Posted on 26 June 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Hinamatsuri, Reviews by SuperMario

Comedy anime doesn’t always yell out confidence, so imagine our hype when there’s one that been on everyone’s lips since the manga come out, Hinamatsuri. The show starts with simple premise: a girl with supernatural power unexpectedly drops into the house of a yakuza, hilarity ensues. This concept sums up very well the source humors of Hinamatsuri. We have seemingly stock characters at first, put them into some bizarre situations where they are out of their comfort zone, and observe how they react. As such, Hinamatsuri is at its best when it turns these absurd events into unpredictably directions; and when the show uses these absurd elements to flesh out the characters. It’s so succeed in giving hearts to the characters that, for me, it stops being a laugh-out-loud show somewhere in the middle and now in the end, I’m not quite certain if I still consider Hinamatsuri a comedy show.

But stop being an all-out comedy show isn’t a bad thing at all. One of Hinamatsuri’s best assets has always been a strong and memorable cast, especially from the younger ones. Hitomi and Anzu, in particular, make one hell of an impression. They embrace these two qualities I mentioned earlier, not only it’s hilarious to see how these girls behave when they’re thrown out of their elements, but also throughout those bizzare events our girls have matured right before our eyes. We have the always kind-hearted girl Hitomi finds herself making cocktails in an adult bar (and eventually come to love that job); to the bratty Anzu finds the meaning of responsibility and home in homeless group. Some segments just are down right heart-warming that they ring sad and sweet in equal measure. Even a proper drama show can hardly do that right, let’s alone a comedy one like this.

Other characters still manage to make an impact just from the little segments they’re in. The trick is that they all have different voices and add different energy to the show. It’s no coincidence that Hinamatsuri is fond of introducing new characters, even late in the game. Being said that, the central relationship between Nitta and Hina isn’t as well-developed as say, the developments of their side characters. At the end of the journey, when Nitta thinks about their journey so far, it just hits me that we haven’t really invested to them much. If we’re looking for a parental bond we’re set to be disappointed. If we’re seeking for a buddy bond, it was underwhelming too. Their relationship is some kind in the middle, where they can easily ditch each other but there’s still something that bring them back together.

In term of visual execution, feel does a pretty decent job of transferring the essence of the manga to this adaptation. The visual hits its mark whenever it embraces the quirky visual that only Hinamatsuri can do. I’m talking about whenever these girls doing their supernatural power, or when Hina just floating around in the air in the middle of a conversation. That brings me to another complaint. By design, this whole season is about these “gifted” girls accustomed themselves to the new, ordinary world. As a result, there’s simply not enough crazy, wild fights. This lack of truly over-the-top superpower hurts the show’s chance, as Hinamatsuri has a knack of bringing whimsical humor by their visual. Secondly, the lack of these supernatural power means that the show’s more content for traditional slice-of-life shenanigans, which in truth countless number of anime shows doing the same thing.

In term of segments, I noticed that the anime adaptation change the order from the manga, which I think work for the show’s benefit. We have more direct continuation from Anzu and Hitomi, for example, and so far I can see the love from the creators to make this show as memorable as possible. Only one plot thread I feel rather weak and uninteresting in general is the Nitta’s yakuza part, which rank amongst my least favorite segments. Hina has become more active in the second arc, despite my early criticism that she might not hold her own. This series, as entertaining, whimsical and surprisingly heartfelt as it might be, might never seen the day of life for another season. While personally I’m not over-excited about this show, it still remains a solid offering. The show that has its own voice and visual quirks. That alone make it a far better show than your average anime crop.

Posted on 25 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hinamatsuri

And so it ends, but it feels much more like a beginning chapter for the next arc. feel studio opens up for the possibility of next season here, by bookending Mao’s 3-year-later arc. Although I love little Mao with her kungfu storyline, I still feel it’s devoid from the content of Hinamatsuri has established so far. She appears in only 2 segments, and they can easily fill it up with more content from the present day. The biggest reason to include her, I suppose, is because she will become an important figure in later arc, and despite all my “qualms” earlier, I love her presence and her talking to handmade dolls struck a sweet chord for me. With enough screen time she can become one of the favorite character, but is there a good chance of Hinamatsuri getting second season? Well, from what I gathered, the chance doesn’t look promising despite the critical reaction it has. I guess it’s more because Hinamatsuri doesn’t subject itself within one set-demographic, and it’s frankness regarding homeless people and pre-teen kids attending bars might hurt its chance a little. A total shame since Hinamatsuri deserves another season.

