Hanamaru Kindergarten Series Review

Hanamaru Kindergarten Series Review
はなまる幼稚園
Hanamaru Youchien

 ***SPOILERS***

I have a massive backlog of anime to watch. As I had mentioned before, sometimes things get elevated to the top of the list. Such was the case with Hanamaru Kindergarten.

Hanamaru Kindergarten

The story, in brief, centers around TSUCHIDA Naozumi, a recent college graduate who became a kindergarten teacher because of the chance to work with pretty girls. On his way to teach at school for the first time, he runs into a little girl named Anzu, who thinks he’s trying to hit on her and is happy about this. Anzu turns out to be a attending the Hanamaru Kindergarten and is assigned to Tsuchida’s class. Not only that, she’s the daughter of Tsuchida’s high school senpai and crush, Sakura, who married their high school art teacher. Anzu decides she’s going to marry “Tsuchi” (the name Sakura addresses Tsuchida by) and does what she can to try to gain his romantic affection.Hanamaru Kindergarten

Also at the school are Anzu’s friends Koume, a girl who’s very shy and timid, and Hiiragi, who’s a genius who likes to dress up in animal costumes. Anzu gets a rival and friend in the form of the ojousama Hinagiku, who’s the daughter of a local yakuza boss. Hinagiku fell in love with “Tsuchida-sama” after he helped her once. Anzu’s other rival is Yamamoto-sensei, whom Tsuchida has a crush on. However, Yamamoto-sensei is dense regarding Tsuchida’s feelings even though she likes Tsuchida as a colleague.

Hanamaru Kindergarten

For the most part, Hanamaru Kindergarten is a fairly cute series. The kindergarteners going about doing things lends to this cute element. While Anzu, Koume, and Hinagiku may be cute, Hiiragi steals most scenes she’s in due to her “blank” deep blue eyes and pure genius. For example, when her intellect is challenged by Kenji, a boy from a class of older students, she defeats him so completely that he starts calling her “shishou” (master). It just cracked me up and made me like her so much. Plus, when she wears her animal costumes (or other cosplay), how can she not steal the scene?

Hanamaru Kindergarten

Hanamaru Kindergarten can be pretty funny at times. The funniest moment for me came from Anzu, Koume, and Hiiragi playing detective and trailing Tsuchida to see what he does on his day off, and they watch him reading ecchi/porn magazines. Then in another episode, Anzu, Koume, and Hiiragi accompany Yamamoto-sensei, Sakura, and Tsuchida back to Tsuchida’s home, where Anzu tells Tsuchida’s parents the story of their son reading ecchi/porn magazines.

Hanamaru Kindergarten

The stories are pretty much slice of life over the course of the school year at the kindergarten. Most of the stories center on Anzu and her her crush on Tsuchida. As a side effect of that, we get a look at Tsuchida’s crush on Yamamoto-sensei. Tsuchida’s unrequited love for her is pretty cliched. I did want him to succeed in getting his feelings across to her, but comedy trumps romance in a series like this, so she becomes thick.

Hanamaru Kindergarten

One element that came off a bit surprising to me was the side exploration of Yamamoto-sensei’s younger sister (and roommate) Mayumi. Mayumi sees how much her sister talks about Tsuchida, then when she meets him, she sees that he’s in love with “Nana-chan” (Mayumi’s way of addressing her sister). So while she can’t understand why her sister doesn’t understand Tsuchida’s romantic feelings, Mayumi is oblivious to the feelings of Hanamaru-sensei, a mangaka whom Mayumi helps.

Hanamaru Kindergarten

Unfortunately, the anime ends with no resolution to anyone’s romantic interest, choosing to keep the status quo, so the door is wide open for more anime, should the powers that be decide to produce more.

Hanamaru Kindergarten

While things are mostly cute and sweet, considering Hanamaru Kindergarten was adopted from a seinen manga, there are seinen elements, such as seeing Yamamoto-sensei in a bikini. There are often breast jokes since Tsuchida often ogles Yamamoto-sensei’s chest, or is seen reading ecchi magazines. During those moments, one is reminded that this is a Gainax production, and I’m guessing these moments were also in the original manga. (If you’ve read the manga, you can let me know if this is the case or not.)

Hanamaru Kindergarten

I have to admit that I was just a little creeped out at times by the way Anzu’s affection for Tsuchida was played. For starters, her mother encouraged this, which might seem innocent enough until you learn that Sakura married her high school art teacher while she was in high school, where she subsequently got pregnant with his child (Anzu). That alone wouldn’t be enough to really bother me, but Anzu would often use adult ways of referring to her and Tsuchida being together. I realized by the end of the anime that she probably had little understanding of what she was saying, but early on, it came off rather icky to me.

Hanamaru Kindergarten

Another somewhat icky element was Tsuchida’s cute, younger sister Satsuki. She’s clearly has a brother complex, but she seems to go a step further. She has a bad case of “notice me senpai oniichan,” so much so that it comes off as if she wants to be in an incestuous relationship with her brother. There’s a fine line between having a sibling complex and going incest, and I think Hanamaru Kindergarten crossed that line a few times.

Hanamaru Kindergarten

I got a kick out of some of the parody references in this series. Some a little more subtle, like the Detective Conan reference, but some or more blatant, like showing a Neon Genesis Evangelion toy vending machine.

Hanamaru Kindergarten

Finally, I wanted to mention that the ED for every episode contained a different song and animation. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that done before, but it was a way to get me to at least sample the end music.

