Carpe Diem: Tari Tari and Seizing the Now

Tari Tari is a celebration of the now. It actively discourages planning and sweeping ambition. It encourages spontaneity and celebrates the small, near-meaningless victories in everyday life. Don’t give up now for later.

Note: Spoilers to Episode 7 of Tari Tari.

Wakana’s Woes

Wakana is a central character in Tari Tari. The first half of the show has focused on her gradual incorporation into the Choir (and sometimes Badminton) Club. She’s the primary foil of Konatsu, who’s determined to have fun now. Wakana is serious, quiet and intense― everything Konatsu is not.

The tragedy of Wakana, as we discovered in Episode 6, is that she never truly appreciated her mother. Traumatized by her mother’s untimely passing, Wakana refuses to touch music or indulge in this she once loved. She feels shame at having spurned her mother in the final months of her life, focusing solely on exams, exams, exams. 

Results drive Wakana. Even as a young child, she was discontent to simply doodle at the piano. She always engaged seriously in everything she did. Frivolousness frustrated her to no end. When her mother played whimsical little tunes at the piano, she screamed and shouted. To her, music was serious, a means to an end, and not an end to itself. Too late does she realize that she had been missing out on the little pleasures in life. So focused was she on pushing herself to results that she never saw the little joys right in front of her eyes.

Sawa and Sabure

Sawa dreams of becoming a jockey. Her single-minded obsession with riding led her to throw away everything else in her life― family, friends, even her own health. When she falls during practice for an upcoming competition, she knows her dream has come to an end.

Sawa, much like Wakana, illustrates the folly of all-consuming ambition. Focused solely on a  singular goal, she has pushed everything else in her life to the wayside. When everything falls apart, she’s left with no direction and no purpose in life. Around her lies the shattered ruins of her familial relationships. She must now work to rebuild and reconcile, admitting fault and apologizing when necessary.

A Celebration of Mistakes

Throughout Tari Tari, all of the characters’ actions have consequences. They affect the lives of the characters in fundamental ways― Wakana’s spurning of her mother left a deep emotional scar inside her, while Sawa’s singular-minded focus on riding led to ultimate disaster. Tanaka, too, failed to advance past the quarterfinals in the prefectural tournament, forcing him to reconsider his path and apply himself to his studies.

Tari Tari tells us that it’s okay to make mistakes. Though these changes may all be life-altering, we see the process of healing unfold in front of our eyes. Wakana re-focuses herself, rediscovering the joys of music. Sawa, too, I’m sure, will ultimately find some way to cope with her own life-changing disaster. Konatsu, too, failed― she was driven out from the school choir, reduced to an Internet laughing-stock.

The solution to the characters’ problems lies in the here and now. It seems that whenever the characters in Tari Tari make grand plans, they inevitably end up failing: Konatsu’s choir performance ends up with only three people showing up; Wakana’s drive to enter high school led to an irreconcilable rift between her and her mother; Sawa’s determination to ride professionally ended with her career dying in the womb. When confronted with the failure of their ambitions, the characters in Tari Tari remain positive, focusing on creating memories in the here and now. Konatsu and Sawa have a great time at the choir show, even though a choir performance where more than 90% of its members are MIA would be considered an utter disaster by any other metric. Only three people show up for Konatsu and company’s street performance, but they rock out anyways. It’s these little moments that are most precious in Tari Tari. The characters learn to stop worrying so much about the future and focus on now. It is through the spontaneity of now that they live, laugh and love.

I’m back. Apologies for the long silence. @Akirascuro on Twitter. 

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