Young girl randomly appears in a guy's apartment. Stop me if you've heard this one before.
I wasn't planning on watching this show for Season to Taste, but my boy Rekyu told me that it was a solid "8+/10". When I asked him for specific details as to why, he said that "it's too good to express in prose".
Well, that sounds like a challenge. Especially because "too good for prose" and "8/10" feel like statements that are at odds with each other.
Hinamatsuri is a story about Nitta, a middle-aged yakuza member that's working on rising through the ranks of the organization, and Hina, a young girl that randomly appears in Nitta's apartment one day in some kind of capsule-like device. Oh, and she has telekenesis. With no other place for Hina to call home, Nitta takes her under his wing with the agreement that she won't use her powers to cause trouble.
We all know how agreements like that go; there's an event or something that necessitates that she uses her powers, yada yada yada, etc. Hinamatsuri isn't different in this regard (in fact, Hina will explode if she doesn't regularly use her powers! Oh no!), and the story inevitably circles back to being about her using her powers, but it does make a good-faith effort into highlighting Hina's slow adaptation to the world that she finds herself in. It's implied that she came from another world run amok with combat, so not being asked to constantly fight by Nitta is a change of pace for her. In many ways, the show is set up to be a story primary about growth and tangentially about superpowers rather than the other way around, which could be a fresh take on things. We'll have to wait and see.
While watching the first episode, I realized something that Hinamatsuri does really, really well, and that's the interactions between the two lead characters (Nitta and Hina). Their conversations almost feel like Japanese manzai routines, with Hina playing the funny man and Nitta playing the straight man. Regularly, Hina will say something weird and Nitta will interject, but the timing and execution on these jokes is so well done. It really feels like the two characters are having a conversation rather than reading lines from a script, which makes watching the show so much more enjoyable. The problem is, this timing and style of dialogue works much better if you know Japanese, and you know how Japanese conversations naturally flow. It might not be as noticeable if you don't understand Japanese, as it's hard to appreciate through just subtitles, but it's still something that I feel obligated to mention and praise.
Here's the thing about Hinamatsuri: it doesn't take any risks. The animation isn't anything to write home about, the plot and setup isn't anything that we haven't seen before, and it's not being hyped up as the anime of the season or anything. But that's okay, because it doesn't need to take any risks. It's a fine show that focuses more on the dynamics and interactions between the characters than big picture stuff. It's not in-your-face about its humor, and it's not trying to tell a super intensive story (Or at least, I hope not. The first minute of the show is kinda off-putting, but I'm being willfully ignorant about that). It's probably worth giving it a try, and especially so if you can appreciate the style of writing that it has. I wouldn't call it an 8/10 yet, but it definitely has the potential to get there.