Monday is a terrible day of the week isn’t it? It’s disliked worldwide it seems. Boy did one illustrator find a solution with this series! And it has gone on a horni boi rampage ever since. This show is a perfect example of how something that starts small can evolve into something much larger. The illustrator for what became known […]
Monday is a terrible day of the week isn’t it? It’s disliked worldwide it seems. Boy did one illustrator find a solution with this series! And it has gone on a horni boi rampage ever since.
This show is a perfect example of how something that starts small can evolve into something much larger. The illustrator for what became known as the Tawawa on Monday series began these works as simple drawings aimed at lightening up people’s Mondays. It evolved from there to a manga and hence to these anime shorts which I will review here.
Evolve? Doesn’t he mean “devolve?”
I kind of like this show. It’s sexy, it’s sweet, it’s ultra pretty in lots of ways. But I also have some problems with it, concerns that many in the anime community share. The series mostly treads this line carefully and effectively, but the meaning is clear even it’s smoothed over.
Some R-rated material follows. Reader discretion and all that. Let us begin the critique.
Let’s make a distinction right away. In this series there are full female characters and half male characters. We’ll discuss this more in the Artwork section. As far as the characters themselves go, the males matter but don’t matter, while the females are everything. The males exist to serve the females’ interests.
Hey, that’s the point of this show. Girls loving on guys. Girls being cute around guys. Girls bringing out the horni in guys….
It’s kind of weird. A show that’s certainly targeted at male audiences puts male characters in a very subservient position in the show, all while making them the center of the girls’ affections and attentions. It’s curious, but is there anything to it? If there is—I’m not really concerned about it.
Because this show is about the girls. And the girls will stir the feelings of male and female viewers alike. Through mostly male viewers.
The show consists of following a small set of females in their real-world adventures, amorous or otherwise. The girls vary in age and in timeline, though the events surrounding them mostly occur within a small geographical area. Most of them meet the others at some point throughout the show. All have their unique characteristics that make them attractive. And some common characteristics that are intended to make them attractive.
Ai-chan is the primary female character. I don’t say “main” character because that’s not how this show really works. But she’s certainly the first girl we encounter, and probably the first character the Tawawa illustrator created, or at least the first girl featured in the Tawawa illustrations. She’s a sweetie. Her deal is that she has to travel to school by train. Let’s say that her heightened sex appeal would probably make her a target of lechers on the crowded train. She meets a male character who the series simply calls “Salaryman,” an office worker who also rides the train on her route, and this nice man stands near her and passively protects Ai-chan from perverse assaults. Nevertheless, his male instincts are no less subject to Ai-chan’s charms, and he regularly sweats heavily as Ai-chan presses him, literally and otherwise. For her part, she seems grateful, and this translates to affection more than a little.
Still, she doesn’t have the most charm for me. For one thing, she’s a school girl, and I can only be so aroused, in any manner, by someone her age. She’s very attractive and the height of sweet, but she doesn’t touch my feelings like some of the other characters.
And by “other characters,” I mean Maegami-chan. One of the few characters with an actual name in this series other than Ai-chan, this girl made my heart do things I didn’t know it could do. Her story starts in the second season of Tawawa, when she’s still a high school student. She falls in love with one of her teachers. Really? Anyway, they don’t reciprocate their feelings until she graduates and is legally an adult, whereupon she tracks down her beloved sensei and inserts herself into his life, and ultimately the two get married.
While this sounds idiotic—it is—watching it happen will melt your heart. First of all, Maegami-chan is gorgeous. Artwork section. Second, this girl is voiced by Rie Takahashi. Yes, one of the sweetest voices ever to grace the world of anime: Megumin from KonoSuba, Emilia from Re:Zero, Takagi from Teasing Master Takagi-san, and Mash Kyrielight from the sprawling Fate/ series. Oh it’s amazing. It makes me want to jump up and down! Silky smooth, sexy on demand, sweeter than sugar, a clear ringing like the soft sounds of pure water trickling from a world beyond. Third, the sexy sweetness of this character’s design is amazing. Yes she’s in high school, but she has a maturity about her that is unmistakable. And that’s probably intentional by the authors: she is romantically pursuing an adult after all. She knows how to appeal to adult tastes when that adult has age appropriate tastes. She definitely does.
Other than these two, some of the characters are difficult to tell apart. One of the reasons is their physical features. They all have brown hair and big boobs. But another reason is simply that each episode flashes quickly between sets of characters, and sometimes it’s not clear which set we’re watching. And the characters are usually related to each other somehow. Not by family—hell no—but by position usually. Like, Ai-chan’s volleyball friend is Salaryman’s niece—we all know that’s not family—and Kouhai-chan and Senpai work at Salaryman’s office. Maegami-chan and Sensei end up renting the apartment next to Ai-chan’s apartment, after previously living next to Salaryman’s apartment (stop me if I’m wrong—I might be misremembering that). So it gets a little confusing.
