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Television Analysis

On the Adapted Works of Tomihiko Morimi
October 22, 2021

Japanese author Tomihiko Morimi is a popular contemporary name in his home country, with his now two-decade writing career spanning various genres from mystery, science fiction, and coming-of-age to romance, comedy, and drama. However, despite his varied works, Morimi has consistently returned to a loosely connected series of campus novels set in the city of Kyoto, all of which have since received critically acclaimed screen adaptations. Having been in love with these particular works ever since I first discovered them in 2010, here I'd like to discuss The Tatami Galaxy, Night is Short, Walk on Girl, and Tatami Time Machine Blues. Out of Morimo's literary repertoire, these three works share several elements not found in adaptations of his other writings; a vague continuity runs through each, with various characters recurring in small roles across the different stories; an air of psychological whimsy persists, as does a simplistic yet expressive artstyle. Notably, the adaptations of The Tatami Galaxy and Night is Short, Walk on Girl share a director: the legendary Masaaki Yuasa, one of the most talented directors working in Japan.

To properly examine the narrative and artistic successes of these adaptations, I'll start with my personal favorite: The Tatami Galaxy. This adaptation, an 11 episode project from Studio Madhouse, holds a degree of infamy for its particular style of narration; the show's entirety is narrated by the protagonist Watashi (the Japanese word for "I" or "Me") and to call his delivery "mile-a-minute" would be underselling it.

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