Paths, Finding and Pursuing: Hanasaku Iroha vs. Tari Tari

As an anime by the studio P.A. Works about a group of teenage girls growing up and strengthening their friendship, Tari Tari inevitably draws comparisons to last year’s Hanasaku Iroha, which has both a similar premise as well as visual style. In addition, both feature similar trios: a petite main character with a lot of pep, a more serious one, and a gentler one with a sizable bust. Yet, as close as they are, I find the two shows to feel quite different, and it has to do with aspirations, or lack thereof.

In Tari Tari, each of the girls (and the guys as well) each have a concrete goal they’re trying to pursue. Some of them are more long-term, like Sawa becoming a professional equestrian, while others are more immediate, like Konatsu forming a successful choir club or Wakana composing a song to fulfill a promise, but all of them have a conceivable end point to pursue which drives each character forward. This in turn influences the pacing of the show, as the sense of looking ahead gives the show a kind of momentum.

In Hanasaku Iroha, however, only Minko truly has an objective to push her forward: becoming a great chef. For everyone else, especially the main heroine Ohana, there are no particular goals or dreams associated with them. At the very best they have things they don’t want, like Yuina’s hesitation about inheriting her family’s inn or Ohana’s pensiveness towards responding to her friend Kouichi’s romantic confession, and this lends to Hanasaku Iroha on top of the rural setting a kind of slower and more subdued “day-by-day” feel.

Essentially, Tari Tari and Hanasaku Iroha are both about teenagers becoming adults, but they differ in focus. Tari Tari‘s sense of maturation comes from the characters moving along paths they’ve set out for themselves, learning along the way as a result. On the other hand, Hanasaku Iroha‘s characters are wandering through their growth to adulthood, trying to find their paths among many. Though both are about the everyday, Hanasaku Iroha sits a little more in the present, while Tari Tari shifts a little more towards the future.

11 thoughts on “Paths, Finding and Pursuing: Hanasaku Iroha vs. Tari Tari

  1. “both feature similar trios: a petite main character with a lot of pep”

    Do your research better. Tari Tari’s main character is Wakana, not Konatsu.


    • I’ve thought about that too, and the focus seems to shift heavily between them, but at the same time depending on how you look at it either can be the main character, particularly because if you define protagonist by who moves the story along, then it’s Konatsu who seems to carry the most momentum. In addition, she seems to get center stage in opening and ending themes. That said, there’s plenty of evidence for Wakana, but I think it’s not so clear cut.


      • Well, let’s see. Wakana appears first in the first episode, and last in the last episode. She’s the front girl in most of the official posters and the OST cover. The core story of the series is Wakana’s story. She appears first in the character section of the series’s website, and Ayahi, her VA, is billed first the ending credits.

        Konatsu is a sort of decoy protagonist. She seems like the protagonist at first because she’s the catalyst for Wakana’s story to kick off. But after episode 4, it’s all Wakana. She helps Sawa get over her funk, for example, and at the end, when everyone, including Konatsu lose hope because the festival was canceled, it’s Wakana who decides to sing anyway and brings the whole club together.

        Wakana is also the character opposite to Ohana in PA Works’ crossover interview, where Wakana and Ohana ask each other questions about themselves. Wakana also represents Tari Tari in every crossover poster.

        As for the OP and ED, Wakana appear first in both of them.

        Really, all in all, it’s pretty damn clear who’s the protagonist.


        • I hadn’t looked at all of the supplemental material (posters, OSTs, etc) so I didn’t know that they displayed Wakana most prominently. I disagree that Wakana appearing first in the opening makes that obvious, as many of the shots frame Konatsu more prominently, but you’ve made your point valid. While I think that the other characters act as protagonists at times in this ensemble cast, it’s clear that Wakana is given prominence overall.

          So with that out of the way, what do you think of the actual post?


  2. I think you might be trying too hard to smash these two works together because they’re from the same studio. But yeah, Hanasaku Iroha is a coming of age story, more or less, so “missteps” are to be expected along the way. Tari Tari I feel had feelings of that as well, actually, but as the focus covered all five members of the choir club, rather than the tight focus on Ohana’s growth, that feeling never really comes out because there was not enough “time” to adequately do that for everyone other than Wakana. But as such, to me Tari Tari had less impact probably because the main focus was split. And I do feel that if the show had 13 more episodes, we would get less maturity actually. Especially given the main “issues” of people like Sawa (Sawa sawa) and Wien.


  3. I would probably say the main character of Tari Tari is about as ambiguous as the main character of Yuru Yuri, whether it’s intentional or not. The attention span in Tari Tari is just too short to focus on a single character. Goals are reached essentially in the same episode they’re introduced, and that’s really not the proper pacing for a story about aspirations. Just the feeling of pace itself separates the two. I enjoyed Hanasaku Iroha’s wandering pace, but I enjoyed Tari Tari much less so because of that.

    It’s not much to just go on feelings, but the two shows feel like they deal with approximately the same areas of concern at drastically different paces.


    • Even if a company says a character is a main character, if they don’t focus enough on that character in the actual series, it’s a failure on their part, regardless of how much promotional content features that character.


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