Hanamaru Kindergarten

In the end, I really did enjoy watching Hanamaru Kindergarten. While there were some elements that may have bothered me, the cuteness, sweetness, and humor of the series won the day, making it well worth paying to watch.

Hanamaru Kindergarten

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12 Responses to “Hanamaru Kindergarten Series Review”

  1. arimareiji says:

    Just from the pictures, let alone the description: TERMINAL CUTENESS OVERLOAD!!!

    I really, really don’t usually like kids or stories about them, but I think I may need to make an exception this time.

    • arimareiji says:

      Just a quick aside… I guess it would be easier to find out by watching, but I half-wonder if Satsuki’s hairstyle in the above pics (shrine visit?) is a shout-out to Mahoro of Mahoromatic. If she got upset by onii-chan’s porn collection or made any comments about dirty thoughts being bad, that would probably clinch it. (^_~)

      • AstroNerdBoy says:

        Mahoromatic — I kinda liked that series, though the manga was a bit too ecchi for my tastes.

        • arimareiji says:

          Me too. I was telling a friend the other day about a good series, then remembered afterward that I needed to warn him about the fact it has some ecchi content that I had tuned out because I’m so used to it. Thankfully, he understood because he’s in the same boat.

          Ecchi content in anime and manga is kinda like static in broadcast TV: It depends on the channel and the show, but it almost always gets in the way of the story and it’s almost always there in some degree. For an anime/manga like Mahoromatic, it was pretty much painful because it added virtually nothing, there was so much of it, and the story could have been so much better without it.

          I don’t think I’ve ever ranted to you about it before, my apologies if I have: Were you already aware of the Kaguyahime reference in Maarui Otsuki-sama (the song Mahoro’s VA is singing in the background at the close of the first anime series) and/or how much better the manga explains the last half of the story than the second series does?

          • AstroNerdBoy says:

            For an anime/manga like Mahoromatic, it was pretty much painful because it added virtually nothing, there was so much of it, and the story could have been so much better without it.

            I might be wrong (can’t look it up here), but I think the artist for Mahoromatic (who’s an excellent artist) usually does hentai stuff. I think his name is Dita or something.

            Were you already aware of the Kaguyahime reference in Maarui Otsuki-sama (the song Mahoro’s VA is singing in the background at the close of the first anime series) and/or how much better the manga explains the last half of the story than the second series does?

            The reason I bought the manga is that I watched the anime and was left wondering about things. (Kinda like I did with Chobits.) So I knew the manga’s story was much better without having read it. I bought it all from TokyoPop. I ended up selling it back (many years ago) when I sold off a massive percentage of my anime/manga collection to help pay off medical bills.

            I was not aware of the song reference though.

          • arimareiji says:

            Starting to watch Hanamaru on my phone during breaks on night shift; thank you much for the refer. Good luck with your own version of the spice mines of Kessel, and I hope the day goes quickly. (^_^)

            I might be wrong (can’t look it up here), but I think the artist for Mahoromatic (who’s an excellent artist) usually does hentai stuff. I think his name is Dita or something.

            Spot-on, says Wikipedia. (I only knew about the two other borderline mainstream ones.)

            The reason I bought the manga is that I watched the anime and was left wondering about things. (Kinda like I did with Chobits.) So I knew the manga’s story was much better without having read it.

            Ah. Sorry for telling you that which you already knew wrt the manga – now I’m not sure why, but somehow I started worrying that the ecchi content might have kept you from getting far enough to see all the missing puzzle pieces.

            (That, and I got over-excited at the possibility of giving back a little for once. (^_^); Your blog has offered insight and/or backstory that made stories better too many times to count.)

            I was not aware of the song reference though.

            It was sheer luck that I tripped across the information some years ago, which I’m taking on faith and logic since Sentai’s translation was different. Finding out made the rest of the song “click”, and very little these days can move me as much as did the parallel to what Mahoro knew was coming.

            Snippet of video from the ending of Mahoromatic S1 below:

            Spoiler Inside SelectShow
          • AstroNerdBoy says:

            Good luck with your own version of the spice mines of Kessel, and I hope the day goes quickly. (^_^)

            *lol* Well, I get overtime pay, so it is all good in the end. ^_^

            Ah. Sorry for telling you that which you already knew wrt the manga – now I’m not sure why, but somehow I started worrying that the ecchi content might have kept you from getting far enough to see all the missing puzzle pieces.

            There’s no problem telling me anything. ^_^ I think at the time, I did like I did with Love Hina — just look past the ecchi and roll with the story. However, when it came time to sell stuff, I for some reason, I found that I didn’t have a desire to reread Mahoromatic while I did have that desire with Love Hina.

            Snippet of video from the ending of Mahoromatic S1 below:

            Thanks. ^_^

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Yeah, it was pretty good. If you watched the video I posted on the other article, you’ll get an even greater idea of the cuteness.

  2. Mz says:

    Pa pa! Pa pa! Panda Neko!

  3. ghostbeetle says:

    It’s amazing how similar this sounds to Kodomo no Jikan, patternwise. But it also sounds as if Youchien does not go to the melodrama well nearly as much as Kodomo does. Can anybody comment on that?

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I have heard that comparison before, only there’s no sexual element between Anzu and Tsuchida. Anzu says a lot of adult things, but doesn’t really understand everything she’s saying. Hanamaru Kindergarten really doesn’t have any melodrama in it. I suppose there’s a bit in the final episode, but it is done more as a parody of melodrama stuff.

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