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Anime: Tamako Market
Tamako in a market.
Tamako Market (たまこまーけっと) is an original anime TV series produced by Kyoto Animation and directed by Naoko Yamada, with Reiko Yoshida serving as head writer, and Yukiko Horiguchi providing character designs—and all 3 of them previously worked on K-On!.

The story follows a happy-go-lucky girl named Tamako Kitashirakawa and her daily life in a shopping arcade. Tamako herself is a high school student and the daughter of a mochi maker who conducts his business from home. Their mochi business, called Tamaya, is right in front of a western-themed mochi shop called Rice Cake Oh! Zee, which creates a lot of friction between Tamako's father and the Ooji family. Of course, true to the Romeo and Juliet archetype, the son of the owner of Rice Cake Oh! Zee is Mochizou Ooji, a Childhood Friend of Tamako. As expected, Tamako is Mochizou's love interest.

One day Tamako goes to the local florist and finds a strange bird inside a bouquet of flowers. As she soon learns, the bird can talk, calling itself Dela Mochimazzi and claiming that he is on a quest to find a bride for the prince of a small island nation. The bird follows Tamako back home, whether she or her family likes it or not.

Is currently being streamed in the US by The Anime Network. A novel adaptation has also been published.

A movie based on the series has been released, Tamako Love Story, which premiered on April 26, 2014. Just as the title suggests, the story focuses more on love than the original show.

