Going into the summer anime season, the expectations weren’t quite that high. It’s no surprise considering the greatness of the previous spring season, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t shows worth watching this time around. So today, I’ll talk about a few of my favorites from the season in Kokoro Connect and TARI TARI. The interesting link? They’re both of the slice-of-life variety.
Prior to the season, Kokoro was one of those shows with a fair amount of expectations and hype. Considering the strange and fairly novel ideal of body switching between the guys and gals of the Literature Research club, I wasn’t surprised. Regardless though, I have to note that I wasn’t really that interested in it at first. The premise was different from the norm, true… but for me, it was also a premise that felt like it’d end up being one of those slice of life shows that don’t really go anywhere. Because, hey, how much enjoyment would you get just from just constantly swapping bodies and messing around? As such, I avoided watching Kokoro until rather recently, when glowing reviews from other Random C writers and viewers in general got me interested again.
And well, after watching, I’ll admit my initial impressions were definitely off the mark, because Kokoro’s turned out to be quite the amazing experience. Yes, there are some shenanigans with the body switching premise in the beginning… and it took a few episodes to really get things going, but there’s definitely more to this show than a “slice-of-life with a supernatural twist”. I don’t want to go into more detail because I want to keep spoilers to a minimum, but if you’re into slice of life, Kokoro’s one of those shows you just have to watch. And even those who aren’t as interested in the genre as much should give it a try as well, because it’s just one of the best shows of the new season. The interactions between the characters are always dynamic and never forced or awkward at all, the characters themselves enjoyable to watch, and the plot much more deeper than you’d think it would be, giving us a top layer of the typical light-hearted slice of life and a deeper layer made of characters who have to deal with complex issues and the repercussions of not knowing when they’ll switch bodies. Watch it. You won’t regret it.
If there’s one thing I have to say about this show, is how annoyed I was at the fact people discounted this show due to its similarity to another P.A. Works production (Hanasaku Iroha). I understood why people compared the two, but considering P.A. Works’ history, I knew this was one show that would surprise in its own way, and one show that I felt should’ve had more people watching it in the first place. As such, I didn’t hesitate to name this as my pick for surprise of the season during Random C’s end of the spring season podcast… and well, I’m happy to say it seems like I made the correct choice.
Granted, the pacing is slightly off at times (no doubt due to the one cour nature of the series though) and the story itself takes a few episodes to really love, but this series is what slice-of-life should be. Sure, it might not have any supernatural elements like Kokoro Connect and thus doesn’t necessarily break the mold that much… but the fact that it’s more grounded in realism, makes it that much more enjoyable as a result, because many of us will identify ourselves with the characters in Tari Tari and their respective situations, at least… I do to some degree. And it’s this that makes it a true slice-of-life, because everything that happens in the series are things that can happen in everyday life. The interactions and reactions of the characters are perfectly natural, their goals and objectives realistic for their age… and tied in with the spectacular music backdrop linking all the members of the Choir/Badminton club, just makes it a joy to watch.
To top it all off, Tari Tari’s managed to do in 6 episodes, what few other shows have been ever able to do… create a tearjerker that not only made virtually everyone tear up and bawl, but also one that managed to make me tear up. And I’m telling you now, as someone who completed 268+ series at this point in time… those have been so few and far between, that I can count the instances on one hand. That’s how good this series is. Despite the pacing issues, despite the slow build up at times, it still makes you care so much for the characters in such a short time. And well, if that’s not a great indication of how awesome this series is, then I don’t know what is. Like Kokoro Connect, it’s worth a watch, regardless of whether or not you love slice of life or music. In addition, it’s undoubtedly a Top 3 out of the new summer season shows. Notably, if you end up watching both… the contrast’ll is very interesting in that, you’ll be able to see how two fairly different premises in the same genre can both led to the same amount of success.