The first segment is a continuation of last week, and I originally thought it’d involve more Nitta and Hina. Turn out Hina is stranded in the middle of snowy wilderness with Hitomi and the two boys, and this segment serves as a character development for Hina as she opens up her secrets to her friends. Well, not at first since she never regards “getting lost in the snowy mountain” as a serious issues until she learns that there’s no food. I especially love how she only has one line, and it’s “feed me” (Mao understands this girl well). The other kids take this shocking news surprisingly well, and they prepare a make-believe sushi to recharge Hina’s energy. The whole sequence is warm (despite cold sushi) but I admit it doesn’t reach the impact I hope for. In fact, it’s often the case I have with Hinamatsuri, it’s unpredictable enough to hold my attention the whole way, but isn’t flat-out hilarious or make a strong impact to me.

After getting themselves rescued, Hina wakes up in a hospital to find Nitta there, and they have a quiet time together to further reflect their journey from the beginning. It’s not a subtle way, but it’s a fitting one for the final episode to have montages about their time together, and about other characters at this precise moment. But where’s Mao in the montage? I asked myself until we leap three years forward to see her not only doing well (being the famous pupil in the now-commercialize martial arts dojo. Not because of the skills she learned there I’m sure), but she still keeps a habit of talking to her Hina and Anzu dolls (despite we all know that she isn’t completely delusional). This fact that after all this time she still talks to them in her native language like a lonely kid talking their puppy got me personally. It may play for laugh but there’s a sad feeling buried underneath.

She meets Rocky, himself wanted to learn the “magic” power of Hina. Upon hearing about Hina, she decides to leave, but of course the dojo doesn’t want to lose their golden goose. I like the final test well enough, mostly because of the spinning machine is just way far-out when you think of the dojo martial arts. Mao easily defeats it, while pretends to use her martial art skills to fool others. While my earlier comment might suggest that I feel the whole Mao’s arc as a filler (it is), in truth I understand the reason for it being there. It’s a crime NOT to see her in anime version, considered this might be the only anime version we’re ever going to get. Overall, I enjoyed Hinamatsuri on a weekly dose. While it’s not the show I find myself thinking back a lot, it proves to be an enjoyable little show with its quirky cast, especially the younger ones and surprisingly heartfelt for a comedy show. Full review will come up soon.

Posted on 19 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hinamatsuri

The theme of this week is the kind hearts of our cast, and we have 2 parts that take the idea and go into different directions. Remember when I mentioned before how Hinamatsuri would be if Anzu takes Hina’s place? That’s exactly the idea behind the second half. I’m glad that Nitta has some major focus this week. After all, he’s still the poster boy, right? The fun begins when Daisuke, a dedicated journalist decides to make a realistic documentary program about Nitta – the yakuza who becomes some sort of urban legend now. Daisuke prepares everything, even his will, except for one thing: the expectation level. Nitta turns out to be a pretty nice dude, even nicer now that they film his daily activities. The guy finds himself in a bind, so he provokes Nitta and later stages the whole thing. Reality be damn, now he has the ultimate heartless devil yakuza that every love to hate.

This segment works in two deeper level apart from the sheer ridiculousness of the premise (come on, filming a yakuza’s daily activity? It’s like asking the magician to reveal his tricks). First, it serves a commentary to the extent of public manipulation the press/ the media can do to twist the truth for more attention-grabbing exaggerating details. Second lesson, just don’t judge people based on your impression. I particularly enjoy how Nitta’s bosses join in this little fraud. They must have so much fun observing how Nitta reacts.

