OP: 「あ・え・い・う・え・お・あお!!」 (A • E • I • U • O • AO!!) by 劇団ひととせ［桜木ひな子（M・A・O）、夏川くいな（富田美憂）、柊真雪（小倉唯）、萩野千秋（東城日沙子）、中島ゆあ（高野麻里佳）］
「とくぎは、かかしです」 (Tokugi wa, Kakashi desu)
“My Talent is Being a Scarecrow”
I think I may have found a partial replacement for the slice-of-life void that last season left in my heart.
Sometimes for a slice-of-life, you don’t need anything too fancy and all you really need are a solid cast of characters that have their own unique personalities or traits. In Hinako Note’s case, it takes this philosophy to heart and finds its strength through its characters and their interactions with one another.
With a rather plain character taking the lead in the form of Sakuragi Hinako (Ichimichi Mao), I thought I would be turned off by someone who gets so badly flustered when dealing with people that they literally turn into a scarecrow. But by the end of the episode, I found myself rather drawn to her with the strong attitude that comes out of her when she’s around friends as well as loving how perfectly she plays the role of the straight-man in most comedic sequences. Something that really filled me with hope for the show since uninspiring leads can really bring down a slice-of-life. In addition to Hinako we also were introduced to three other girls who covered just enough of the personality spectrum to keep the episode feeling fresh and alive. From the quirky Natsukawa Kuina (Tomita Miyu) who eats pages from books as snacks to the adorably tiny but “grown up” Hiiragi Mayuki (Ogura Yui) we even had a moderate character right-between the two with landlord and resident tall girl Ogino Chiaki (Tojo Hisako) showing up right at the end for a tiny bit of extra exposition and flavor. All of whom, at least in my opinion, did a great a job at really selling me the ”story” of Hinako Note.
Now, even with my high hopes of trying to convince as many people as possible to watch this show, I have to address one thing — I’m sure some people may find this show boring. Seeing how I’ve been doing this episodic-blogging thing for quite some time now, it occurred to me throughout the episode that it felt somewhat long even though it felt like there wasn’t a lot going on. And after reflecting on that for a bit, I realized that without an overarching story goal (for the moment at least) things could get stale real quick if the characters (or the writers in this case) don’t bring their A game to every episode. And sure, it might be a little early to be making any assumptions, but this was something that I had to bring up since the last thing I’d want is someone to get caught watching a show they’d eventually find boring.
Overall, I really enjoyed Hinako Note. With the hopes that the story will really latch onto this theater thing and run with it, I think all the other pieces for a successful slice-of-life or school-life show are all here. Great characters with great dynamics between them and enough variety that there shouldn’t be too much trouble when it comes to the gag department. In any case, I’ll catch you guys around next week where we’ll hopefully meet some more characters and get to see more of Aki!
P.S. This show has an amazing opening and ending sequence.
ED: 「かーてんこーる!!!!!」 (Kaaten Kooru!!!!!) by 劇団ひととせ［桜木ひな子（M・A・O）、夏川くいな（富田美憂）、柊真雪（小倉唯）、萩野千秋（東城日沙子）、中島ゆあ（高野麻里佳）］