First Look: Hinako Note

Alternative title(s): Is the Order a Nervous Breakdown?
Manga Adaptation by Passione
Streaming on Crunchyroll


Hinako, a girl much better at talking to animals than to humans, moves to the big city, where she meets four a wide array of one-dimensional quirky high school girls, because of fucking course characters.

Aqua’s verdict: More Like Hinako Nope

Gag me with a spoon, it’s another one of these paint-by-numbers romps about a bunch of preteen girls being insufferably nice to each other and holy fuck, am I not in the mood to tolerate one of these right now. Fans of this genre – or should I say people so starved for sugarcoated sapphism they’d watch a test card all day if it was a picture of a girl petting another girl’s hair – should know what to expect already. There’s the unbearable cacaphony of a theme tune, the cake, the plinky piano soundtrack, the pastel-tinted budget-cutting measures– err, I mean, backgrounds, the same old jokes repeated ad nauseam, the cake, the cutesy animals that barely look like animals and of course, the fanservice. Because how else can we show how pure and innocent these girls are without bouncing their bubblegum breasts all over the screen? By the way, did I mention there’s cake?

I have to say though, it’s been an eternity since I last saw chibis in a new anime. What is this, 2006? Unfortunately, that’s about all the pleasant nostalgia you can expect, because otherwise Hinako Note is as neck-deep in the quicksand of old chestnuts as any of these bores the anime industry keeps farting out are. It’s Dull with a capital D, yet most of all it is impossible to recommend, simply because there are so many shows that do the exact same thing it wants to do, except a billion times better. It lacks the unique visual style of Hidamari Sketch, the relaxing charm of Amanchu! or Flying Witch, the variety of Minami-ke or Lucky Star, the heart and character of K-ON!, the humour and imagination of Azumanga Daioh or Love Lab, or heck, even the genuine intent of HaNaYaMaTa or Non Non Biyori, shows that at least try to be anything more than just a cynical gauntlet run through the most worn-out checklist this godforsaken industry has on offer. Hinako Note, on the other side, is just a big, baked bag of nothing, a heap of hackneyed piffle bound to be forgotten by the time the next fivesome of prepubescent, pastel-painted, pastry-picking, plinky-piano-playing, punchline-parrotting putzes rolls around.

But hey, at least there’s dancing!

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