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[Hyakko]
AKA: ヒャッコ
Genre: High school gag comedy
Length: Movie, 13 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by Right Stuf International, but also available on Crunchyroll.
Content Rating: 13+ (animated slapstick, fan service, suggestive themes)
Related Series: Hyakko Extra
Also Recommended: Azumanga Daioh, Pani Poni Dash!, School Rumble
Notes: Based on the manga by Haruaki Katou, currently running in the free online magazine FlexComix Blood.
Rating: Two StarsTwo Stars

Hyakko

Synopsis

Energetic high school girl Torako Kageyama and her best friend Suzume Saotome have started high school at Kaminozo Academy. On their first day they bump into the shy Ayumi Nonomura and the proper Tatsuki Iizuka, who seem to have gotten lost on the huge campus. The series mainly resolves this quartet in their first year of high school together, along with their classmates and even some out-of-school activities.


Review

Have you ever found yourself watching something you wanted to enjoy, but it just didn't click? I have, though very rarely does that happen with the anime I review. Typically when I watch an anime for review, I finish watching it anywhere between a few days to a couple of weeks at most. In contrast, it took me eighteen months to finally finish Hyakko for review, stopping twice due to lack of interest. I'm not joking.

Hyakko is one of the least engaging anime I've ever seen. There isn't anything particularly wrong with it - the art is good, the character designs are somewhat cute, and the acting isn't too bad. The problem is that the show itself has a case of having scenes you've seen in better, funnier shows. Dress up a scary girl to make her look cute? Seen it in the anime/manga The Wallflower. Volleyball contest with over-the-top "death scenes"? Galaxy Angel did that years ago. Groping a small, cute girl's huge breasts? I think it rhymed with Maruhi Fuzumiya. Weird/chaotic scenes with orchestral music in the background? FLCL did that 8 years ago. Daddy issues? Let's not even start with how many anime have that in them.

Hyakko's core quartet of girls have also been done before. Leading them is Torako, an energetic goof not unlike Tomo Takino from Azumanga Daioh. Unlike Tomo, though, Torako is actually well-liked around the school for her cheerful personality and athletic ability. Actually, Torako's actually kind of a neat character. Her character is touched upon more in episode 12, a fairly serious one about her and her family. Torako's best friend, the quirky, petite Suzume, is an okay character, if only there simply to be a contrast to her louder, more outgoing friend. Her gimmick is that she eats a lot, having almost always something in her mouth. We also have the tall girl who takes politely and has rich parents, Tatsuki, as well as Ayumi, the shy girl with huge breasts. And yes, they do get fondled a few times in the series by others.

In addition to the main quartet, Hyakko also has a fairly large supporting cast, most of whom can be summer up in a sentence:

- Nene, a not-so-secretive lesbian who loves cute girls.

- Minato, a tall girl with a mature figure but who's actually shy and a crybaby.

- Ushio, a yankee with an attitude problem.

- Touma, a bookworm who likes peace and quiet (poor choice of schools there, girl).

- Koma, who likes taking pictures of students and selling them for money.

- Inori, a girl with very long bangs and has a low, echoey voice that scares others away from being her friend.

- Chie, stereotypical scientist right down to the glasses and hair.

There are males in this series, too. First we have Torako's creepy older brother, Kitsune, a notorious pervert and sadist (and wears a safety pin as an earring. Yes, you read that right). Next is Yanagi, a friend of Koma's who also takes pictures of students for profit. There's also Shishimaru, who has a crush on Torako and never shut up about it when the subject arises. And lastly we have Kyouichirou Amagasa, the only recurring adult in the series, as well as Torako's homeroom teacher. He does not get along well with her (surprise).

Oh, and did I mention that nearly every episode is interrupted at some point by a elementary school girl and her best friend, who very rarely interact with the other characters at all? Because, you know, a high school comedy needs to have most (if not all) of its episodes interrupted with non-sequitur moments featuring kids.

Despite the fairly big cast, Hyakko brings precious little interest to the table. It's a forgettable show you won't remember a week after watching it. While it's not bad and even managed at times to bring a smile to my face, very rarely did it go the extra mile to be anything but average. If you have the time, you might want to check an episode or two for yourself, but don't expect Hyakko to leave a lasting impression on you.

I debated between two and three for a while, but went with two when I realized just how long my hiatus between episode viewings was. Maybe add a star or two if you're not tired of slice-of-life high school comedy anime yet.Tim Jones

Recommended Audience: Slapstick, fan service, and a very dedicated (and messed up) lesbian make this show for teenagers and up at the youngest. Male teenagers, that is.



Version(s) Viewed: crunchyroll.com stream
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Hyakko © 2008 FlexComix / Haruaki Katou / Hyakko Production Committee
 
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