Hinako Note

September 15, 2017

What’s this? Is this some sort of sequel to Death Note? Did that busty exercise instructor decided to turn evil and kill all fat otakus by writing down their names in a notebook that automatically kills people? So what the heck is this Hinako Note? Oh… You mean it is nothing of that sort. I see. Phew. It’s about a girl who is scared of interacting and talking to people but she decides to pursue her dream in becoming a stage actress. Oh… Another cute girls doing cute things. Dang that Death Note parody thingy sounded much better…

Episode 1
Hinako Sakuragi just arrived in Tokyo from the countryside. She gets lost but when a policeman tries to help, she gets scared. What does she do? She turns into a scarecrow! Apparently she is shy of people and turns into one when she panics. That’s why in the countryside she has this ‘ability’ talking to animals that gather around her and the farmers love her because it keeps pests away from their crops! Wait. Shouldn’t scarecrows scare away animals? Whatever. She finally arrives at Hitotose Manor. It looks like a bookshop. She is met with another weirdo, Kuina Natsukawa. She loves books. Books are her friends. But she loves tearing pages out and eat them?! You eat your friends?! Kuina shows Hinako to her room. It is being tidied up by maid (yes!) Mayuki “Mayu” Hiiragi. All residents in Hitotose work here in addition to schooling. Apparently Mayu also works in a coffee shop that is directly connected and behind the bookshop. Hinako explains her reason to move here. She wants to join a theatre club since she was enthralled by watching a performance despite her shy behaviour. Since Fujimiya Girls’ High has the best theatre club, the reason she enrolled here. The next day, the trio hang out at the park. Hinako gets lost and the overwhelming crowd turns her into a scarecrow. Well, at least she is easy to find. Nearby are local troupe members practising on stage. Mayu sees Chiaki Ogino among them and rushes to greet her. This tall and soft spoken girl is the landlady of Hitotose. Despite her demeanour, she was a child actress and used to be in Fujimiya’s theatre club. But as they talk, it seems Fujimiya’s theatre club is on hiatus because the advisor is on a theatre trip. Its members are just doing whatever they want. But if Hinako wants to perform, a small troupe is possible. She could be the leader. The rest wonder if they are being dragged into something… Hinako takes a long hot bath back at Hitotose, pondering about her future. She soaked too long and faints, causing everyone to go into panic mode.

Episode 2
Flashback shows the farmers often used Hinako as their scarecrow to attract the animals since theirs broke. She actually stood there the whole day… Man, she is far more effective and a pro as a scarecrow! Of course they aren’t exploiting her and as thanks for her hard work, they give her loads of vegetables. Funny her mom has her suspicions where she got the vegetables and always coming home late. She thinks she is dabbling in some illegal activity but choose to believe in her! Why not just ask? Hinako learns more about the theatre club’s advisor, the petite Ruriko Kuroyanagi (I thought she’s somebody’s little sister) felt her skills were stagnating and didn’t see herself fit to be their advisor. As Hinako is still nervous, Chiaki explains she was also in the same shoes. Her parents were also actors and she often helped out in their rehearsals. It built her confidence. She suggests Hinako to form a small troupe since there is no telling when the school club will start up again. Hinako still doesn’t have the confidence so Chiaki advises to start behind the scenes like props and scriptwriting. Kuina instantly agrees to join but Mayu is somewhat embarrass and still has her reservations. Hinako has to be the leader of this new troupe because thinking of working in the coffee shop and bookshop doesn’t quite fit her. Besides, nobody wants this troupe to happen more than she does. The first order is to come up with a name. They think of putting Hinako’s name but she decides to go with the manor. Hitotose Troupe it is. All of them exchange contacts and Hinako is glad to have obtained so many in a day. Yeah, her mom is the only one on her call list. That night they even discuss what they should do first as a troupe. They have researched a historical theatre called Suzuran in Shimokitazawa that many dream of performing there. They aim to get there. Well, no harm dreaming big as a start.

