Spring 2017 Season Wrap: Kabukibu!, Love Rice, & Hinako Note

A lot of love for one, and not so much for two:

*Rating system:

  • 0 dango – average and forgettable.
  • 1 dango – very good in its category.
  • 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
  • 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.

Kabukibu!


I can now add Kabukibu! to the collection of anime worthy of recommendation featuring Japanese traditional arts, along with Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu and Chihayafuru. What started out as concern about the tone and direction of the show quickly became pleasure in the respect paid to kabuki. They not only seemed to accurately describe its history, but also carefully thought out ways to bring kabuki into the future while still maintaining the art’s spirit and style.

Like with any art form, kabuki evolves with its performers and audience, reflecting the times. Kurusu and his club mates take people like me into account, people who have an idea of what kabuki is, but little understanding of the details or knowledge of the stories. I never really considered attending a performance–the art seemed too stiff, too unreachable. But after watching the club’s attempts to modernize it, I’m now interested in experiencing kabuki for myself. Even if the performers I someday watch don’t take the measures tried in the anime, I can still read up on the chosen play beforehand to enter the actual thing with a prepared and relaxed mind.

Since this show is only twelve episodes, we don’t go far beyond the Kabuki Club’s school performances. The biggest obstacle introduced from the very beginning is Ebihara Jin’s character, a young professional struggling to gain skill and recognition. Using him in the final arc of the anime perfectly brings the story to a complete circle, and I’m able to walk away satisfied to have been given the opportunity to witness a rare story like this. I think it’s too much to hope for a sequel, since I didn’t see many others talking about this show and have no idea how sales have gone. I will gladly welcome a continuation if we are so lucky to receive one. Please let me know here or in my other post on the anime what you thought of Kabukibu!

Rating: 2 dango

Love Kome -We Love Rice-


Let me just say this straight out: I would not recommend this show to anyone but the most die hard of food lovers or pun-ridden idol comedies. Love Kome is a short, with episodes only running four minutes each. The bulk of each episode follows our group of boys at school dreaming about their futures as idols. The twist? The boys are anthropomorphized grains of rice fighting against Japan’s decreased interest in the grain in favor of bread. Maybe if they become popular, their country’s love for rice may return! Each week ends with a quick recipe, like omelette rice, rice balls, and rice burgers. These recipes were the sole driving force for my interest in the show, since I’m always trying to think of ways to use up leftover rice. The main story itself is not of much interest of me since I feel no connection to the characters. And while I usually like clever puns, their liberal use of them regarding rice came across as just lame.

Rating: 0 dango

Hinako Note


Oh, Hinako Note, how you bored me with your assembly line characters and story elements, how you alienated me with your odd sexualization of girls more fit for a tittering tea party. I should have done us both a favor and dropped you after the first episode, but I clung on in the aimless hope that you would prove the naysayers wrong. Now I feel guilty for hating on you despite all the warnings; we just weren’t meant for each other.

Right from the start, Hinako Note tries too hard to please. The cast includes characters of the usual archetypes: shy, sweet, innocent, hungry, and bashful. Everything from the setting to the activities are primed to entertain me. I’ve always dreamed of owning my own bookstore cafe–add on a bed and breakfast and I’m even happier! The acting element can be hit or miss, but I tend to like shows featuring performing arts of this nature. The character designs are cute and unique from one another. Yet, at every juncture, these aspects failed my expectations.

Despite Hinako’s acting goal, very little of the show focuses on the art both in school and home. They mention it here and there and put on a few performances, but we don’t sit in on many rehearsals or much discussion of the craft after the first show. Acting takes a back seat to the cute-sy antics of the girls’ everyday lives, peppered throughout with Hinako’s stage fright. Her entire scarecrow situation annoys me like nothing else in this series. The image is too bizarre, too stupid to find endearing.

The other characters follow their own outlines to the letter. Ku loves books to their literal death in her stomach. Every time I saw the results of her “love,” I wanted to scream and shake her. Bratty Yua leans too much into the tsun and should’ve been folded into another character, like Mayu, since two sweet girls are one too many here.

Do yourself a favor and skip Hinako Note in favor of others who do the genre better, like Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka? and Hidamari Sketch.

Rating: 0 dango

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15 thoughts on “Spring 2017 Season Wrap: Kabukibu!, Love Rice, & Hinako Note

  1. I watched the first episode of Kabukibu, and while it wasn’t horrible, the main character really annoyed me with his “We’ll get everyone who doesn’t want to join our club to join!” plan, and his complete lack of caring what anyone else said. So when it came around to time to watch episode 2, it was kinda like “eh, not really.” Actually, this might be the kind of show that if it had been streamed on Crunchyroll, showing up as a new show every week, I’d have watched it. but because it wasn’t, it was easier to not watch rather than make a different effort to go find it.

