Why do you have a movie based from a TV series? I find the reason is that you want to wrap things up nicely, you don’t need a full-run season to accomplish that and the movie will allow you to play out the emotional angles better. I can take 70 minutes to really tell my story, rather than having to break in up over three attempts of 24 minutes each. But that doesn’t mean you are guaranteed success and, sadly, the “Tamako Love Movie” fails to deliver.
There is a review out there on the series itself (“Tamako Market”), but the initial skinny is that Tamako Kitashirakawa’s family runs a mochi shop. One day, a bird comes in from a foreign land, helping the prince of his country look for a bride. Tamako was a good candidate, but eventually declined the offer. I assumed the movie was going to look at the aftermath that was caused by these odd people showing up and being a caliber of mooch for four or five months.
The movie starts off on the home island of Prince Mecha Mochimazzi, his sister Choi and the useless bird emissary Dera. They are busy making mochi and wondering aloud how things are going for Tamako and her friends. We then see them and…and…and…for 83 minutes, nothing happens. The main thrust is that Tamako seems adrift, as she does not know what she wants to do with her life. Mochizō Ōji, her rival, her friend and her companion, is planning on going to Tokyo and further his education. It appears she will take over the family business. Oji has to tell her of his decision to leave, but cannot find the gumption to tell her. Tamako decides that she will put forth a great deal of effort with the baton club to be able to participate in a cultural festival and showcase their talents.
But her talents are rather skint in the baton area, as she just cannot master what is needed to be a good baton twirler. And the movie is like that. I did not see any of the charm and grace that made the series a lot of fun; instead we are pulled down into the maelstrom of storm und drang, as these two teens are uncertain as to what they want to do with things and then, it all gets cleared up in about three minutes near the end.
For me, the movie was a disconnected problem. The ‘traumas’ that they were going through were not all that traumatic, more like an annoyance, like when you break a shoelace or pour orange juice into your breakfast cereal. There was nothing memorable or stand-out about any of the action and so it lay there like two-day old mochi. And I even question the need for the Mochimazzis to show up at all. They ‘introduce’ the film, they ‘close’ the film and that is that. I was expecting something more, like the prince decides, after all this searching, that Tamako IS the one for him and makes a direct approach for her, thus forcing Oji to fish or cut bait.
How can Oji deal financially, emotionally, materially, with a prince (and from a tropic clime) who could, actually, give her the world? That would have made for a better story, with conflict and uncertainty and what loyalty means and being true to yourself. No, I got, instead, something limp and vague. This movie is like an ermine violin: it looks nice but if you can’t play it right, it’s all for naught.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Fine animation and backgrounds)
Plot 6 (A good idea allowed to go fallow)
Pacing 4 (Slow, slow, slow)
Effectiveness 4 (Pfffffffft!)
Conclusion 7 (It ended)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Overall 2 ½ stars