Tanaka-kun wa itsumo kedaruge ( Tanaka-kun is always listless ) or just Tanaka kun which is what I’ll refer to it as for the length of this review. Is possibly the best example of how anime can explore anime in a way no other medium can.
It’s an adaptation of a web manga , a fast growing market after the success of One Punch Man, and is running alongside the specials that’ll be released in the blu-rays and DVDs. This is probably one of the first anime I’ve really enjoyed from studio Silver Link. But it’s a great start.
Our story is that Tanaka-kun lives in a constant bubble of blissful lethargy and wants nothing more than to get through each day blissfully sleeping through it. But more often than not , things get in the way.
As usual , there’s no story , but by reading the title you should have been able to figure that out. Tanaka also shies away from any of the over-the-top wacky situations cute girls in slice of life always gets into. But I think that the single focus on character is far better. There’s some continuity between the shorts each episode , but barely any ( outside characters ) between episodes.
The humour is very calm and conversational. There’s no shouting or screaming chibi girls. It’s also surprisingly self-reflective and provides some amusing quips and thoughts on current anime production. The conversations always have a good back and forth that’s easy to fall into the rhythm of.
The OST is paired beautifully with the calming lull of the show, each track has a lot of complexity and a wide range of instruments are present. It’s an OST that’s as too easy to hum along to as it is to get lost in.The sound-design and sound effects are all crisp and on-point , simple things like opening lockers and sneakers on a wooden floor sound authentic.
The OP and ED both employ some very clever visuals , the ED going a bit more psychedelic.
This show has an greatly fitting art-style and is the embodiment of less is more. There’s a great usage of white,blank backgrounds that give it that extra bit of personality. Settings and other backgrounds are very standard as well but it’s fine since the characters are what’ll be holding our focus on the most part. The colors are faded out but still very bright. Seeing how the main theme is the one of laziness the lack of detail is excusable and quit often a punchline. There’s a few “ Gintama “ like visual gags my favorite being one where Tanaka talks about how he would prefer to be a background character since no-one cares about them and often they are left undrawn. The next shot is of him without a face and slowly fading out.
The artistic vision is evident all through-out and there’s a lot of shots and cuts that carry a lot more passion than most , epic fantasy anime that came out this season.
Characters have very sharp , clean , line designs that are outlined as if by a thin-tipped marker pen. It suites the laid back atmosphere of the show but also gives them enough depth to be able to exist on plain white backgrounds.
A lack of general animation is made up with diverse composition where the camera is free to jump from character to character with the flow of the conversation and by false movements again with the camera. The animation that the show has is very well done and subtle with not a lot of frames but enough to make movements smooth enough to not be jarring but also have a sort of static draw to them.
Our MC is extremely likeable and easy to attach to , I mean who doesn’t wish they could fall asleep in class with no repercussions , his very likeable and his listless-ness isn’t all that he has. The fact that he gets to live out every person's lazy fantasy is another way he can make people care for him. Him sleeping wherever he likes, seemingly doing no work in school and so forth are things I’m sure every person has desired that they were able to do. So in a sense it’s quite cathartic to watch Tanaka stumble through life with no repercussions.
All the side-characters are well-fleshed out from the beginning and don’t develop any sudden character changes. After episode 6 the cast is fully established and everything settles down.Their interactions are all interesting but it’s always clear that the main focus is on Tanaka-kun.
I admire this show purely on how original it is. It tops seinfeld as “ a show about...nothing “, I’ll often praise a show for being original when it does something that slightly differentiates it from the hundreds of other competitors in its genre. But Tanaka really is original , the writers had an idea and a theme that they simply went for and managed to make without their or the mangakas vision getting muddied along the way. I’m sure the low budget they must have asked for helped get this show fly onto air since I don’t see it being easy to pitch , especially looking at the large-scale and extremely popular shows Lantis ( one of the two producers ) have worked with. One Punch Man , Mirai Nikki,Kuroko no Basket..
Check this show out , especially if you’re getting sick of having to wade through tons of terrible shows to find a truly good anime maybe once or twice a year. This show might just restore to you why this medium is worth sticking with. See this type of show could never fly under conventional filming, or it’d be totally changed to a regular show with a goofy listless guy as the protagonist. The only other way I could see this show getting made properly would be as a film shown at an artsy film festival but the fact that this is broadcast on the regular air.
I’m seriously hoping for a second season and for it to be continue being as listless as possible.