Monday, July 9, 2018

ANIME REVIEW: Hinako Note fails to add substance to moe.

Sometimes I like a show with a little moe in it, as long as the characters are interesting and there is some good solid humor. Hinako Note had neither. It did have a freaky crazy (maybe good?) opening theme song, so we'll give it that at least.

I ended up watching three episodes before I couldn't take the boredom anymore. In short, it's a show about a high-school student, Hina, who is so scared to talk to people that she freezes up and goes into a scarecrow pose each time. In her youth in the countryside, the townspeople would put this trait to good use having her fill in as an actual scarecrow. Oh, and animals love her and she can even sort of talk to them (but they only make animal noises back).

She moves to Tokyo for highschool and moves into an apartment with three other girls, all of whom are required to work at the bookstore/cafe below (I think, I couldn't even be bothered to remember this detail from the first episode, my mind was wandering so much...) There, one of them suggests they start a theater company and Hina thinks its a great way to learn to talk in front of people.

It was saccharine cute but I like a little emotional depth with my cuteness. It was all moe girls acting delicate and nervous. They embody the worst stereotypes of girls and women. Instead of being capable while also being cute, they end up being cute while being objects requiring others support. Take this one paraphrased set of comments by Hina: "I couldn't possibly be an actress..." "I'm no good at anything..." There are just too many of those sort of sentiments, all said with infantile voices, as well.

There is also some periodic fan service. for example, there is no reason why walking from one classroom to the next to tell someone something should make a teenage girl breathe so hard that her chest heaves up and down while her face flushes. I'm not sure who this show is aimed at, but it would send dangerous messages to young girls, and if guys like it, then they are probably creepy old men who think girls do, or should, act this way. Either way, yuck!

Sadly the show really doesn't do humor either. There are no setups for jokes or anything like that. It's just slow and boring, but not in a way I can get behind. Some lazy and quiet shows are fine, this is just uselessly written as the slowness does not bring about a meditative mood or anything of that level of quality.

Contrast this show with Minami-ke, K-on, Sakura Trick, New Game!, Tamako Market or even One Week Friends - all heavy on the moe but all provide a lot more interesting characters and character development, comedy, and strength in their girls. Hinako Note presents delicate dolls to be protected or stared at.

I'm giving this a 5/10 "don't waste your time" rating knowing that it is bordering on a worse score because of the concerning messages for those it might be targeted at. I don't think this is just a cute moe show that didn't really work because it was boring. I think there were choices made during production to include fan service and character depictions that reduce women to objects (delicate ones, if not overtly sexual). These are not depictions of real people or real emotions.


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