Tamako Market demonstrates examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Youthful Mother Tamako's mom was most likely this, considering how cute she is in her high school flashback, and Mochizou's mother, Michiko, definitely qualifies, she could pass for her son's older sister.
  • Accidental Courtship: Dela colliding with Tamako's face causes her to sneeze violently; and apparently Dela's culture interprets sneezing at someone as a declaration of courtship towards them. Dela assesses the situation accordingly.
    • Happens again in episode 2 when Kanna's allergy to birds makes her sneeze on Dela.
  • Adults Are Useless: The grown-ups in the market act very over-the-top, and are pretty gullible, while all the teenagers are wiser.
  • Always in Class One: As of episode 3.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Kaoru Hanase; official sources indicate that Kaoru is male, but other characters refer to Kaoru with female pronouns, thus it's left unclear whether Kaoru is a very feminine man or a male-to-female Transsexual.
  • Ambiguously Brown: The people that Dela work for. The food Choi prepares in episode nine looks suspiciously Vietnamese.
  • Anime First
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: This is Ricecake Oh! Zee (formerly Oojiya)'s theme. Even their item tags were all written in romaji.
  • Arc Words: Everybody loves somebody.
  • Beach Episode: Episode 5.
  • Birthmark of Destiny: Tamako has a mole on her neck. To Choi, it's apparently another sign that she's meant to be the prince's bride.
  • Bishōnen: Mochizou fits, seeing how he is very cute and somewhat feminine looking.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Tamako (brunette) and her friends Midori (blonde) and Kanna (redhead). Early in the series they're joined by the brunette Shiori.
  • Book Ends: Episode 5 starts and ends with a scene when Tamako, Kanna and Midori comes out of Tamaya to go to the pool, and Tamako waves to Mochizou who was boringly sitting at Ricecake Oh!Zee's counter.
    • Tamako finding Dela in a bouquet of flowers.
    • Episodes 1 and 12 take place on New Years Eve, and concern everyone trying to remember to give Tamako a birthday present. The first time, they all forget, and the second time, only Mochizou remembers.
  • Butt Bird: Dela.
  • Camp Straight: Dela is a complete dandy but loves the women.
  • Chekhov's Gun: One of the first scenes of the anime has Tamako buying things from the market, and her points card being stamped. While this is a common Japanese practice that people overlooked, the points card became an important plot point in episode 11.
  • Childhood Friend: Not only is Mochizou a childhood friend of Tamako, he is also the son of the owner of Rice Cake Oh! Zee and thus works for the competition. Him being in love with her makes it even more tropalicious.
    • Midori is another childhood friend of Tamako, having been friends with her since fourth grade... And she also has a crush on Tamako.
  • Close-Knit Community
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Kanna
  • Cool Old Guy: Tamako´s grandfather and the shopping district representative.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Everyone in town pays attention to Tamako's conversation with Prince Mecha in episode 11. Kanna's only interested in the support beams in the background.
  • Crash into Hello: Dela passes out in a field of flowers, gets bundled into a bouquet and shipped to the florist's, where the bouquet he's in is put on display. When he regains consciousness and finds Tamako in his face, he freaks out and flies right into her.
  • Development Gag: The opening's stage magic bits may be references to the show's Magical Girl roots. In the final episode, Tamako says that she once wanted a magic wand for her birthday.
  • Diet Episode: Episode 8 focuses on Dela being put on one.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Choi is almost always barefoot, having grown up on a tropical island.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Tamako's seiyuu Aya Suzaki performs both the opening and ending themes.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Bathhouse owner Choji heads straight for the sake when he hears his daughter Sayuri is getting married in episode 7.
    • Subverted in episode 11. It looks like Mamedai's consoling himself with an Irish whiskey after storming out of the community meeting...but then we find out that he had no idea that cafe owner Kunio spiked his coffee.
  • Edible Theme Naming: The Kitashirakawas all have names related to mochi:
    • Tamako is named after the shop—"-ya" is a business suffix and "-ko" is a feminine name suffix.
    • Anko is named after the red bean paste filling.
    • When you put the names of their father Mamedai and grandfather Fuku together, you'd get Mame-daifuku, Tamaya's specialty. Lampshaded in episode 10.
  • Emotionless Girl: Shiori initially appears this way, due to her inability to express her feelings. However, she manages to overcome this by becoming friends with Tamako the end of Episode 3.
  • Even the Girls Want Her:
    • Midori, who has received valentines from both genders.
    • Tamako, who is crushed on by Mochizou and Midori.
  • Expressive Hair: Tamako's pigtails.
  • Expy:
    • Anko looks like a younger version of Azusa in the "Listen!" ED. Even the hair decs match. Like Azusa, she also seems to get a tan real fast(albeit not as absurdly fast) despite putting on lots of sunscreen.
    • Tamako with her hair down bears striking resemblance to Chitanda, not to mention having a very similar personality.
    • Shiori looks like two meganekko side characters from K-On!
  • Forgotten Birthday:
    • Everyone temporarily forgets they were going to Tamako's house for her birthday when Dela chokes on mochi. Tamako says something like that happens every year, because her birthday is New Year's Eve and it's such a hectic day at the market. Apparently Mochizou has a drawer full of presents he has failed to give Tamako, though it's not obvious how much of that is due to forgetting instead of the obvious nervousness.
    • This also applies to Mochizou as his friends have forgotten his birthday again in episode 9. When Tamako gives him a birthday mochi he ends up crying in happiness.
  • Fortune Teller: Choi works as this in her island with the aid of Dela. She also does this in front of the market community in episode 7.
  • The Fundamentalist: Tamako's father when it comes to mochi-making.
  • Garage Band: Tamako's father was in one with the current owner of the music store when he was a teenager. He even wrote a song for his future wife.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Tamako's pigtails fit her simple nature.
  • Gratuitous French: The song in episode 2 (which seems to confirm Midori's secret love for blue-eyed Tamako).
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Midori in Episode 5 when she competes with Mochizou for Tamako's attention.
  • Head Pet: Dela seems most comfortable on Tamako's head. He's spent so much time up there she can tell when he's one glass of water heavier than normal.
  • Hey, You!: Dela addresses Tamako and other young female characters as "young girl", and Mochizou as "young man".
    • Two exceptions: Anko ("Call me An!") and his own beloved Shiori-san.
  • His Name Really Is Barkeep: Mochizou can be read to mean "mochi maker", though the way it's spelled it could also be read as 'he who has mochi' or 'mochi warehouse' — the "mochi" part is left without kanji and the part that would have meant "maker" is written with the kanji for "posession/ownership."
