For a series that ended up being removed from YouTube for being too racy, Getsuyoubi no Tawawa is one of the most heartfelt series I watched all season.
Following the meeting of a salaryman and a student whose paths intersect on Mondays as the two take public transportation to their respective destinations, it’s a study in weekly meetups between the two characters that eventually leads to something more.
The original story is actually a series of illustrations that are often produced without dialogue, but that’s changed here in the anime short version. All of the characters have speaking parts, so it’s a lot less difficult to suss out their feelings or intentions, if that’s something you’re into doing.
It’s easy to write off as simple ecchi, though you’d be right to label it that since several scenes are generally of high schooler Ai-chan’s bouncing breasts, but it’s also heartwarming in ways you wouldn’t expect. The first episode shows off Salaryman’s harried workdays on Monday, a day he despises since he comes back in from enjoying the weekend not-so-subtly depressed about the week ahead. While acting as Ai’s shield from possible train groping, Salaryman is close enough to Ai for them to share both physical and emotional warmth as Ai asks him questions about his day to day life.
It’s obvious from the first episode that Salaryman is smitten with Ai in ways that might be viewed as inappropriate between an older office worker and a student, but it’s never explicitly clear what their ages are, and the innocent flirting that goes on is not unlike banter that would normally be heard from coworkers hanging out outside of the workplace or two individuals who from different backgrounds find themselves spending time together.
Watching the pitfalls Salaryman deals with at his job make it clear he’s a lonely and frustrated worker who finds no enjoyment in the function he’s been assigned there, and it’s painfully easy to relate to him, especially if you’ve ever found yourself languishing in a role you don’t enjoy at a job that feels like it’s sucking your soul straight out of your body. We’ve all been there at some point (you’re lucky if you haven’t been) and having something that helps keep us going is instrumental in living a healthy and happy life.
But there’s still something special about Ai that keeps Salaryman from interfacing with a cute female coworker at his job, possibly the idea that his relationship with Ai could be viewed as taboo or out of the norm. Watching the two interact with this in mind takes on a much different context, which makes the show all the more entertaining. It also solidifies the short’s reputation as ecchi with all the “accidental” touches, breast shots, and “will they or won’t they” situations. I enjoyed the many ways Ai ended up brightening Salaryman’s day, even if she had to resort to giving him the button from her blouse each week as a lucky charm to bring a smile to his face.
But throughout it all it never seems like a sleazy or lowbrow show that invites criticism about feminist rhetoric or women’s rights, or anything like it. It’s a tale that any lonely human being could appreciate. It’s the story of a lonely soul and a relatively pure one joining together thanks to circumstance and the things that occur as a result. I enjoyed getting to know Ai-chan, Salaryman, Junior, and the rest of the players in this short story, and their little lives as they navigate them with positively, love, and flintiness. It’s a world I would certainly feel comfortable visiting again in the future.
Top Image Credit: Twitter