- Genre : Comedy, slice of life, magical girl, supernatural, action, drama,
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Feel
The world is a though place. It can be very hard to eke out a decent living. These are strange and troubled times we live in when a nice hardworking Yakuza can’t even sit back and enjoy his vases in peace without some strange pandimensional girl landing on his head. And now he has to feed her and take care of her… this is not what Nitta signed up for. Sure, the girl’s tremendous psychic powers come in handy from time to time but it is most definitely not worth the hassle. So now the question becomes, how can Nitta get rid of her. By the way, her name is Hina. My autocorrect keeps trying to change it to Gina. I have to stop writing these on the bus.
Hinamatsuri was warmly and enthusiastically recommended by a bunch of you last week (as of writing in late July) so I immediately watched the entire thing in a few days. You say jump, I say how high! For the two of you that may not have seen it:
Hinamatsuri is the tale of a deeply traumatized girl with extreme psychic abilities who ends up in the home of a Yakuza when attempting escape. Think Elfen Lied but instead of a couple of sweet kids trying to help her, Hina has to deal with gangsters trying to take advantage of her or simply get rid of her at every turn. There’s also a few other psychic girls sent to bring her back or take her down. Children are constantly put in inappropriate situations. It’s hilarious and surprisingly touching! So…not Elfen Lied at all.
This show was actually always on my radar. I loved the synopsis before it started airing and it was on my list for proper binge consumption. How anybody could watch just one episode of this at the time is beyond me. The encouragement of my readers did convince me to move it to the front of the line.
If the story held a big a appeal, the visuals were so so. I do appreciate the wide ranging designs and how unique Hinamatsuri looks with it’s oldschool style but it’s not a style I tend to enjoy. On top of that the colour palette is very dull and flat. The animation is surprisingly good whenever we get to see any movement which isn’t very often.
I have a tough time judging voice acting in this show. I do believe it’s generally good. However, Hina has this extreme deadpan delivery which I absolutely adore. As such I can’t tell whether the performance is really great or simply geared to my preferences. Either way, she stole the show as far as I’m concerned.
***In fact I looked up the actor and was floored to find out that this is her first voice acting credit. Miss Tanaka (I hope I picked the right name) is going to one too look out for.
Maybe there’s something about deadpan, slightly antisocial kids with amazing psychic powers and peculiar food obsessions that really works for comedies. Maybe it’s that balance of completely irreverent mixed with unexpectedly touching that I’m partial to. Whatever the case may be, I found Hinamatsuri utterly charming and I think I’m not the only one.
See this is why I love comedies so much. I understand that the finesse required to write a good one is impressive and as such you don’t see them too often but when you manage to catch that lightening in a bottle, there’s just nothing like it. Even the most mundane filler episode brings a smile to your lips. What more can you possibly ask for.
And Hinamatsuri is just that. For the most part it’s loosely strewn together jokes that range from rather brilliant physical gags, traditional punchline deliveries and little absurdist interludes. The background of Hina’s tragic and violent past, as well as Nitta’s own dicey yakuza life, is never more than hinted at and creates a brilliant contrast to the happy go lucky adventures of the crew.
In a way, the series is actually a how to guide to raising children. One of my first notes as that Hina and Nitta’s life together is pretty much exactly what I imagine having children is like. If you pay attention you will learn exactly how to have a healthy relationship that includes severe bodily harm, teaching your middle schooler outstanding bartending skills, how to entertain minors in girly clubs and reassure you that school age children can lead a perfectly happy homeless life. Obviously, most of us will never have the parenting skills of Nitta or Utako but there’s no shame in losing to the best!
I would be remiss if I failed to mention Anzu, the living brea5thing heart of the series. Through her character, this silly little oddity of a show somehow manages to raise awareness to the problems of poverty and homelessness in a respectful and dignified way. Anzu’s plight teaches her deep and undying appreciation of the many things we tend to take for granted and a disdain for wastefulness we would all benefit from. These lessons are presented plainly, without artifice or extravagance. You would think that a serious subject thrown into a pool of ridiculousness would clash but it doesn’t. Sometimes you just have to laugh at life.
I have long believed that comedy is a particularly subjective genre and Hinamatsuri is no exception. The enjoyment factor will probably vary greatly. I think a huge part of its popular success probably has to do with what it avoids rather than what it does right. There’s little in the series that would offend anyone. Fans are free to just enjoy the comedic beats. Hopefully we’ll see more of these types of shows.
Favorite character: Hitomi
What this anime taught me: Matsuri a solemn festival celebrated periodically at Shinto shrines in Japan.
I would rather have a free bottle in front of me than a pre-frontal lobotomy
Suggested drink: Yakuza Martini
- Every time we see a vase – take a sip
- Every time anyone gets drunk – join them
- Every time anyone blackmails someone – take a sip
- if it’s a child – raise your glass
- Every time Anzu makes money – clap
- Every time Hina is sleeping – get some water
- Every time Hina destroys something– take a sip
- if it’s a vase – shake your head
- Every time ikura is shown or mentioned – get a snack
- Every time Hitomi is being the world’s best bartender– take a sip
- Every time anyone does a Anime gasp – Gasp!