The second segment plays out like any dad’s wildest dream when Anzu trades in Hina’s place for a few days and effectively reminds Nitta how much of a douchebag Hina is. Anzu is nearly perfect in every ways, helping him with housework, complements him and happily enjoys the time with him. Compared to the first time we know her when she’s basically a brat, it’s amazing to see how much she has grown, and Nitta seems to have the same opinion. So Nitta does what a sensible douchbag does (I swear Nitta and Hina deserve each other), spoils her to bring back her selfish self, except it backfires. I would’ve found this segment more hilarious if Nitta succeeds in his plan, in order to see the other side of Anzu. They have a great time together (especially digging the angel-Anzu and devil Hina metaphor), until he realises it’s time for her to go back her home. Which means ‘back to reality’, where Hina disappears in a school ski trip. With only one episode left for Hinamatsuri, I figure it this final event will have something to do with Mao (otherwise, why’s she there?) and it’s a school trip so my girl Hitomi will be there as well, yay! As a final note, not only Utako but now Hina gone in the final credit. I get the intention, but man somehow it creeps me out.

Posted on 12 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hinamatsuri

Our favorite girls Hitomi and Anzu drive central plots this week, even at the cost of Hina and Mao (well, the latter doesn’t matter much, but why does she have such limited appearance?). I don’t have much of a complaint though, since stories involving Hitomi or Anzu are usually Hinamatsuri’s strongest. The humor of this first half, for example, is an extended gag of Hitomi is just too nice she can say no to others requests, and manages to be really good at all of them. It’s also a bit of social commentaries about people who hole themselves up with endless cycle of works that at the end of the day, they lose the drive that keep them going. I’m sure it’s an issue that not only relevant to Japan, but to the Western culture too. The moments where she just literally falls into sleep just after getting home with work uniform and the takeaway dinner sounds strangely relevant. In addition, the two skits this week also make fun of irresponsible adults who keep pushing the child into the dangerous path. Utako is especially (hilariously) wicked this week, forcing her underaged worker to sign a brand new apartment contract (with discounted price, but still). It’s hilarious to see the most sensible adults so far is Nitta, who feels taken a bit aback by Utako’s action. And Nitta being the nicest adult around is a pretty sad fact. I enjoy the numerous random jobs she’s taking, chief among them a mascot who gets punched by the Hero of Justice; and work in an office work and gets bullied by the senpai and all that. Poor girl. Consider that she doesn’t even work for money or even aim for anything higher. What is the point of all that?

One of the missed opportunity in that segment, however, is the questionable loli character design of Hitomi’s Mom, whom at first I thought was Hitomi’s sister. I suspect her childish appearance will become a central gag at some points, but the serious gap between her age and appearance just put me completely off. There’s a fight between her and Hitomi which started all this ruckus, and I like the way that she agrees to go along with all that, just to show you how adults’ mind can work in a mysterious way.

Anzu has a more heartwarming part. I’ll be upfront on this, Anzu’s material has always been stronger than any of those character-centric segment, because Hinamatsuri mixes the right balance between sad, grounded emotion with absurdist part (and cute little face). This last part, she learns a hard way of don’t relying on the gambling money, the money in which she doesn’t work to earn it. Having earned her allowance, it’s surprisingly sweet to see that she desires nothing for herself (wait, where’s the game?). She eventually decides to buy the neck massage machine for her foster parents, and Hitomi (wait, does she have some free time to spare now?) fills up the gap. It could’ve been a nice plan, until another irresponsible adult appears, Sabu, whom you might remember for ratting Nitta out last episode (can you read my tone here?). It could’ve been fine, too, if after winning the first bet, she’d just stop. That’s how the gambling work in general, make you win the first few times, let you sip the taste of greed before taken every penny away from you. Anzu learns that necessary lesson, and like Hitomi points out in the end, it’s her heart that matters the most as a gift. And while those coupons would cost almost nothing, I’m sure her foster parents will treasure it more than things that money can buy.

