Tamako Market Blu-ray Box review

In 2011, the producers at Kyoto Animation and Pony Canyon decided to re-unite the staff from the hit series K-On! for an original production. Through many changes during the planning process, the final version became a show about the daughter of a mochi shopowner in a little shopping district. Tamako Market had little promotion before its initial running of January-March 2013, only a few magazine articles and commericals promoted the show. It failed to catch fire like the previous show from the staff, but it wasn’t for a lack of love towards the characters. In 2014, a sequel film, Tamako Love Story was produced. Following that release and the popularity of the film, KyoAni and Pony Canyon decided to re-release the series in a Blu-ray box. This review covers said box of the show published by Kyoto Animation and the Usagiyama Shopping Street.

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The box contains all twelve episodes on two 50GB blu-ray discs. Included with the discs is a special bonus drama CD, a special booklet (with newly drawn wide illustration), a newly drawn photocard, and a book containing the storyboards for episodes 2 and 9.

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The booklet itself details the main characters on the foldout before delving into the members of the shopping district and contents of each episode. Each episode has a comment from the director for that episode. Next are two hand-drawn messages from Aya Suzuki (Tamako’s voice) and Naoko Yamada (director) followed by two excerpts from the singles’ booklets (preliminary designs for Choi and details regarding the “Koi no Uta” lyrics). The final pages include the staff/cast for the show and for the package.

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Image quality is very good, though there are some spots with compression issues like the second image above. The photography techniques used by the staff are very clear and give a great representation from what the original design was meant to be. Pony re-encoded the video, but I notice no differences between these versions and the one on the singles. These are definitely the versions you want to save.

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Similar to the video, the audio included on the set is much cleaner and more crisp than either the legal stream or the fansub rips from Japanese TV. It sounded great coming from my surround sound system.

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The discs themselves have very few extras. The only ones kept from the JP singles were the 3 Dera’s Bar shorts and the 3 Birdbrained Choi-chan shorts. Japanese subtitles are included for everything animated.

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The likely reason why there’s so few extras included likely has to do with the commentaries. Audio commentary by Suzuki and Yamada are present on episodes 1 and 9. Each other episode has a second audio track, but that is a replication of the original audio. The extra space the audio took up could have been used for textless OP/ED and PV/CMs if nothing else. Commentaries are not subtitled.

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And finally, since I ordered the box from the KyoAni Shop website, my set had a bonus item included. This is a booklet detailing the steps taken for one cut (camera position/scene/action) from the opening: Tamako’s dance and cap flip. They include the steps from the storyboards, through the layouts and into the key frames drawn (including the corrections from Yamada (pink) and chief animation director Horiguchi (yellow). Following that are the set of in-betweens (yes, every one) and the color design/photography/BG artwork. At the end are handdrawn messages from everyone involved in this one cut. It’s a fantastic booklet and definitely added enough value to buy it from the KyoAni Shop.

And so that is the Tamako Market BD-Box. I truly love this show and to be able to support it one more time (and get storyboards/production booklet) truly made my day. I’d easily recommend this set to anyone who can listen to/read Japanese.

One thought on “Tamako Market Blu-ray Box review

  1. Thanks for the reviews. I like to import Japanese BDs as well, but only when they include English subtitles, which is usually not the case for KyōAni (or TV anime in general). BTW, photography tip for the future: shoot under stronger lighting for clearer photos, esp. when shooting with a smartphone.

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