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Hanamaru Kindergarten- Season 1 - Episode 12 - Review: "A Hanamaru Christmas/Hanamaru Feelings"

Hanamaru Kindergarten draws to a close with episode twelve and it does run through a few familiar things. The show has progressed fairly nicely since the start by introducing new characters, adding to the settings a bit and playing with the relationships with a bit of fun, particularly when we got introduced to Yamamoto's sister. The opening part here is good classic fun as Christmas is approaching and Anzu makes a wish which has her dreaming that she's older and meeting everyone as adults, though she can't quite place them outside of Tsuchida in some way. Hiiragi and Koume are really cute as older characters and there's a good Christmas spirit feeling to the episode as we see her meeting Tsuchida and dancing in the snow. It's a straightforward dream sequence but the kind that really leaves you smiling. The bulk of the episode focuses on the relationship side of the series which is brought into focus when Tsuchida, Yamamoto and the kids visit an art gallery where Anzu's father is having his work shown. There's a lot of attention on the artwork itself and its cute to see Tsuchida having a hard time grasping some of the basic pieces. There's one piece that surprises folks with a mother/daughter painting where the two are wearing what appears to be nothing yet revealing nothing. It's a great portrait of the two which causes some discussion amongst everyone. What they realize though is that Anzu's family is very open about their affections, something you don't see in public much overall, so when Anzu's father enters the scene and openly kisses his wife and they seem so much in love it's both heartwarming and surprising for everyone to see. It goes a long way towards explaining how Anzu is as well. Read More Click Me!

Hanamaru Kindergarten - Season 1 - Episode 11 - Review: "A Hanamaru Wife/A Hanamaru Story"

The split story method of Hanamaru Kindergarten is put off for this episode as they don't do specific gag kind of stories. What we get is a full length piece that has a different flow and flavor compared to previous ones but is still essentially the same thing. It's a little more of romance/drama piece with humor elements than the kind of comedy we usually get but it works well in being able to set things up a little more for the season finale in the next episode. Tsuchida has been the central character from the start but it's here that he gets essentially an entire episode to himself so that he can cement who he is and what he wants. The initial gag, which is pretty mellow and relaxed as we watch Tsuchida relax as the rain falls outside his apartment, is that he's gotten himself sick and a bit rundown, though he's still well enough to go to the school apparently. When the kids learn that he's feeling under the weather, Anzu shows up at his apartment to help him with his chores, doing the laundry and making him dinner. She even has an adorable moment where she explains that she's a commuter wife. To make matters worse for Tsuchida, she ends up sleeping over since Sakura can't come and get her due to work things and that means the two spend the night together. Entirely innocent but to hear Anzu tell the story it's much more suggestive, at least as suggestive as a kindergartner can make it. Read More Click Me!

Hanamaru Kindergarten - Season 1 - Episode 10 - Review: "A Hanamaru Cheering Squad"

The world of Hanamaru continues to be a fun place as we have a bit of a sports day event going on this time around at the kindergarten. Sports days and other related activities are pretty common in anime settings and they're done a fair bit at American schools as well, or at least they were when I was a kid. Watching this story you know not to expect the same kind of stories that you normally get with a middle school or high school setting and that means it's entirely much cuter and without any bounce at all when it comes to the students themselves. Their efforts are even more earnest at this age and watching them try is just priceless. The focus on the first half with the sports day is almost entirely on Koume which is really nice since she's even more earnest than the other kids in her own way. Koume's main event for the day is participating in the foot race but she's quite concerned about it because she knows she's as slow as she is. What makes it even more daunting is that her older brother Tomoyuki is going to come to the event to watch her. He's a doting older brother and she so wants to make him happy that she does extra training so she can do her best come the actual events. There are some cute things during the event overall that come up which makes it fun to watch even if it is fluff. I also liked the way the parents dealt with how the kids did in the race and the kind of encouragement they get at that age. Koume is definitely a winner. Read More Click Me!

Hanamaru Kindergarten - Season 1 - Episode 9 - Review: "A Hanamaru Dream"

What a tricky show this almost was as it introduces us to a young man named Hanamaru who is a manga artist for SE magazine. He's having a hard time coming up with a new idea in time for publication but he's getting lots of encouragement from Mayumi Yamamoto, a young assistant at SE who is assigned to him for getting manuscripts and the like. With an appearance similar to Tsuchida and the names being tossed about, it's quick to imagine that the show we've been watching is a manga within a show kind of gag which would be cute and amusing, especially when we see him in the park and he comes across the main trio of girls. Are they the real world girls or does he exist within the world of Hanamaru Kindergarten itself? It's a cute idea that initially has you a bit uncertain of where the show will go, but when you have Tsuchida and Yamamoto coming back from shopping - and Yamamoto inviting Tsuchida out for dinner as a thank you for helping her - it's back to the reality of the show. The nice twist is that Mayumi is actually Yamamoto's younger sister and they end up helping Hanamaru out with his project as he becomes fascinated with the Panda Cat as the trio of girls do the cute dance for him, complete with Hiiragi in the outfit doing all the moves. Tying this together with the main show itself is a neat little idea and I hope we see a little more of Hanamaru and his manga project in the remaining episodes. Read More Click Me!

