Tatami Galaxy is an anime redeemed by its ending. The ending is cathartic because there is no time reset- only parallel universes that the protagonist has no access to. There is nothing deep about the message of the show and in the end it left me wondering if so many episodes were necessary to tell such a simple message? Also even though refreshingly there is no time reset, there is the sudden change in the protagonist (who is only referred to as ‘I’) that amounts to a character rewrite. The only other series that was redeemed by its ending in this manner that I can think of is Code Geass R2 but that too is going to be undone with a sequel.
No explanation is given as to why there are different parallel universes or why the MC has been given any access to them. So in the end it just feels like a moraliy play for children, you know like those short stories with talking animals to teach children a moral lesson, even the art style wouldn’t look too weird in such a story. Not even the protagonist spends any time questioning why he is able to do this like it is the most normal thing ever, does he even know it?
The art style felt rather flat like the characters and backgrounds have no depth sometimes. It added nothing nor removed anything to the content but it did help to grab to my attention. It was colourful but not too glaring and distracting, although I didn’t like the backgrounds because they often had imprecise unstraight borders and weird colouring (like someone had used a highlighter or something.)
The character art was simple and slightly cartoonish and it matched the personalities of the characters too much (e.g. The mischeavous one looked too mischeavous, the pensive one looked too pensive. No, I don’t find it funny. The main character speaks too fast and makes references to Japanese places and things I know little about so I may have missed much of the humour in the protagonist’s overthinking. I wouldn’t call the overthinking pretentious though because the protagonist wasn’t trying to preach to us about society or life or something. He was just worried and overcomplicating everything. Unfortunately I was given no reason to care about the protagonist or any of the other characters. The side characters were all given back stories but I wasn’t interested in any of them. By the end I was as tired as the protagonist and I just kept on watching because of how good everyone told me it is. The protagonist interacts with the characters but is always isolated because there isn’t really that much chemistry between him and the other characters.
In the end the moral lesson of the story had to be spelled out (not as condescendingly as at the end of a He Man episode) by his big chinned pensive looking sempai.
Some metaphors were rather poorly thought out and odd, for example the use of a cowboy to represent the protagonists libido was just weird rather than arousing. There wasn’t nearly enough fan service in this show.
I give this anime a 7 out of 10. The biggest problem with this series is that we are not revealed that there is a mystery at all until the very end. Maybe I wasn’t attentive enough but it wasn’t foreshadowed at all that each episode was in a different universe, so even though the ending was thematically appropriate, it felt like a ‘Oh by the way the protagonist has been hopping from parallel universes, don’t pay any attention to how, those are just unnecessary details, oh look at that artsy animation scene instead.’The characters felt too much like ‘heh, you used to know a guy like this or a guy you thought was like this right?’ and the message of ‘it doesn’t what choices you make, what matters is what you deal with those choices’ seemed rather like a platitude.
Steins; Gate: In some ways it is better than Tatami such as having more chemistry between the protagonist and his love interest; something that Tatami severely lacks. In other ways it was worse for having a time reset even though the protagonist did earn it. Steins Gate is also better than Tatami for at least attempting to explain its time travel (even though if you think too hard about it, it may not make sense) while Tatami Galaxy doesn’t even attempt to explain the presence of different parallel universes. SG also gives backstories to characters but they all feel like the backstories of dating sim characters which makes it seem fake while TG has more realistic and plausible characters and no otaku pandering self-empowerment fantasy characters. Nonetheless the characters in Steins;Gate have more presence while I can’t even remember the names of the characters in TG. Also there was a lot of more tension in SG because there was a tangible threat to the characters while in TG the conflict was just that the protagonist didn’t get to live the college
life he wanted. While SG spends the first few episodes explaining how time travel works, TG waits until the very episode to explain that the protagonist is moving from one universe to the other so until then it feels like a gag anime with bad punchlines.
The ending in SG felt satisfactory but there wasn’t any message to the show, except ‘don’t betray your nakama and don’t play with time travel or you will suffer but then end up with a hot red head.’ Make no mistake though the protagonists in both series are self insert characters but at the very least the reactions of the Okabe (the protagonist in SG) in being placed in a strange circumstance are more normal than in TG where the protagonist just moves from one universe to the next like it is the most normal thing ever- he has no time to think about what the fuck is going on he has o find his perfect college life.
Groundhog day: An american movie, similar to TG but with more family friendly characters. There’s no universe hopping but don’t worry just like TG it won’t trouble you with any explanation for its time travel.