OK, this is a squealing girl anime, where a grouping of divergent female types somehow get together to help each other with their particular struggles, one in another series of X chromosome shows that seem to be proliferating like mad. This one is “Hinako Note” (“Hinako Nōto”), although the original premise is rather appealing.
Hinako Sakuragi (her in the middle) moves to Tokyo to attend Fujiyama High School. But this is no ordinary move, as she has lived her life in the mountains, where all the woodland creatures were her friends. Snow White ain’t got nothing on this one! She has a strong interest in theater but struggles to talk with others, becoming a scarecrow. I mean she freezes and stands there, motionless. She moves into the Hitotose Bookstore, which triples as a residency and a café of sorts. Upon learning that the school’s theater club is actually on hiatus, Hinako and the other residents form their own theater troupe. Oh, the other residents. Wow, what a weird assortment in this chocolate box of oddities. Left to right:
Yua Nakajima, Hinako’s classmate, she cares for Chiaki deeply and has a rivalry with Hinako.
Kuina Natsukawa, she devours books. I mean actually. You see her getting ready to nosh down a page.
Mayuki Hiiragi, she is a second year, although comes off looking much younger. The maid outfit doesn’t help things.
Chiaki Hagino, member of the not-performing acting troupe, she also runs the establishment.
I haven’t mentioned lower left flower bow, as she is the advisor for the troupe, who is nine-year-old child actress Ruriko Kuroyanagi, a well-established personage in acting. She helps them along with understanding how acting works, but mostly to help Hinako get over her paralyzing stage fright. The series details the misadventures of how this country girl tries to make it in the big city, getting by with a little help from her friends.
It’s just that I couldn’t find a ‘normal’ person in all of this. Everyone is odd or strange or out of place, so the show takes on a more surreal quality than usual for these shows. And it started out life as a 4-koma, so it feels like it. It follows the three-part-arc approach: the first four episodes define character and plot, the middle three raise and complicate problems, the last four have the plot finally arrive and there is something that looks like a story. And, as always, the conclusion holds out the carrot on the stick for a potential next season.
But thus is really strictly for first timers, as it appears that the cast has to be more stranger than strange to get these tales across, tales that you have seen before and, in some cases, done better. This is a flip-a-coin series: heads, you watch; tails, I hear ‘Gundam: IBO’ is coming to ‘Toonami’. Binging, binging, binging. Again, another slight series, although the idiosyncrasies of all these ‘artistic’ types might be a bit much to take in during a straight shot, so I vote in doing three or four and making the decision at that time.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Standardly standard)
Plot 7 (Typical fish-out-of-water)
Pacing 7 (A bit too lurching for many)
Effectiveness 7 (One could see where it was headed)
Conclusion 6 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Bingeability 6 (It can drag, as it gets predictable)
Overall 7 (Too weird for its own good)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I will become an actress.