The Summer 2017 Anime Preview Guide Hina Logic - from Luck & Logic
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Hina Logic - from Luck & Logic ?
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Hina Logic shares a fictional universe with Luck & Logic, a series that I found crushingly dull when I reviewed it for Shelf Life a while back. The good news is that this new show manages to clear the low bar of being better than its predecessor, and it's enough of a standalone story that it can be watched on its own with minimal prior knowledge. It also trades in the demon-busting premise of Luck & Logic for a slice of life approach more in line with Is the order a rabbit? or Yuruyuri. That makes for a pretty significant shift in tone, but it might very well be a change for the better.
Wide-eyed protagonist Lion and her friends have the usual genre personality range pretty well covered. We've got the serious girl, the rich girl and her posse, the doting upperclassmen, the ditzy nerd girl, and the teacher who's in a desperate panic over being 24 and single. Everyone's adorable in a carefully calculated way, and no particular character seems overly obnoxious as long as you have a baseline tolerance for this kind of show. Most of the gang's antics up to this point have been relatively bland, but then again it usually takes a little longer for slow-paced titles to find their groove.
The whole “Logicalist in training” side of the series comes into play throughout the first two episodes, and this could be Hina Logic's saving grace if all the cute stuff isn't your cup of tea. Lion's backstory with her otherworldly partner seems like it could be interesting, and I'm curious to see if the series will be able to integrate its super-powered battles successfully with all the tea breaks and calm strolls through fields of flowers. There's definitely some fanservice here, which I'm hoping will subside over the course of the season. If not, then prepare to have the atmosphere repeatedly broken by obvious attempts at appealing to a certain segment of the audience.
For what it's worth, Hina Logic appears to have a better grasp on its genre of choice than its predecessor ever did. It'll be an easy skip if a stronger slice of life series comes along later in the season, but it's a plausible option for the time being. If you need a weekly dose of impossibly chipper girls who think everything is amazing and wonderful, give it a go.
Starting off the Summer 2017 season with Hina Logic – from Luck & Logic is kind of like starting your morning off with an oversized bowl of extra glitzy breakfast cereal, the kind that comes with two layers of sugary coating and those little marshmallows. It's bright and colorful and exceptionally sweet, and though it starts off pretty good, each successive bite becomes just a little too saccharine. By the time you're finished you might be feeling just a bit nauseous, and you're definitely looking forward to the more nutritious, substantial meals to come in the future.
Hina Logic is a sequel of sorts to last year's Luck & Logic, and I'll admit right off the bat that I have absolutely zero experience with that first season. Thankfully, this season starts us off with a new protagonist, the chipper Princess Lion Yelistratova, and the first half of the episode does a fairly respectable job of getting newcomers caught up on the basics of this universe. The land is called Septpia, and our royal heroine and the other girls (re)introduced throughout the episode are training to be Logicalists, magical girls who form bonds with supernatural beings called Foreigners in order to battle the demonic forces of, well…Evil Foreigners. Unfortunate naming conventions aside, this is all a pretty standard, not-all-that-interesting setup, and after the introduction of the girls “cards” and a quick Google search, I was not at all surprised to find that this very stock premise also happens the foundation of a trading card game.
Now, it's entirely possible that those girls would all be much more interesting and engaging if I'd seen the first season of the show, but this premiere left me under the impression that they are little more than stock clichés, executed with an especially slavish devotion to convention. The same goes for the premise, which takes its uninspired mashup of Hogwarts, Sailor Moon, and Every Card Game Anime Ever and seemingly runs absolutely straight with it. There's nothing wrong with being conventional, of course, but this is an entirely new season of anime we're dealing with, and fading into the background is the last thing any series should be doing.
Still, I will give the Hina Logic this: It's very colorful, and the animation is all quite pretty to look at. There's a certain smooshy aesthetic that I especially like; it gives the show a comic softness that makes the hyper-colorful candy shop palette a bit easier to swallow. It's no TRIGGER production, by any means, but it's a hell of a lot more interesting to look at than the likes of, say, Selector Infected Wixoss.
The crew at Doga Kobo know exactly what they're making, is what I'm getting at. This is the epitome of an easily promotable, predictable product, something slick and bright and easy on the eyes. It makes for a decent half hour of entertainment, but like that sickly-sweet cereal, too much sugar just leaves you missing the stuff that's actually good for you.
While you don't have to have seen the original Luck & Logic series to understand its spinoff, Hina Logic, you might want to evaluate your tolerance for cute and sweet before diving in. The story follows a group of sugary girls who attend a prestigious academy for would-be Logisticians, or those with the ability to make contracts with Foreigners (beings from other worlds/planets), but since the whole plot of the original series has already happened, at least one of their teachers thinks the whole program is now redundant. The fact that Nina, a former fighter with the ALCA group, is currently at the school may or may not back that up. In any event, Nina now has a much more bigger challenge to deal with – the fact that Lion, a runaway princess who has an uncontrolled (uncontrollable?) contract with a vine-wielding crazy Foreigner and the brain power and impulse control of an enthusiastic toddler.
