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by Richard Eisenbeis,

Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable!

Anime Series Review

Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable! Anime Series Review
High schooler Tsubasa Shiki has started living with his grandmother—moving from Tokyo to Japan's northernmost main island, Hokkaido, in the process. He quickly learns that common sense in a medium-sized town is far different from what he was used to in the nation's jam packed capital. Luckily, he soon befriends Fuyuki, his outgoing (and beautiful) “gal” classmate, who wants nothing more than to show him just how awesome her unique corner of the world can be.

If I were to sum up Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable! in a single word, that word would be “cute.” Shiki and Fuyuki's interactions are a mixture of playful (and sometimes sexual) teasing and heartfelt feelings as the two come to value each other. They have real chemistry—and that drives the anime straight from its opening scene to its closing one.

However, calling it “cute” doesn't mean that there is no depth to the characters or their story. A big reason for this is Shiki himself. Often in romance anime (especially harem romance anime), the main character might as well be a wall for all the personalities on display. They're basically an audience proxy and nothing more—a blank slate that the viewers can impose themselves over. While Shiki may seem like this at first, it's actually a bit of a narrative trick.

Shiki sees himself as a normal, average kid—as most kids do. He assumes that his life is more or less the norm for everyone. He doesn't realize that he is, in fact, part of a traditional, wealthy family—nor does he realize that he is expected to meet standards far higher than other kids his age. He's incredibly sheltered and has missed out on numerous milestones of youth. He's never been skiing or played video games—never really had friends to hang out with daily. Through Fuyuki (and later Sayuri and Rena), he starts to see all he has missed out on—and struggles to find a healthy balance between what he wants and what his family expects.

Of course, this puts Fuyuki in the role of the “manic pixie dream girl”—but luckily, she is more than just that. Fuyuki is immature in interesting ways. She likes everyone—is always up for helping a person in need, and feels best when she's making others smile. But this means that being excluded truly bothers her. She has a pathological need to be friends with people—not just Shiki. And while her outward appearance is highly sexualized—and she's always down for saying or doing something to make the boys around her blush—she's not romantically or sexually attracted to anyone. This leaves her completely unprepared as her feelings for Shiki grow, and she feels emotions like jealousy for the first time. Her reaction to these feelings is to stomp down on them and pretend they don't exist—which is a temporary solution at best.

Another strong point of the series is its overarching theme of how people affect and change those around them—often without any conscious effort. The reason that Fuyuki, Sayuri, and Rena become attracted to Shiki is because of this. Fuyuki, a slacker living in the moment, sees Shiki's constant hard work and is inspired to work hard for her future—even if that means losing out on some of her precious time with the friends she enjoys so much. Sayuri, a socially isolated hardcore gamer, comes out of her shell and allows others in thanks to Shiki—finding fun both in virtual and real worlds. And Rena, a girl who longs for the adulation of others to the point that she's built up the image of an effortlessly perfect, untouchable young woman, learns to let down her guard a bit and make friends who see her as the hard worker she truly is behind her facade.

None of these changes come about due to anything other than Shiki entering their lives and just being himself—a fish out of water constantly impressed by new experiences and the people he encounters. Moreover, each of them changes him as much as he does them. It's a solid little exploration of how we grow and change naturally due to the people we surround ourselves with.

Outside of the core personal drama, this anime often feels like a commercial for Hokkaido. Episodes tend to be centered around local festivals, events, or locations and feature popular regional foods or drinks. Moreover, while it's less apparent in the subtitles, there is also a lot of regional slang involved as well. If you're interested in Hokkaido and its numerous little quirks, you may find these interesting. If not, it may seem like an unwanted distraction more than anything else.

As for the presentation, the backgrounds are fantastic—often based on beautiful real-world locations. The character designs, on the other hand, will be hit or miss. The composition of the faces—particularly the eyes—differs greatly from most other anime. The music is largely forgettable, though Masayoshi Ooishi does add another fun rom-com opening to his discography with “Namara Menkoi Gal.”

All in all, Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable! is an enjoyable, if tame, romance anime. It's rather low on drama (outside of the final climax of the season) and instead focuses on the characters meeting, growing close, and evolving thanks to their shared experiences. It's cute and heartwarming—and if that's something you're looking for, then this is a great anime to spend a few hours with.

Overall (sub) : C+
Story : C+
Animation : C+
Art : B-
Music : C

+ A cute high school love story with characters that are deeper than they appear on the surface.
Sometime feels like a tourism commercial for Hokkaido.

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Production Info:
Chief Director: Mirai Minato
Director: Misuzu Hoshino
Series Composition: Mirai Minato
Nanami Hoshino
Mirai Minato
Misaki Morie
Michiko Yokote
Tetsuro Amino
Mio Hidenin
Misuzu Hoshino
Yoriyasu Kogawa
Miyana Okita
Hikaru Takeuchi
Kōji Yoshikawa
Episode Director:
Ken Ando
Naoki Hishikawa
Misuzu Hoshino
Shinya Kawatsura
Hiromichi Matano
Michita Shiraishi
Toshikatsu Tokoro
Unit Director: Misuzu Hoshino
Music: Sōnosuke Takao
Original creator: Kai Ikada
Character Design: Katsuyuki Sato
Art Director: Aiko Taira
Chief Animation Director:
Hisashi Kawashima
Katsuyuki Sato
Meng Long Shou
Tsukasa Sorimachi
Animation Director:
Yu Bu
Isami Daba
Jin Qiu Gu
Xin Hua Hang
Beom Seok Hong
Ye Na Hong
Minami Hoshino
Kazuyuki Ikai
Takuya Imakado
Yong Jiang
Yūki Kitajima
Guang Long
Junko Matsushita
Shinichiro Minami
Guang Ming
Etsushi Mori
Masami Nagata
Daichi Nakajima
Yuri Naminoue
Kiyoshi Nohji
Madoka Ozawa
Takurō Sakurai
Michinori Shiga
Hiroko Shigekuni
Meng Long Shou
Yousuke Toyama
Yoshio Usuda
Xiao Cai Wu
Zhi Peng Wu
Ta Xi
Xiang Xi
Ye Yuan Xing
Guo Fu Yang
Xiao Hua Yang
Hajime Yoshida
3D Director: Tsutomu Ogasawara
Sound Director: Yayoi Tateishi
Director of Photography: Atsushi Kanō
Executive producer:
Yoshikazu Beniya
Noboru Yamada
Norio Fukui
Masaharu Hirooka
Takuya Matsumoto
Mai Miyaji
Norio Yamakawa

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Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable! (TV)

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