Episode 3
It is Hinako’s first day in class. She is so nervous introducing herself that she became a scarecrow. As expected. As Chiaki’s fans have taken the initiative to create an acting society to let her continue acting, she relays the good news to the rest to join. Classmate Yua Nakajima didn’t like how Hinako and Kuina are acting so friendly with Chiaki so this big Chiaki admirer goes to confront them and it scares the hell out of Hinako. Hinako thought she could find solace in the new club but look who is here to continue b*tching? It’s Yua’s turn to be a scarecrow when Chiaki asks what all this is about. Maybe she wants to join? Would she?! Hinako continues to be nervous whenever asked to do things. So Yua always voluntarily and coolly takes over. Looks like she still has a long way if she really intends to stand before a crowd. Back at Hitotose, Mayu has Hinako try out a maid outfit. She also has her cosplay a few outfits before settling back to the maid one. I know, maids are the best right? Of course!!! While she is sweeping outside, her accidental ‘talking’ to her bird has a lost girl enthralled. So Hinako has to use her ventriloquism to not shatter her hopes. Hinako decides to stop being a scaredy cat and move forward so the next day she did the first bold move by talking to Yua and wants to be her friend and thanks her for all the help. Shocking, right? Even Yua is lost for words. Even if it isn’t smooth sailing at first but I’m sure they’ll get used to it.

Episode 4
While the theatre society is practising, Hinako notices a petite girl next to Chiaki. Man, she has big boobs. Could she be Chiaki’s daughter?! Turns out she is Ruriko! She was also a famous child actress and a prodigy. Looks like she is back as she explains herself she ‘ran away’ that time was because she was losing motivation. So blaming her for casting aside her job is the right thing. After visiting many famous European theatres, she is now prepared for the biggest show, the reason why she has returned: The upcoming school cultural festival in a month’s time. Disappointed? Mayu accidentally shows off her dancing and this has others admire her skills. Now they’re bugging her to join as she turns into a scarecrow trying to escape from this ‘hell’. Ruriko catches Hinako humming a song. Then she has her sing to a song she plays on her CD. My, Hinako has such a beautiful voice! OMG! Does this remind you of X-Factor’s Susan Boyle?! Now everybody is all over her. Back at Hitotose, Mayu is upset that Chiaki has been busy recently and thus they have no time to hang out. Hinako and Kuina thought they could cheer her up by being Chiaki’s substitute but this only irritates Mayu. Mayu thought she is going to let Chiaki have it all once she gets back but seeing Chiaki bought those ice cream she remembered, all is forgiven. Ruriko has written tons of scripts for her greatest masterpiece of all time! She is going to pick somebody to play her heroine. Yua is excited this could be her chance but Ruriko shocks everyone by picking, wait for it, Hinako! Yua is of course jealous that Hinako has neither the experience nor skill but in Ruriko’s mind, she is the perfect heroine. Her voice, singing and of course proportions… Hinako faints at this shock so Ruriko starts crying over this sudden decision that makes Hinako feel guilty and accept it. Little did she know that Ruriko was just putting up an act. All as planned… Back at Hitotose, everyone dreams big of Hinako’s role so they decide to pretend like it is the real show. Well, Hinako is still the same scarecrow…

Episode 5
Hinako continues to be clumsy in her practice. This irks Yua. Till she sees her real blessed proportions when she takes off her jersey. More jealousy when Chiaki pays more attention to Hinako. When Yua sprains her ankle, it is her turn to be a scarecrow (and almost ‘died’) since Chiaki’s attention is now on her. The practice continues with Hinako continuing to be clumsy but bumps into Yua most of the time. She really wanted to give her piece of mind to that failure but since Chiaki always cuts in, I guess not. But Hinako might think with all the accidents, Yua is starting to hate her. While Hinako is helping Kuina to clean the bookstore, she finds a beginner’s guide to act. One of the topics is to imitate animals. So the duo try their best to imitate birds by jumping off a ladder to fly? Chiaki joins in when she learns as she demonstrates (sexy) poses of animals. But Hinako’s scarecrow pose seems to come in handy for a while because it does make her look like a soaring eagle. Because the bookstore is too small a space to practice dancing, they suggest to head to the park. Yua wanted to come back to give that failure a piece of her mind and sees them heading out. Time to stalk them. She sees her training hard and the rest guiding her. Even when it is time to go home, Hinako wants to practice more so she could conquer her stage fright and doesn’t want to be labelled a failure. But at the end when she thinks everything will work out, Yua bursts out from her hiding, annoyed that she is barely ready. Yup, she is going to personally train her! Welcome to Spartan training… Nobody is going to fail in a play that she’s in. Hinako is happy to continue and will keep working hard. Also, she views Yua as a kind girl and is glad she doesn’t hate her.