Posted on 4 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hinamatsuri

It’s a bit late in the game now that Hinamatsuri introduces another set of new characters, and unlike these new additions we’ve seen the last few weeks, Mao looks to be a prominent character, at least on the same level with Anzu and Hitomi. Part of me afraid that she won’t have time to reach her full potential, consider the fact that we only have roughly 3 episodes left. The bigger remaining part of me welcomes her with all my heart, since Hinamatsuri is always at its best when they play around with the new characters. Nao is another excellent addition to this ensemble cast. She’s more composed and mature than both Anzu and Hina, and they way she can mimic their voices perfectly speaks well to her sensitive and her big heart. We’re heading to more tragicomedy territory here, one that isn’t in Anzu’s level, but Hinamatsuri again succeeds in making this segment hilarious and achingly sad at the same times. There’s obviously a reference to Cast Away (although I haven’t seen that movie so I can’t speak for how much relevant), and it’s whimsical in the way she asserts Hina and Anzu’s voices (especially Hina, where she only has one line, appropriately – “feed me”). But her vulnerability alone makes it a sad undertone. No human enjoy being lonely, and I’m quite surprised that she keeps her sane for that long before she snaps out of it. She’s on the quest to get into land now (which according to the map she’ll probably get to Thailand or China), and I guess it’s the time when we get back to the flashforward bit in the first episode.

The second segment focuses on the yakuza part and introduces another character, but this time this new Nitta’s yakuza brother is weak, compare to all the new players we’ve seen so far. In fact, he’s my least favorite character in this universe, and it doesn’t help that I don’t care much about Nitta and this whole new yakuza boss affair. I can, however, point out two of my favorite moments on that segment. The first being Hina’s insensitive comment that leads the old man into (brief) coma. And the second is the striking image of Nitta waking up and finding himself holed up in a concrete box, which reminds me a great deal of Baccano. But the main plot doesn’t carry much weight or have anything specific to say except that Nitta is 100% behind uniting the yakuza group (which in itself doesn’t really mean much). For my take, I believe this story can be more hilarious if Hina involved in rescuing Nitta, or if Nitta just has it enough and make the scene. But nope, it went the most conventional way which also means it falls flat for me.

In the last segment, we shift back the focus on Hina and Nitta as Hina plans to make a “surprise party” for Nitta. Being Hina, the surprise party also means there is no “surprise”, nor “party” at all. While I enjoy most of what happened, this feels like a repeated version of Hina messing up we’ve experienced before. The funniest moments are undoubtedly when Nitta sees the whole “celebration”, which looks more like a mogue; and Hina rising up from the “coffin”, with her lame t-shirt and equally lame greeting. It doesn’t surprise Nitta that much though (more like nothing surprises him anymore), and his stoned-face reaction captures well the awkwardness of this surprise party.

Posted on 28 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hinamatsuri

The core dynamic of Nitta and Hina again is put into test this week, this time with more pressing matters. There’s a woman from Hina’s world comes to bring her back home, except – you know – she’s also scared shitless about Hina’s power. That’s the first thing that makes this new addition, named Kei, different from someone in her role. Kei’s more than willing to take shortcuts to her duty, and poor Anzu has to keep her from running away many times. Kei has a checklist to track Hina’s development in which she expects Hina to trip anytime soon. That blue hair girl passes all the test with flying colors and I especially like the way Kei and Anzu tested her by buying the puppy and disguise it as a homeless dog. Hilarious as it always is, but when Hinamatsuri wants to, it can ring the emotion so true. It might be a bit obvious the way the show wants to show us how Hina has grown while living with Nitta, but it mostly gets away with it by framing that change from Kei’s astounded eyes.

When learning about her going back to her world, she not in the least refuses. Grown girl accepts the consequences after all. The more important thing is how to break it to Nitta. Hina tries, and fails, in various methods to get Nitta noticed (most notably her “byebye” T-shirt, and when she’s frustrated she rolls and float freely in the air, creating a nice and weird visual quirk. Nitta takes the news calmly, he takes her to eat her favorite ikura bowl for the last time and says it when it’s time for their separation, that while she’s a pain in the ass, he enjoyed the time they spent together. That might be why the last laugh doesn’t really win me over because it kinda destroys my goodwill towards Nitta. But to be fair, Nitta has always been an ass himself, so they pretty deserve each other’s company.

