Hinako is a shy, socially awkward and extremely cute young girl who has just moved to Tokyo for one reason only – she wants to join the prestigious theatre club of a certain school. Unfortunately her shyness is so extreme that she regularly freezes up and pretends to be a scarecrow (don’t ask). In fact, being a scarecrow is apparently all that she’s really good at, and she used to do it all the time back in the countryside.
The dorm building in which she is staying, which also doubles as a used bookstore and coffee store, is also currently home to two other girls attending the same school. There’s Kuina, who likes food and also eats books, and Mayu, who wants to be a princess so much that she…dresses like a maid all day every day (again, don’t ask).
It’s not until after she’s there that she is told that the theatre club is no longer active, but eventually the girls decide to just make their own theatre troupe.
If absolutely nothing else, Hinako Note is one of the most adorable things that has entered my retina all year. Not only are all the character designs adorable and huggable without being overly gimmicky, it has a really soft and gentle colour palette as well as beautiful animation, and everything is just really nice to look at in general. If you really like looking at cute girls fluffing around, then I can recommend this fairly easily, because that’s exactly what you’re going to get. And boy are they cute. So, so cute. It’s the very definition of eye-candy.
On the other hand that’s…basically all there really is to say about this. Like I said, if you enjoy shows about cute girls fluffing around, then you’ve probably already seen a lot of those, so you already know what to expect. Nothing is particularly fresh or new and the few instances where there is an attempt at it are incredibly forced and also kind of stupid. Why does Kuina eat books? Because books are her friends, and she loves them so much she wants to eat them! That’s…wacky? Furthermore, Hinako’s whole schtick of turning into a scarecrow is just kind of ridiculous, and they reuse this sight gag several times. (She also just seems to have random chicks following her around at all times that noone really questions).
The show also reminds me a lot of Lucky Star – Kuina looks an awful lot like Konata as it is, and the opening, featuring a quartet of red and white school uniformed girls doing an ‘imitate me on niconico douga please!!!’ dance is definitely reminiscent of Lucky Star’s infamous opening. The actual tone of the show is quite different though and seems to focus a lot more on the actual cuteness than humour.
My main criticism, though, is that the entire episode is basically the most cuddly, cutesy candy fluffiness and then right at the end there’s a fanservice scene of Hinako in the bath. It’s bizarrely jarring. It wouldn’t have even felt weird to me if there had been some other form of fanservice in the rest of the episode, cos the sudden attention to Hinako’s boobs nearly gave me whiplash. Also… I don’t really care if you wanna sexualize the cute girl a little, but like…I dunno, maybe don’t present her as a cutesy baby kitten for the first 98% of the episode if you’re gonna? It’s just kinda creepy is all. On second thought she’s supposed to be like 13 or something so…yeah actually I do kinda care if you’re gonna sexualize the cute girl. Please don’t do that, actually.
‘Was that really goddamn necessary, show’ moment aside, this show was cute. It was pretty dumb, but it was a lot more pleasant than the last thing I watched, and even if barely anything happened it at least looked lovely all the while.
Out of 5,