Nevertheless, this usually doesn’t affect their memorability. Kouhai-chan isn’t very memorable, but Volleyball-bu-chan is super memorable, mostly because she’s really tall and teases Ai-chan about her breasts. She’s really pretty and really lively though, more of a tomboy type. I always like that. Oh, I almost forgot about the cheerleader girl. She’s pretty much purely there for the fanservice, whereas other characters usually have other memorable aspects. She’s just pure sex appeal, which I don’t really like given she’s definitely high school age.
So that’s kind of the theme here. An interesting set of pretty characters that sometimes are difficult to tell apart unless they have a really prominent defining feature. Or, a unique prominent defining feature—the girls all have a common prominent feature. So should I really try to make a big deal about the quality of these characters? After all, this is pretty much a boob show sans the nudity. The reason there’s no guys’ faces is because we’re supposed to be looking at the girls, emphasis on “looking.” Any way you look at it, this is a visual show. How important can the individual characters be at that rate?
Happily, I can say that several of them are quality characters. Even among sexy girl characters a writer can do a poor job creating them. Cliche, trite, ordinary, etc., often to the point that their sexiness is undermined. So while the characters are a little cookie-cutter from a physique standpoint, they’re mostly unique and interesting enough to be memorable. They definitely create some teary-eyed moments in this show, and sometimes bring a warm feeling to viewers’ hearts. And I will not deny they effectively bring a warm feeling to another part of our bodies a lot as well.
Well, there’s ecchi and there’s ecchi. These are good quality ecchi characters. It pretty much boils down to that. For something that started purely as illustrations, these are decent and certainly memorable characters.
This is an extremely artwork-driven anime. I expect that from a series that originated in simple drawings. And it is extraordinarily beautiful.
Which I also expect from this kind of series. After all, the drawings were what gave this series its popularity before it ever became manga or anime. Those drawings are exquisite. The excitement those drawings inspire definitely translates to the artwork in this anime, and it’s quite something to behold.
I’m not talking about the physiques. We’ve all seen plenty of oversized anime tiddies, to borrow a vulgar phrase. There’s more to these drawings than that. Not to take anything away from that aspect in this show—among anime breasts, they are rather shapely—but far be it from me to reduce this artwork to that alone. These faces are amazing. Beautiful, large, pear-shaped glassy eyes adorn the plump and rosy faces of these beautiful females. They ooze a kind of passive sexiness. Not an aggressive sexiness like a Kan’u Unchou (Ikkitousen) or an Albedo (Overlord), nor even that kind of ineffably sexiness in a Hanekawa (Monogatari), but just a calming, sweet sexiness. The eyes droop at the corners perfectly. The soft and sensual smiles range from innocent beauty to sophisticated and undisguised lust. The eyebrows—they’re amazing, too much to describe. It’s a treat to watch.
Maegami-chan. As much as people identify this series with Ai-chan, Maegami-chan embodies this series to me. Beautiful, alluring, smart, sexy, passionate, sure of herself, she’s a dream girl. Of all the types of girls in this show and all their various kinds of sexiness (even if it’s just shades of difference sometimes), this girl is at the top of the heap in my opinion. Her straightforward, honest attempts to seduce Sensei would make an old man get it up. Her sweetest moments come when she finally hits the legal age and more or less proposes to Sensei. She’s so beautiful here I cried. I love the fact that grown-up Maegami is even more beautiful than high school Maegami.
She is beautiful. Her violet eyes are worth going to war over. They are like gems—nay, gems are not so invaluable. Her pretty bangs that hang over those gorgeous eyes are a master touch. She uses them fully to her advantage too. It’ll stop your breath. I needn’t mention her figure, as it’s much like the other girls’ figures, but it feels so much sexier on her. Perhaps it’s her attempts to seduce Sensei that highlight her figure more than the others, but it’s quite something. She’s an amazing design, and definitely is the number one thing I will always remember about this series.
What’s up with that coloring? Almost every scene has a blue tint. This varies by degrees from scene to scene, but the blue tint is impossible not to notice even though each episode is really short. Turns out there’s a reason behind this. The original drawings from which this series sprang were almost entirely blue. Look it up. They’re really interesting and really pretty, and the blue coloring is a big part of that. So I like that this anime took advantage of that and built that into the artwork. It jumps out at you even if you don’t consciously recognize it, and it really enhances the beauty of this artwork in a special way.
