You know, I was about to go on some high falootin’ screed about how I chose to watch this pilot out of some intellectual desire to indulge my anemia. Then, I took a step back, thought about how TARI TARI’s angling to be about a high school show choir and then, upon further reflection, realized that animation and context might actually be the only qualities separating this from GLEE or any other teen drama on the CW.
I’ve chortled quite often about fans of foreign pop entertainment who act like the stuff is somehow above the pop entertainment in their own back yard. A band manufactured by a record company in another country somehow manages to be more authentic than the products on Top 40 radio? So, with that awareness, I caught myself here before I got too dismissive, condescending or hypocritical in detailing my tastes.
I liked this pilot a lot. I honestly do want to continue hanging out with these authentic, well-realized characters and I want to see how this small drama about starting a new club will play OUT. I felt the theme about the dangers of quitting, even over small stuff, was a truthful one and also felt that the details of this Austrian exchange student re-adjusting to Japanese customs built a truly three-dimensional personality for the kid. I want to believe that this is tighter and more polished than other entries in the genre, but I also realize that my sampling pool isn’t wide or deep enough to make such statements.
(It still does feel kind of odd to break down the ingredients of a down-to-Earth drama in the way you might for a mecha show, or something. “Which scene is more relatable? Which plot is more understated?” right?)
So here we are again with another high school show I’d like to keep watching, even though I realize that it’s not exactly the sort of programming that engenders the liveliest discussions in this column. What to do?
Watch this episode, "Running and Inviting” here and decide for yourself.