Hinata Himawari has aspired to become a ninja ever since the day one saved her from a plane crash, and where better to train than at an all-girls kunoichi academy located in the Village of Mist? Even though all the other students are genetically engineered to be superior ninjas, Himawari is determined to make up for it with sheer optimism and hard work- after all, she has to protect her self-proclaimed master, teacher Marikouji Hayato. Another newcomer to the school, Hayato is a normal person who only took on a teaching job to pay off a two million yen debt, but in between eking out living expenses and trying to get students to actually attend his ‘general education’ classes, life proves to be anything but simple.
As a 2006 series that was overlooked by many (myself included), Himawari’s incredibly low profile did not seem like much of a recommendation- was the reason no one was watching it because it was just mediocre or downright awful for them to bother? Fortunately, one leap of faith and thirteen episodes later, and the truth was revealed- whilst Himawari wasn’t really anything special, it was at least a decent light entertainment series.
Although the ‘male teacher at an girls’ school’ setting screams harem, Himawari actually shies away from this most obvious direction; yes, Himawari is dedicated to protecting her beloved master, but for various reasons, the other girls in the series are not particularly interested in him. Instead, the series focuses more on the comedic side of things, relying on well-used and largely predictable storylines, but managing to be entertaining nonetheless.
That being said, it should be noted that the series does get rather bizarre at times; the principal of the school is carried around by a mechanical doll, one of the girls is dating a talking kappa and another character sits around eating all the time and shows people visions in her bowl of soup, to name but a few examples. In the midst of all this craziness, it has to be admitted that there is practically nothing in the way of a main plot- even the few hints of hidden back story seen in the first episode ultimately amount to nothing, unless those threads are picked up in the second season.
As far as characters go, Himawari’s main cast is likable enough, but none too complex; most are one joke personalities with practically no development, but this is generally sufficient for a series of this type. Unlike the heroes, the antagonists (both one-shot and recurring) are slightly annoying, although this makes it all the more satisfying when they inevitably get foiled by the end of the episode.
Visually, Himawari’s animation is solid enough, but again nothing special- most of the character designs and settings are quite pleasing, but in keeping with the rest of the series, there is nothing outstanding. Action scenes are usually short and simplistic, involving a few sword slashes or thrown shurikens, although there are some unexpected variations such as giant monster battles and even a mechanical robot contest. Background music is simplistic but oddly catchy, especially the piano themes used throughout.
Like a painless version of Love Hina, Himawari is a mix of comedy, action, romance and more bizarre elements, which overall manages to entertain rather than irritate. It won’t win any prizes for depth or originality, but if you need something to help you relax and unwind after a long day, this will do the job.
(The new tier system ranks anime as Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, White, Wood or Junk Ore. A more detailed explanation will be added to my about page).