The males don’t have faces. Maybe one or two times we see a male face. Usually we do not. The artists kind of get by this by obscuring the male’s faces, usually by placing the brow and eyes just above the frame’s top edge. I said it before: this show isn’t about the boys. It may be for the boys, but it’s not about the boys. May they play their role and depart. So the artists appropriately keep them out of the picture, often literally.
I’ll address the elephant in the room briefly here, more in the next section. The boob show is too much. This show would’ve been fine without all this. If it were just the size, or if it was just one character, I’d let it pass easily, and probably appreciate it on some level. I even get the thing with the buttons. But the cheerleader girl—I drew the line. All the flopping and bouncing—this is a high school girl, regardless of the fact that she’s becoming a gravure model. And it’s not just her, just she’s a good example of this issue. I do not want or need that kind of stimulation. You want to target high school audiences with that, that’s one thing, though I even have problems with that. But this show is definitely targeted at adults. Mondays aren’t so bad for students, and never have been. The majority of students, even if they don’t love going back to school, like going where all their friends are, so Mondays aren’t such a big deal to them. This show is aimed at working-age young men who have distaste for Mondays, or older men if we really are honest about it. That’s nasty. High school boob shows are always problematic, but this in particular bugs me.
So that’s a big negative. But as big as it is, speaking purely from an artwork perspective, that’s the only problem with the artwork. Overall the beautiful faces and the cool coloring are a wonderful visual experience. The artwork alone in this series will make your heart leap in excitement. That’s something special that only anime can do.
If you think about it—or read the various synopses out there—this show is about Ai-chan’s Monday train ride with Salaryman chaperoning her, since she has to ride an early train to get to school before everyone else, since she’s the student council president or some such thing. Then we follow a handful of other females as they grow up and experience romance and growth and learn about life, etc., etc., etc.
I’ma lay out the real story for you. Ai-chan’s breasts are so big they pop the freaking buttons off her shirt. And they’re getting bigger. She gives a one of these buttons to Salaryman every week, because. Other girls have big breasts too, and they use them to get what they want. Boi horny. Boi likey likey. The end.
I’ve already discussed the issue of sexualizing high school students a little above. So I’ll discuss it again to emphasize. I do not like this. Anime does it, and does it a lot, but at times a show might be targeted at high school audiences, the characters might not interact with adults, or the characters themselves are portrayed as beyond their years, either by impossible fictional age or obvious physical or mental maturity that essentially make them more than their physical age. None of this is the case here, not at all. This show is aimed at older audiences. The girls are clearly high schoolers and are portraying real-world situations. Their physical maturity is of a sexual nature only. Mentally they are clearly high school age, particularly Ai-chan and the cheerleader, who are mostly innocently ignorant about how they are using their bodies to affect the men around them. The exception is Maegami, who not only ages to legal age during the show, but also behaves beyond her years consistently. And Kouhai-chan of course, who is an adult.
Even so, you could argue that Maegami’s storyline is the worst. She’s actively pursuing an adult, and using just about every asset she has to get him. The adult, to his and the writers’ credit, doesn’t bend or break, even to the point that he makes Maegami cry with his refusals at one point, but he is clearly interested in her. On the other hand, one could argue that this male character handles this very well. He interacts with Maegami as little as possible until she comes of age and they truly become involved. So the whole Maegami thing could go both ways, and I tend to think this storyline is one of the more acceptable ones despite its immediate appearance.
Still, the whole situation with these girls is the wrong kind of edgy. There’s a reason we don’t sexualize children, of any age. While I needn’t go into that here, it is a given, and treading too close to that boundary is one thing anime needs to still be better at if it continues to approach it. This show is a pretty egregious breach of that boundary, even considering some of the horrors in media out there.
Nor do I need to launch into a diatribe on the ecchi genre again. Most of you understand my feelings on this. Most ecchi is egregious. Most of it is a cheap way to get audiences’ attention without having to put a lot of effort into creating a particular work. There is but a small area where some ecchi is artistically interesting, and that can be summed up in the sheer beauty of those being portrayed. If you look at this show from that perspective—these girls are really beautiful, and the whole point of this particular ecchi series is to spotlight these beautiful girls, arousing our senses and making our blood pump harder. But looking at this show from a broader ecchi perspective—it feels egregious. I can only make so fine a point out of it without sounding ridiculous, but there are boob shows and there are boob shows. Ikkitousen, High School DxD, Golden Boy, Queen’s Blade…these shows are specifically meant to portray female physical beauty (in various ways), argue what you will about the merits (or demerits) of that. And they do it gloriously well. They are stimulating without straying into a baser realm.
