April 2010


Episode 1 gives us a whole lot of information compressed into a very tight package. And it’s not just the rapid, almost stream-of-consciousness narration that provides us that, but the aesthetic style of the show itself. Every item is very deliberate. This will likely be the most image-heavy post as a result. So let’s start by talking characters.

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Episode 1

This seems to be the consensus reaction amongst most viewers to the first episode.

There’s only a handful of blogs covering this show, which is a great shame. So let’s talk Tatami Galaxy. A disclaimer to begin with: this show is fast. Lightning-fast; a rewatch may be warranted if you are poor at Japanese (which likely describes many people who would be reading an English-language blog) and if you are not a fast reader. I hope to tackle this show in a slightly more analytical (or pretentious, if you prefer) style, paying attention to major themes and literary-style criticism. Summaries and recaps will be scanty, only insofar as to illustrate examples. And again, if you’re in North America, the show is being simulcasted on Youtube by Funimation.

This post in particular will be an introductory sort of post – referencing most of the events of episode 1, but more focusing on the pre-OP prologue and talking about themes in a general sense.

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“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness, I grant you that. Yes, yes, it’s the most comical thing in the world.” -Samuel Beckett

Absurdist literature and theatre is in my personal experience something of an acquired taste – and as such, rarely seen in popular media. Samuel Beckett, Kafka, and the like are certainly fine for theatre studies and literature classes, but as a commercial venture? Not likely. Which is why I’ve been pleasantly surprised this season by The Tatami Galaxy (Yojohan Shinwa Taikei) and Arakawa Under the Bridge – there is a thin thread here, just a bare hint of an absurdist aesthetic.

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