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Tari Tari Complete Collection Anime DVD Review

9 min read

Tari Tari
Tari Tari
Following dreams and coping with issues conflict in this high school drama series.

What They Say:
The last year of high school is always a time of both looking forward and looking back. Ahead of you lives the future, alternately bright and scary. Behind you lie memories, both happy and sad. And somehow, in the course of one year, you have to reconcile those two and decide where your life is going to go.

For Wakana Sakai, who had started studying music, it’s time to face the tragedy that made her abandon that path. For Sawa Okita, it’s about her dreams of riding professionally. And for Konatsu Miyamoto, it’s about bringing her friends together through the magic of song. Can something as simple as the formation of a chorus club really help solve the hurts and pangs that come with growing up? Can music bring people together despite their differences?

Contains episodes 1-13.

The Review:
The audio presentation for this series works pretty well as we get the original Japanese language in stereo encoded at 224kbps. Sadly, no dub was produced for this release. The series has a straightforward approach to it where it’s mostly dialogue based and it has some decent placement to it at times with what it does as well as some depth on occassion when there are multiple people in a classroom and they get to some good dialogue. The show also works well with the music side of it and the singing which has a fuller feeling that’s warm and rich since it’s done with a good bit of polish. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout, the music has a rich feeling and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

While the audio is done well here, the fourth episode has a significant problem in that the subtitles end up out of sync during the second half of it and it doesn’t correct until the next episode queues up.

Originally airing in 2012, the transfer for this thirteen episode series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The show is spread across three discs in a four/four/five format that gives it a good bit of space to work with. Animated by PA Works, the show has a rich, detailed and vibrant design to it that is hugely appealing. The series largely works with a real world approach to the designs but it has a bright and colorful look to it where it’s not oversaturated, but it stands out with the lushness of it that gives to that “magical time” that is high school. The transfer comes across really well here for the most part where the colors are solid and appealing, the detail is spot on and it’s free of cross coloration. We do get some minor line noise in a few scenes but it’s negligible overall. There’s a lot to like with the look of the show, though it obviously begs for a high definition transfer as well.

The packaging for this release comes in a standard size keepcase that has a hinge inside to hold two of the discs. The front cover artwork uses the main promotional image we saw during its broadcast run of the three girls walking down the path under the bridge, which is filled with lots of color and a certain lushness to it that’s very appealing. This is made to feel even more colorful by the logo which is essentially full of the rainbow. There’s a good bit of detail to it and the character artwork blends well into it with the shadowing that’s used. The back cover provides a very good full image where the kids are sitting along the dock that gives us some water and a look at the landscape across the bay. The blues look great and the soft white of the clouds provides a nice balance and separate for it all. The show has a few good shots along the top and a decent summary of the premise that covers the basics. The discs extras, episode count and disc count is all laid out clearly in an easy to read and find way. Add in the production credits and a clear and accurate technical grid and it’s a solid looking package.

The menu design for the release is pretty nice even if it does kind of basic in a way with what it does as a static menu. The left side for each disc has a different piece of character artwork in various locales which is bright and colorful as it shows off the town and the main cast. With the colorful logo included as well, there’s a vibrancy and bounce to it that’s pretty appealing. The right side has the navigation which is just the episode selections by number and title which uses a music note as the cursor. With it being a monolingual release, the only submenu we get here is for the special features. Everything loads quickly and is easy to access without any quirks to it.

The extras for this release are minimal but hit up the types that you do like to see, such as the clean opening and closing sequences, various promos and trailers and even the Blu-ray release promos.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
An original series from Evergreen as animated by PA Works, Tari Tari is a thirteen episode slice of life show. The series got simulcast in North America through Crunchyroll, but it was one that I didn’t catch there since shows like this I tend to enjoy more in marathon form rather than digging into the individual episode nuance. While the show plays to familiar story ideas and comes together in a way that’s pretty interesting overall, even if a bit predictable in some ways, what helps to make this a bit more engaging is the animation design for it as it just richly detailed with some great looking colors and solid music that helps to tie it together just right.