Episode 6
The cultural festival starts tomorrow. Hinako’s class is doing a haunted house and it would be perfect since Hinako can turn into a scarecrow… The theatre society’s main casts dress up for rehearsal. Hinako is shocked that Chiaki is not in the play and working in the background. Hinako had a tough time remembering all her lines last night but when Ruriko tests her by acting out, it seems Hinako could read out her lines naturally and perfectly. But there is a little secret that the Hitotose girls would only know why this is so… Hinako’s little birdie hidden behind her wig is feeding her the lines! The next day, Hinako, Kuina and Yua hang out together with Kuina being the usual glutton. Since they have some time, they would like to practice a little their lines. However Hinako has forgotten them?! Last night she read the lines of other roles and this overwrite her lines?! Let’s hope she remembers them in time or those little birdies doing their trick perfectly. As the play begins, Yua realizes an important prop (a handkerchief) she is supposed to have in hand is missing. Hinako then coolly addresses the crowd to borrow one. Mayu goes up to lend hers but realizes too late she is on stage and is hit with stage fright. Although she is quickly ushered to the backstage, the play continues perfectly and normally. Mayu starts thinking despite her fears, it looks fun speaking in front of people. At the end of the play, Ruriko congratulates Hinako and Yua for a brilliant performance. The small blooper is forgivable and sometimes it adds spice. Ruriko plans to formally start up the theatre club again as she invites Hinako to come make her show business debut! That escalated quickly! But Kuina declines for her saying that Hinako is the leader of their own Hitotose Troupe. Ruriko would love to support them. This has Yua want to join in too since she is ‘worried’ that she is their leader. Thanks for caring anyway.

Episode 7
Summer is here and Kuina suggests going to the beach. She even teases Hinako might attract sharks! She actually believes it! Of course the first order before going to the beach is to buy swimsuits. Mayu is an ‘expert’ in choosing Hinako’s swimsuit but it seems it is getting more risqué. Chiaki looks sexy in this bold bikini but she also decides to use this swimsuit when cleaning Hitotose. It’ll be a waste not to wear the swimsuit again, no? Mayu catches the eye of a clerk who praises her doll-like beauty. But when she recommends kiddie fashion swimsuit, Mayu takes her leave. She feels insulted everyone thinks she is a child. She decides to wear a risqué swimsuit. Her friends see her but they tease her she isn’t ready for that kind of swimsuit. Back home, Hinako is learning how to swim on her bed. And also how to shout for help if drowning? The quintet head to the beach and as Mayu goes to buy some drinks and laments everyone still treats her like a kid, she stumbles into Ruriko who is shooting a drama nearby. She can tell that Mayu is lost. Really, a lost child. Soon it dawned to the rest that Mayu is really lost. Chiaki tries to call her handphone but it seems she didn’t bring it along. At the same time, Ruriko tries to call Chiaki and of course couldn’t connect. Hinako is so worried that she rushes off to find Mayu. She didn’t take her handphone too. Oh dear. Looks like we’re going to have another lost child. When some people talk to Hinako, she turns into a scarecrow. Luckily Mayu and Ruriko have found her and they reunite with their friends. At the end of the day, a couple of mountain animals who got lost cling onto Hinako. They take a group photo before taking a train back. Hinako hopes to come back again next year.

