main protagonist of a 200-part anime, so its weird to see her in a support role.

  16. Pingback: Tamayura ~Hitotose~ Review | Listless Ink

  17. Pingback: Tamayura ~Hitotose~ Review | The Top Animes

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