I’m totally hyped about seeing the first episode of The Tatami Galaxy (Yojohan Shinwa Taikei). It finally aired this evening in the beloved noitaminA block and is already streaming on Funimation‘s video site, but… I’m region blocked! It’s been a while since I’ve been excited enough about a series to feel as frustrated as this, but, alas, rather than implode, I’ve decided to start writing this post instead! (However, if you’re based in North America, you can stream The Tatami Galaxy for free, like, right now! You guys are so lucky!)
For those not sure about why they should care, The Tatami Galaxy is the latest from director Masaaki Yuasa. In the last four years, he’s directed three anime series; 2006 brought us his Kemonozume, in 2008 we had Kaiba and this year’s offering is obviously The Tatami Galaxy.
Yuasa‘s style is best described as surreal, in fact, he’s probably the most visually eccentric and daring of all anime TV directors, barring perhaps Trapeze and Mononoke auteur Kenji Nakamura (who is, incidentally, yet another noitaminA regular.)
Each of Yuasa’s TV series embrace a vastly different aesthetic, especially when compared to the more conventional anime style. Kemonozume has a scratchy, gritty look, Kaiba is more akin to an Astro Boy-era Osamu Tezuka (when it first aired, many automatically assumed Kaiba was a children’s anime, and how wrong they were!) and The Tatami Galaxy has a clean, minimal and ‘flat’ feel.
Suffice to say, he’s a really creative and exciting director, but, like most, he’s not without his critics either. Much like last week’s debutee House of Five Leaves, the feeling I get from others is that Yuasa is just too eccentric to ever enjoy the truest adulation of the anime community. I used to lament it, but I’m now more accepting of the fact that he’s just an acquired taste.
I suppose the feeling I value most of all when I’m watching anime is when I realise what I’m seeing is something new, and after nearly 10 years, that’s a rare feeling indeed. There’s an energy and a sense of adventure to this guy’s anime that’s as refreshing as it is daring, and while I know I can’t exactly recommend the first episode of a series I haven’t even seen for myself yet, I really hope you’re willing chance it with me?