Episode 8
Hinako thought she is confident after the cultural festival performance. But when a customer enters the bookstore for help, she immediately becomes a scarecrow. Still a long way to go… So bad that she did it for Mayu and Yua too… Mayu has Yua try out a gothic dress. When Chiaki returns, Yua gets embarrassed and hides herself. Yua is here to lend her DVDs to Hinako for acting. Unfortunately Hinako inserts them into her VHS player… This girl is too ancient! One day while helping Mayu, Hinako suddenly collapses. She has got a cold as Chiaki looks after her. Hinako is worried about her shift but don’t worry, Mayu is handling it fine. I think. Yup, she is swamped with business. Kuina thinks she can make medicine by tearing a page from a medicine book and grinding it? I don’t think it works like that. And then hanging green onions around her neck? Looks weird. It’s a good thing Kuina didn’t become a doctor. As Hinako sleeps, Kuina dressed up as a white snake thinking its bite could cure her. Only a real snake… But caught in the act by Chiaki. Yua too thinks exorcism will help? Caught by Chiaki. Kuina returns as a dragon? Caught by Chiaki. Is Yua trying to summon a demon? Caught by Chiaki. What’s with these people? Please don’t bother her. Hinako starts to feel homesick but she is cheered up when her friends come in to eat porridge with her. Everybody takes turns feeding her. Hinako feels better and is glad she came to Tokyo. The next day when Hinako is back to health, she is shocked to see everyone passed out! They got her cold. Now it’s her turn to nurse them. Time to get busy. Yua too is sick in her own bed wondering if Hinako is okay.

Episode 9
Hinako receives a letter from mom stating she will be visiting her. Why is she panicking? Does she have little faith in mom not to embarrass her? Because the shopping district is going to have a stamp rally, Chiaki is thinking how to bring in customers. Hinako immediately suggests a performance by Hitotose Troupe. Great idea. Hinako and Chiaki discuss where to hold a practice as Yua eavesdrop. Apparently she got jealous Hinako is getting too much attention and wants in too. Remember, Yua is part of Hitotose Troupe so don’t leave her out. When Ruriko find out, she too wants in and thus on short notice announces a training camp. Where exactly? Right here in school. So when the girls arrive, Ruriko has already laid out the futon. She even has got the pillow ready in preparation for tonight’s pillow fight. Why is this starting to look like a slumber party? After practice, Yua decides to go wash her face. As it is raining and the corridors are dark with flickering lights for horror effects, she starts getting scared. Then something is lurking in the dark… Turns out to be Mayu. Too bad Yua is so scared that Mayu even gets scared looking out for some French doll monster. After dinner, Yua promises never to leave the room. However out of habit when Mayu wants to get a washrag from the home economics class, she volunteers. Dang. Don’t worry. Hinako will come along. I suppose that won’t help. The dark scary hallways are giving Yua the chills. She is left alone when Hinako trudges forward to check whatever they think is lurking ahead. Yua is scared sh*t. By the time Hinako returns with a stray kitten, Yua has already fainted. Bed time, Kuina wants to tell ghost stories! Another round of fainting? Not sure if she did it on purpose. But Ruriko is eager to get started on the pillow fight. While sleeping, Yua accidentally sees Hinako’s sleeping mask and gets freaked out. Her scream wakes up everyone, thinking there is a burglar or something. What a night. Next day when it is all bright and clear, Yua denies she was scared. Why is Kuina taking down excerpts of what she says? As proof? Hinako’s confidence is boosted with their practice doing well. She hopes mom gets to see her performance at her best.

