Summer 2007 Season Yuri Anime: Hitohira

July 6th, 2007

I’m pleased as punch to present our first Guest Review from Hafl! Hafl bravely took up my offer to review the series Hitohira after I said that I would not be reviewing it myself. Hafl is getting in some English-language practice with this review, so I think we ought to offer extra special kudos for the effort! Take it away Hafl!

Hitohira is an anime that gradually grows and changes during the series. People who liked the beginning may dislike the ending episodes and those who found something they didn’t like at the start may grow really attached by the end. The series isn’t about any dramatic story, it’s about characters and how they grow up during the year the anime encompasses.

By all means, I should have hated Mugi, the main character, yet she turned up to be quite an interesting character. Yes, she has a problem that seems a bit overblown, but she tries to overcome it and this trying, along with her relationships with other characters is the force driving this series forward. I think, that Mugi is a good portrayal of weak character that gradually becomes stronger, mainly through her own effort, even though other characters get involved. That’s probably the thing I like about her the most – she grows up.

Other characters are also quite good. I like them all, even though some of them can be a bit annoying. Chitose, who is very clearly in love with Katsuragi-sempai, is probably the character I like the least, though I am still glad that she had her role to play in Mugi’s story and her own small storyline, so she didn’t become just a token comic relief character.

However, the two characters other that Mugi, who would interest yuri fans the most are Nono and Mirei. If you look at Hitohira in certain way you might think that there is a love triangle between Mugi, Nono and Mirei, but you don’t have to. Nono and Mirei share a lot of memories and they’re crucial to the story, but I can’t really see them as a couple. As it was said in the series(if I understood it right): they shared a dream. A dream, but probably nothing else, except a very close friendship.

The yuri in the series is something that is open to interpretation. You can’t deny that there are certain signs of it, but whether it’s real is something else. There is a male character that is clearly in love with Mugi, but I didn’t see her reciprocate the feeling at any given moment in the series. The same goes for Nono. Mugi and Nono are very important to each other, but saying that they’re in love may be a bit bold statement, though I think it could be made plausible. So, if you want to have a yuri couple in the series, you can have it and it won’t be much of a stretch. However, you can watch Hitohira, not see any yuri in it, and it would still be enjoyable.

I won’t go deep into the storyline here, but I think it doesn’t matter because it’s not of a great importance. Hitohira’s strenghth lies in the characters, not in the story, which is, after all, just a background for the actions of the characters. It would suffice to say, that even though Mugi gets completely tongue-tied whenever she’s nervous or a center of attention, she joins one of the two drama clubs in her school. The two drama clubs are having a competition about which one can make a better performance at the school’s culture festival in October to see which club would continue to function. The story develops with a good sense of pacing and it ends with a great sense of finality. It can’t be called really deep, but it’s enjoyable.

Overall, I really liked Hitohira, so I would recommend it to anyone, who wants to see a series about characters growing up, with some drama(though never overdone), some comedy (which I found funny, but that’s no guarantee it really is) and a grand ending.

Art – 8 (I liked it, but I don’t have a good eye for it, so you might see it different. At worst, it’s average.)
Story – 7
Characters – 9
Yuri – 5 (Subtract or add two points depending on what you want to see.)
Service – 2 (There was some service, but not much. Though I may be a FanBoy and not notice it.)

Overall – 7

Erica here again. Thank you for the fantastic review! Feel free to contribute any time! :-) Everyone, let’s hear it for Hafl!! /applause/

As I mentioned yesterday, there are a bunch of series I won’t review – either they hold no appeal for me, or I feel that the Yuri is so thin that it hardly bears mentioning or I just…can’t. That doesn’t mean I don’t know there’s Yuri interest. Guest reviewers are welcome to contribute reviews for these things. Feel free to send me a review of the Yuri in Bleach for instance. :-) I look forward to reading it!

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9 Responses

  1. ByTheWay says:

    Heh nice review. I really liked it and I guess you made me decide to finally watch the series ( seen 1 episode so far and was too lazy to watch further:p ). My english isn’t great so i can’t rly say how good you wrote it but comparing it to my skills you’re probably much better;)
    I’d be happy to see more of your reviews, they’re really nice write more please^^
    Btw. As this is my first comment on this site, i’d like to thank Erika too for her wonderful job. One of my favorite sites when it comes to Yuri, keep it up:)

  2. Kieli says:

    I’m very impressed. Hafl’s English is better than some native speakers (as a former English teacher, I can say this with some impunity ;-)) After reading the review, I’m tempted to view the series just to see what I personally would get out of it. Thanks again for the guest review!

  3. hipsinc says:

    Kudos to Hafl…and, to Erika for hosting the guest review! I’ve got to admit that the hint of shoujo-ai drew me to Hitohira initially, but the characterizations and slice-of-life storyline brought me back. Unfortunately, an English fansub was hard to find. But I liked the story enough to stick with it by simultaneously reading through the few blogged review of each episode. It was worth it. Though of the thoughtful variety of anime, I found it well-paced and gently humorous as well as kind of touching at times. Yeah…I’m waving my BigSap banner proudly.

  4. hipsinc says:

    Oops! Erica, I apologize for misspelling your name in my previous comment.

    Cheers.

  5. I think I’m so small coz I never heard this anime…
    But I think I can’t catch up all manga coz it is too many… So i will focus for my fav only…
    http://mangatoread.blogspot.com

  6. hipsinc – please don’t worry about it. A misspelled name is the least thing. Thanks for your comment!

  7. minty says:

    Ahh, I loved this series. And that was a lovely review of it by Hafl, too — I really enjoyed it.
    …except for the part about not liking Chitose. But I’ll forgive you for that one. ;)

  8. Yuricon_PR says:

    I’m watching Hitohira now. Nono is gaygaygay. I see her and Mirei as exes more than anything else so far(I’m up to episode 4).

    Katie

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