In between that crisis, we have a side story of a new Hina’s classmate, Mami, who walks the fine line between a complete fool and an adorable fool. What worse than showing your true power to the bad people? It’s showing your true power to the eight-grader syndrome kid who believe they’re the centre of the universe (in fact they’re closely to grade 8th here). Hilarity ensues when Mami decides to confront Hina upfront (and freaked out to the point of lying on the ground). Hinamatsuri is in total control of the tones here, building up her satisfaction and her desire to brag about her “superpower” just about right, while never overplays her humiliation. Having the crowd total in their straight faces works much better than them laughing and ridiculing the poor girl (especially love both Aizawa and Hitomi’s tense expressions there). There’s so much good laugh in this second part and never at once the show belittles Mami’s hijinks. Well, turn out the parts about those middle-schoolers are amongst my favorite parts of the show. With such a diverse cast with strong and funny characters who always found themselves in absurdist situations, Hinamatsuri retains its touch this week.

Posted on 21 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hinamatsuri

At this halfway mark, I want point out that the comedy of Hinamatsuri isn’t as sharp as the first few episodes (except for the segment including Hitomi’s classmates). There’s still absurdist sense of humor, sure, but it doesn’t make me laugh out lout or even make me chuckle. That is to say I come to enjoy the show’s drama much greater. This first short segment about Anzu, for example, hits all the right notes that you just can’t help but want to hug her. Anzu’s first day of work is… full of hearts and wonders, for the lack of better world. Here’s a girl who started from the very bottom of the society, now that her living condition is better (her own room, her own bed), she still appreciates what she had learnt from Yassan and the homeless people. The way she’s still used to her old habits (stunned over the cash till, taking a cold shower, cleaning up the used chopsticks) play mostly for gag, but it hides a sense of sadness under it. One thing for sure is that her first day in the restaurant is a whole lotta fun, and her life is going up from now on.

At least I’m glad that Hina becomes much more active this week. In the second segment, triggered by Nitta’s remark “find a way to make it fun”, she nominates herself to run for student council president, which only two things in mind: improve the lunch meal and more time to nap. Then somehow the lawyer of the big yakuza organization involved and what I find the most “genius” is the way he connects Hina’s two dot-points draft into a sensible and logical argument. Of course after a good meal, everyone would want to sleep, right? Hitomi’s reactions speak volume here, so does Hina’s clueless speech that include stage directions to her speech like they’re the most natural things in the world. This segment is where the static Hina works best for me, her stoned face and mono-tone need to contrast with something as bombastic and out of left field as this. Otherwise, our poster girl can only be suited for mascot.

The dynamic between Nitta and Hina come back in full force in the last section, and I actually quite like the way the direction it went this time. Nitta, for the first time, shares something personal to Hina. Hina and Hitomi take that hint and want to talk Utako into having a date with Nitta. Of course, Hina will have to screw it up in front of Utako since she has absolutely no sense to “taking the hint”, but somehow the date still happens with some unexpected twists. First, Hina breaks her ankle because Nitta’s swinging (Hinamatsuri comes close to screwball comedy here), and second, Utako rejects Nitta out right. It should be a punchline here, but for me this one the punch doesn’t land well, because it drags so much with all the montages of their date with an obvious result. It could work much better if the show includes their conversations instead of this. At least now that Nitta truly regards Hina as his family, so Mother or not, hand puppet or otherwise, it’s all good for now.

Posted on 13 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hinamatsuri

This week in Anzumatsuri Hinamatsuri, the show proves once again that it does have something up its sleeves. Rarely a show does the drama effectively to the point of winning me some (manly) tears, let alone a comedy show in nature like this, but Hinamatsuri more than earned it with a nice emotional story for Anzu. Keeping up with its tradition, this episode spends the first half on Nitta and Anzu and the second half on one of our golden girls. The expansion of the cast for me steps up to be one of Hinamatsuri’s strong point. Usually, this show introduces the supporting quirky cast that they manage to stand out through their colourful characteristics; and watching them bouncing off with our mains is always a pleasure. This week, Nitta brings Hina home to meet his mother and that quirky little sister (who loves to drink) and we witness how Hina failing miserably with her little act and how Nitta covers up the truth by tall tales upon tall tales. Here’s when I admit the comedy isn’t as sharp as it has always been, mostly because Nitta’s mother and sister believe him almost too quickly. But what it lacks in humor, it makes up by showing us that Hina tries (fails but damn, she tries) and reaffirm the central chemistry between Hina and Nitta. He might lie that Hina is his real daughter, but now he sees her as one, and it’s certainly important.

