Posted by psgels on 28 March 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Hanamaru Youchien




Here’s a slice of life series that’s slightly different from what you usually see. The lead character is really a typical lead character, but he’s an actual adult. The series takes place not at a high school, but a kindergarten. Add a whole dose of role-play to that, and you pretty much get the formula of Hanamaru Youchien. A fun and relaxing series. And as an added bonus, the characters are well written as well.

Hanamaru Youchien basically spends its time either role playing, or fleshing out the characters. The former is just fun: we get to see inside the imagination of a bunch of five-year olds and their crazy ideas, and all of the adventures that they go on are consistently enjoyable, carrying an air of homage and parody that the creators (both Gainax and its director Seiji Mizushima) are famous for. The latter actually succeeds in making all of the adults into actual characters rather than stereotypes and paper bags.

Especially Tsuchida, the lead character, is one of those rare examples of a typical male lead done right. While he can be a loser at times, he also has enough things that he’s good at, his character is dynamic enough to allow him to evolve, rather than staying in the same one-sided stereotypes. The side-cat is also excellent in their support to the main cast. We get to know the backgrounds and motivations of everyone, and why they become involved as kindergarten teachers. In the end, the adults in this series get fleshed out so well that they actually manage to trump the adventures of the different kids in the series.

The biggest problem with this series however is that it doesn’t know whether it wants to also have romance or not. The ingredients are there: the lead character has someone he’s in love with. she’s just ridiculously clueless and at the end they’re still not together. I mean, if you’re going to set up some romance, at least have the decency to not build a brick wall between the lead characters.

There’s also a bit of an annoying sister, but she only appears in two episodes or so. The rest of this series is light-hearted and down to earth, but still has this sense of maturity that contrasts really well with the younger kids. The drama that’s there is short and focused, and doesn’t come across forced or too dramatic at all, so this series both ended up delivering in its serious and funny parts. On top of that, you also have to love what this series has done with its EDs: every episode has a completely different one, with a completely different style, genre and soundtrack.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Varied, fun and adorable.
Characters: 8/10 – This show confirms why I keep advocating adults in anime.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Solid animation and cute graphics.
Setting: 8/10 – Not the most creative series out there, but creative enough to fill 12 episodes, and the kindergarten itself and the world around it is also well portrayed.

Similar Series:
Ristorante Paradiso
Yume de Aetara
– Bottle Fairy

5 Responses

  1. pgal says:

    I liked the show in spite of its flaws. It was one show that I looked forward to on Sundays- cute and fun to watch. The ED were also creative.

  2. Chris says:

    Ristorante Paradiso similar? Hmm unique but I kinda see where you’re coming from

  3. Alec says:

    i was actually marathoning this anime just recently, until Tsuchi’s sister showed up

  4. Chris says:

    @Alec: get passed the annoying sister episodes, and then the show gets great again!

  5. Banchan says:

    Am I the only one who liked the tsundere brocon imouto?

    I found her voice fascinating, somewhere between hirano aya and chiaki omigawa.

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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 06:02 AM)
    Although given that the the Japanese film industry is steadily improving, this still would’ve worked much better as a big Hollywood flick, mainly because it’s just an over-the-top story with big action sequences, but also because pretty much all the cast (with the exception of Mikasa) have western features.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 05:55 AM)
    Well it looks like the Japanese have taken it upon themselves to make a live-action Attack on Titan movie, which sounds like a pretty bad idea:
    http://www.otakuusamagazine.com/LatestNews/News1/Liveaction-Attack-on-Titan-Visuals-Revealed-6057.aspx
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 02:51 AM)
    I mean I’ve watched some awful stuff like hidan no Aria to take the piss out of it and infinite stratos might as well get to continuing Ass-ange/crass-ange.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 02:34 AM)
    *Ange
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 02:34 AM)
    @Emma: and that’s why you should watch Cross Ante.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 02:33 AM)
    @Emma: you know what? I’ve been trying to find a good version of X for a few years now, but nobody seems to be seeding the torrent anymore =/
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 02:33 AM)
    Sometimes I’m pretty glad I have the ability to get guilty pleasure/so bad its good/funny enjoyment out of genuinely awful things and sometimes end up enjoying them more than actually good series.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 02:18 AM)
    One other good example of an old ova I loved was the X/1999 movie, I didn’t overly care for the manga or second anime adaptation nearly as much by comparison. Yes the voice acting is terrible, the character development was cut out but the fact is I never really cared all that much for Xs characters/drama to begin with and the voice acting makes the final scene laugh out loud hilarious. Beyond that I just enjoyed sitting back and watching the gore play out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 01:12 AM)
    I also miss the days where incest was reserved for the villains in anime.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 01:09 AM)
    @Bam: I remember giving John dies at the end three out of five and deciding that it was never a poor film but never an excellent one.

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