Impression: Tamako Market – Episode 03

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Episode 03 – “Hot for a Cool Girl”

The Valentine’s episode might have passed, but love still persists in the latest installment of Tamako Market! This time, it’s Dera who seems to have fallen (quite literally) in love with the mysteriously coy Asagiri Shiori from the badminton club. Tamako and her compatriots are also assigned to their new classes for the year. Tamako and Kanna, as well as Shiori, make it to the same class, while Midori and Mochizou get put into another class (separated from Tamako, on no!). We also briefly meet some of Mochizou’s guy friends too, who may be in the Film Research Society with him.

We finally get properly introduced to Shiori, who is the archetypical shy girl. In fact, she reminds me of another Shiori from The World God Only Knows, in that they both struggle with expressing their thoughts into words. While the character type isn’t new to me, I really enjoyed how Shiori’s character played out in this episode. From her cooking for Tamako’s family to practicing saying “thank you” in front of the mirror, Shiori is a great and lovable character in my book (Get it? Cause her name means “bookmark”). Most of her success can be attributed to the fairly new voice of Yurie Yamashita, who in my opinion is on par with Kana Hanazawa’s performance as the other Shiori. Tamako Market‘s Shiori and her reticent personality are just all-around adorable (even by the show’s standard).

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After encountering Dera in the beginning of the episode, Shiori takes a trip through the shopping district to return him to Tamako. Assuming that she and Tamako are friends, all of the shopkeepers give her a bunch of free stuff! They later do this with Tamako’s new homeroom teacher, which makes me wonder how they stay in business.

I’d also like take a moment to discuss how cool the coffee shop owner is. In each episode so far, he’s offered up a useful pearl of wisdom that has mystically summed up the theme of the episode. This time, he says “Music speaks more than words. I wish words could all be music,” which gives Shiori the courage to tell Tamako how much fun she had with her.

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Shiori also gets cool points for being quite the heart breaker. She acknowledges that she doesn’t like Dera following her around, and she doesn’t accept his parting feather gift either (even saying “I didn’t join the badminton club because I like feathers”).

I like how we’re getting to know more about Tamako’s friends, slowly but steadily. Last week, we learned a bit about Midori, and this week Tamako and Shiori became friends! There’s still no sign of the prince showing up anytime soon though, as next week’s preview seems to suggest that the episode will feature Tamako’s sister, Anko. This simplicity, I feel, is one of Tamako’s Market‘s greatest strengths. It may not do anything hugely original or over-the-top, but it does things in such a way that it feels fresh, exciting, and thoroughly enjoyable.

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B.W.

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