Tamako Market Episodes 8+9: Don’t Call Me a Chicken, Singing a Love Song
“Everybody loves somebody.” -Dera Mochimazzi
Summary: Dera gets put on a diet after the bird house Kanna builds for him turns out to be too small, while Choi has some adventures in shopping for cloths. As Mochi Day approaches, Anko’s pint-sized love is in deep trouble, but things work out in the end thanks to Tamako and Mochizou. We finally learn the origin of the song that Tamako has been searching for, and it comes from an unexpected source. Just when Mochizou thinks that Tamako has forgotten his birthday, she surprises him.
Impressions: So there is a legitimate reason that I waited to do episodes 8 and 9 together. And that is that episode 8 was….how shall I put this? It was like a marshmallow. Nothing against marshmallows, they’re great and fluffy and yummy and taste good in hot chocolate. You can eat them roasted over a campfire, or melted into s’mores, or even frozen, but once you’ve consumed their sugary, squishy goodness you’ll quickly realize that marshmallows by themselves don’t really offer a whole lot of substance. A marshmallow will never have the nutritional value of, say, an apple or a slice of whole wheat bread. Once it’s been consumed, and the brief joy of its taste leaves your mouth, marshmallows don’t really have much left over. Like a marshmallow, episode 8 was cute and fun to watch, but really how much more can you say about it other than that it was cute and fun to watch? Once the episode was over I found myself at a loss about what to say about it, since the same things that have been happening ever episode happened again. Dera ate too much, hijinks ensue, everyone was cute and fluffy and as sweet as marshmallows, but that was about it. It’s not unpleasant and I do enjoy the show, but I often find it’s hard to write more than 400 words about, especially that episode.
Episode 9 on the other hand, pulled off a perfect balance of fluffy+cute and meaningful (or something that comes close to meaningful.) There’s three story lines that are interwoven with each other and connected by the theme of ~love~. Anko’s dilemma is the most focused on, as Yuzuki, the boy she has a crush on, is going to move soon. Anko wants to be able to convey her feelings to him, and not always be so shy that she can’t even face him when he comes over, but she just can’t seem to overcome her own insecurities. It’s hard when you’re little like she is to talk to your crush! We’ve all been there right? It’s cute to see Mochizou acting like a big brother and helping An get up the courage to at least say good-bye to Yuzuki. Tamako, being a good, understanding older sister, even gives Anko the perfect excuse to go see Yuzuki one more time by giving her some freshly pounded mochi to deliver (because I get the feeling that in Tamako’s world, there’s nothing that can’t be solved with mochi.) Dera comes along too, and he helps An find the right words to finally give Yuzukit the mochi she brought. It’s all very cute and “first love” and Dera is hilarious as always. Thankfully for Anko, Yuzuki says that they’ll still be able to see each other since his family always orders New Years mochi from the Kitashirakawas.
The second storyline revolves around Tamako’s parents. We finally see how her mother and father met, and it’s obvious who Tamako takes after (they even have the same mole). Of course the meet after a funny misunderstanding, where Hinako comes into the shop and says she wants Mamedai, and Tamako’s father thinks she’s confessing to him since his name is also Mamedai. Of course Hinako meant a certain type of mochi, but that’s the moment where Mamedai fell in love with her. The song that Tamako has been humming all her life, and has been searching in vain for, is actually a song that her father wrote for her mother back when he was in a band in High School. Even though we don’t see much of Hinako, she really loved her family, and that song, which she sang all the time even though she was tone-deaf (which is why Kunio didn’t recognize it when Tamako hummed it for him). From the flashbacks, we can see how in love the two of them where and how, even though Mamedai is really gruff most of the time now, he’s got a soft side too. I think that KyoAni are probably the only ones who could pull off a “cute” middle-aged man, because that’s the best way to describe Mamedai’s embarrassment and blushing like a school girl over the song and the fact that he put so much effort into writing it for Hinako. The two of them must have had a very happy life together, and it’s sad that whatever happened to cut it short ended up happening. I find it a little hard to believe thought that even if he was embarrassed, Mamedai didn’t tell Tamako about the song. But I’m willing to put that aside because that whole family is too cute.
Last but not least, is Mochizou. Poor kid, his birthday is on Mochi Day (with a name like that, it really would have to be). He’s fretting the whole episode about if Tamako’s remembered it or not, since again, her world kinda revolves around mochi. Since they’re organizing an event where they make fresh mochi to celebrate the day, Tamako’s even more distracted than usual. An straight-up tells Mochizou that Tamako’s probably forgotten, and I think he kinda gives up. He resigns himself to having a one-sided love, which makes it all the more touching for him when Tamako surprises him with a cake at the end. I’m not usually the type to get all sentimental when I’m watching anime (or anything for that matter), but I do think I let out an “Awwwww” when Mochizou teared up over the cake.
The show has some really nice continuity with Choi, who’s seen this episode wearing the cardigan that Kanna, Midori and Tamako gave her last episode. It is a really nice cardigan, and as the season’s slowly progress she’s going to need it. The show is making quick work of going through one whole year, starting with New Years, and I’ll bet you $50 that the last episode will come full circle back to the start of the year again. If we’re at almost Halloween now, then I’m sure in 3 episodes time we’ll be firmly past Christmas. Tamako Market is kind of a weird show in that so much time is passing, but hardly anything has changed (except for Dera’s weight) so it makes it hard to comprehend that almost a whole year has passed for these characters. Anyway, next episode looks like it will be more focused on Midori and Tamako again. I’m still waiting for the Prince to make his entrance, since I think he might be getting lonely now that Choi and Dera are both off having fun without him.
Final Thought: Dera and Kanna are truly the best parts of this show for me. Kanna’s flat delivery and Dera’s continued silly antics are what keeps me interested, even when the rest is only so-so. My favorite part was drill master Kanna, and her evil plans to make Dera lose weight by throwing batons at him.