Secret Santa Project : Hyakko Where Boys be Ambitious is actually about Girls

Hyakko Secret Santa Project

Remember that oblivious easy going friend back in school who was always upbeat always mysteriously in a good mood for no apparent reason. The classmate who got himself or herself in trouble and sometimes made you tag along for the ride. This is the same person who sometimes said and acted in ways that didn’t make a whole lot of sense, to many even to this day. Torako is that type of person. Not a whole lot intelligent with a short attention span and neither a lot coherent nor consistent. But much fun to be around.

The million dollar question is – what is Hyakko about, that could not have been guessed, like any series, from any Non-NSFW fan arts from image boards?

Hyakko 4 main

“Hey, guys. It’s this totally fresh slice of life comedy about a group of high school girls and their daily school.”

No, you don’t like that? Tough luck.

Hyakko is the type of series that is neither as high profile to be in everyone’s priority list nor is infamously known for its terribleness to be popular either. The title falls and floats in the limbo of unpopularity such as those titles you just caught of a glimpse of while following a link, read the description, and moved on. Probably forgot all about it after a while and proceeded to watch the weekly season shows.

Hyakko Torako jumping

“Torako and jumping from a window. Kind of a big deal scene”

Enough to be featured in the first OP and guaranteed for flashbacks. Let me emphasize something about Hyakko that will undoubtedly jump at any future watcher – the story is quite normal and nothing out of this world. One that you had probably already read about or saw something similar and you wondered if you’re reading it again. A general plot that is likely to be the first thing that hops into the mind of most authors writing a school comedy/slice of life stories.

This is something that has to be put out of the way as it will hinder the enjoyment of this not ground breaking series. When you pick up Hyakko is recommended you’d best to acknowledge you aren’t for a mind-blowing experience. That’s OK. That’s fine. That’s perfectly normal. You can still enjoy this.

Notable details:

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  • Initially Hyakko took a while to take off taking me three episodes to get really into it. The first episodes I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or be amused at its attempts to entertain the audience because there was something always missing from the comedy. But don’t worry after a bit it gets where it should.
  • Hyakko is a “TL Note Anime”. Be it possibly attributed to the innumerable amount of TL notes all over the place distracting the gaijin audience from the comedy. Especially the first episodes which drops many references from sports to historic to popular figures, many of them known, but the whole TL notes make the audience read them anyway so it can be distracting.
  • Case in point, the TL notes are all over the place in much abundant to a degree unnecessary such as explaining what a “tsundere” even means. No, not kidding.

Hyakko TL Tsundere

Sometimes you just forget what one is.

  • TL notes and beyond. They were not also limited to but also explaining “terms”. Explaining the identities of baseball, football players, what the World Cup is, and when Brazil’s football team used to mean something, in not so many words. For that reason I would alternately call Hyakko a heavy TL Note show because I saw more TL messages than I could count in a great number of episodes. It was crazy. In a way, it was kind of amazing just to see that many TL to know what was going on. Similarly, how many TL notes thought the fansub group in charged thought we needed to know what was going on.
  • There were things I enjoyed and others I didn’t enjoy as much such as sudden melodrama near the final episodes where it felt like I was watching a different show. One moment they go from what hairdo they ought to give the local girl from the Ring, the next moment there are tears and people who can’t look at others in the eyes all over the place.
  • Other minuses were that (un)surprisingly, all the guys were either perverted or jerks – note – and not in the likeable way. One of the episodes revolves around Torako’s brother being an asshole in a much uncool way. Another episode revolved around a certain glasses guy making some serious cash off photos from his fellow classmates.

Hyakko boys be

So 95% of the guys in the show were a disgrace as characters that probably existed to not make it seem like it was a all full girls school anime. I got the idea the show would’ve been fine without them as only one or two seemed to play an actually role. Maybe they were just being boys. Maybe boys in girls anime make crappy characters. Maybe there was a good reason why there were near no male students with screen time in Azumanga Daioh. Maybe it had something to do with the school’s slogan not acknowledging there were girls attending the school in the first place. Silly idea, considering 80% of the student population are not guys in Kyakko. Also anime has taught us that guys don’t matter so they can’t be all wrong.

