Cuz I love the show. Geddit?
Imaginary applause and laughter break out as Rodrovich snorts out a chuckle after punching in that “?”. He continues to indifferently type as the thick stench of cringe fills up the air around him. He can’t smell it – he’s got a stuffy nose.
The premise is weird – a part-time yakuza guy and a full-time vase-enthusiast Nitta’s life falls apart as his roof falls apart from the impact of an incoming pod. In it, there’s an alien in the shape of a listless, blue-haired kid. The kid’s got telekinetic powers, so that means she’s got blackmailing perks – and Nitta doesn’t want to lose his art collection. Thus, he unceremoniously ‘adopts’ her. Cue all the whacked out supernatural comedic hijinks… uh, not really.
The supernatural aspect is chucked out within a couple of episodes, and the anime dons the robes of a slice-of-life drama with random patches of supernatural twists in the folds.
And the show takes it all in stride as it takes out a gun labeled ‘good comedy’ from its arsenal of three (the rest labeled ‘Characters’ and ‘Anzu’), and shoots away. The short comedic jabs hit the bullseye – it’s nothing short of impressive with how well the timing is with those hilarious reaction faces (and the wide variety of those), the staff knows exactly how long they should stay on the screen, and the voice actors got their tsukkomi act timed down to a T.
Sometimes, the bare basics are enough to make an exceptional comedy – if they are timed right… in my opinion. Just as I was recovering from a good chuckle from one shot, another shot tears a grin in my face, and soon enough, the show’s got me hooked.
One of my favorite episodes was when Mao got stranded on an island and she goes schizophrenic very quickly – I wish Mao was introduced a bit earlier in the show, she’s a funny girl.
Another favorite of mine was the one where Hitomi’s classmates found out about her bartending job – it just cemented the fact that all episodes about Hitomi are great, she’s got some serious presence in the show despite being a passive character type.
But given the loose nature of the premise and the unenthusiastic character trait of Hina, I wasn’t expecting much of any character development in the show, and that was okay. I was happy with the sweet and hilarious father-daughter relationship between Nitta and Hina, and I thought that the cast was really well rounded and funny – outstanding ones being Hitomi and Utako. I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions between Anzu, Hitomi, and Hina – they add a delightful CGDCT aspect to the show.
Then Anzu’s character arc happened, it’s not dramatic – the show layers it episode by episode, warming us up to her as she hones her sincerity. For the first time in the series, I got those ‘feels’ as Anzu turned into a god, as she learned to be grateful to people around her. The episode where she moves into the old ramen shop people was just too heartwarming – and I forgot for a while that Hinamatsuri is a comedy anime. The show also used her change in behavior to make a hilarious episode where Anzu pays Nitta a visit when Hina’s off to the mountains, and Nitta temporarily experiences the joys of having the perfect kid.
The character designs are a bit unique, the jelly-like-shine on the hair color of the alien girls was weird at first, but I got used to it pretty quickly. The animation is top-notch, there’s a lot of care put into character animations, and that stays relatively consistent throughout the runtime. The background art looks decent, too.
It’s a slice-of-life, but there’s a plotline in the series where things are changing constantly in a not-so-hectic pace. The story’s not complete – the series just pulls another “now go read the manga type” ending, albeit it’s done in an interesting circular way where the series ended on the same scene it started with. Neither I nor the show took its story seriously, so I am not salty about it.
I love the opening sequence, the song is kind of a by the numbers pop rock track – but the melody is too catchy, I think I only skipped it thrice. I also loved how Utako got removed near the end of the sequence after a certain episode – maybe there are other small jabs in the sequence that I was too inattentive to realize.
If nothing else, I highly recommend Hinamatsuri for the way it handles comedy. It’s refreshing and well-timed. The cast of characters has their individual charms – especially Anzu and Hitomi- and their interactions are scripted and polished to make your sides hurt from laughing. It’s simply delightful.