An original series from Kyoto Animation for the winter anime season? Count me in! The result of this brave experiment.... Tamako Market.
The series starts simply enough as we're introduced to the show's titular character, Tamako, the daughter of a mochi shop owner who seems a little bird-brained (with every future pun intended) but is generally a nice girl with some nice friends who lives in a nice shopping town next to a nice neighbour whose son seems to have a bit of a thing for her. In short; life is nice.
However, things threaten to get turned upside down when a random visit to the local florist shop puts Tamako into direct contact with a rather unusual bird with a decidedly unfortunate name. So unusual is this bird that it talks... actually talks, none of your "Polly wants a cracker nonsense". According to this bird, Dera Mochimazzi, his goal is to find a bride for his princely owner; or at least it was before he was whisked away to this market. Then again, nobody really seems to care about what this bird has to say, as there are more important events at hand, such as the New Year and Tamako's birthday.
As we've come to expect from KyoAni these days, there's a pretty solid vein of slapstick comedy and amusing moments that runs through this opening episode of Tamako Market - but is that really enough? At this point in time, there are clearly plot elements for the series to focus upon moving forward, I'm just not sure whether they're substantial enough to take us through the series. It's also rather difficult to instantly fall in love with any of the characters - our avian friend risks being annoying more than he is adorable, and Tamako herself feels too much like an amalgam of other similar characters without anything to make her stand out from the crowd. Tamako Market is inevitably easy on the eyes and none too challenging to watch, but it will need to deliver something more tangible than that if it's going to become one of the studios best-loved shows.