As God Dictates: The Tatami Galaxy Review

There are some series that warrant multiple viewings due to their story. Others warrant multiple viewings simply due to the beauty of their animation. Then there are those special series that excel at both, all while giving you that warm fuzzy feeling come the final episode.

Tatami Galaxy_title

The Tatami Galaxy tells the story of a starry-eyed unnamed college freshman who wants nothing short of a memorable and worthwhile college experience (as he expresses in an overly flowery narration comparable to that of Mr. Peabody’s in those old Bullwinkle cartoons). To his dismay, however, any means of advancements to said goals are halted by his “best friend,” Ozu. What initially starts out as well-meaning goals are soon undermined, and the main character must decide whether such new developments are worthwhile college experiences in themselves, or mere disappointments.

Even at a glimpse, the series draws you in with its art style and direction. Character models are drawn simply, yet realistically and move in an equally contrary manner. Some scenes may start off innocently enough, but slowly begin to play out like a child’s stream of conscience, with characters and backgrounds twisting and turning, with nothing to anchor yourself to reality but the protagonist’s rambling narration. Entire scenes feel like pages out of a picture book, with the style alternating from various shades of a single color, to a mix of traditional animation alongside actual photographs and live-action footage. In the case that absolutely no story was present, the series could have easily gained praises off imagery alone.

What makes the series interesting from a story-telling perspective is its approach to the protagonist’s plight. By the end of each episode, the protagonist ends up cursing what fate has drawn up for him and wishes to start his college life from the beginning, resulting in each following episode serving as an alternate universe of sorts in which he chooses a different club to join as a freshman. As episodes progress, similar yet different events play out, and you as the viewer begin to get the feeling that the main character is simply unable to develop enough as a person to escape the vicious cycle he has made for himself. It is this one minor note that makes the first half of the series something of a slog and difficult to watch in marathon mode (I myself had to wait a few days before feeling mentally capable of watching the following episode). However, the latter half of the series more than makes up for this, providing more backstory to warrant future re-watchings of all past episodes, and wrapping things up in a way that you feel each episode worked as a single puzzle piece to a greater picture. Each episode, as similar as they may be to others in the series establishes something of importance that makes the final episodes of Tatami Galaxy that much more compelling and emotional.

It’s the kind of series that sets its pieces with clear intentions, even if they may not seem as such at first. And by its end, I can say without any doubts that you will have a revitalized will to live life to the fullest.

___

The Tatami Galaxy is up for free streaming in its entirety on Crunchyroll and Funimation. A trailer for the series has also been uploaded to Funimation’s YouTube account.

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About daemoncorps
Gabe (daemoncorps) has been writing about anime and the like since 2005, but has been babysat by it for much longer. He primarily spends his days distracting himself on twitter or writing for Fandom Post until he realizes he has a weekly webcomic (tapastic.com/series/scramblebouquet) to work on. He also just finished writing his first full-length graphic novel about unemployment (https://tapastic.com/episode/293804).

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