Episode 10
Since the script is done, Mayu eagerly wants to put on a parade. The kind of parade where the actors dress up for final checks. However the rest notes that there are quite a few things to check before having such a parade. Unfortunately Mayu throws a childish tantrum that she wants it now! What to do but to please her? So we see Kuina in a maid outfit, Hinako as a Playboy bunny girl, Yua as Alice In Wonderland and Chiaki a nurse. You happy now? Totally. Later Ruriko drops by to help check the script. She isn’t spared from the dress up too. Dog outfit? When the rest notices a leftover dress, guess who gets to wear it? Everyone is thrilled to see Mayu looking very much like a princess. Ruriko suddenly announces a sudden sleepover to help with the play’s practice. Despite the performance is in a few weeks, there shall be no time left to waste. Or maybe Ruriko is just a sleepover fanatic? While the girls are distributing flyers for their play, here comes Hinako’s mom as an eager beaver to cheer on her daughter. I suppose she arrived way too early because she wants to go sightseeing in Tokyo. Bye. Take care of her luggage please. Ruriko also brings her mom who is a famous model. My, what a tall lady. Even seeing her has Hinako turn into a scarecrow. Backstage before their performance, some talk about their first stage fright and messing things up. As they go up on stage, Hinako’s mom is clearly being loud in supporting her daughter. Is this an idol event? Turning into a scarecrow now… As Chiaki makes her intro speech, Kuina points out to Hinako that Mayu has also been up all night putting up their lines. This makes Hinako realize she isn’t alone on stage. The girls celebrate after the play. It is considered a success although Hinako rues her mistakes. Even mom thought she was playing the scarecrow at first! But as Chiaki reminds her, the crowd didn’t mind. Mom praises her she has acted out her part till the very end and that she has grown up. After Hinako thanks everyone, mom leaves for home via bullet train. She came, she saw, she left in a storm.

Episode 11
Hitotose Troupe decides to do another play on Christmas Eve. After discussion, it will be a small play based on A Christmas Carol. Yua hears about it and would love to help. She even took the liberty to make Chiaki’s costume. Wow. This angelic costume sure makes her look like some sexy Olympian goddess. Hinako actually manages to attract a real deer to help with the promotion and play! If Hinako is a scarecrow and Mayu freaking out at all the people starring at her in this weird dress, don’t worry because everyone is totally into the deer. The play goes well and before the day ends, everyone discovers that Hinako still believes in Santa Claus. An energetic Kuina wakes up Hinako for the New Year’s first sunshine. The girls then talk about their goals for the year like Mayu who seems eager to grow taller that she is drinking down the entire milk carton now. Hinako feels a bit lonely since Kuina and Mayu will be taking leave to visit their families. Mayu gives Hinako her doll as company. Hinako goes to help Chiaki but being with her, she starts feeling awkward with the silence and can’t find something to talk despite wanting to ask her lots of questions. It hit her she doesn’t know anything about her so she wants Chiaki to tell all about herself. She sounds like she wants to be her stalker… Chiaki then leaves for her part time job and has Hinako help her out. She notices the guys starring at Chiaki (obviously) and there is a shady character stalking her from behind the tree. We know it’s you, Yua. So instead of just stalking, care to help out too? Gladly. Noticing that Chiaki is good with small kids, Hinako wishes she is small. Jealous Yua thinks she’s talking about her boobs. At the end of the day, Hinako manages to tell Chiaki she wants to talk a lot more with her. Chiaki agrees and Hinako gives her a big emotional hug. Jealous Yua won’t be outdone and also hugs her. Hinako goes to sleep and is happy she got to know Chiaki better. The next morning, she realizes her entire drool has covered Mayu’s doll. Hinako reflects on the events in the past. So much has happened. She has grown a lot. But still a lot more room for improvement. A whole lot more. Kuina and Mayu return but they got the same snack souvenirs.

Episode 12
Hinako wakes up in the middle of the night only to see Mayu in a witch outfit concocting some poison while muttering Chiaki’s name?! When Mayu tries to deny everything, it only makes Hinako more curious. Plus, Mayu is so cute while flustering! Hinako decides to go tell Kuina but it seems the latter is interested in finding Chiaki in an immodest position. Next morning, it is revealed Mayu was making Valentine chocolates so she could serve them in the café. She was wearing that hood because it was cold. Muttering Chiaki’s name was some sort of ‘spell’ to make it taste better. Yua plans to give her chocolates to Chiaki. Too bad there’s a crowd. Care to join in? When it is Yua’s turn, she is nervous. But Hinako cuts in and coolly gives hers like as though there was nothing. Yua manages to give it to her but it felt so embarrassing. Chiaki thanks her and invites her to Hitotose after school. It is a feast for her eyes seeing Chiaki serving chocolates in a maid outfit. Chiaki receives several tickets from a friend for a play at Shimokita Theatre. She invites her pals to go watch it with her as thanks for the Valentine’s Day assistance. Since it is the place where they want to perform, Hinako is all excited to go check it out. So Mayu is sulking so that she could be invited to come along? The Hitotose quartet close the shop for the day so they could take a train ride there. However when they alight, they realize Hinako is missing! Where is she?! When they go find her, she moved while searching for them! I don’t know how long it took but they eventually reunite. But Kuina couldn’t be even more grateful since she was able to pick up snacks along the way. Lots of them. After the play, Hinako is overcome with emotion. They also noticed another spectator overcome with emotion. Isn’t that Yua? Since Ruriko is also here, might as well hang out together.

