Hinako Note is a 12-episode anime adaptation of the manga series of the same name by Mitsuki. The series was directed by Toru Kitahata, with Takeo Takahashi credited as chief director. The studio responsible for producing it was Passione. It aired as part of the spring 2017 season of anime, and is available on Crunchyroll.Being a slice-of-life series, Hinako Note‘s main draw is its focus on character interactions rather than a deep story. A shy girl named Hinako Sakuragi moves to Tokyo. She hopes to join a theatre club in order to overcome her shyness, which often leaves her becoming a scarecrow when faced with social situations.
Of course, there are other characters besides Hinako. The girl with blue hair is Kuina Natsukawa – she has quite the appetite, and can often be seen eating books. The blonde girl is Mayuki Hiiragi. She may be one of the shortest characters, but she is older than Hinako. She hates being treated like a child, but that’s exactly that a lot of people do because of how she looks. Add in the stoic Chiaki and tsundere Yua Nakajima, and you’ve got a pretty stock selection of characters you’d expect to find in a show about cute girls doing cute things.
That’s the thing about Hinako Note; it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. It does focus on some theatrical stuff during at least a couple of episodes, but it is all pretty standard fare for this type of show.
Whilst it is familiar viewing, it still manages to be entertaining. The humour works well enough, though some jokes do get repeated. They don’t really overstay their welcome, but it’s worth noting at least.
There are occasions when Hinako Note uses super-deformed characters like shown above. They pretty much come at random and there’s not really any rhyme or reason for it, but it does help to give the show a bit more of its own identity.
There’s definitely more fanservice to be found in Hinako Note than you’d get from your typical slice-of-life/CGDCT series. That includes a beach episode (practically a prerequisite), as well as plenty of skimpy clothing and provocative poses to be found. Whether the inclusion of said fanservice is positive or negative will depend upon the viewer.
The soundtrack is pretty standard as well, though it does get some sillier songs for silly moments. An instrumental version of “Rock-a-Bye Baby” whenever Mayu is doing something childish and a kazoo rendition of “Also sprach Zarathustra” whilst Kuina talks about festival food are two such examples. The soundtrack definitely helps with the humour.
Over the course of the series, we also get to see Hinako experience a bit of growth. It may not be much in the long run, but it is satisfying to see her overcome her lack of confidence with help from her friends.
It may be pretty standard stuff, but Hinako Note is still fun in its own way. It doesn’t hold much appeal for those seeking something new, but familiarity isn’t always bad.