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Sometimes getting to know stories is like getting to know people. Sometimes you’ve heard of this particular story because people have recommended it to you so even though you try not to, you HAVE expectations. Good ones. And then you experience this thing and you cannot believe that it did manage to exceed your expectations. THAT. That happened to me while watching the Tatami Galaxy which I easily can call one of my absolute favorite anime.

The Tatami Galxy is a romance show that deals with themes like the transcience of our lifes and the importance of starting to realize your goals and above all, accepting the past and appreciating that in life, pain is unavoidable and necessary. Even though these themes are not innovative ones, Yuasa managed to realize them in such an artistic, colorful, enjoyable and creative way. Watashi whose name (which means “me”) exemplifies his absolute relatability is a college student. By implementing the possibility to time travel, the show deals is able to show us Watashi experiencing two years of his life in different ways (different college circles, different decisions, etc.) but regardless of the outcome, every time these two years come to an end, he wishes he could go back in time and alter his decisions, hoping to now be able to choose the right thing. After one hell of a ride through parallel worlds consisting of his alternative rooms which resemble his Tatami Galaxy, he finally realizes that and becomes able to move on, encouraged to do the thing he was meant to do for the entire time – to ask Akashi out.

Besides the beautiful and adventurous art style, an aspect that impressed me are the side characters. Even though in a 11-episode-series that focussed more on the main character’s view, the series handles to give the audience some time to get an interesting insight in other characters like Ozu, Higuchi, Akashi, Jogasaki and my favorite of them all: the old fortune teller who kept robbing Watashi. Alright, I really enjoyed all of them but in my opinion, even though he just seemed to be a weird trouble maker in the beginning, Ozu is a really layered and important character to the story but more importantly, to Watashi’s character development. In the last episode, Watashi is longing for Ozu for the first time because he finally realized that even though Ozu is not perfect and gets Watashi in trouble constantly, he managed to do something Watashi did npt – to just live and have fun without getting caught up in an existential crisis. Ozu is the kind of maniac all of us need.

I think one of the most important reasons I fell in love with the show so much is because I can identify with Watashi so much. I am in my fifth semester at the moment which means I have already experienced these two years and empathize with the feeling of wishing to go back in time to alter certain events. I know what it feels like to be trapped by your fear of screwing things up and the wish to stay in your own Tatami Galaxy to avoid this. The great thing is, I do not need to have the same crazy (and currently impossible) adventure Watashi did to come to this conclusion. In my view, first-hand-experiences are definitely very important to completely realize certain things but these experiences do not necessarily have to be made in your universe. I love to experience these philosophies through stories and I am more than thankful that this piece of art communicated something seemingly banal but so unimaginable important in the most beautiful way possible. A message I and many others want to and and need to hear over and over and over and over again: Life is short, just do the things you want to do.

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