Tari Tari revolves around a seaside small city where we’re introduced to a group of high school seniors going through the motions of their year. Like any show, there’s always a catalyst that kicks things off and with this series it’s Konatsu, a young woman who wants to be a part of the choir club but was unable to actually perform the year prior. Because of that, she got booted from the club and is trying to create her own little club so they can do their own singing piece. Of course, it takes her a lot of effort to try and get members as there are few that are interested in such things since there’s already an established club, but also because the vice principal, Takakura, has it in for Konatsu and those that are eventually drawn into it. Takakura has some longstanding issues that do come to light over the course of the show, and while there is some understanding of her emotions in the end, she simply comes across as mean spirited for much of it.

Within the club, Konatsu draws in some interesting girls at first with Sakai and Okita. Okita is her best friend whose passion is all about the equestrian life, which is a conflict with her family. Sakai is the overly serious studious type who joined the club with the intention not to perform since Konatsu just needed the body count in order to try and exist. While Okita’s story has its moments and we do get some good equestrian bits mixed in across the series, it’s Sakai’s that’s gone into great depth, eclipsing even Konatsu as it goes along. With her having lost her mother a few years prior, it provides the reason why she dropped music and singing and has had difficulty with it ever since. This also ties into Takakura’s storyline pretty well, but it’s the kind of instance that doesn’t do much to really ease the kind of mean spirited nature of Takakura and even makes it stronger since her role as a teacher has her going against what she should be like as one.

The series brings in a few boys as well and they’re ones that I really like, as little definition as they get compared to the girls. The initial one we meet is Tanaka, a badminton player who is the only member of the club, which is what pushes him into making a combination club with Konatsu to try and save his own dreams. He’s a good guy that wants to do right by others, but he’s also intent on doing what he can to achieve his own dreams. He gets to play off of another guy named Wien, a transfer student that has returned from Austria after spending twelve years away from Japan. Wien is amusing since he’s trying to reconnect with Japanese customs and uses poor or out of date guidebooks, but it’s not played for heavy laughs or to the point of making him absurd. It’s kept simple and cute, which works much better. Even better in a way is that while there’s a glimmer of a nod between two characters, there’s nothing about it in the majority of the show, no forced relationships or infatuations to distract from the core of the story.

And that core is the group trying to do what they can to achieve their dreams as seniors, while facing a lot of obstacles along the way. There’s plenty of natural ones that come in, but most of it comes from Takakura as she has a longstanding grudge that she can’t let go of. I like what they face and how they do it, since it’s not forced into big moments, we get a lot of practice and a lot of slow and natural bonding between the characters as well. Where the show gets more interesting is when it deals with the fate of the school as that factors into events and it plays to the way smaller cities like this are dealing with the population shrinkage issue with births. I would have liked to have seen more of this dealt with in the show, or a series about it in general since it’s a fascinating subject, but dealing with it in some form here works well. And it also allows the show a shot at either going predictable with the fate of the club and the school or doing something a little more realistic and interesting, which it does in a muted but enjoyable way.

In Summary:
While Tari Tari won’t set the world on fire, it’s an interesting show that takes a longer view of its storylines since it is an original work and not bound by a weekly or monthly original source publishing format. That lets the story unfold in a far more engaging way as it doesn’t try to cram big moments and cliffhangers, giving it a more natural flow as it moves on and the characters and their relationships and stories are revealed. While the show kicks off with Konatsu seemingly as the main focus, it becomes more about Sakai as it progresses, or at least it does for me, and that works for the best as the rest is more of an ensemble piece. I particularly liked Wien, especially as they got into the various ShopRanger performances later in the series, but the dynamic of the group was great, especially with how they kept it mostly intimate relationship free. With some gorgeous animation and designs and a slow but well layered storyline, there’s a lot to like here.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Japanese Blu-ray Spots, TV Commercials and Promos, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: June 25th, 2013
MSRP: $49.99
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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