A Tag-Team Review of “Hanamaru Kindergarten” – Cuteness Concentrated (Part I)

[Greetings everyone! The moment you’ve all waited for has arrived. The last review of 2011 and “The Cajun Samurai’s” very first tag-team review.  My fellow reviewer, Andrain, is one of my oldest and best friends. Without him, I wouldn’t have even DISCOVERED “Hanamaru Kindergarten” or many other series on my list. It was nothing but good fortune that we were able to get a hold of him for a review! We’ll be doing things a little differently this time around: each section will have its points divided; so Andrain will have 12.5 points to award in each category, and I will have 12.5, which adds up to the full 25 for each category. At the end, we will total the points and award a combined score! So let’s get right into it!]

“You’re…HITTING ON ME! You’re hitting on me! I saw it on TV! Men try to pick up cute girls! It’s the beginning of a relationship! Someone hit on me!” 
– Anzu “Hanamaru Kindergarten” 

Cajun Samurai –   Last review of 2011 man!
Andrain – So it is, thanks for having me.
Cajun Samurai – Of course, of course. Thanks for honoring our humble blog with your Konata-Level Otakuness. So, today we’re reviewing “Hanamaru Kindergarten”. Yet another Studio Gainax submission.
Andrain –  They don’t try to hide it either; Gainax fills the thing with more references then “Lucky Star”.
Cajun Samurai – Indeed. Gainax does references to its own shows so often, one wonders what the heck they did when they first started out?
Andrain – I dunno same thing Clamp did? I mean Clamp has a series that’s only a Giant reference to everything else.
Cajun Samurai – Oh yeah. I remember “Chobits”…oy. But anyway, we’re here to talk about “Hanamaru Kindergarten”, quite a unique show even for Studio Gainax standards.
Andrain – Definitely, It lightly follows a pattern started by the legendary “Kodomo no Jikan” while getting nowhere near its level.
Cajun Samurai – That it does. It’s really light and enjoyable without the mind freak of Evangelion or the teenage angst of “His and Her Circumstances”…ugh…I don’t even wanna THINK about what Anno did with Kare Kano…
Andrain – Please don’t, let’s keep this about the kids. This is the most kid friendly anime since “Aria”, and manages to be even cuter and that’s saying something.
Cajun Samurai –  Heck yeah. So let’s get right into it, shall we? [::bows deeply::] I hope we work well together good sir.
Andrain – [*Returns the bow*] It is my Honor.

Story and Premise:

Cajun Samurai – Okay. Story and Premise. “Hanamaru Kindergarden” follows our new teacher Naozumi Tsuchida [Affectionately known as “Tsuchi”] as he begins his first year of teaching in a kindergarten…

Andrain – The poor guy is blasted by Japanese Old Fashion Gender roles. After all what self-respecting Japanese mother would leave their little children in the hands of a man? He’s a typical ‘Nice Guy’ protagonist. A little awkward but ultimately very dedicated but this job would find himself making a destined encounter on his very first day.
Cajun Samurai – Yup. He meets up with this little girl on the street who just so happens to be the young daughter of his sempai [Senior; upperclassman] in high school, and who also enrolled her daughter into the same school Tsuchida is teaching at…while this is a strange string of coincidences, I’ve seen worse in anime.
Andrain –  Remember how I said it follows the pattern of “K no J”? Well, the little girl Anzu falls madly in love with the man who compliments her and who becomes her teacher. No worries that’s where the similarities end. She’s only in Kindergarten!
Cajun Samurai Just for clarification, what exactly happens in “K no J” that should cause us worry…Or should I just gloss over that question?… Please don’t tell me it goes the way of “Please Teacher”…
Andrain –  “K no J” is a very advanced Anime& Manga that deals with growing up in very serious ways and involves some psychologically nutty people.
Cajun Samurai – Nuff said! Because this is a “slice of life” style story, not much happens, but what did you think of the ending?
Andrain –  I thought it was a little lacking, it’s generally what happens when an anime ends before its manga counterpart. But the Hanamaru Christmas episode was absolutely adorable.
Cajun Samurai – Yeah, that was really cute…and one would think that Gainax would’ve learned its lesson after…THAT show… I do have a question for you sir: were you a little unsettled at the fact that Anzu’s mom had an affair with, got pregnant by, and subsequently married her HIGH SCHOOL ART TEACHER?
Andrain –  No, It’s a common plot in Anime. It is considered extremely poor taste in Japanese culture but it does happen, however I was exposed to concepts of that in GTO kinda… and My Wife is a High School Girl a classic Anime dealing with the subject.
Cajun Samurai – Ah, I see. The only time I’ve come across something remotely similar was in “Please Teacher”, but in that one, the student in question was older than he looked…long story. I’ll save for another review. Anything else you wanted to say about story and premise?
Andrain – Let’s see… The ‘Romance’ Dealt with here is mostly for comic relief and shouldn’t be taken too seriously otherwise it’s only a slice of life about the magical world of Kindergaterners.
Cajun Samurai – Almost makes me want to go back to those days…of course, my kindergarten days was nothing like this! But it does offer a peek into this world from an angle that is rather unique.
Andrain It was entertaining, magical, and plain adorable doing its job in a bright and warm world I can’t see any place to take off points.