The real winner, however, comes from the second part of Anzu saying farewell to the homeless gang. It’s not that unexpected, and the old men accept their fate as it comes. But it’s sad (and a bit hurt) that Anzu is the only one who doesn’t take this issue lightly. She was all about to go all out to protect their homeland, to what she feels as her true home and family. It’s compelling since the emotions she gone through are relatable. She sheds her tears when she realizes it’s not worth it (or more, the old geezers don’t think it’s worth it) to keep this base. Moreover, it stings when she knows that they won’t be together ever again. All the people she’s grown fond with, all the people who teach her all these small things. And then, when she has a delicious meal she can’t help but thinks of the others, and wonders if she deserves such nice meal. It’s empathy that she has learned the long way from the people who seemingly has nothing to share, yet it’s the care and the love they share that reach her and will stay inside her. The two new caretakers do a good job of pointing these things out for Anzu. That is, frankly, quite a touching and satisfying message Hinamatsuri manages to pull off here.

It helps that the show nails it in keeping these emotions intact, visually. There are many strong framings that fuse immensely with the emotional weight of the story. I have two scenes that come to mind. First, the image of Anzu in her tent gathering up her items, a hammer, an empty can, a stuff bear and a string, with her back facing towards us. It’s as lonely as it can get. The second, Anzu’s wide awake early morning, and just realizes that she now doesn’t have to pick up cans anymore. It rings hollowly true at depicting a person coping with their new strange environment that – although I suspect we don’t get more of this anymore – I can hardly have any complaints with this segment whatsoever. The past episodes have shown us that Hinamatsuri is great at comedy, this one reminds us that they have a knack at moving us to tears as well.

Posted on 9 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hinamatsuri

At this point, I’m done delving on what the main thread of Hinamatsuri is. What appeared at first as the buddy/parental relationship between a yakuza and a psychic girl has evolved into something else, with Hitomi and Anzu slowly taking a central stage. This episode 5 in particular, they follow up on what I feel their weakest sketch (the plot A) with their most hilarious segment I’ve seen this year, bar none. The main reasons why the plot A doesn’t work for me mostly because it confirms many issues that I felt last week: Anzu and Hitomi keep overshadow Hina, there’s little wacky Hinamatsuri-signature sense, and Nitta and Hina relationship rubs me the wrong way for the first time (money can’t buy everything, mate). There are still two main takeaways from this first half, however. First, it has a sad undertone that the main reason Anzu does all this is because she wants to buy a video game to play with Hina and second, Hitomi and Hina help the blonde kid in their own ways, both end up with some mishaps that turn their plans upside down) or in Hina’s case, she makes one up as she goes). That’s the “friendship” that Anzu always looks for but hasn’t realized yet, and the rewards end up being not the money they earned but the efforts they spend to help her.

But my dissatisfaction for the first half is quickly replaced the magnificent of this little investigations from Hitomi’s friends. I suspect the main ingredients for its success are the expanded cast, with each of the new character more than light up the screen and I don’t remember falling for a new character (Aizawa) as quickly as this 10 minutes. She has her manipulating side, and God she’s clearly enjoying messing with Hitomi just to see her “adorable” reactions. The animation does a good job to animate Hitomi’s excessive movements here (is it just me who think that there’s some yuri affection from Aizawa to Hitomi? If so, I’d welcome it). She skeds the fine line between enjoying manipulating her and care for her own good at the same time. Likewise, the two boys walk the fine line between innocent-as-kid (the way they imagine the affair, with the caption: I can’t fantasize anymore or they still behave like kids playing detective) and their affection to Hitomi. Hina plays her role well here is a clueless mascot who most of the time doesn’t get what is going on. This is the situation-based comedy as its most inspiring as the misunderstandings just keep building up slowly and Hitomi behaves just like a wet cat get herself caught in the kitchen’s corner – she’s an adorable kitty, I swear. Look, I don’t even care anymore if this show slowly becomes Hitomimatsuri but I still hope there’s more supernatural wackiness along the way.

