What They Say:
Yuuri Mito is a typical, normal Japanese teenager. He goes to school, works on people’s motorcycles and performs exorcisms. Okay, that last part’s a bit little unusual, but his family lives in a shrine and they do that sort of thing. Still, you would think he’d know enough to be careful with an ancient relic he finds in the woods, especially when a mysterious goddess appears and tells him to leave it alone.
Unfortunately, despite Mito’s best efforts, the seal gets broken anyway and a number of dangerous “tayuti” that it held in stasis get loose. This is bad. Mito also ends up with a beautiful goddess girl who decides that she’s going to marry him. This might not be so bad – if he wasn’t already caught up in the middle of a war between the entities he’s released.
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track only in stereo, which has a decent 224kbps encoding to it. The show is mostly dialogue throughout that’s punctuated by some bigger scenes here and there, particularly towards the end, but by and large, it’s a fairly standard show. There aren’t many scenes with multiple characters talking at once but the few there are come across well with noticeable placement across the forward soundstage. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and the opening and closing sequences have the stronger sections overall. We didn’t notice any problems such as dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2009, the transfer for this twelve episode TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The show is split even across two discs in a six/six format which gives the show a good bit of space to work with. Tayutama has a clean and vibrant look to it that translates well here though it’s not completely clean. The colors, in general, remain solid and vibrant, especially in character animation, but there are noticeable scenes in the background where the colors show more noise and some mild blocking stemming from it. It’s very minimal and hardly noticeable over the course of the entire show. There’s a touch of line noise during some of the panning sequences as well which is a little distracting but by no means a dealbreaker. The majority of the show looks good and has a strong color scheme to it that lets it stand out well.
The cover art for Tayutama is a bit awkward as it uses the younger version of Kakurami with her big hammer in hand. The framing of it is nice with the white border with the red ringing around it while having the stripe across the middle with the title. It’s the artwork itself that just does not work well we the near-chibi style body looks very awkward, especially with the legs. The colors are nice and I like the softness of the background with the greens and blues but there’s too much white here overall with a character design that’s almost a turnoff. The back cover works much better with artwork of Ameri and Mashiro together in their school uniforms with lots of detail. They only take up a quarter of the cover though as there’s a lot of other things going on here. The summary is decent enough as it covers the basics and does its best to engage you. There’s a strip of shots from the show, some too small to be useful while the bottom third is given over to the production credits and technical grid. There’s a very good clean listing of the discs features as well as solid highlighting of the disc and episode count. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menus for this release use the same kind of pattern and color style as the packaging with the white and soft pinks with the red framed border. It’s appealing here as it’s nicely vibrant but not overly so. The left side has a slight curve to it in which the navigation is put alongside a chibi version of Mashiro that’s fairly cute. Top level episode access is the norm once again and the only other selection is the special features section. Language selection isn’t available as it’s a monolingual release but the subtitles can be turned off on the fly during playback. What little there is for submenus really comes down to the special features and they’re quick to access and easy to use, resulting in a problem free menu layout.
Tayutama has a few more extras than the norm on it which is a nice change of pace. The first volume has the familiar material in the clean opening and closing sequences and a brief promotional video from before the series aired. The second disc has a different set of extras that are something called Pure My Heart. This is a small series of shorts, mixed between regular designs and chibi designs, that have the characters doing some little silly stuff, such as playing whack a mole, sketching, living life and so forth. They’re like little surreal pieces in a way that are sometimes a little cute but they didn’t really make me laugh. An occasional smile was all it generated, which is unusual since these kinds of shorts usually are nice breaks from the more serious nature of the show. There’s six overall and they run an average of about three minutes each, so they’re definitely a nice addition.
With its origins in the game world, both adult and clean, Tayutam is a twelve episode series that tells a complete tale of the familiar with a goddess walking the world once again. While it started as an eroge game, it ended up with a manga as well as an Xbox 360 game so there were some cleaner iterations of the franchise. The anime adaptation continues that trend as it is pretty clean and tame overall though it holds to a few standards of the visual novel world with some of its design elements. All told, though, Tayutama has a whole lot of the familiar when it comes to its storyline and that keeps it from standing well on its own.
