A Neon Genesis Evangelion reference. I see what you did there, Gainax.
Seriously though, I’m a big fan of parodies, but only a specific kind of them. I love the kind of parodies that deconstruct a genre or stereotype, making them look completely ridiculous with their own logic. Random reference dropping however… meh. That really gets old after a while. Hanamaru Youchien was hopping back and forth between these types in this episode.
The role play in this episode is great and wonderfully subtle. However that full metal alchemist reference just dropped all of the subtlety. Although, I do have to admit: with Evangelion 15 years old at this point, Tsuchida could easily have been amongst the kids who grew up with this revolutionary new anime. You can see that he’s not watching anime anymore and is more of a gamer, but the point at which he got nostalgic at Evangelion was a nice touch for his character.
Overall, Seiji Mizushima isn’t the best director, but he does have his good points in terms of characterization. Hanamaru Youchien in no way matches up to what I consider to be his best work: Ooedo Rocket, but it’s still turned out surprisingly charming and Tsuchida and the various adults turned out to be surprisingly good straight men and women so that the kids could go wild with their imaginations. Compare that to Bottle Fairy, which had a similar premise, and it does turn out differently because the adults are more than just walking dictionaries, and have their own lives and identities here.
Also, if you’re wondering why I’m not saying much about the actual content of this series: I can’t. I mean, they’re mostly just random adventures that just need to be watched. I’d much rather talk about the bigger picture in this series’ case. Because seriously: I have no idea what to comment on Koume’s romantic adventure for example.
Rating: * (Good)