Tatami Galaxy Review

Tatami Galaxy Review

Choice, an act of choosing between two or more possibilities, is something that constantly pops up in front of us at every turn of life. But does the act of choosing, the act of taking a certain path in life, really matter?
Does one produce a more significant and pleasing outcome than the other? Do you live your life in the moment and be spontaneous when making decisions or do you stop, carefully think and calculate at every step in hope of reaching the best conclusion possible?
But, does a best possible conclusion for one's life really exist?

The idea that we are a product of our choices is very empowering. But we seem to have taken it the wrong way. Our "Common Sense" dictates that it is the choices that we make, which will determine the outcome of our life, whether it would be a "bright & lovely heaven" or a "dark & miserable hell" (which is true to an extent). But we tend to believe that life is all about making the right choices, thinking carefully about each and every possible conclusion that may arise from it and taking the best route possible. So we end up getting so caught up in trying to make the "right" decision, that we are constantly "dissatisfied" with our life and never notice the opportunity that is always "dangling right front of us." So then what is the "right" way?

If you've watched a little known movie called Mr. Nobody, then Tatami Galaxy will be right up your alley as it explores this same concept. Tatami Galaxy cleverly uses a 4.5 Tatami room and it's innocent protagonist to shatter this naive belief of making the "right" decisions in life. If you were given the power to go back in time and change a decision, I'm sure most of us will jump at the offer. After all, we've all thought about changing certain things in our past. Things like, "If only I had done something else..." Our protagonist whose name is unknown goes through a mountain of perils in his first two years of college, chasing this 'rose colored' campus life. And every time at the end of those two years, he remains disgruntled about his current situation and wishes for a second chance. And so, at the end of every episode, we see the clock go in reverse and the next episode starts with him making a different choice every time, but reaching a similar situation of "dissatisfaction". This process continues until the very end, when he realises the true meaning of the phrase "the opportunity is dangling right in front of your eyes, grab it!"


Tatami Galaxy Gif 1

Of course, it isn't as boring and mundane as it sounded. You're probably expecting to see the same scenarios being played over and over by our protagonist, but let me assure you, it is nothing like that. The protagonist, who is the most relatable character in the show, himself isn't aware of these resets at the end of every episode, he is just left with a little bit of deja-vu whenever he encounters the fortune teller. Since every episode covers roughly two years in the protagonist's life, we get to see a couple aspects of their character at a time with this shroud of mystery still surrounding them. One episode, a character is deeply involved with the ongoing situation, next episode, they're just an innocent bystander.

Despite the changing roles that the characters take, there is still a certain amount of consistency in their character throughout the show. And since the scenarios change wildly with each episode, every one of these characters gets to be in the spotlight which results in excellent overall character development. These scenarios can range from the protagonist participating in a grudge war to him talking to his dick (trust me, it is as random as it gets). Not only that, all these scenarios actually tie up very neatly in the ending. Speaking of the ending, almost all the time, loop world theories tend to get really convoluted around the end, but Tatami Galaxy resolves the whole mystery in a simple way so it isn't so hard on the viewer. As for the ending itself, it was executed quite skilfully, though it clashes with the realistic theme that the anime sticks to majority of the time with the boundary between real and imaginary/supernatural blending together. But that is exactly what gives the ending it's flair and a sense of closure as well.

Now, as good, well written and well put together this show may sound, it does have one little drawback. It is the lightning fast dialogues. While I didn't have any problems with the speed of the subtitles (I'm a speed reader), I am pretty sure majority of the people are not going to like that much info being thrown at them in such a short amount of time. After all, we're supposed to watch anime, not read it (even though technically, that's what you do when you watch subbed). Still, the sheer ridiculous amount of dialogue does, in fact, distract from the visual scenery of the show and I did find myself going back to watch a few scenes again to see what was going on. The good thing is, the lightning fast dialogue is there till the very end, which takes a lot of effort to maintain, so I commend the voice actor and the writer for that.


Tatami Galaxy Gif 2

Produced by studio Madhouse, the show's animation style is in a league of it's own. It is quite non-conventional and it blends live action footage a lot. But the overall effect that is produced is quite phenomenal. The way the show is directed really brings out the full potential of the story. Sure, you won't find yourself taking screencaps for wallpapers or edits, but it will be a new and blissful experience for you, if you have an open mind that is. The opening and ending sequences are great. I really like the way ending sequence sort of represents the infinite possibilities in the form of different tatami layouts branching and expanding in an out of each other. As for the soundtrack, the overwhelming amount of dialogue greatly overshadows any background music present. So, I found nothing memorable there.

Overall, Tatami galaxy is a tour de force with a profound message about life at it's core. Sometimes, the show may venture into the eerie category (with things like talking to your penis or loving a doll), but the overall experience is something quite close to phenomenal. So, give it a shot. You might end up with an entirely new frame of mind.
Tatami Galaxy Gif 3

P.S. In case you were wondering what happened to the whole episodic series that I was going to do this season, I won't be continuing them (Sorry about that). But to compensate for that, I will be doing a HUGE post (will be of 3-4 parts) with my thoughts on the end of summer season covering about 15 anime (instead of the usual 5). And here is the list :
     • Akagami no Shirayukihime (Snow white with the Red Hair)
     • Charlotte
     • Gakkou Gurashi!
     • Gangsta
     • GATE
     • God Eater (if it finishes airing)
     • Himouto! Umaru-chan
     • Kekkai Sensen (the finale is on Oct 3 I think)
     • Non Non Biyori Repeat
     • Ore Monogatari!!
     • Overlord
     • Prison School
     • Rokka no Yuusha
     • Shimoneta
     • Shokugeki no Souma (Food Wars)
Again, I'm sorry for not being able to do the episodic series because of the hiatus but I hope this makes up for it. So, look forward to it.

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