「笑うヒナには福きたる」 (Warau hina ni wa fuku kitaru)
“Good Fortune Will Come to Hinas Who Smile”
Heading into the finale, everything looked to be smile and cheers, until the plot brought back one device to create some drama. Having always wanted to return to active duty as a member of ALCA, Nina finally receives a letter that would allow her to leave the academy for good. While Nina did manage to save Lion, hence I can see why retracting any form of punishment makes sense, it was her words that pushed Lion to lose control. I don’t see why a reward would be warranted.
Everyone’s keen to have Nina stay, and they come up with all sorts of bizarre plans in an attempt to prevent her leaving, such as laying down photographs of happy memories or challenging her to a duel. Sad to say, none of these efforts came to any avail. Surprisingly, Lion was most at peace with letting Nina pursue her dreams, even though we saw how she was easily the most heartbroken of our bunch. Roll forwards to graduation day, and she has prepared a spectacularly beautiful parting gift – making the cherry blossoms bloom early. And finally, a message from the heart takes effect on Nina.
Realising her connection to everybody at the academy, she chases after Lion, even ignoring Chief Veronica. After which we discover, turns out it was all a misunderstanding. According to Nina, she had intended to stay for the entire time! And with some extremely wholesome group hugs, as well as some laughs of relief going around, that pretty much wraps everything up.
Hina Loji from Luck & Logic is no mere CGDCT show. It takes on the generic formula, and spruces it up in unique ways, while exhibiting strength in some core values:
Typical of a Dogakobo series, Hina Loji sports a vibrant colour palette, and high quality animation all around. While the show had no shame in frequently using lower quality panels, typically featuring many cartoonish stills or chibi faces, character designs remained consistently cute. The panels in question usually worked well, helping add some silliness and lighthearted fluff to the series. At times, we were also treated to various trancing cards, usually followed by some smoothly animated action. Though the action scenes ended up being fairly limited, they winded up being a fairly nice addition to Hina Loji.
None of the characters were unique when considering anime as a whole, but they conformed to their archetypes fairly well. In addition to that, they successfully played off each others nuances, meaning we got to see some really fun interactions. Giving a few examples, Lion’s emotional expressiveness to Nina’s silent but strong demeanour, Yayoi’s uptight attitude to Mahiro’s casual laid-back approach. I wanted to say, Yayoi in particular deserves a shoutout, since really grew on me after making a poor impression in the first few episodes.
At first, the cast started with almost nothing in the way of friendships outside of Yayoi and the twins. But very quickly, our girls exhibited signs of strong natural chemistry and ended up creating powerful bonds with each other. These made their friendly interactions realistic, as their interpersonal relationships progressed by leaps and bounds. But that’s not all. Whenever a member of the group was in a pinch, the others would all care, and try to help them out. This kind of wholesomeness is truly soul-healing, and exactly what I come to CGDT series for.
You also know a show has been successful at making their characters likeable, when you experience positive emotions from the good things that happen to them. As I strongly emphasised, I’m not a particularly huge fan of yuri, but I would be lying if I were to deny feeling squee when Lion and Nina shared a kiss. Not because I liked the yuri itself, but because I cared for the two characters and their happiness.
Another thing Hina Loji did to spruce up the formula was taking the silliness up a notch. Most CGDCT series will be relatively down to earth, save for a few moments of madness. Hina Loji completely reversed that, by being almost totally madness, with a few moments that were down to earth. An overprotective father riding in on a missile to visit his daughter at school cannot be considered normal by any stretch of the imagination, and took the cake for absurdity. Outside of one-off occurrences, the returning gags were brilliant too. To name the two that came to mind – Lion’s obsession with tuna and bears, as well as Mahiro’s tinkering ending in explosions.
That said, although I felt a great deal of sympathy for Mizuki for getting constantly shot down, I wasn’t too keen on moments in which she had screentime. Her behaviour was either creepy or a cringefest, and after the episode that expanded on her character, I spent the rest of the series feeling bad for her. For all her troubles, it was nice to see her wind up at the same ALCA branch as Yuuko, if that’s enough of a consolation prize.
It’s not hard to see that Dogakobo have done a great job. In fact, they even created the possibility of a second season that could go into Lion and Co’s next year at the ALCA Academy. However, I don’t expect that to come anytime soon, if at all. Although I greatly enjoyed Hina Loji, I would rather see Dogakobo expend their efforts elsewhere. The studio have incredibly talented in-house animators, who are capable of producing aesthetically pleasing frames on a consistent basis, and should only return for more when in need of a resting point to recuperate. I will certainly miss the series, and wish Dogakobo all the best in their next project! On a sidenote, I still haven’t seen the original Luck & Logic.