    And speaking of shows that where streaming made it easy to watch them, Hinako Note fits that description. It also benefited from a situation where it was about the only new show on friday nights. It’s definitely not as good as other general school girl comedy shows, although I’d prefer something like YuruYuri or KinMoza over GochiUsa. Probably my biggest problem with Hinako Note was that everyone had a super squeaky voice. That really grated throughout the whole show.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Like you, I actually wasn’t too impressed with Kabukibu’s first episode. Yes, Kurusu comes off as pushy, though I also sympathized with his frustration at most people telling him that kabuki was too serious for kids to tackle. I wish you could try out a 2nd or 3rd episode to reconsider. BUT! I know it’s hard to do that when it’s an Amazon Prime exclusive. I talked that over with a friend of mine who works for Amazon. He loves his company’s channel approach and doesn’t really get how it turns off many anime fans from joining.
      I do feel bad about my response to Hinako Note. There’s so much about it that seems right up my alley, including that adorable OP and ED, but I just couldn’t connect with it favorably. I never could get interested in YuruYuri, but KinMoza for sure is a preferred show in the genre.

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      • I’m not as turned off by Amazon Prime, although requiring an additional payment for the anime channel seems a bit annoying, especially when they have something like 3 shows. If they commit to acquiring more, I’d subscribe to the channel, for sure (and I’m already a Prime member). I like being able to buy things I want to watch, but there needs to be some value in it.

        (BTW, on the subject of being able to buy things I want to buy, have you seen that Kadokawa is now selling English translations directly through their online Bookwalker portal? In addition, you can buy Japanese language manga and LNs, although you have to use Paypal. I’m really excited about this [well, not the paypal thing].)

        https://global.bookwalker.jp/

        Liked by 1 person

        • I had not heard about that Kadokawa news! I’ll have to check it out! My Japanese fluency is too rudimentary to make much use of the manga and LNs, but maybe that would be a good entry point for practicing.

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          • My Japanese fluency might be a bit better than yours but I need to exercise it a lot more. Basically, the only things I’ve read through are a couple VNs and a few manga.

            Liked by 1 person

        • You mean the page that says, “Enhance your Prime Video experience with a subscription to Anime Strike – new episodes every week, and a free manga every month. Details at amazon.com/animestrikemanga.

          7-day free trial

          $4.99/month after trial”?

          Other than that, yeah, I don’t really see a FAQs or Q&A page. :S You’re forced to read up about it on other sites.

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  2. More or less completely agree on Hinako. If it had spent more of its time focusing on the theater part of its concept, and changing a couple of characters who rightfully annoyed me (Kuu and her book eating to be specific), I think it would have done a lot better.

    Instead it just meandered through silly situations highlighting the characters various flaws such as Yua being full tsundere and in love with Chiaki, Hinako going stiff under pressure, Kuu annoyingly eating books, etc etc without making any progress on any of what the concept ended up being about which from what I recall was Hinako wanting to not go full scarecrow in situations and them doing the troupe together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • True, the characters didn’t really change at all throughout the series, did they? Yua softened up eventually to Hinako, but not until I already found her insufferably rude with all her put downs and attempts to make Hinako look bad. And while Hinako does seem to go longer period without freezing up later on in the show, it’s not enough for me to consider her much improved.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kabukibu? A wonderful little series that almost no one watched … such a pity, too! I can only agree with you wholeheartedly on this one.

    Love Koume Rice …err … well …the humor did not work … at all for me.

    Hinako Note? Hrm … well, tbh I went into it not expecting much at all. What I did not expect was the level of fanservice it gave … sorta made me a little uncomfortable at times. But other than that it was pretty much a standard “Kirara manga variant” style adaptation. Some of them work better than others. One thing I did like about it, though, was the OST. The OP was really good, the ED was enjoyable, and the insert song (in ep 4?) was a good moment as well. I found myself liking all the characters, but Kuina was def my fave of the bunch. On the whole though I hafta agree … it is def not KinMosa, GochUsa or Hidamari level material. ^^

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    • Part of me wonders if no one watched Kabukibu! not only because of the topic, but also because it appeared on Amazon’s Anime Strike? Unless people are torrenting, there isn’t anyplace to see it, and judging by the discussion I see online and while I was at a couple of conventions, anime fans loathe everything Anime Strike stands for. It’s a shame, really, for Kabukibu! since it’s easy to see how much the creators love the topic and relaying it to the viewers.

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