A synthesis post on Tatami Galaxy (Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei)

I was actually vacillating between posting this today or not, but I decided that as it was quite seated in time to just post it.

Yesterday was quite a polarizing day for me: I was both on a high and low during the exact same day. For the lows, I contracted sore throat; I also didn’t do well on our test. It didn’t help that I experienced a good part of the afternoon in sweltering heat because the city I am currently residing is prone to blackouts due to the El Niño phenomenon. There was barely any ventilation in our classroom if the air conditioners were turned off, so we were like sardines in a can being heated at the back of an oven. What made things worse for me was that we couldn’t go home until five in the afternoon.

It wasn’t exactly a memorable experience for a healthy person; it was virtually torture for me.

With that said, however, first and foremost, I was able to enjoy the ending of Tatami Galaxy and, by extension, I was able to solidify my choice as regards one of my favorite anime series. I was also able to attain my target score in that Othello clone I play in my Super Micro: I was able to soundly trample the most difficult computer level with a score of 60-4. I had that as a requirement before I was going to store the valuable and classic console for posterity’s sake, and I’m just glad I did it before my console could even break. Finally, I was also able to enjoy the final episode of a good series in Bakemonogatari.

The picture's not very clear since it was taken from my phone, but you can see only three yellow pieces in a sea of red. The other yellow piece is not very clear, but I won convincingly.

The picture's not very clear since it was taken from my phone, but you can see only three yellow pieces in a sea of red. The other yellow piece is not very clear, but I won convincingly.

In summary, I think I have really been profoundly affected by Tatami Galaxy. It is usually abnormal for me to spend nearly three months fundamentally writing about a single series. Even my run with Toradora was interspersed with editorials and self-reflections: in contrast, my articles on Tatami Galaxy were punctuated only by a post on the Palmtex Super Micro I was proud of having attained. Episodic exegeses of the series were interrupted with tidbits of the same show gleaned from re-watches.

Certain readers have called me over-analytical; some have even mistaken my passion for pretension. All of these complaints were justified: heck, even calling me mad would probably be! What sane man would write about the same central topic for two months?

In my defense, I have never really changed the vein of how I write and I have always enjoyed what I am passionate about. Most people probably aren’t willing to play truant in medical school, let alone for the purposes of watching anime, but I did. I also believe that Tatami Galaxy is just that anime series where one can never end up without anything to say: its anachronistic storytelling and nuance fosters speculation and thought, but this does not mean that the series is bad because it is ‘pretentious.’ On the contrary, I find it consistently excellent, and its final episode is one of the best ending episodes I have seen of any anime series. Anime like K-On!! and Daimaou are not as open to analysis and interpretation precisely because their stories have to be relatively linear as their targeted audiences are just altogether different from the Tatami Galaxy. Re-watches of Tatami Galaxy only serve to promote one’s understanding of the series.

Frankly and honestly speaking, I don’t really mind being criticized as long as I am doing or appreciating what I love, and I love Tatami Galaxy beyond just its intellectual appeal. I love it more than that because despite its simple message, it was able to reach out to me and affect me. A month ago, I would probably have whined, stayed in bed and ignored even the stuff I was lucky for that day (life is enough of a gift, but sometimes I could not even see that). I now can honestly say that while I can’t take the bad things that happen to me easily, I can take it just as I can be elated for the good things that happen. Just as there is no rose-colored campus life, there is especially no rose-colored medical school as well. I just have to strive my best, push forward, and move on. Tatami Galaxy has taught me that well.

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9 Responses to “A synthesis post on Tatami Galaxy (Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei)”

  1. gaguri Says:

    don’t pay too much attention to naysayers. What’s wrong with little speculations and educated guess while waiting for future episodes? I mean, I personally only blog after a show finishes so I don’t show all my misfired guesses (haha…), but that’s just me, your coverage sure helped me catch few things I missed.

    I like that this show is open to interpretation, but I also appreciate that it’s not a work of total ambiguity (like say, lain), and its central message still remains strong and imo, touched pretty much everyone who watched this show. That is rare, especially for the kind of show that is easy to confuse the hell out of anime viewers, so kudos mr. yuasa.

  2. ahr Says:

    I enjoy your enthusiasm. Don’t fret about it too much.

    May I suggest you watch Mind Game? It perhaps lacks the sensitivity of Yojouhan and the delightful constructions (such as the black string) but it has the same message. Not to mention that it is a marvel to look at.

    Lastly, the show could do with an overall review to entice new viewers!

    [Ahh… The advantage of a Blackberry is supposed to be the keyboard yet this took 10 minutes to write…]

  3. Michael Says:

    gaguri:

    Haha. Thanks for that.

    That’s essentially what makes this show so lovable for me. It’s highly open to interpretation but it’s not a series that’s totally ambiguous: it does have a central message and it’s very touching to the few who did watch this show.

    ahr:

    Thank you as well. I’ll try to look into Mind Game in a little while.

    Frankly, I don’t know how to construct an overall review. I’ve loved many small things about the series that writing a review is something I’d have to think about hard, and something other people can probably write better than me. But we’ll see.

    Thanks!

  4. Vendredi Says:

    Thanks for keeping up the posting on Tatami Galaxy so enthusiastically. It definitely gave me motivation to continue coverage of the series, and having your posts as an “advance guard” of sorts gave me enormous help in condensing my own thoughts and analysis. As they say, “haters gonna hate” – I appreciate the effort and language you employ.

    I must agree too, that part of the joy of the series is how specifically intentioned it is. There has been absolutely nothing left to chance in the animation of the series, which is a topic I rarely tire of discussing.

  5. Michael Says:

    Thanks, Vendredi. I appreciate your commentary on the show as well, as it somehow catches what I never did. Thanks.

    The series has a very palpable direction, and yes, little to none was left to chance, which is just amazing.

  6. Raiza Sunozaki Says:

    I have to agree with you, despite AnimeSuki having a thread for it on the forums, I didn’t notice it until about episode four or five of this show, and by then I really needed to rant somewhere on how awesome this show was.
    Also having noticed your blogging here on the show, I’ve followed it to the best of my ability, and greatly enjoyed your opinions on it, though like Yojou-han, it sometimes took a second or third reading to understand what you were trying to say. Some words are a bit above the understanding of a high school graduate.
    Regardless though, it was very enjoyable, both the show and reading your posts. I might swing by every now and then to see what you’ve written, and I await the next show that might impress you the same way this one did.

  7. Josh Says:

    I’m adding my support. I enjoyed reading through your analysis. For some shows I think it’s possible to over analyze. There are so many layers in this show that I can’t STOP analyzing. You clearly had a passion about the tiny details.

    In fact you were able to guess what happens in future episodes (i got chills about the moth prediction). The show really requires a deep level of understanding to be able to predict the next episode. Bravo, sir. I just sat back and enjoyed the ride, letting the show surprise me.

  8. Vasmer Says:

    I’ve been reading your posts as I watched The Tatami Galaxy this weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed your analysis and I think reading your posts help me garner an even greater appreciation for this excellent series. It’s hands down one of the best anime I have ever seen.

  9. Michael Says:

    @Raisa

    Sorry for that. It’s usually the way I write, so I’m sorry for any confusion.

    Thank you very much.

    @Josh

    Thank you very much.

    @Vasmer

    Yes, it is hands down one of the best anime ever. 🙂

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