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Tamako's mother was tone deaf, so the song Tamako's been humming the whole series sounds almost nothing like the actual song. Tamako's version doesn't having any clashing notes or anything like that and still sounds alright (and is the basis for the ED), but man was her mother off.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Anko demands that others refer to her as "An"... while referring to herself as "Anko" in the same sentence. Her father calls her out on this, while the bird's compliance with her request actually causes her to freak out.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Tamako and her mother.
  • Interspecies Romance: Dela gains a crush on Shiori.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • Mochizou tells Tamako that he will support her with whatever makes her happy.
    • In the movie, this is Midori's main motivation for giving up on Tamako.
  • Larynx Dissonance: Kaoru, maybe.
  • Left the Background Music On: Kunio the owner of the music cafe on occassion. Special mention to Midori suggesting that Dela should go on a starvation diet. As if on cue, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor plays immediately thereafter.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Love Triangle: Between Mochizou and Midori towards Tamako, particularly fleshed out in episode 5.
  • Magitek: Or something like it. Dela is some kind of cyborg parakeet with video ports, but a fortune teller can read his wing beats to divine the future.
  • Maybe Ever After: For Tamako and Mochizou.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Midori's name means "green". She wears a green hairpin and green kneesocks and is envious of Mochizou's closeness to Tamako.
    • Dela Mochimazzi. "Mochi mazui" means 'mochi tastes horrible'. Tamako's dad keeps insisting he change it to Mochiunmai, 'mochi tastes awesome'.
    • Mochizou's name like Tamako's, also reflects his family's business
    • Ouji most typically means "prince", though the name is actually spelled 'large road' note .
  • Meganekko: Shiori and Sayori. Tamako also wears glasses occasionally (probably when she's not awake enough to put her contact lenses on).
  • Mundane Fantastic
  • Name Order Confusion: In-Universe; when Tamako introduces herself to Prince Mecha in episode 11, she uses the western order while speaking Japanese. Shiori is a bit surprised.
  • Oblivious to Love: Tamako.
  • On The Next Episode Of Catchphrase: "I wonder what kind of mochi we'll have next time?"
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: Dela. Half the point of the show, it seems.
  • Quirky Town: Bunny Mountain Shopping District
  • Real Place Background: The Usagiyama shopping street is based on the Masugata Shōtengai in Kyoto. Many other locations from Kyoto are also recognizable, including the school and the Demachiyanagi neighborhood.
  • Red Herring: In episode 4. It appeared that Anko had a crush on a hyperactive classmate, but in the end it turned out it was on the sweet boy he was walking with.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Midori is described as caring about Tamako so much that she thinks it may be love.
  • Running Gag: The Kitashirakawas getting shocked whenever the surname Mochimazzui is mentioned.
    • Dela getting sneezed on.
    • Mochizou calling Tamako's dad, Dad. Much to the latter's dismay.
  • Scenery Porn: To quote the K-On! page, "What you get when you hire Kyo Ani to do a high school show taking place anywhere."
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: It's implied that Midori has a crush on Tamako, considering the "Everybody loves somebody/anybody can love anybody" were said while cutting from Midori to Tamako.
  • Second Year Protagonist: As of episode 3.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: The main plot line of Dela being in Japan to search for a bride for his prince.
  • Ship Sinking: Despite all the Ship Tease between Midori and Tamako, the makers had Midori give up fairly quickly on Tamako in the movie, so they could focus completely on the blossoming romance between Tamako and Mochizou. This caused an outrage among Tamako-Midori shippers, who felt Midori had at least deserved a fighting chance.
  • Significant Birth Date:
    • Mochizou was born on 10 October, a day known as the "mochi day"— fitting for the child of mochi makers.
    • Tamako was born on December 31st or New Year's Eve, traditionally a very busy day for mochi makers.
  • Sitcom Archnemesis: Tamako's and Mochizou's fathers.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Dera/Dela Mochimazzui/Mochimazzi. Also, fansubs tend to translate his Meaningful Name, so one may also see names like Mochiyucky or Mochidis Gusting.
  • Slice of Life
  • The Starscream: Kanna makes no secret of her plans to steal the baton club captain seat from Midori.
  • Stalker with a Crush: In episode 5, Midori thinks Mochizou is being this towards Tamako.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: In episode 6, Dela doesn't understand the point of a Jizo statue, and when told that it protects children, he remarks that it could be useful if you threw it at an enemy. When Choi, a native from Dela's island sees the statue, her first thought is, "What is this? A weapon to use against enemies?"
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Tamako looks exactly like her mother, with the exception of her hairstyle and Tamako's eyes being a slightly darker shade of blue.
  • Super Drowning Skills:
    • Even as a high schooler, Tamako cannot swim, and still needs floaties whenever she goes into the water, and even so she could not move far. Downplayed by Kanna; she also needs floaties but she moves in water well.
    • In the movie, Tamako even manages to almost drown in one of the shallowest parts of the Kamo River, which is already extremely shallow overall.
  • Supreme Chef: Tamako. Shiori proves that she's a pretty good cook as well.
  • Tin-Can Telephone: Tamako and Mochizou use these to communicate from their rooms across the alley between their houses, although as Anko points out, they could easily just raise their voices slightly. And half the time the line isn't even taut enough to conduct the vibrations. In episode 2 Dela sabotages their discussion by standing on the line.
    • Episode 12 reveals one of the ladies in the market made it for the pair after Mamedai gave them hell for earlier conversations.
    • The pair plays an important part during the climax of the movie.
  • Token Mini-Moe: Anko.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The market community seems pretty chill with having a talking bird around who comes from an island and can project and record film out of its eyes!
  • Wham Episode: Episode 7 Choi arrives and chews out Dela for neglecting his duties. After a few misunderstandings (mostly the result of Dela trying to shift the blame for his idleness), she comes to befriend Tamako. At the end, she recognizes her as her prince's destined bride.
    • Episode 11: Prince Mecha personally visits Bunny Mountain
  • Wham Line:
    • Episode 7:
      Choi: That scent...
    • Episode 10:
      Choi: Tamako-sama, you are the prince's bride!
    • Episode 12:
    Prince Mecha: She is not my bride.
  • Wham Shot: Episode 11 ends with Prince Mecha handing Tamako her lost medal.
  • What Could Have Been: Word of God states that the series was originally supposed to have more fantasy elements, bordering on a full on Magical Girl series. However, the plot was changed at the last minute and most of the fantasy elements were scrapped with the exception of Dela.

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