It was all about love, man. Not strictly the romantic kind, of course, but also the less-sexy platonic kind.
As with any proper conclusion for a show, I’m buckling a little under the burden of trying to come up with a proper, cumulative statement. I’m just in awe of the boundless creativity and genuine insight of THE TATAMI GALAXY. In a lot of ways, I feel like I’ve come full circle and, believe it or not, that isn't just in reference to how the protag breaks his own cycle of regrets and do-overs.
Ten years ago, a friend of mine kept singing the praises of FLCL to me; building it up like it was some transcendent experience. In his precise words, watching it felt like what “falling in love for the first time feels like.” His singing fell on my deaf ears and closed mind at time, and it would be several years before I finally got to experience FLCL for myself. While I still thought it was an impressive work of exuberant surrealism, it didn’t speak to me in as personal a terms it had to him. It was like first love in the sense, perhaps, that first love is ultimately unfulfilling and even a little evanescent in hindsight.
Now, the shoe’s on my foot, and it’s my turn to proselytize about an anime...
Watching this show is what graduating feels like. It’s not the pap nostalgia you find in platitudinous Hallmark cards or in the lightly-melancholic pop songs that always seem to hit around May. It’s the simmering ennui of thinking that your experience didn’t live up to the “best years of your life” that was advertised; the unavoidable fear that, of all the choices and paths you could’ve taken, you zigged where everybody else had the common sense to zag. You partook in the wrong activities, you made the wrong friends and, worst of all, you missed opportunities for better things when they were dangling right in front of your face. That’s the place I was in right when I was about to get my diploma and it’s place everybody gets in to, whether they’re big enough to admit it or not.
Lest this become an overlong, wordy tear, I’ll save my specific thoughts for the forthcoming video I've promised to do on this show. If you lunatics haven't been keeping up with all these episodes, this would be an exquisite time to go back and watch the whole show. Don't hesitate and fall into the pit of your own regret!
Watch this episode “The End of the 4.5 Tatami Age" below, decide for yourself and then read my comments on the previous episode here.