Scarecrowing With Hinako
Oh… That was the end? Ah well… I guess I shouldn’t be complaining and expected something more or less like this. There isn’t a deep plot to go about so some may find it boring and draggy and so much so when the end came, it just hit and make you go, “That’s it? No final performance or anything?”. Nothing really exciting or sudden twists (horror! The troupe gets disbanded!) and it is just about the girls hanging out together. Cute girls doing cute things. It seems everyone has a long way to go but then again, what’s the rush?

The characters are cute and lovable in their own way but after having watched too much of this genre, it really starts to feel old. They start to feel more or less the same. I’m not saying that it is bad for this series but generally for me they bring nothing new. You have the typical new girl in town who is nervous, scatterbrain and lacking the talent but she improves a little, gets by every day with the help of her friends. Then you have the nice big sister type, the very moe cutie type, the slacker-cum-carefree type and finally the rival.

Hinako may not be the first main character who is actually very shy in interacting with others (see the main character from Hitohira who has this same shy personality and the series itself is about a drama club) but she is the first whom I know to freeze up and turn into a scarecrow when talking to others of the same kind. It becomes a reflex action and her running joke that she will automatically start to spread her arms whenever she gets nervous. It is admirable that she continues to confront her fear and tries to change it. Though she gets through each trial and looks forward with optimism for the next, I can’t help feel that it is going to be a long way before she overcomes and conquers her scarecrow form. She won’t be up for any Oscars but I can’t help note that maybe those kids by the roadside roleplaying Power Rangers can act better than her… If the entire world is a play and the people are its actors, then Hinako can be said like stumbling through ever scene…

And if you’re wondering what Hinako Note is, well, it’s just her diary that details what she has done or going to do in detail. Quite neat and organized like as though it’s a revision book to study for exams. I’m not one to read diaries so I didn’t really read all those stuffs she has to write. For a while in the initial episodes yes, but subsequently I lost interest. What if I miss an entry about a guy she has a crush on… What?! In this very mild yuri series? I can see none of the girls here falling for guys. Chiaki is their guy!

So as not to make Hinako the only weirdo, Kuina is also a weirdo herself because she likes to eat pages. If this is her other idea of getting her daily fibre without having to eat those yucky vegetables, she’d be so wrong. In fact, Kuina isn’t just about eating pages. She thinks about food. Heck, you should have guessed (if you know your Japanese slightly well) that her name itself is a pun of eating. I’m not sure if acting is a kind of food for her since many of her suggestions would eventually boil down to food.

As usual we must have the rival and the character who shows the most emotions of them all in the form of Yua. Without her, the gang would be less lively because who else would be as competitive and tsundere as her? Chiaki is so nice and soft spoken that I believe I have never hear her raised her voice. Can she even? So nice that sometimes it feels she might actually be an angel descended from heaven. Really. It’s like she could do no wrong and in the minute event she does, you can’t bring yourself to even scold or hate her because she’s so nice.

