Shows You Might Have Missed: Tari Tari

Tell me if you've heard this before, group of 3 girls and 2 guys with disparate background and motivations band together to form the choir club so that they can sing at the annual recital and school festival. Yep, Tari Tari's premise is a dime in a dozen these days, and from its execution you wouldn't think it had necessarily reinvented the genre in any ways either, and you would be right. Tari Tari as a character drama/slice of life story is not ambitious nor innovative, but in return what it does achieve is a simply tale told sincerity and not an ounce of pretentiousness.

I'll be honest here, in the initial episodes I had some worries if the story would be able successfully get off the ground, but was quickly proven wrong once the story really got going. Its primary focus, and its primary strength is in the individual character stories that take place and interweave with each other all around the primary plot lines. Each main player has some form hurdle, inner struggle or things beyond their control they need to overcome as a person. To spoil nothing here, I'll say that I really like the writing here, with how it naturally it dealt with inherently human conflict, there are no narrative cop-outs here, and many of their problems don't just magically improve (or at all), just characters struggling and learning to push through it all, by themselves or with the help of friends and family. The storytelling may border on melodrama territory at times, but it is told with such earnestness and sincerity that I found it enjoyable no matter how banal it may appear on paper.

Despite ostensibly being about the choir club, music does indeed take a back seat in this character driven story, and instead play more of a supporting role for the cast as the rope that brings together and connects the people who enjoy music. The choral scores present in the show really can't claim to be anything exceptional, but are play with authenticity calling back to nostalgic days of youth gone past, an overarching theme for many of the shows adult characters, and the show at moments gave me instances of warm fuzzy feels. Credit also to P.A.Works for managing to make the side characters relevant to the story and the growth of the main cast, especially with the prominent role of parenting in its varied but always warm forms. Surprisingly competent tongue-in-cheek humor to balance out the drama, always there to diffuse the tension whenever things stray too close to melodrama, and the overall experience feels more balanced and nuanced for it.

Production-wise, its the usual P.A.Works fare of excellence and consistency. As one of its earlier works though, I did notice the rare off model characters and some of the CG work hasn't fully matured, but the overall visuals were are so solid that it was hardly a real issue. Character designs were quite lovely this time around, and the palette while undeniably colorful, is slightly washed out and given warmer tones, making the experience one of warm nostalgia.

Overall, Tari Tari is an unambitious but enjoyable story. It may not be for everyone. There is no punchy melodrama nor awe-inspiring set pieces here, but if simple, warm character drama is what you may be interested in seeing, the short 13 episodes may be well worth the time.


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