Archives for : Hal Film Maker

Tamayura Hitotose (anime review)

Tamayura HitotoseTitle: Tamayuri Hitotose 

Director: Junichi Sato

Music by: Noboyuki Nakajima

Studio: TYO Animations (series), Hal Film Maker (OVA)

U. S. Distributor: Nozomi Entertainment

U. S. Release Date: Oct. 6th, 2015

Format: DVD/ 389 Minutes / 12 Episodes and OVA

Genre: Slice of Lice, Coming of Age, Shojo

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+


As a little girl, Fuu Sawatari’s father taught her to love photography. They took pictures everywhere they went. But after he passed away, seeing those photographs only served as a reminder of her loss, so she locked them away to be forgotten. Years later, her brother Kou finds their father’s picture album, and as he flips through its pages, the pictures remind Fuu of all the happy memories of her father that she will carry with her forever.

Now, as the shy Fuu enters her first year of high school, she once again takes up her father’s old camera, determined to take wonderful pictures that will bring joy and happiness to others.


Tamayuri Hitotose is one of those sweet light series that looks simple but dives much deeper and interesting than expected. With the basic concepts being rather simple and straight forward I would have expected it to be more about the day to day life of these girls. What I found was a series that provides just that a simple look at a group of girls as they begin their journey into adulthood, there is also a interesting look at the fine art of photography. Now I must disclosed that I have a degree in fine art photography and it clearly colored my perspective. The thing about Tamayura Hitotose and the narrative exploring art photography is that it does a great job of bringing up the general concepts of what a good photo is compared to a “messed up” or not so good photo. It is not that it points out a general perspective of the good photo but rather questions the notion of what a messed up photo is. In fact it provides an honest opinion that there is beauty in all photographs and many that might not show us the perfectly framed head with the happy glowing smile are eve more meaningful than the expected perfect shot.

Tamayura Hitotose also gives a very sentimental look at a father who is no longer alive and missed dearly. As touching as I found that aspect of the plot I can’t say that it was anywhere near as important as the discovery of what friendship is between these girls and the art appreciation of photography. The character development was rolled out wonderfully with plenty of story built around all of the girls not just Fuu. The one aspect of their personalities that I found over the top and somewhat disappointing was the way they ended up being hyper personalities and they tended to overreact to situations that highlight their personal traits.

Overall Grade: B+

Again, Tamayura Hitotose is now of those series that is perfect for girls under the age of 15 but the series is only provided with sub titling. I’m not sure why Nozomi does not spend the extra bucks to provide a solid english dub for this and other series like Aria, Sketchbook or even The Sound of the Sky. I think they could introduce the rich wonderful world of great story telling married with a strictly eastern philosophy on life and growth. There are some great life lessons here and they are provided in a kind sweet forum that is entertaining and only makes the viewer smile in the end.

Tamayura Hitotose is a great series for anyone who loves photography and someone who likes the feel go story of friendship and kindness that a positive life can bring.

Aria The Natural Season 2 part 1

Aria The Natural Season 2 part 1Aria The Natural Season 2 part 1

Director: Jun’ichi Sato

Studio: Hal Film Maker

U. S. Distributor: Nozumi / Right Stuf

U. S. Re-Release Date: Jan. 7th, 2014

Format: DVD / 13 Episode / 325 Minutes

Genre: Slice of Life, Sci Fi

Age Rating: 13+

Overall Personal Rating B+


Akari, Aika and Alice are three girls who share a single dream: to become the most talented gondoliers in all of Neo-Venezia! Every day they train toward their goal, exploring all the wondrous sights that the water-covered planet Aqua has to offer. Whether it’s spending a wild day at Carnevale, sharing a beautiful sunset, or even crossing paths with the mysterious spirits that dwell in Aqua’s shadows, for these three friends, each day is a new adventure!


As season two of Aria begins the magic and wonderful presence of these young women jumps right out at you. Aria The Natural picks  up right the first season left off and  we still see three young ladies taking their jobs seriously and all have the goal of becoming the best gondolier. Even with that goal they still manage to remain young and keep  the thrill of discovery alive. The thing about Aria The Natural is that it stands a  beacon for anyone who has a long term life goal. Aria is not a jump up and scream action series or a leave you crying story, but rather one of those single slice of life / coming to age series that is simple and straight forward. I gives us characters that are easy to connect with and very sweet in nature. They have no crosses to bear or a score to settle, they only have their lives to live and to stay focused in their goal. Of course Aria may come across as being very simple and doesn’t always hold your attention, but for me that is part of the charm. 

The animation may not be overtly slick and for this series it fits well. For Aria The Natural the looks are important and the easy stylings are friendly and inviting. That is very important and also very important to the series as it progresses. The voice acting also plays into the series easy charm and all of the characters are given a chance to be themselves without feeling forced or heavy handed. The production of this series is well balanced and perfect for what it is.

Overall Grade: B+

Aria The Natural part 1 is something that needs to be given a chance. I understand that for many anime fans it is the series that have high impact, action or even hard hitting drama , but i think that Aria is a great example of a quiet series that has plenty to offer. Trust me on this, I believe you will walk away understand the magic that this series has to offer. Don’t be afraid to give this series a chance, I have a feeling that you will find it a great little get away.