「超能力少女現る！」 (Chounouryoku Shouko Genreu!)
“The ESP Girl Appears!”
I’m still getting around to finishing Mob Psycho (yes I know it’s good and made it to episode 3), but had its first few episodes been anything like Hitamatsuri I probably wouldn’t have been able to stop watching the entire thing in one sitting.
Before diving into anything specific about the episode, I just want to talk about the merits of having a fantastic first episode that manages to do just about everything right.
As we all know, a first episode can make or break an anime in terms of whether or not you’ll come back for more. With numerous ways of enticing a viewer to come back, anyone who’s watched a season or two of anime will have seen a lot of the typical tropes. Be it an interesting concept or throwing a crazy fight scene straight at our faces, many shows are good but few are rarely able to capture you during their first 20 or so minutes. In Hinamatsuri’s case, you have to love how it thrusts us into the thick of things with literally no explanation except Hina is a girl with ESP/magic/psychic powers and Nitta is far from your typical yazkua member.
But instead of trying to explain things to us by vomiting words all over us, we are instead treated to a specific set of actions that bring us up to speed. With near perfect pacing and a lot of well timed deadpan moments from Nitta, we discover that Hina isn’t completely out of touch with the world she’s in and that things aren’t all that different from where she comes from. In Nitta’s case we see that he’s actually a big softie (or at least not a jerk) and through a little bit of prodding goes from just covering Hina’s basics for survival to turning into an almost adorable surrogate parent.
That said, a good story is nothing without a little bit of conflict and this first episode kicks things up just enough to get us emotionally invested to Hina and Nitta. Under the guise of trying to “use up” some of Hina’s stored magic, we learn two important things. The first being Hina is very capable of blowing the shit out of things should she choose to and the second being Nitta isn’t the type of person who would just “use” this new person who’s entered his life. A point that the story keeps vague since it’s used as the turning point where we go from thinking “Oh Nitta is probably a good guy” to “God damn Nitta is such a good guy”. Which is something that even well established shows have trouble doing without being overly sappy or corny.
All of which leads to a delicious looking bowl of Ikura and a stupidly funny ending scene with Nitta ending up in Hina’s pod and stuck in it for just about as long as Hina was when she first appeared a little under twenty or so odd minutes ago. Two moments that I think helped slow things down as well as build up some anticipation for what’s to come aka come back for episode two.
All in all, if you haven’t realized, was all a ploy to tell you just how much I loved Hinamatsuri. As an intro episode I think there was absolutely everything you needed to understand what you’re getting into. Sure, this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s no denying that this is hands down a funny show that mixes emotions and laughter with some damn good expertise. Anyways, before this post gets any longer let me close things off with a huge recommendation for everyone to please watch this show and love it with me.
Catch you guys later!
ED: 「鮭とイクラと893と娘」 (Salmon and Ikura and 893 and Musume) by 新田義史 CV: 中島ヨシキ (Nitta Yoshifumi (CV:Nakajima Yoshiki))