Tayutama deals with a modern day story where we’re introduced to a young high school man named Yuri whose family has taken care of the local Shinto shrine for generations. Yuri’s a decent guy who attends a good school nearby and has a very good friend in Ameri, a purple haired young woman who has been a friend of his since they were little kids. While she harbors some feelings for him but hasn’t been able to do anything about it yet. For the time being, she spends time with him as she can which includes helping him out when he does work for the shrine which includes exorcisms and the like. The two of them have their lives change dramatically when they investigate an issue at night at a local construction project where old seals are being threatened with destruction because of progress. While progress is halted, the investigation there reveals to the two, through an accident, that it’s an important seal overseen by the shrine’s goddess, Kikurami who reveals herself to them.
The breaking of the seal is the standard comedy accident but it unleashes thousands of Tayutai into the area, spirits that can wreck a bit of havoc on things. The vast majority of these spirits are harmless little creatures that won’t do anything, but there are those that are more powerful and interested in enjoying their time now that they’re freed from the seal. In order to deal with this, the goddess Kikurami creates an avatar of herself who walks the world with Yuri and Ameri. Yuri takes to her pretty well and even gives her the name Mashiro. This avatar changes her age and appearance a bit before she sets into a familiar teenage level where she now lives with Yuri at his house and within minutes of really getting acquainted with him she decides that she wants to be his wife as they deal with the Tayutai.
The trappings of Tayutama are pretty familiar as we see the school that Yuri goes to and it doesn’t take long for Mashiro to want to go there. The school has some of the typical anime elements in that there’s the normal school and the high-end school. Where it goes further than it should, to the point where it’s almost insulting, is that the high-end school is called Flawless while the main school is called Slightly. And the students refer to themselves in that way. As the series goes on we deal with the student in charge of Flawless and there’s another girl who is on her way to take over there that’s actually a stepsister of sorts of Yuri’s named Yumina. With Mashiro accepted into the school and into Flawless itself, all while trying to hide her goddess tail and the fox-like ears that she has, it puts just about everything in the open while Yuri is doing his best to keep it on the down low while dealing with the tayutai that are causing all manner of trouble.
Tayutama suffers heavily from being entirely predictable in what it does. The show brings us the expected cute goddess who has a hard time adjusting to the world while deciding she’ll marry the first guy she sees. Her arrival causes problems for a childhood relationship that could potentially turn into more if Ameri stepped up to the plate just a little bit. And there’s also the threat of the tayutai that are roaming about, though it’s more just a couple of them that are truly dangerous. And even there they offer up the potential of adding more cute girls to the mix by having yet another one switch sides. It’s all simply so predictable that part of the way through the first episode if you hadn’t read the summary, you’d know exactly where the whole show would end up going.
While the story is definitely predictable, Tayutama has a solid looking presentation to it with its animation style and character design. The animation by Silver Light works rather well with a good clean look to it and plenty of fluid animation where ti counts. There are some areas where it does skimp a little but nowhere near anything badly. The show has some really detailed designs to it, especially when it comes to the school costumes and the Flawless ones especially, but there are plenty of areas where it’s detailed in addition to that, such as the shrine or the mechanics side of Yuri’s day and areas within their house by the shrine. Tayutama has a good look to it but it’s also like the plot in that it’s also rather familiar.
At the end of the day, Tayutama is a series that is rather well executed but it’s all very familiar and doesn’t rise too far above its game origins, though more towards the clean version obviously. There’s fanservice to be had, silly moments and serious moments, but Tayutama still tells the same story that we’ve seen before with a goddess who “comes to life” with a mortal and ends up falling for him. Tayutama takes a few episodes to get rolling so that it gets past some of the awkward setup pieces, but once it does so it works well even if it’s not memorable or does anything that really stands out as different from other shows within this particular subgenre. It’s not bad, it’s just another show that we’ve seen before.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation, Japanese Promo, Tayutama ~ Pure My Heart.
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: March 16th, 2010
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 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.