Posted on 29 April 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hinamatsuri

Contrary to what I predicted last week, turns out there is a continuation to the “cliff-hanger” last week, and more importantly, it serves as a catalyst for Hinamatsuri this week’s first half. This is a second week in a row that the show involves little-to-no crazy superpower hijinks, which I’m not sure if it works for the show’s benefits. I always consider these ridiculous power Hina and Ainzu possess one of Hinamatsuri’s distinctive personality, thus without those the show feels more like your typical odd-couple slice of life comedy show. I’m quite glad that Hina and Nitta pair gets a main focus in this first half. Hina gets kicked out of the house by Nitta, it’s a kind of natural progression considering how much of a sloth and mindlessness Hina is. Too useless that she immediately spends her amount of money on food, then stays with Anzu but does nothing but eats food and reads manga. Anzu delivers what might be one of the best line of anime this season: “That girl’s not even fit to be homeless”. She learns the rope of surviving though, when she teams up with the street band and performs “tricks”. The band becomes extremely popular much to Nitta’s surprise.

As for Nitta part, unexpectedly receives harsh reaction from his group through his bad choice of phrasing (I love that comedy bit where some strangers stand up against him the most), even being banned from Utako’s bar until he makes up with Hina in one of the episode’s most hilarious sequence where Utako throws salt right after he left – an act of cleansing all the evil’s spirits. I particular love the way Hinamatsuri animates Utako clumsy actions – he finds himself worrying about her despite claiming that he doesn’t care about her well-being one bit. This part is supposed to be a break so that both Nitta and Hina can see the importance of the other in their lives, but I’ll be honest to say that it doesn’t grab me much because it has been done to death before. In the end though, what worries me the most is the way after going through many hardships of being homeless, Hina doesn’t change much except that now she knows for sure that wants to be with Nitta. In terms of character’s development, this blue-hair girl is still pretty much a brat. Consider how her two friends grow right before our eyes through their dire situations, I’m a bit concerned that if Hina doesn’t grow soon she might be the least interesting character out of this pack.

Speaking of Hina’s two friends, the second half spends on Anzu and my girl Hitomi encounter for the first time. What I like the most about them is how despite being very contrasted in terms of personality (one timid, one self-centred, ends up at vastly different outcomes (one has money more than she could imagine, the other only makes few bucks a day), in an essence they have been going through the same thing: that they learn something out of their usual personality and they come to do their jobs with pride. There’s a hint of pride in Anzu’s statement of being homeless, there’s a great montage about Hitomi not only being good at bartender, but also excels on customer’s service – provides the kind of atmosphere that Nitta’s boss, her own homeroom teacher and even Utako herself can be their honest self and not worry about their real life. At heart that’s exactly what Hitomi’s doing here. Hitomi even manages to half-blackmail one staff so that Anzu can have those bags of cans, a glaring example of how she adapts real fast. Anzu goes a long way too, bringing her new “friend” home and offering her install-noodle as a repayment, something she learns by heart through her homeless gang. We shall see how they grow as friends but I suspect that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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Chihayafuru S3 – 07 [The Storm Blasts]

I’ve positively loved the last five episodes of Chihayafuru’s third season, so I don’t derive any pleasure from saying that I kind of hated this one. “The Storm Blasts,” in my eyes, makes an unwise narrative choice to achieve a convenient result, and creates a minefield of non-credibility for itself going forward. Though it’s this […]

Psycho-Pass 3 – 04 [Political Strife in the Colosseum]

Sibyl isn’t everything but episode four has me nearly convinced with its balance of investigation, action, and social commentary that it is on par with the first season of Psycho-Pass. Wrapping up this case answers the case’s immediate questions like what makes Komina tick, but only more questions crop up like who is the First […]

Vinland Saga – 18 [Out of the Cradle]

Ah it’s good to be back after a weeks break, as Vinland Saga gives us another fantastic episode. This week sees Thorfinn fight for Askeladd’s life. Meanwhile Canute kills the boy so that the man may live. Lot’s to talk about, so let’s dive in! Starting off, I have to comment on how Vinland Saga […]

Fire Force 17 – Black and White, and Grey

Oh Fire Force.  Every episode it seems you do 5 things right…and three things wrong.  Every single one is on the verge of greatness, but very few cross over.  Let’s take a look!

My Hero Academia – 67/68 [Fighting Fate/Let’s Go, Gutsy Red Riot]

We’re here with a double header for My Hero Academia, with one pretty important episode…and one filler.  Let’s go!

