I am ready to introduce to you the strangest possible anime I have ever encountered. I have no idea how TheBetterCup stumbled over this jewel, but you know this is one that I am so excited to have found and get to watch. It is wonderful, unique, bizarre, and beautiful. There are few anime that people out side of Japan can see that escapes from the basic molds in plot and characters, but Tatami Galaxy is one of those.
-What is the cartoon about?
How do I explain the plot? The story is about this third year university student that is never named. He went into uni thinking he would have the most idealistic and magical time being super social and doing lots of cool activities, but in freshman year he met a bad egg named Ozu. He ends up having the exact opposite of the social life he imagined, doing crazy almost immoral things that make people hate him. His only other friend is this first year girl named Akashi who he made a promise to (but the promise changes each episode).
-Who are the central characters?
The Unnamed Protagonist is a young college student who feels he has wasted about half of his wonderful college years because of bad company. I feel like he is an anti-hero with a tendency to blame others for his bad choices (just stop listening to the demon child and life will be great). He is super straight faced, almost unemotional at times. He comes off as super logical, but proves to be the opposite of how he seems. He is easily manipulated by Ozu to do immoral things that destroy his idealistic college social life, usually Ozu pokes at his emotions to do this, inciting great anger from the protagonist. He is super shy which obviously does not help him in the whole making friends department. The Unnamed Protagonist is the most realistic and ‘normal’ character, but also the most powerless and easily pushed around (like he has no idea what is going on).
Ozu is the weird pointy eared, pointy teeth, bad egg that The Unnamed Protagonist ‘befriends’. He seems to represent evil, and actually comes off like a demon that is haunting the protagonist. He is a third year student that is very mischievous messing with everyone’s lives by acting like he is helping but actually making it all worse. Sometimes, Ozu helps the antagonist just to mess with the main character and cause him distress. He is great at manipulating people, mostly our protagonist (first time I saw him I was weirded out by the fact that he blinked and his eyes closed horizontally). He seems all knowing at times and acts as a foil to the protagonist.
Akashi is the main love interest and what seems like the sole ‘friend’ to the protagonist. She is very stoic (breaking out of that very rarely), and she comes off as apathetic, but really she is sweet and likes the main character. She is a freshman who has an extreme fear of moths and needs to touch one of her key chains to calm down when feeling anxious (she lost one and the narrator found it, but he does not have the balls to give it back to her). She disagrees with all the bad stuff he and Ozu do, but she always helps him out of a bind. The narrator makes a different promise to her every episode, usually he does not keep it by the end of the episode, but the original promise is to take her out for ramen (which he also struggles to do till the end).
-How is the Artwork?
The art is super weird as far as anime is concerned. It is in a traditional animation style mixed with modern anime style. It is very vibrant with very realistic backgrounds, but it is always colored in a very monochromatic type of way. Only the characters are left white with black outlines, as if they were unfinished. The actual movement is very exaggerated and cartoony.
-What makes the cartoon awesome?
There are so many reasons to why this is a good anime. I personally loved the concept and how it was set up. The episodes have a strange deja vu quality. It is very repetitive, changing the social group and promise but always revolving around the same ideas of the protagonist being mad that he was manipulated to be bad, have an non-ideal college life, and having some sort of feelings for Akashi that end in a promise that he fails to keep (until the end that is). Some times the narrator becomes self aware and notices the time loop, breaking the fourth wall. There is a Tatami Galaxy (a universe with many unending halls and rooms type thing) that is a recurring theme, and so lots of weird happenings that make no sense in one episode will be explained in another as if each episode was a different universe, and they connected through those little details. This is full of adult themes like drinking, lust, fetishes, and just being an asshole (but no like explicit scenes so no worries). I also enjoyed how they depicted the characters, who are far from cookie cutter and so very flawed/strange. The protagonist speaks so very fast it makes it all dizzying adding to just how bizarre it all feels. Just try it out, it is so worth a try.