I bring you today a little blog about a very unique anime called Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei, or rather, The Tatami Galaxy.
This anime seems to be widely misunderstood and overlooked because of it’s bizarre art style and unique story. I would highly recommend this anime, for it is an engaging and unique experience, however, there are some things you should know before starting this.
Be well aquatinted with sub anime
People, including myself, are NOT JOKING when we say the subtitles go by fast. Realistically speaking, they are about 3 times faster than the average sub. If you have not watched a sub anime, or have little experience watching sub anime, or are not a very fast reader, then I would put this series off for a later date when you can do it. When I watched the first episode, I was shocked and had to pause it multiple times to catch up/understand what was happening. After a while you get used to it. I linked the first episode below so you can see just how fast it is.
Come in with low expectations
I came in with very high expectations for this anime. Having watched and loved Ping Pong, I thought The Tatami Galaxy would be the same deal. Oh how far off I was. The Tatami Galaxy is nothing at all like Ping Pong, with exception to the concept of an untraditional art style. Stated plainly, Tatami Galaxy tells the same story over and over again: A young man who wastes away his two years of college with activities that amount to nothing. If you look at it like that, this anime seems very uninteresting. I’ll admit, after a few episodes I was tired of repeating ideas and scenes, but later something occurred to me: you aren’t supposed to watch this anime and view it as a fluid series of meant to be episodic events, it really is pure episodic. Other series introduce more characters over time and have ongoing jokes, but the Tatami Galaxy avoids that by reintroducing and re-explaining every character each episode. This may feel tedious at first, but at some point (with all the twists per episode) it becomes endearing. The Tatami Galaxy blasted away my expectations, which ended up being for the better.
You won’t find another anime like this
The greatest reason to watch Tatami Galaxy is to expand your anime horizons. I have yet to find another anime that is exactly like Tatami Galaxy. In fact, I think the closest anime would be Ping Pong (story telling techniques, crazy art, etc.) or Welcome to the NHK (similar themes, slightly psychedelic), but even those are not even close. From the odd story telling style, to the unique art and animation, you can look far and wide but still have a hard time finding an anime like this.
Your eyes are in for a treat
The visuals in Tatami Galaxy are unique and stunning. Some may find them a little lame, but they actually do their job very well. The art is colorful/vivid, but alters itself to the given premises and scenes. Many scenes use real life footage that have been edited with colors and overlaid with drawn animation. I find it to be quite rich and lively. The character designs are typical (if you were to draw them in the style of the average anime), but made unique by the cartoony style. The movement is very fluid, and uses exaggeration to get the point across, which is quite effective. If you can’t handle art that isn’t perfect, uniform, normal, or consistent, then this is not the anime for you. I find myself pausing this anime quite often to take in the visual, and relish the moments of dialogue (the only time when the talking/subtitles slow down).
Expect the unexpected
Yes I know I said come in with low expectations, but this is a different point. If you think this anime is going to be predictable, then you are probably wrong. Yes, each episode has the same premise of the last, but the twist/change of the initial details makes each episode into its own anime. Some events happen in every episode, but the order or location in the episode changes every time, so you can never really tell what is happening. Los, while the main cast is introduced every episode, they often come into the story in very different circumstances. If you drop this anime thinking that the episodes are all the same, then you are way off the mark.
Well I hope you enjoyed my little rant on The Tatami Galaxy, and I hope you check it out because it is a pretty great anime!