  • The random middle school kid trying to bring us all down by speaking the cold harsh truth. In fact, kid’s not even getting a proper screencap because she was hijacking the show. Hey, kid you are in a comedy show revolving around school girls, unless they are somehow magical in some nature, you just don’t get to do that. And no kid you won’t be getting your own show.

There were good plusses, the minuses were manageable. Unlike having a Hidamari Sketch (two if you see the ova) character who has a Ph. D in acting shy and stuff. Suffice to say, she made her interactions with others as fun as a Hidamari Sketch episode without Yoshinoya.

hidamari sketch Hyakko

  • The weakest link of Hyakko was Ayumi who hardly act like she was in the story. But a main character who? A real toss up between Ayumi and Torako because it is never explicitly stated who of the two is the true MC, which brings the question who IS the real main character of Hyakko. On one hand, we have lively fun and funny Torako. On the other hand, we have boring Yuno Ayumi. I’d like to believe the character with most personality is the main character so point goes to Torako. On the other hand, Ayumi’s face is featured in the ED sequence for several seconds while she stares at the screen. It’s hard to beat that.
  • I also played this game of trying to figure out what studio animated Hyakko. Some moments I thought it was Shaft, other I thought it was AIC. It turns out it was Nippon Animation.
  • The comedy was initially hit-or-miss then it was like its hit rate dramatically increased after each episode. It got funnier and possibly I also accustomed to what Hyakko was doing.
  • The humor was peculiarly dark at moments, which I didn’t dislike just I never seemed to get “why” as Hyakko is clearly as easygoing as a cat with a ball of wool on a Sunday afternoon. All things considered, the whole idea was strange,
  • The characters were funny even the supporting characters. Everyone except characters with XY chromosomes.
  • Hyakko followed a formula. Despite each episode being centered around another – one – odd classmate at the time which basically is 80% of what the series is, it didn’t get too old. I guess Hyakko had to introduce the characters seeing that it is basically about all of them and figured they had a good thing going. Well, they did.

secret santa Hyakko

So In the matter of giving Hyakko a thumbs down or a thumbs up I give Hyakko the thumbs up. It was simple and enjoyable like comedy should be.

For my recommendations I passed on Dennou Coil this year because of the number of episode, though I imagined it was going to be recommended to me (guess that means I should finish it). Nausicaa was a great reminder there is anime that focuses on the story more anything else.

I’m quite glad that a not totally high profile was recommended in the list I was given. Popular shows everyone talks about them, everyone writes about them. I have no difficulty finding them, I don’t think anyone does. Watching them are more of a matter of time than anything else, really. Unpopular shows with some potential are what are more difficult to find if you ask me so I would recommend Hyakko for a short, easy-going with some twists comedy.

– Project: Secret Santa Project by Reverse Thieves.

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5 thoughts on “Secret Santa Project : Hyakko Where Boys be Ambitious is actually about Girls

  1. Pingback: Secret Santa 2012 Project Reveal « Reverse Thieves

  2. Glad you enjoyed it! I struggled a little with coming up with the recommendations as there was surprisingly little I had seen that you hadn’t (at least judging by your MAL at any rate) that I actually consider worthwhile. Hyakko’s relative obscurity was definitely one of the reasons I picked it though.

    Regarding “who was the MC”, to me it’s something akin to a less clear cut Haruhi – Kyon is technically the MC as he’s the character’s whose perspective we follow, but it’s all about Haruhi herself. Except in Hyakko’s case, it’d be more like if Kyon wasn’t anywhere near as necessary, and if it didn’t focus on Haruhi quite as much. The parallel is there at any rate.

    • Nausicaa lived up to its name.

      Funny thing is that I was under the impression I had watched Nausicaa. Turns out it was an extensive review I read several several years ago. Imagine the surprise. Well, now I’m completely sure I have seen it.

      I hadn’t heard of Hyakko at all before so without the project it would have probably taken a lot more time to find it. That’s a notable comparison about Hyakko and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (that aside, Torako’s personality resembles a bit Haruhi too) seeing that in both cases who the MC is isn’t as obvious as with most shows.

      I try to keep my list updated and through the years tried to cover most genres to get an idea what is out there. There are still some popular shows I hadn’t gotten to yet but the more obscure shows always seem to evade me. So I was very much looking forward my secret Santa recommendations. Thank you for taking the time and the recommendations!

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