“I’m in Tokyo now. I have to try hard so I can stand on a stage and learn to talk skillfully to people.”
So, coming into this season, one of the things I was initially looking for was a cute moe show to fill the Friday hole that was left by last season’s Urara Meirochou. Lo and behold, we have another adorable show featuring cute character designs and quirky characters in Passione’s Hinako Note. A relative newcomer to the industry, Passione is still trying to find their legs with relative flops in their past works, Rail Wars and Rokka no Yuusha. While Hinako Note likely won’t be the big hit show to put Passione on the map, the quirky little moe show promises some zany fun and a fun time each Friday this season.
Story and Characters
The story of Hinako Note, as with most other moe shows, is relatively simple. Hinako Sakuragi is a young girl from the country who moves to Tokyo in hopes of joining her new school’s theater club, because she herself is very awkward and bad at interacting with new people. The show follows her entering into the boarding house, which also serves as a secondhand bookstore, and getting to know the interesting and quirky cast of characters contained within. Upon learning the school’s Theater Club is on hiatus, Hinako and friends decide to start their own theater troupe in order to achieve Hinako’s dream of performing on stage and becoming better at interacting with people through this.
The story is relatively simple. Just like a lot of other shows of its kind, Hinako Note is not really about the story but more focused on the characters themselves. As mentioned before, our main character Hinako is extremely shy and has a quirky way of showing it. When talking to new people, she gets nervous easily and if it gets bad enough, she stiffens up in a fashion similar to a scarecrow. Upon moving into the boarding house, she meets the frequenter of the bookstore, Kuina Natsukawa. Kuina is another unusual character in that she is a heavy reader who has a bad habit of eating the pages of her favorite books. Hinako also meets the young Mayuki Hiiragi, her small upperclassman who works in a nearby cafe. The characters are all cute in their own right, though none are standout spectacular. My personal favorite so far has been the focus of this week’s episode, Yua Nakajima. While she is still relatively fresh to the cast, she has the traits of a lot of characters I like and she has some really adorable moments in Episode 3.
While Passione’s earlier work I’ve seen in Rokka no Yuusha had some moments of fantastic animation for its fight scenes, Hinako Note stays more in a laidback casual style of animation. It’s a tried-and-true style that works for moe anime, with a lot of the focus placed on the cute characters and their expressions. There’s a plentiful amount of reaction faces and funny shots from several of the characters and the characters take a large amount of the focus for the show’s animation budget. While it’s not fantastic and they aren’t the best characters this season, the designs are cute and appealing to the eye, with some level of diversity between them.
The OST, much like the animation, is middle of the road. There aren’t really any standout tracks so far within the show’s soundtrack, but each tone is nice and laidback in its nature and fits the scene it goes with. While I don’t really have much to say about the backing tracks in the show, I do have to sing a little praise for Hinako Note‘s OP, “A E I U E O Ao!”. While it may not be the most high-quality OP this season and it probably won’t end up taking my personal favorite OP of the season, it is definitely one of the most fun. The entire song has a bouncy beat that has just the right amount of sing-along potential to make it an absolute earworm, like the “Ganbaro! Ganbaro!” in the pre-chorus. Not to mention, the OP itself also comes with a fun short little choreographed number that is absolutely adorable and could definitely be easy to learn.
Should You Watch It?
Hinako Note, at its core, is a lot like the early portions of last season’s Urara Meirochou. It’s a cute fun moe show that promises a quirky, goofy 24 minutes each Friday. If you’re a fan of moe and new moe shows are something you actively seek out, I’d say to give it a try. It definitely has that fun, playful vibe from the OP to the comedic interactions between the characters that makes it fun if that’s the sort of thing you look for. It’s not a deep show by any means and it doesn’t try to be, it’s just bouncy and energetic fun. Hinako Note definitely isn’t a knockout title that everyone should be watching, but it can be just the thing to kick off a fun weekend.
(Hinako Note can be streamed on Crunchyroll with a one-week delay on new episodes for free users or same day as it airs for premium)