Hanamaru Kindergarten - Season 1 - Episode 8 - Review: "A Hanamaru Fishmonger"

Hanamaru Kindergarten hits up another pair of stories in this episode that play to different strengths while ensuring it doesn't overdo a gag. There is a gag that's a bit overdone come the second part of the episode, but it's how they approach it that allows it to work a bit better, especially in the confrontation it causes among some of the kids. Hopefully with all these kids looking at Tsuchida as perfect marriage material, it'll give Yamamoto a clue to look at him in a bit more of an adult manner. The first half of the episode is good fun with the kids as we see them returning from their summer vacations and drawing up various pictures of what they did. There's fun to be had, even with Anzu looking a bit like a kogal with her tan, but all attention turns to Aoi when they see her picture is of her parents working. As it turns out, she didn't go anywhere during the summer since her parents had to work in their shop and she wanted to help but they wouldn't let her. Enter Anzu and the kids with their surprisingly crafty plan to get Aoi's father to let her help out by showing him that they can do it themselves. Like the other very children-centric episodes, this is entirely cute and fun as you get to watch the kids acting as fishmongers and doing the hard and sweet sell on customers for the various kinds of fish. Read More Click Me!

Hanamaru Kindergarten - Season 1 - Episode 7 - Review: ''A Hanamaru Summer Vacation"

Fans of Satsuki will be most pleased by this episode overall as she returns to the show and brings her younger sister vibe out for all the enjoy. Hanamaru Kindergarten rolls right along in this episode as summer has arrived and that means it's time for trips and festivals as well as a mild bit of cute recap. The show has certainly held onto its charms for me from the beginning and the characters are all quite comfortable now, though they manage to stretch things a bit here and there as the fanservice perks up a few times. A nice bonus for this episode is that Sakura makes another wonderful impression as she helps move the story along. The show covers a couple of different areas to very cute effect. With the summer vacation here, Tsuchida's heading home to see his family and discovers that Sakura is heading there as well to revisit the old places. That means Anzu's coming along and Sakura is one of those good mom's that includes other kids so she gets permission to bring along Hiiragi and Koume. What makes it even more fun is that Sakura manages to convince Yamamoto to come along and Anzu is all over that to make it happen. Tsuchida's a bit panicked over it but the idea of a trip with Yamamoto is just what he's looking for. Anzu and the others make it fun but there's a whole lot of awkwardness at the homestead when Satsuki sees everyone and realizes she has to share her brother again. But there's also some fun as Tsuchida's mother thinks that Yamamoto is perfect for him and that leads to some awkward moments. It's a cute home story that spreads over the two parts and we even get Anzu and the kids recapping the story (in dialogue only) from their point of view with some of the things Tsuchida has done, including looking at girly magazines. Read More Click Me!

Hanamaru Kindergarten - Season 1 - Episode 6 - Review: ''A Hanamaru Pool/A Hanamaru Brother"

Hanamaru Kindergarten hits the halfway mark this week with its cute and charming adventures of a first time kindergarten teacher and the precocious kids that he has in his class. The series has worked well with the split stories told in each episode which keeps it from running a gag too far into the ground and this episode is no exception. This time around though we get into the dangerous territory of swimsuits and younger siblings, both of which can put Tsuchida in the hot seat. The first half of the episode deals with the first pool day of the season and it's entirely too cute as the kids are all super excited about it. Naturally, Anzu is getting into things by trying to sexy up her swimsuit '" even asking Tsuchida if she looks sexy in it '" in her attempts to win him over by any means possible. Of course, she hasn't a clue what she's really saying but she can pose like the best of them as that kind of thing just comes naturally to her. Her hopes are pretty much crushed though when Yamamoto finally changes, having forgotten her usual swimsuit and bringing her far too sexy version instead. Though she's certainly been portrayed as attractive enough, her swimsuit pushes her to a whole new level and really stands out in ways that appeal to young men like Tsuchida. Anzu's comical as she gets abused by Tsuchida while he doesn't realize it since he's staring at Yamamoto a lot. But as much fun as it is, there's a lot of fun just in watching the kids play in the water, learning to swim and paddling about. Read More Click Me!