I have to give this episode credit for trying. It makes a real attempt to balance out its characters and elements, with everything from insanely fluffy dresses and mascot characters to commuting to school by tractor, but somehow it just isn't coming together. Part of that is because the characters are so very standard – from stoic Nina to nutty Mahiro and her obsession with Foreigners (and possibly dissecting them) to the queenly student representative with her twin attendants (named Karen and Karin, geh), the cast shows virtually no originality in its make-up, compounding that with a scene of one of the teachers griping about how her students are younger than her and have nicer skin at the end. Lion's unwitting mastery of Logic is an interesting component, but she herself is so irritating in the show's efforts to make her seem so innocent that she's adorable that she almost cancels out any positives.
In addition to all of this, there's a vaguely creepy fanservice element. Most of the focus is decidedly on the girls' legs – their skirts are of the variety that makes it look like they forgot to put pants on before coming to school, and the camera lingers frequently on their thighs. There's moderate censorship in the bath scene at the end (although not when Lion passes out; her bright red butt is fully visible when Nina's was censored with light fog moments earlier), but the scene where Lion's (admittedly cute) three-tailed squirrel dives into one of the twins' shirts and makes it looks like her breasts are hopping around is hands-down the weirdest. Hopefully that's not really intended as fanservice but instead as humor, although that doesn't quite work either…
In all fairness, this kind of supercute plus fanservice show isn't really my thing. But Hina Logic doesn't feel like it's expending a whole lot of effort to be anything but that, and that's where the problem comes in – it wants to have a plot, but there's so much time spent on the girls being pretty and cute that it doesn't pan out.
As the first show of the new season, I suppose it's somewhat appropriate that Hina Logic is attempting to be pretty much every show at once. It's even okay at being a few of them! If you're a fan of at least half the things Hina Logic is trying to be, you may well have a good time here.
Hina Logic follows the much more straightforward Luck & Logic, which was a simple and mediocre slightly harem-ish action series. In both series, Logicians are the magical warriors who make contracts with alien Foreigners to fight other, evil Foreigners - but Hina Logi takes place after Luck & Logic already took care of the big Foreigner villain, and so instead of fighting bad guys, Hina Logi's characters all attend a fairly peaceful Logician training academy.
The concept of a slice of life series existing in the wake of a series that occupied an entirely different genre is a pretty interesting one, but as a slice of life, Hina Logi is pretty underwhelming. The show's animation is solid and characters expressive, but they're all very archetypal, and the show's humor is as basic as can be. There's a fair amount of wacky overreactions, some slapstick, silly faces, etc - all very mild stuff, more designed to endear you to the cast than actually make you laugh. As a slice of life alone, Hina Logi really doesn't cut it.
It's where the genre-splicing comes in that things get a little more interesting. After a slow introduction to our lead Lion and her new classmates, Lion ends up awakening her own Logician powers, and being briefly possessed by some kind of plant-summoning Foreigner. The battle to save Lion from herself involves a beautifully animated magical girl transformation, some classic magic school-style fight scenes, and a fair amount of compelling, otherworldly imagery. It's an unexpected high point in an otherwise by-the-book premiere, making the most of the show's solid animation and inconsistently arresting art design.
By the end, Hina Logi has strained from its slice of life foundation into magical girl imagery, battle school storytelling, and even a moderately fanservicey hot springs scene. Unfortunately, my initial complaint remains true all throughout - this show simply isn't funny or sharply written enough to really keep my attention. If you're a big fan of slice of life, I'd maybe give this unique spin on the genre a shot. Otherwise, it's probably a skip.
Hina Logic is technically the second season of the Winter 2016 series Luck & Logic. However, based on the first two episodes, no actual familiarity with the original series is required in order to fully understand and appreciate this one. The episodes aired so far (the series started a week early) explain enough of the world premise for newcomers to follow along just fine, and as of the end of episode 2 only one character from the original series has made even a cameo, and even that only in a flashback. For those who have seen the original, this series seems to be set several months after the end of the previous one, and has fdefinitely transitioned to an entirely different location and feature characters.
At essence, what has been shown so far boils down to a very standard girls' school story mixed with a very standard Magic School gimmick. Pirari Academy is, of course, ridiculously elaborate and opulent, with many somewhat odd design choices in its architecture. Characters introduced so far are also very stereotypical; even though a princess, Lion is still the ridiculously-chirpy bumpkin newcomer, Nina in the straight, serious, and mature-beyond-her-years girl who needs to be loosened up by Lion's attention, and other classmates include the Scientific Freak and the Ojou-sama and Servants of Oujo-sama. The Oujo-sama character, aka Yayoi Tachibana, has actually not proven to be obnoxious so far, which gives hope that she might turn out to be likable. There is also a female teacher who laments getting old even though she's only 24. (This is a little more of an issue in this setting, though, as Logicalist powers start to fade past age 20 and are usually difficult to use anymore by age 30.)
The whole trance/contract business plays out exactly like a standard magical girl empowerment scenario, but so far the story is much more firmly about the character interactions. The main initial story thrust seems to be aimed at getting Nina to experience and appreciate actually being a young teen in a more ordinary setting, and these first two episode lay some great groundwork for that. The voice work for Lion is over-the-top in its chipperness, but beyond that the cast blends well together for some light fun. This isn't an artistic masterpiece, but neither is it sloppy, and the opener, which begins with the second episode, is worth checking out even if you don't plan to follow the series.
I wasn't too impressed with the original series, so I wasn't expecting much from this one, either, but so far it's off to a decent start.
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