Saturday, April 7, 2012

Anime Review No. 28, "Hanamaru Kindergarten"

I’m the Eclectic Dude, and I review it for the lolz.
Well, after a fun scifi adventure that is Tenamonya Voyagers, I follow it up with….Hanamaru Kindergarten?! Wut?!
Koume, Hiiragi, and Anzu in foreground, with Tsuchida and Yamamoto in the background  
Yes, seriously. This 2010 slice of life series of 12 episodes is something not within what I normally review, which is obscure OVAs/series from the 90s. But I will try nonetheless. The director is Seiji Mizushima and produced by Studio Gainax. Gainax is better known for titles like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Gurren Lagann. Indeed, this is the company that later in 2010 put out Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (P&S w/G), one of the raunchiest anime I’ve ever seen in recent memory. Though to be fair, P&S w/G is far more memorable than this title, as I didn’t heard much of this series since it came out.

So, let’s see what’s up with this series by looking at the first episode. The first episode is actually two short stories mashed into one episode. After a short opening music sting, the first of two main characters is introduced, Tsuchida-sensei. He is a new kindergarten teacher going to his first day of work. This is a bit unusual as being a male kindergarten teacher must be a rarity even in Japan.

He meets up with Anzu, a kindergartener. She instantly becomes infatuated with Tsuchida-sensei, which is a little odd. The first part of the episode deals with the first day of school. Ah, what fond memories of that, let me tell you. It did bring some nostalgia to me. Anyway, Tsuchida ends up falling for Yamamoto-sensei, another teacher working at the same small elementary school he works at. Uh-oh, I smell a love triangle (maybe).  

Anzu also meets some new friends, as you do at first day of school. Hiiragi is a blue-haired girl who is stoic and overly serious. Koume is a brown-haired girl who is shy, timid, and reserved. Anzu is a rather cheerful little girl who is happy, talkative and makes friends easily. She is also very brave, as she goes up a tree to get Koume’s ribbon back after a wind blew it up there.

The second part deals with mainly Tsuchida-sensei. It turns out Anzu’s mom was his senpai (senior) back in high school. She was already married to the art teacher at the school. I like how casually this information is revealed, when such a thing would be a big deal here in the USA. Oh, well.

The rest of it contains scenes of domestic life of the characters introduced in the first part. Then, the next day, Anzu confesses her love to Tsuchida. He is expectedly surprised at this, even more so when Anzu’s mom gives her blessing. Oh noes….hijinks are to insure….I guess.

Final thoughts: I thought it was OK. The fact that Gainax put out a slice of life series so mundane and ordinary when they have also done series like Gurren Lagann, FLCL, Evangelion, Abenobashi is quite a surprise. They seem to be their best when they are loud and bombastic, not quiet, calm and peaceful. Granted, some of the humor is on par with their other stuff, but that’s about it.

I am not sure if I will watch this further, as it seems like every typical slice of life story. The only difference being is that it deals with kindergarteners. That’s about it. It is average, at best. If you like slice of life stories or a Gainax fan, then I recommend checking it out. If not, well then pass it up. To be fair, kids can watch this with not much trouble at all, if that's a consolation.


The Eclectic Dude 

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