Cajun Samurai Score – 12.5/12.5
Andrain Score – 12.5/12.5 

Characters:

Cajun Samurai – Okay, let’s get into these characters…oh have mercy…
Andrain –  As with any Slice of Life, it can only be built on its characters.
Cajun Samurai – Agreed. And heaven knows these are some characters. Let’s start from the adults and work our way down to the balls of cute fluff. Like you mentioned above, Tsuchi is your typical “Good Guy” character, in an anything-but-typical role as Kindergarten teacher.
Andrain – He’s got it rough; he’s young but earnest and is a nice guy in one of those jobs men dream of. Though he keeps it all in stride… mostly.
Cajun Samurai – One thing he doesn’t keep in stride is his love of a certain fellow teacher with a sweet disposition…and other attributes.
Andrain She has one major flaw. I just can’t express how dense she is… Lead doesn’t cut it. The woman is off the Periodic Table…
Cajun Samurai – Depleted Uranium?
Andrain While denser than Lead No That stuff still only… Hey I’m on Vacation I don’t wanna think about my Job!
Cajun Samurai – Sorry, sorry! But yeah, Yamamoto-sensei is not the brightest crayon in the box…but bless her, she tries.
Andrain – No, I think she’s very intelligent. She’s just… dense.
Cajun Samurai – Do you think they overdid it? I kinda think they went a little overboard with her not knowing…
Andrain  Nope it’s an important plot point. Like I said the manga is still in translation. It’ll probably evolve as the series continues.
Cajun Samurai – I hope so. Now, let’s get onto those little balls of Kawaii… I’ll say it first: Anzu-chan is an adorable nut.
Andrain – Anzu is just an adorable Bundle of unbridled energy guaranteed to cure anyone of Emo, and definitely sparkles more than certain false Vampires.
Cajun Samurai –  …those are NOT vampires…Hazuki from “Moonphase”….that’s a vampire…Dracula…that’s a vampire… TWILIGHT IS NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF PRETTY BOYS WEARING SPARKLEY BODY WASH FROM VICTORIA SECRET!!! [::huff, puff, huff, puff:::]
Andrain *sweatdrops* … Exactly…Good man! But Anzu is a happy kid, raised in a loving home and never forget Alucard this is an Anime Blog.
Cajun Samurai –  [::clears throat::] Man…but anyway. Indeed. Anzu is a little cutie, and I love the fact that she climbs on Tsuchi’s head every chance she gets.
Andrain – Then there’s Shy, quiet Koume-chan.
Cajun Samurai – Ah, Koume-chan…doesn’t she remind you of a chibi Tsukasa from “Lucky Star”?
Andrain I’ll be honest; I say she’s much cuter then Tsukasa, far more shy. Maybe the Girl was like that but I don’t see having a twin like Kagami…
Cajun Samurai – Point made…they didn’t come from the same egg, that’s for certain.
Andrain – Anyway… Koume-chan provides grounding, very needed in this cast of over the top and let’s face it everyone loves a cute shy girl.
Cajun Samurai – Agreed. Rounding out our group is little Hiiragi-chan. Oh, where should we begin…
Andrain – Now In most Anime there are characters that are the heart and soul of the work. Mascot characters usually fit that role. But in Hanamaru It’s Hii-chan. Hii-chan is a genius, She’s probably got the mental capacity of a smart 6th Grader.
Cajun Samurai – 6th? I would say 8th…only because most of the 6th Graders I knew was as dumb as mud.
Andrain – The winning part about Hii-chan though is her Adoration of Cosplay.
Cajun Samurai – Oh yeah. Hii-chan’s cosplays get me through the bitter winds of the workplace. Seriously! Which is your favorite?
Andrain – Easy call, Conan!
Cajun Samurai – Oh yeah! That one was squeal worthy. But my favorite has to be the Pandaneko cosplay. I mean, come on! She’s a panda…and a cat! Best of both worlds!
Andrain – True true…
Cajun Samurai – Okay! Anything else you wanted to say regarding characters?
Andrain – There’s too much I’ll leave it to the viewers.
Cajun Samurai – Agreed. All the other characters are unique and cute in their own way and they fit into the story quite well. I’m still a little disappointed in Yamamoto, but it doesn’t affect the overall plot any.
Andrain – The extra characters added a lot to the series made it more deep, but alas it didn’t quite go on long enough to show everything that needed to be shown. Let’s see Everything was pretty crammed up with many curiosities about several of the characters, the extra teachers especially.

Cajun Samurai Score – 11/12.5
Andrain Score – 9.5/12.5 

[Sorry guys! But to see the rest of Andrain and Cajun Samurai’s review of “Hanamaru Kindergarten”, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow! The conversation went on WAY longer than I anticipated making the conversation stretch out longer than anticipated! So instead of bombarding you with pages of text, it would probably be best to make this a two-part review! Keep on the lookout for the last part of the last review of 2011!]

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