This episode showcases Hinako’s slow improvement regarding conversing with others as well as her naivety. In other words, Hinako Note is staying true to its roots as a slice-of-life series due to its steady, unrushed sense of progress.
(Spoilers in this review)
A new character is introduced this week (since the school year has finally started for Hinako and the others). Nakajima Yua, who happens to be classmates with Kuina and Hinako, is a raging Chiaki fangirl who enrolled into Fujiyama High School because she was inspired by Chiaki and wants to become an actress just like her idol. As such, her motivations for attending Fujiyama High School parallels that of Hinako’s. Unlike Hinkao, however, Yua does not struggle to speak with others outside of her idol, Chiaki. Meanwhile, Hinako can comfortably interact with Chiaki (and the rest of her housemates), but she flubs conversation with everyone else.
Yua essentially falls under the tried-and-disliked archetype, “girl who acts mean to another person because said person is closer to the person she admires than she is.” Thankfully, Yua is more likeable than other girls who act like that since she’s a good girl at heart who worries about Hinako getting upset about her haughty comments / actions. Meanwhile, Hinako becomes convinced that Yua is trying to help her out by constantly butting in whenever a teacher asks Hinako to help, so she decides to ask Yua if they could be friends. As a result, Yua starts acting like a tsundere to Hinako. Eh? Another girl joins the Hinako harem?
There was also an instance where Hinako manages to talk to a total stranger (aka a lost child)…by using ventriloquism. Baby steps, Hinako, baby steps. And I ain’t talking about the tennis manga / anime, either.
By the end of the episode, Hinako has agreed to manage her own theatre trope (which she had just formed in the previous episode), join the Theatre Society (which was created by the Theatre Club members so Chiaki, the Theatre Club ace, could start going on stage again), and work part-time at the coffee shop. She’s only a first-year student from the countryside and she’s already so busy! Hang in there, Hinako!
All in all, this series is developing at a decent rate. The visuals are nice for the most part (I really dig those notebook shots even though they are basically irrelevant to the show) and the voice-acting is on-point. The gags leave a bit to be desired, however. I kind of watched the episode with the stone-cold face of a killer. Please try harder to make me laugh, Hinako Note!
Furthermore, I find the characters to be a bit boring to watch. At this point, I’m most interested in Kuina and Yua; Mayu is a goody-goody who likes to dress up (we haven’t seen that before, not at all), Chiaki is a stoic girl (with minimal personality) who happens to be awesome at theatre, and Hinako is the quiet wallflower who will have to learn how to talk to other people. Meanwhile Kuina seems like a very good friend to Hinako while Yua doesn’t live with the others and will probably bring a different dynamic regarding her relationship with the other four girls.