Tawawa’s ecchi, while definitely meant to highlight female beauty, feels wrong. And I think it’s meant to feel wrong. I think the authors wanted this show to feel edgy, to make the viewer a little uncomfortable with what they were ingesting. What Hawk, High School DxD isn’t supposed to make the viewer uncomfortable? No: it’s purely visual sexual stimulation. That show is almost laughably ridiculous otherwise, even if the story is mildly important and decent for an ecchi series. It’s not real. Well no anime is real Hawk. Yes but all anime is meant to portray humanity, from human form (High School DxD) to human suffering (Attack on Titan, Your Lie in April) to human joy (Non Non Biyori, KonoSuba), and all the spectrum of human interactions in between (Gintama, Monster). It could be argued that no art is more human than anime in certain senses. But there are degrees within that too. Some shows are closer to reality than others.
Touche Hawk, but what does that have to do with Tawawa on Monday? This show’s edginess is based on how closely it mirrors the real world, and how possible the things happening in the show are. Girls are molested on trains in our world. Thank goodness for good guys who try to do something about it. Girls do fall in love with their teachers occasionally—and vice versa. Pretty girls are often exploited by adults who take advantage of their naivety, moving them towards the adult entertainment world. That’s the reality portrayed in Tawawa. Last I checked, there are no high school occult clubs engaging in pitched battles between the forces of light and darkness in the realms beyond.
I launched into a diatribe anyway. You get my point. The edginess of this show comes from its nearness to reality, and is intentional. That kind of ecchi, when you’re dealing with high schoolers, crosses the boundary in my opinion. As much as I enjoy the beauty of this show, you can clearly see how obvious this other factor is to me and how much it bugs me. I hold that against this show, and others like it. The author strays too close to a realm where men of any age can sexually fantasize about high school girls. That ought to make you recoil in horror just a little even reading that.
So I beat this show up over this glaring ethical and moral issue. It’s a bad issue, one that’s nearly impossible to overcome. But the objective reviewer in me must speak. The writers do overcome this—mostly. Ai-chan isn’t ever exploited by anyone. Salaryman doesn’t particularly seem to enjoy the gifts of the buttons—and what is he to do anyway? He never bothers her, and certainly plays a most chivalrous role in her life. Maegami’s Sensei never lays a finger on her until after she’s of age. He may want to, he may be tempted—as most men would be—but he never acts on it until it’s morally acceptable to do so. The cheerleader becoming a gravure model has a good friend watching out for her, and we’re probably meant to think she’s in good hands. And Kouhai’s situation seems ethical overall. So despite all that I can complain about this show and who its target audience is and who’s being sexualized, it comes off pretty clean if you examine it in fine detail. It’s like robbing a store without committing a crime. You can’t argue with the result, and it sure looks bad on the surface, but apparently no harm’s been done. Seems kind of impossible right? They manage to do it here, and I—mostly—applaud that.
Because this show is entertaining. It’s stimulating, beautiful, lots of fun to watch. If you don’t like ecchi at all, and I always will understand that, you obviously won’t like this show, because it is ecchi to the core. But if you can stomach that or like this kind of thing, this show is stimulating both sexually and emotionally. I can’t get over Maegami-chan’s post-graduation/post-eighteenth birthday visit to Sensei apartment and the beautiful moment they share there. It’s so humanly beautiful it could make you forget about all the negatives this show could be charged with. There’s a few moments like that throughout this show. It’s a very good anime experience in this sense.
I love that this show is all about the Monday blues. It’s kind of fun. It even aired on Monday. I looked forward to it every week. It brought a liveliness to Monday unlike anything else. People hate Mondays, and this author had enough humanity to devote a large portion of his professional life to trying to impact that positively. Argue with his choices as we will, his motive was good. He wanted to make a differences where few people would’ve even thought to try. Anime, I tell you guys and girls, anime is a beautiful thing. Nobody making live-action ever even thought of doing something like this, in all their pomp and money and technology. A near pervert manga artist thought of it, had the decency and sympathy with his fellow man to not only think of it but devote his time to it. And the world of anime thought well enough of his work to bring it before us in anime form. Anime is a beautiful thing.
There’s a good chance we’ll see a third season of Tawawa. You know what would make me very happy? Continuing to watch these girls grow up and come of age. Not because it would legitimize their sexual portrayal, but because it would erase a lot of the current issues with that. All of their situations would become similar to Maegami’s, and all would be well. It wouldn’t completely undo the issues, but it would make them much better. It would mitigate that breach of that boundary, aforementioned.
But even more than that, this show is fun and beautiful, and despite it all, I would love to see more of it. If you took all the boob stuff out of it, I’d still love this show and want endless seasons of it. It’s pretty, it’s lively, it’s human. It’s anime. As much as I can find to complain about here, the more I yet I find to like. I hope we’ve not seen the last of this series.