Hinamatsuri cover art

  • 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.

Hinamatsuri-10-21
let the fun time roll!

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.

Hina
look at that passion!

***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.

Hinamatsuri anime girly club
well of course that!

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!

hinamatsuri-ep-1-pic-16
don’t worry it’s actually about to get much more fun!

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.

Hinamatsri anzy
aww – me too

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!

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45 thoughts on “Hinamatsuri – How to be a Role Model”

  1. A yakuza ends up having to take care of a young girl and as a direct result ends up in a series of shenanigans.

    SEGA called, they want their game back.

    But in all seriousness, I genuinely couldn’t help comparing Hinamatsuri to Yakuza, especially since I was playing/watching them at the same time.

    It’s definitely the kids that make it, though. Hoping for a season 2.

    1. Lessee here. Reverse harem. Young woman with a vampire and a werewolf both hot for her. What was that about Twilight in the title?

      Poor downtrodden “umbers” wanting to coexist in peace. Even sacrifice themselves for the humans they love. Human villains just want to kill them.

      Oh yeah, there’s also a living weapon and a ghost in a shell. Did i just see a touch of shoujo ai in ep. 1?

      But you know everything is going to be okay when the big bad starts quoting Nietzsche. just watched the 1st 8 eps and waiting for 9. A lot of fun and maybe a little bit of depth. Too bad about the CG, tho. (I know. I am a snob.)

  2. “the living brea5thing heart of the series” I don’t think that is how you spell “breathing” .. 😉 😛

    I nearly didn’t pick this show up as I already had a full schedule of anime but I gave it a go and I am so glad I did. Very funny, quite touching and poignant, and wonderfully weird. Definitely in my Top 10 for the year! 😀

  3. I enjoyed hinamatsuri though i feel like the ending was abrupt. Thats’a a bit of a turn off for me but other then that I don’t have any complaints. Nice post by the way.

  4. Glad you enjoyed watching this one. It was pleasant watch, and was caught off guard how good the drama was handle despite all the ridiculousness things happening in the background. I forgot to take notes from this series on to take care of kids if I ever get another babysitting gig. I’m sure there’s no way learning from a Yakuza how to raise kids would backfire on me.

  5. For some reason, it seems this comments section has become nothing but “which Hinamatsuri girl you’d like to adopt”. In that case, I’d take both Anzu and Hitomi…Hina would be too much, to be honest.

    The “girly club” moment in ep 2 is what sold me to the show (more so than all the yakuza going “Ouchy!” at the end of ep 1), so any mention of it is always welcome in my book…While I’m at it, yes, Takako Tanaka is the one who voiced Hina. She’s hilarious in the interviews when she talks with Rie Murakawa (Anzu) and Yoshiki Nakajima (Nitta) in those interviews translated and posted on Seiyuu+. Kaede Hondou (Hitomi) also had a few and they’re just as good!

  6. In a couple of years, Hitomi is going to run the town (organised crime and all), and she’s going to wonder how it happened. (Will it even take years?)

  7. I really loved this show, reviewing it in April (the month it began airing). It was something of an artful mosaic to me, with all the disparate pieces fitting into a beautifully captivating whole. And I, too, was taken by Anzu’s situation–so taken, in fact, that I dedicated an entire review to episode 6, in which authorities disband the homeless camp in which she lives. I had recently written a piece introducing the manga character Menhera-chan, in which I discussed the tribulations of the mentally ill in Japanese society, specifically including homelessness. Since this episode came so soon after my Menhera-chan piece, I felt it deserved closer examination. I offer it for your viewing: [https://anotheranimereview.com/2018/05/14/hinamatsuri-episode-6-homelessness-in-japan/]. Additionally, should you be interested, here’s my piece on Menhera-chan: [https://anotheranimereview.com/2018/04/03/menhera-chan-a-public-face-for-japans-mentally-ill/]. My work as a CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) officer makes such subjects especially important to me.

  8. I really enjoyed that show. I isn’t on my top 50 list, but it was fun, like a funnier version of Alice and Zoroku. There were several memorable characters and the absurdities never fell into ruination or darkness like so many cheerful anime have over the years (Robotics;Notes and Steins;Gate). The weirdness in this show just made for more humor opportunities.

  9. Ah, so that’s what it’s about! I’ve been seeing ads for it on Crunchyroll several times a show, but none of them actually tell you what the show is about, they’re just random shots with no context. I kept meaning to look it up, so this is great!

    1. It’s a little non sequiture at times so random shots are a surprisingly accurate way to describe the show…

      1. Yeah, Beelzebub is my all-time favorite but I really recommend reading the manga too after watching the anime because the anime seems to be pushed at the end. 🙂

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