HINAMATSURI – Mid Season Anime Review
Synopsis: Nitta Yoshifumi, a young, intellectual yakuza, lived surrounded by his beloved pots in his turf in Ashigawa. But one day, a girl, Hina, arrives in a strange object, and uses her telekinetic powers to force Nitta to allow her to live with him, putting an end to his leisurely lifestyle. Hina tends to lose control of herself, wreaking havoc both at school and in Nitta’s organization. Though troubled, he finds himself taking care of her. What will become of this strange arrangement? It’s the beginning of the dangerous and lively story of a nice-guy outlaw and psychokinetic girl! (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Hinamatsuri is a quirky mix of deadpan humour, outrageous reaction faces, absurd personalities and believe it or not, sprinklings of heartfelt emotional development and heartwarming moments. One minute you’re laughing at the chaos caused by Hina’s powers, her lack of comprehension for this world or misunderstandings and misfortunes resulting in awkward but hilarious situations. The next minute, you’re getting misty eyed watching a young and sincere girl, Anzu being pampered and bonding with a community of homeless people despite the destitute situation they are all in.
Tom: Hinamatsuri’s appeal is the marriage of generally fun, awkward, deadpan comedy, and a strong emotional throughline. For example, Anzu, the blonde psychic girl who initially follows Hina to our world in order to kill her, eventually becomes homeless instead, turning into a regular source of heartfelt hardship and tears. She’s the primary source for the more emotional gut punch and awkward, vaguely comedic drama to offset the more quirky gags. Still, Hina and Nitta’s complementary duo of deadpan obliviousness and struggling straight man is what really stands at the top of Hinamatsuri’s appeal and together the two forms of comedy help to create this odd, yet satisfying series.
Linny: Anzu and Hitomi, a regular school girl roped into the position of bartender against her will, are definitely nice little support characters as their storylines help to inject either more heart, more comedy, or both. Hitomi is the kind hearted girl who is always looking out for others and ends up having to lead a double life out of her own innocence, which later becomes a major source of awkward situations and comedy. On the other hand, seeing Anzu strive so hard to survive on her own whilst forming adorable connections with the homeless men who took her in is undeniably some of the most heartwarming moments of the series. Comparing Hina with these two girls actually can make Hina seem cold hearted, self absorbed and even thin, particularly in episode 4 when Anzu tries to help Hina make it on her own and Hina is little more than a burden to an already struggling Anzu, rather than learning any life lessons. But I would have to agree that Hina’s storylines with Nitta do produce some of the strongest gags as Hina’a oblivious nature results in some of the best jokes in the series.
Tom: Early on Hina is a bit more violent and quick to assert control over Nitta. She’s oblivious and deadpan as well, but gradually those early characteristics disappear as she’s increasingly portrayed more so as an emotionless, deadpan, naive youth. Despite the shift, the show manages to settle into that role between Hina and Nitta, forging a comedic pairing that provides many of the show’s ultimate highlights. That said, much of the series is on point, even when focus shifts to non-psychic classmate Hitomi, and her surprise shift from student to underage bartender. She helps to round out the series appeal with a third kind of awkward comedy, giving the series plenty of avenues of humor to juggle so nothing ever really grows stale.
Linny: We’ve been lavishing a lot of praise on Hinamatsuri but this isn’t to say that the series is without its flaws. For one, it does rely extremely heavily on deadpan gags and reaction faces, which sometimes tend to drag on just a little longer than necessary, putting it in danger of feeling repetitive and slow. As someone who took a quick peek into the manga, I can however vouch that the anime does a good job of condensing and reworking jokes that altogether failed to land in manga form. Seeing as the source material itself has glaring issues with pacing its humour, it’s likely that the anime, for all its improvements, could still drop the ball now and again. But that aside, for anyone seeking a slower paced comedy that still involves some insane personalities and unbelievable situations, Hinamatsuri is worth a look in.
Tom: My only real complaint is how sometimes the show gets a bit too lowkey with its comedy, bordering on boring or wallowing in its own atmosphere, as if the mere presence of cute, awkward girls is enough to entertain viewers. But these moments are fleeting, and otherwise I find the series something I cannot help but look forward to week after week.