Had Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge not aired during the same season as Flying Witch, it would probably have been my favourite relaxing show of the Spring 2016 anime season. That’s not to say that I disliked Tanaka-kun, it’s just that Flying Witch was very close to perfect in my eyes. I did like Tanaka-kun. It was a cute, funny, inoffensive and most of all a relaxing show.
The statement that it’s relaxing should be understood in a straight-forward manner, that is to say the show is pleasant to watch in a way that doesn’t require much energy. It’s not tense or dramatic, it didn’t make me feel strong emotions, nor did the comedy make me roar with laughter (at least most of the time). The show’s inoffensiveness requires some explanation, however. What I mean is that the show treats its characters with a decent amount of respect, and none (as far as I can remember) of the jokes were mean in spirit. In addition, while I wouldn’t call the show terribly socially progressive, I do think it was nice and sweet when Tanaka and Ohta nonchalantly behaved as if they were married to each other. That’s not something you see between two male characters very often.
I started this post out by saying that I thought Tanaka-kun lost out to Flying Witch when it came to my favourite relaxing show of that anime season, but there is one way in which I think Tanaka-kun excelled: Its visuals. And I don’t mean character designs or animation, I mean the fairly restrained and “non-shiny” colour palette and the deliberate minimalism in many of the scenes. More than any other show I’ve seen, Tanaka-kun uses backgroundless shots (i.e. fully white or black backgrounds), but they don’t make the show look cheap or unfinished, they kind of fit with the colours, the overall style and even the writing of the jokes (some of which have no punchlines). It’s actually a pretty experimental show in that sense, and I find that really interesting.