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Anime / Tamayura

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"Everyone will eventually go their separate ways. That's why I want to preserve this precious moment now."
Fū Sawatari

Tamayura is an OVA directed by Junichi Sato (known for his work on other Slice of Life series, including ARIA and Croisée in a Foreign Labyrinth) and was originally released across two Blu-Ray and DVD volumes in later 2010. In October 2011, the TV series, titled Tamayura ~Hitotose~, began airing. The second season is titled Tamayura ~More Aggressive~ and aired in July 2013. A four-part movie, Tamayura: Sotsugyō Shashin, was released between April 2015 and 2016. These films follow the girls' final year of high school, concluding the story with their graduation.

The story is focused around a young girl named Fū Sawatari, who moves to Takehara, Hiroshima to begin her first year of high school. Her deceased father grew up in Takehara, and this is her first time back in the town in five years. Fū enjoys photography and is often engrossed with taking pictures with her father's old Rollei 35S film camera. Despite being a shy girl, Fū tries her best to make friends and is spurred on by Kaoru Hanawa, a girl with a self-proclaimed scent fetish. She quickly befriends two other girls, Maon Sakurada, who whistles all the time, and Norie Okazaki, who loves baking.

Together with her friends, Fū begins capturing the moments they spend together on camera, and learn of the "tamayura" phenomenon, which manifests as little specks of light that appear in photos whenever the people depicted within are happy.

Tamayura provides examples of:

  • Bland-Name Product:
    • Coco Cola stands in for Coca Cola.
    • Fū's mother used to ride a "Handa" motorcycle.
  • Car On The Coast Road: The girls travel up a coastal road in one of the episodes, but Sayomi's driving techniques mean that none of her passengers are paying attention to the scenery.
  • Childhood Friends
    • Fū and Kaoru
    • Kaoru and Norie
    • Fū and Chihiro.
  • Color Failure
    • Kaoru, Maon, and Norie lose all colouration upon learning they had another two hours to walk uphill.
    • Following one of Dougou-sensei's botched attempts at a pun, every student in Fū and Kaoru's class loses their colour.
  • Coming of Age Story: The story is centred around Fū and her friends learning of their aspirations for the future, and in Fū's case, coming to terms with her own interests and her memories of her father.
  • Cool Big Sis
    • Sayomi acts as such towards the girls despite Kaoru and Norie's annoyance.
    • Despite being unrelated, Riho acts as a mentor of sorts to Fū
  • Cuteness Proximity: Norie is hit hard whenever Kou is around, and Fū experiences a milder version in Momoneko-sama's presence.
  • A Day in the Limelight: One episode shows us a day in the life of Momoneko-sama. Likewise, episode six of ~ Hitotose is devoted to Maon.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: In a flashback during Hitotose's fourth episode, a young Maon attends a concert where the opening song from the OVA is played.
  • Expy: Fū's grandmother is Grandma from ARIA, and they even share the same seiyuu.
  • Food Porn: The food depicted in the series looks gorgeous, ranging from okonomiyaki (Japanese Pancake) to the various baked goods that Fū's grandmother and Norie make.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: It turns out that Fū had actually met Maon, Kaoru, and Norie before, during a visit to her grandfather's house in Shiomichi, but all were far too young to remember it.
  • Four-Girl Ensemble: Fū, Kaoru, and Norie respectively are the first three types, while Maon does not fit well with the archetypes. Of note are the associations of each girl with a sense: Fū is sight, Kaoru is smell, Norie is taste and Maon is hearing. Chihiro, with her handicraft skills and love of plushies, represents the fifth sense, touch.
  • Genki Girl: Norie fulfills this role at first, only to get completely overshadowed by Tomo in the second season.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Chihiro has an extensive collection of her own handmade plushies, and even gives some to Fū as a farewell gift.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The episode names are always pronounced by Fū, and end in her characteristic na no de.
  • Iyashikei: Tamayura is a peaceful, relaxing anime that depicts the subtle elements of the girls' everyday lives.
  • Joshikousei: High school girls are depicted with sailor uniforms.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The camera Fū uses was once her father's; in addition, Fū also possesses a photograph of him.
  • Mood Whiplash: The series generally depicts the cheerful, light-hearted adventures the girls experience, but also explores Fū's grief over her father's passing.
  • Real-Place Background: The series is set in Takehara, a city located in the Hiroshima prefecture.
  • Rubber-Hose Limbs: When she becomes excited or apprehensive, Fū exhibits this.
  • Running Gag
    • Fū constantly experiences a lack of success in trying to take a picture of Momoneko-sama.
    • Kaoru's demands that Norie stop calling her "Kao-tan" falls upon deaf ears.
  • Scenery Porn: The scenery in Takehara is spectacular, yet simple and clean. There are several viewpoints that offer a sweeping panorama of the ocean or the town below.
  • Schoolgirl Series: While this is a show depicting the lives of girls in high school, it places less emphasis on their school lives.
  • Ship Sinking: Fans who believed that Riho and Chimo had entered a (fairly hidden) relationship saw their hopes crushed when Riho announces to move to Tokyo in the first movie, and Chimo announces she will get married to Dougou in the second.
  • Shrines and Temples: The girls often hang out at some of the more well-known temples in Takehara, most notably Saihō-ji.
  • Slumber Party: One is set during episode two of ~ Hitotose.
  • Spiritual Successor: Tamayura can be seen as a successor to Sketchbook, with some clear influences from Kamichu!. Moreover, because Big Sister Mentor Riho is voiced by the actress who also played the apprentice Akari in ARIA (from the same director), one can make a case that the show is also a passing of the torch from that series.
  • Squee: Riho is overjoyed to meet Fū for the first time at the photo exhibition.
  • Super-Deformed: Characters revert into their chibi forms whenever they become really excited.
  • Sweet Tooth: All of the girls love sweets.
  • Tagalong Kid: Kou and Komachi occasionally join the main cast in their adventures
  • The Movie: There are four movies that follow girls' final year of high school and graduation.
  • Two Shorts: Episodes six and nine of Hitotose are each made up of two short stories.