Here’s an anime I didn’t intend to watch, but I did read a blog post by Karandi who did poll on her blog. A post I forgot to like earlier since I was on my phone, and typically not logged in XD. Moving on, on that post she shared the results of a poll asking her readers to vote on the best anime in the Spring season. In that poll, Hinamatsuri won the vote for best Spring anime, and that brought it to my attention. Not being one to solely be persuaded by public opinion alone I went on Discord to check if anyone I knew has seen it. Luckily for me, someone by the username of Robtaku has seen it, and he enjoyed it. How credible was his input to me you might ask? Well to straw man my point, he likes Hand Shakers (2017), and I don’t so there’s that. I started Hinamatsuri around the time I finished Devils Line, and that anime just sucked the soul out of me. I was in need of a comedy, even a bad one to lift my mood after feeling drained by that. Much to my surprise I did not end up disliking this anime. A pleasant surprise that I found something I agree with the general census on.
Hinamatsuri starts in a odd place with the first episode providing a glimpse three years into the future. On one hand the opening minutes of episode 1 will get viewers attention with a nicely animated action sequence, and keep them watching. On the other hand, it’s also a misleading draw since the anime only dedicates half of an episode to that event, and it the rest of the series is nothing like that. Trying to give Hinamatsuri a synopsis would be pretty pointless, but I’m doing it either way. Initially you think it will be about a Yakuza by the name Yoshifumi taking care of a stoic blue hair girl with telekinetic powers named Hina, but eventually jumps around characters a lot becoming more of a slice of life comedy. In your average anime series I would likely complain about the lack of an overarching story, but here I’ll give it a free past. Unlike the common slice of life anime I see, Hinamatsuri actually knows how to handle drama.
This is strange for me to compliment since I’m used to complaining about how poorly handle comedy, and drama is handled in a anime series. Something like March Comes In Like A Lion I complained about how the tonal shifts are jarring being very serious one moment, and the next being overly silly. Hinamatsuri on the other hand has a simple fix to this through Anzu. A character who carries the most dramatic weight in the series. Struggling with living on her own being stuck in the past she sees how harsh living the homeless life can be at her young age in Japan. By dedicating an entire character to explore this drama it prevents the anime from creating constant tonal shifts. So whenever it wants comedy it’ll focus on Yoshifumi taking care of Hina, and if it wants drama it’ll shifts to Anzu. By doing this, the audience will know what to expect until that arc eventually gets finished. My only complain to how the drama is done is the anime wants you to be in tears, but given how well it’s done if someone actually cries during Anzu portion of the anime I won’t be scratching my head like I would with other animes doing the same thing.
On the comedy side Hinamatsuri offers a host of hilarious supporting characters. All of whom overreact, or underreact to a strange event. The character who best excels at this is Mishima, a middle schooler who gets pulled into being a bartender. This puts her in a number of odd situation where she constantly interacts with stupid adults. One of them being her teacher who denies believing Mishima is his student because of her abilities to make a good drink. It’s about as silly as it sound, but works better in context. I ain’t going to do a breakdown of the comedy since it offers a lot of good jokes, but I will add aside from being funny it uses comedy to touch on some serious issues quite nicely. I personally just see Hinamatsuri as just a good anime comedy, but there is a solid foundation for the average viewer to probably take more away from it than I did.
The production is apparently handled by Studio feel. which I find shocking because the only other anime I’ve seen from them is Dagashi Kashi season 1 which I disliked a lot. It felt so pointless, and none of the characters learned anything. So it’s further shocking for me to accept they made this because I laughed, thought the drama was well handle, and I felt satisfied with how it turned out. On the animation side it was good, even if there’s no flashy action. Everything is nicely detailed, and it’s very colorful as well. What the animation did greatly was capturing the character exaggerated expressions. Studio feel. spared no expense on that front, and especially the lighting which allows some proper shading. Also, it’s pretty good doing visual analogy for a good laugh. In particular, I like the visual where the words of Hina word kept changing in episodes. Good on you studio feel.
One minor thing I did appreciate is depending on what episode you were watching the opening, and ending credits will change. For instance, after episode 7, Utako (a bartender) doesn’t appear next to Yoshifumi in the end of the opening credits. It’s something I appreciated, even if it doesn’t affect anything at all. In terms of sound nothing about it stood out to me, especially the ending, and opening theme which I didn’t care for that much. I saw this with the English dub, and it was pretty good. All the voice actor had good chemistry with each other, and nice comedic timing.
If anyone in the English cast deserves my highest praise, performance wise that is, it would be Anzu voiced by Amanda Lee! What! When I discovered this my head exploded because I’ve been listening to her covers of anime music for years (side note: I also like her original stuff a lot), and not once did it register to me that it could possibly be her. So, yes, because of this she obviously deserves my highest praise. She nicely portrays Anzu in all her charm, and sorrow. Doing exceptionally well in the dramatic sequences, and her outstanding moment is easily episode delivering a very emotional performance. This anime full is packed with pleasant surprises. With that, I should I conclude this before I accidently spoil anything while gushing about it.
If I were to rate Hinamatsuri I would give it an 8 out 10 easily. It was a lots fun, and knew how to handle drama well. Go watch it if you haven’t, especially you finished Devils Line, and feel drained by it like I did.