So, what do you get when you cross Holden Caulfield, Japanese folklore, metaphysics, Groundhog Day, and superflat visuals?
You get Tatami Galaxy, a riotous and literate anime that follows an unnamed protagonist in his multiple attempts to have a fulfilling university experience. Each attempt, which usually involves joining a hobby club or sport in order to meet girls, takes up an episode and ends in glorious failure. However, he's given another chance when the clock is rewound at the end of the episode. Unfortunately, this process erased his conscious memory of what he learned in his failure, though there are hints that he's subconsciously aware of what has gone before.
It's tough to talk about Tatami Galaxy without giving too much away, but there are some observations I'd like to make:
-The protagonist's constant monologue is so fast and the visuals so dense that you might find yourself pausing certain frames to take everything in. This is the first anime I've watched where I feel like it would seriously benefit from a rewatch in the same way good literature might merit a reread.
-The music is great, with a guitar driven opening from Asian Kung Fu Generation and consistently nice score.
-The visuals are stylised and striking. The character designs are distinctive and expressive - each character's look is well matched to their personality. The dance of the tatamis in the ending credits is entrancing. Colour palettes are bold and simple, though there is an occasional use of processed live footage for environments that is juxtaposed well with the clean lines of the rest of the production. Tatami Galaxy was made with care, by people interested in design who wanted to make something a bit different from your regular anime.
This isn't an anime about magical girls, or robots, or saving the world - it's an animation for adults and there isn't much like it out right now.