Hanamaru Kindergarten Season 1 Episode 5 Review: A Hanamaru Detective/A Hanamaru First Love

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) Hanamaru Kindergarten manages to find a decent balance of episodes once again as it lets Anzu dominate one and then gives the story in the second half over to Koume, while also making sure that Anzu gets a good voice and Hii plays a solid supporting role throughout. Sometimes there are moments that I get taken out of the show with how the kids get away with things they shouldn't do, even if it is a show aimed at adults, but that's more because I've been around kindergarten kids so much and it's something that clicks the wrong way. But outside of that, this show works really well with what it does. The first story for this episode is definitely cute as Anzu decides that she wants a date with Tsuchida but he declines since he has a busy Sunday planned. Of course, busy for him is sitting inside and playing games all day long. Anzu decides to play detective with this and gets the others to go with her to stalk him, while also calling him to draw him out into the world. With him out, they spend the day watching him go to all his usual places. Getting Evangelion toys, ogling waitresses at a restaurant and reading adult magazines in the convenience store. All of these things are difficult for Anzu to see but she stays true to him. Amusingly, Anzu's mother is playing along with this by stalking the kids from the shadows to make sure they're alright, but also to help out when Tsuchida ends up in a bad place with some local street toughs that ends rather predictably but within what you'd expect from this show. To Read More Click Me!

Hanamaru Kindergarten Season 1 Episodes 1-4 Review

Somewhere along the way, the anime industry's sense of cute went horribly awry. Gone are the days of adorable animal mascots and endearing side characters. Cute has been consumed by a virus, a virus consisting of teen and preteen girls who will graft themselves onto any genre that might possibly sell one more special edition DVD, one more figurine, one more body pillow. Little girls with guns. Little girls with magical-spiritual powers. Little girls as military aircraft. Little girls who can alter reality (but without realizing it). A funeral for the Death of Cute was held in Spring 2009, with Yui Hirasawa, Mio Akiyama, Tsumugi Kotobuki and Ritsu Tainaka presiding. But hope springs eternal, and for those who have survived, a new dawn awaits. Hanamaru Kindergarten is bringing cute back. Perhaps the reason Hanamaru Kindergarten does so well is because of what it does not do. It does not appear to be yet another cynical exercise in selling you figurines of every single student in Tsuchida's class-the cast of characters eschews otaku-oriented stereotypes and is built on a simpler, more traditional core: the Brat, the Brain, and the Bashful One, plus our downtrodden yet likable protagonist at the center. It is also not trying to push some kind of controversial envelope by pairing up a toddler with a twentysomething-if anything, Anzu's affection toward Tsuchida is merely her way of expressing an innocent childhood crush, with some misguided pretensions of adulthood. No more, no less. Sorry to disappoint all the alarmist prudes, but there is no raunchy Kodomo no Jikan action going on here-just sweet, silly observational humor. And speaking of the other thing that this show doesn't do-it doesn't hurl out nonsensical memes at light speed, or force the characters to behave as irritatingly as possible in hopes of a cheap laugh. The show's appeal comes mainly from its perceptive Kids Say the Darnedest Things approach, invoking the nostalgia of our own childhood misconceptions and make-believe, or perhaps the antics of siblings, cousins, and friends when they were that age. Rarely has a kids' eye view of the world been so accurate: the thrill of going down a slide, the competition to be the smartest in class, the desire to act like a grown-up (Anzu's pretend date with Tsuchida in Episode 4 is one of the series' gems so far), even the roughhousing among little boys (yes, Tsuchida has male students as well, instantly making this series more realistic than 90% of all school-based anime). Suffice to say, if there were ever to be an anime of Yotsuba&!, it would probably be a lot like this-and in fact the kindergarten material sparkles with such joy that the grown-up stuff, like Tsuchida's advances toward Yamamoto, fall a little flat by comparison. To Read More Click Me!

Hanamaru Kindergarten Season 1 Episode 3 Review: A Hanamaru Love Triangle | A Hanamaru Day

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) Hanamaru Kindergarten rolls along rather nicely with its third episode as it delves into the romantic matters headfirst in a way that is quite endearing and cute. With Anzu having expressed her desire to marry Tsuchida practically from the start, it's taken on a life of its own as she's been given her mother's blessing to pursue just such a relationship. Of course, like most parents, it's done in a cute manner since there is a past relationship of sorts between Anzu's mother and Tsuchida but also because kids invariably go through this to one level or another. Teacher affection at a young age is something that many teachers experience over their careers. Tsuchida's getting it rather quickly though in his career and it's coming from what could be termed a very 'lively' student at that. Anzu's upping her efforts to get Tsuchida to really notice her and she employs some of the basics of any woman in love. She spends time making him a lunch for the next day, one that's filled with a toxic combination of food, and she does her best to be completely present for him when she has his attention. And when he's off looking or talking to other women, she clambers right up there up his chest in order to get him to look her way. It's entirely cute and while exaggerated it does cover a lot of the reality of the situation pretty well. To Read More Click Me!