Category Archives: Hitohira

Year in Review: Save Your Drama, Hitohira

…because “Save Your Drama for Hitohira” just doesn’t run as well with your momma.

Uh, what can I say? It’s a touching 12-episode series about relationships between a senior and a junior. It’s touching only because it’s drowned with sentimental realism yet at the same time much like a serving of pancakes in maple syrup TV commercials. And there lies the rub.

The problem with Hitohira is that delicious friction between its strangely yandere-ly motley crew. It’s a common thing that typifies anime made with a more realistic expectation of suspension of belief. Just like well-rendered 3D CG background that sticks out behind a poorly mixed 2d foreground animation, the cheap but attractive characters that dress the plate of Hitohira’s drama seemed rather lame. I’d use the term caricature, but that might be too good of a thing to call it.

Anime is caricature after all, but its exaggerated nature shouldn’t bleed into the actual content and characterization unless that’s what the story calls for. When the drama is in the fore, please don’t get in the way. And when it’s not, well, I guess you can act like a massive tsundere for no reason. It’s in style after all? Or something in between the two extremes? I think Hitohira was hard to watch at first because of this.

But delicious pancakes are delicious. I would say Hitohira is delicious pancake with the proper application of syrup. Fictional chocolate cakes only go so far, you really need pancakes. And maybe topped with Mugi-Choco.

I know I ragged on Hitohira back earlier this year and I still rag on it here, but I think Hitohira’s crowning achievement is to illustrate a model of human conflict where the two parties, as antagonistic as they may be at times, are moved by the blows of each and grow from their respective suffering. Contrary to common sense when people fight when they love one another, they don’t grow weaker and becoming destroyed. Rather, they grow. It’s like when Kazuma and Ryuhou go at each other, except in Hitohira the protagonists actually get permanently hurt because they are normal human beings. And to be honest I just cannot recall an example of this kind of drama without some fickle of fantasy getting in the way, when it comes to anime. It is that white-pancakebread simplicity which is both subtle but blatant, when placed in front of a drama-craving audience, that Hitohira hits its stride.

(But seriously, while violence has its place, it’s never redemptive as they are in cartoons and movies. So don’t pick catfights and expect people to be “OK” with each other after a double KO. LOL.)

I think the most important thing about Hitohira, from a 2007 retrospective way of looking at things, is that it set the pace for this year to be a very art-house amateur-drama year. At least when it comes to shows I still manage to remember today. They are sometimes sophomoric, but that is also the charm. The art shows through when the creators use these things to their advantages in their narratives. Hitohira is a great example.

And this is the fourth post in a series about anime highlights of 2007. Hitohira is a good watch and a hard sell. Even when you praise it with faint damns. Damn.

Mugi-Choco’s Cream Filling

Or, No Wait, I Mean Message, Yeah That’s It.

I think I’m finally hooked on Japanese-style text-only 2ch-style Shift_JIS UI-Gothic what-the images. Damn you Saimoe, damn you to hell! It’s like 1994 all over again.

Actually, this is Barasuisho

But jokes aside, I think now it’s a good time to talk about Mugi Asai and Hitohira. It’s particularly insightful once pinned next to Manabi Straight. Because, you know, I wuuubs Manabi Straight.

To cut to the chase, Mugi Asai, the main character in Hitohira, experienced a transformation from a shy, introverted person to someone who has gotten over herself, with the help of someone else who was in her place a year before. Within the span of a school year, she bonded with this sempai and, well, drama happens. It’s a nice little piece of 12-episode anime that elaborates on Mika’s dilemma from the last 2 episodes of Manabi Straight.

But I watched Manabi Straight before Hitohira, and I suspect if you had your experience flipped chronologically, it may be just the same, with some words flipped. Which, after all, explains why Hitohira (which means petal) is the image I picked for this blog post (well–it sort of looks like 5 petals of a cherry blossom). And why it’s there to be picked as an eyecatch from the actual show, as a reasonable guess.

With her latest victory from Saimoe, it seemed that a lot of people got good vibes from her. And I can see why. Definitely a highly-recommend for those of you who can withstand high school drama in its finest amateur moment.