Lastly Mayu as the cutie pie of the group is my personal reason why this series is slightly more enjoyable. You guessed it! Meido!!! Plus, the maid outfit design is very much to my liking so forgive me if I don’t pay attention what is going on and just gawk at her each time she is on screen. Which is quite a number of screen time she has. It’s like they know my fetish and make her character love to wear the maid outfit as much as possible. Thanks guys. Thanks Mayu. Never change. Your dress. Mayu’s role in the series feels like if they ever need to increase the moe factor, just have Mayu squeal and yelp in her typical girly voice and voila, cuteness factor increased by 100 times. Either you will start fawning or get annoyed. I’m still focused on her maid outfit, yeah…

Sometimes I feel that Ruriko’s character overlaps with Chiaki and Mayu. In the sense that she is soft spoken monotonously and tiny. Because of that, at times I feel her character is quite unnecessary and that she does not bring much impact to the series overall. Even without her in which I can see true as well, Hitotose Troupe can indeed operate independently with or without her. It is just to somehow make it legal and follow the rules that school clubs officially need to have an advisor. Otherwise, I don’t really see much in this acting prodigy that just borders plain weird (even weirder than Kuina eating books) and that her actual talents might be inflated. Okay, I don’t really know how to appreciate this kind of theatrical arts and hence I don’t really see what’s so good and talented about Ruriko. Besides, she leaving her school club and then suddenly coming back didn’t leave a good impression on me. Hope the European trip was worth it.

The series itself lacks fanservice although it is not intended to have one but having Hinako and Chiaki with such big busts sometimes feel there is the need to make some jokes and references about girls with big boobs. Especially to those without such blessed assets. What I want to say is that there is a part where it looks like teasing viewers with the fanservice and that part is at the next episode preview whereby we can see the girls in very ambiguous poses from an ambiguous angle. This is the most fanservice-y part in the series. Like as though this kind of shots are worthy for a gravure, a men’s magazine. A bit naughty without being too naughty.

Art and drawing lean more towards the cute and moe element as seen in other similar animes such as YuruYuri, Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka, Acchi Kocchi, Kiniro Mosaic and Lucky Star. Because of that, doesn’t Hinako look a bit like Lucky Star’s Miyuki? Just without the glasses and add boobs. Or how about Yua who somehow keeps reminding me something about Lucky Star’s Kagami. Or Mayu’s near resemblance to Kiniro Mosaic’s Karen? Is it me or does Kuina look like a cross between Lucky Star’s Konata and Acchi Kocchi’s Tsumiki? Animated by Passione, they only have a few titles under their belt in these past few years like Rail Wars, Haitai Nanafa and Rokka No Yuusha. Since the series you will rarely see them act a play out on stage, it is the mid-intermission eyecatch segment that you can see the Hitotose Troupe dressed in various costumes in different play settings such as being mermaids and fighting a revolutionary war.

As speaking is an essential part of acting, the voice acting feels okay with each of the characters having their own unique distinct sound to reflect their personality. After all these years, Yui Ogura still has that baby-like voice. And as Mayu here, she makes her character sound even more annoyingly cute to the point you just want to hug and squeeze her. Oops… The rest of the main casts are Mao as Hinako (Papika in Flip Flappers), Hisako Toujo as Chiaki (Kiruka in Shakunetsu No Takkyuu Musume), Miyu Tomita as Kuina (Gabriel in Gabriel Dropout), Marika Kouno as Yua (Niwaka in Akiba’s Trip The Animation) and Yuri Yoshida as Ruriko (Mashiro in Mikakunin De Shinkoukei).

A E I U E O Ao by Hitotose Troupe as the opening theme is as weird and lively as it can get. You have to be good with your tongue if you are to sing flawlessly through this song with some of the lyrics being fast paced and nonsensical words. Like as though this might also be some kind of speech preparation/warm up for budding actors and actresses to improve their speaking. Also as weird as this is the ending theme, Ka-tenko-ru by the same troupe. Though singing wise it is not as weird as the opener.

Overall, this is just an average series and this season’s cute girls doing cute things. People who love this genre would still find it enjoyable with the unique cast of characters and their interaction among each other causing a few funny and cute moments. Others who aren’t into this genre would find it a yawn fest. I’m not sure if acting on stage is the best way to overcome one’s shyness. It’s like doing a bungee jump for those who are afraid of heights or throw those who are afraid of snakes into a snake pit. Well, fighting fire with fire. But remember, don’t get burnt in the act.

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