Dr.STONE – 19/20 [To Modernity/The Age of Energy]

Hello all, to this double feature of Dr.STONE, as this lazy bones plays catch up. Apologies for missing last week, but a combination of factors made getting the post up in time… difficult. Enough excuses though, onto the episodes! Starting off, since I missed two episodes, let’s talk about the production for a second. As […]

Hoshiai no Sora – 06

I’ll say this for Hoshiai no Sora – the tennis scenes look good. Characters are shown positioning themselves, swinging, and following through with remarkable consistency. The shortcuts that once plagued Baby Steps and Prince of Tennis rarely appear during this series, and that’s worth celebrating. There were even a few serves in this episode that […]

State of the Season – Fall 2019

Welcome to the second official State of the Season! I’m your host, Amun, and joining us are the esteemed Wooper, Mario, and Lenlo! For Fall of 2019, the anime community awaited more sequels than Star Wars – surprisingly, some first-season hidden gems lurk among these established franchises. In this State of the Season, we’ll take […]

Neon Genesis Evangelion – 2 [An Unfamiliar Ceiling/The Beast] – Throwback Thursday

Hello all and welcome to week 2 of Neon Genesis Evangelion! I know a lot has been going on lately, what with the site scare, but don’t worry. A lot of work is going on in the back and we have plans. In the meantime, how about we just jump into this week’s episode of […]

Latest Reviews

Mononoke Anime Review – 75/100

I have reviewed a lot of odd shows recently. From Paranoia Agent to Serial Experiments Lain, they each had their own… je ne sais quoi, their own unique flavor. Keeping with that trend is Mononoke, a sort of Horror Anthology reminiscent of Tales From the Crypt or a Stephen King short stories collection. Though where […]

Mix: Meisei Story Review – 75/100

Mix is, by my count, the eighth Mitsuru Adachi work to be adapted to animation. I’ve only seen one of the other seven, so it may not be my place to say this, but Mix probably ranks around the middle of those eight. Its main cast is complex, but the non-baseball players among them slip […]

DanMachi2 Anime Review – 40/100

“Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon” burst onto the anime scene as something of a B-tier cult classic.  2015 saw Season 1 massively outperform expectations  – ignoring the occasionally shoddy animation – to bring excitement and mostly fan service (and the cosplayer favorite: the Hestia ribbon).  Now, four years later, the […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba Anime Review – 80/100

It’s hard to find a more ubiquitous genre in anime than Shounen. Maybe romance/moe-blobs, but it’s a close race. With series like One Piece and until recently Naruto, being a constant presence each season/year. Often this makes it difficult for newer series to break into the anime market in a meaningful way. With the recent […]

Youjo Senki Movie Review – 85/100

Outside of a very few exceptions, I have come to despise the isekai genre with its predominantly self-inserted overpowered male protagonists, massive harems, fan-service bait and overused fantasy settings. Youjo Senki is none of those things and it has gained a very special place in my heart where it features the combined arms of a […]

Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel – II Lost Butterfly Anime Review – 91/100

Long time no see and strap in cause this is going to be a long one. I will preface this review with the assumption that you have seen the first movie of this trilogy and this movie as well as the assumption that whomever is reading this knows what a command spell is. So basically […]

Serial Experiments Lain Anime Review – 78/100

Serial Experiments Lain is weird. It is a series unlike any other, wholly unique in anime, both modern and historical. Every aspect of it, from presentation to narrative, is best described as an experience. It is because of this that I believe Lain is a must watch, if only to experience a piece of anime […]

Penguin Highway (2018) Movie Review – 89/100

You’re walking along in your neighborhood, going about your daily routine. It’s a fine morning. The sun is shining brightly. But suddenly, you see something strange. You squint your eyes; even rub them, to make sure it isn’t a mirage before exclaiming with excitement, “Oh, look. It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane! No no. […]

One Punch Man Season 2 Anime Review – 34/100

Often at the start of one of these reviews, I will wax philosophical about a series. Attempting to slowly draw you, the reader, in to whatever topic or anime I am discussing in that review. This time, none of that. This time, I have to come out and say from the beginning, that One Punch […]