Light hearted comedies featuring a group of high school girls seem to be popular with the makers of anime and as shows like 'Azumanga Daioh' and 'Bamboo Blade' are amongst my favourites I wasn't surprised when I found myself really enjoying 'Hyakko'. The series follows the exploits of four girls in class 1-6 of the high school department of the enormous Kamizono Academy; it is so enormous that the girls spend the whole first episode trying to find their classroom. The lead character is genki girl Torako Kageyama who is so energetic that she makes Azumanga's Tomo seen restrained! For the most part their exploits are believable if a little exaggerated for extra comic effect. While the series is centred on Torako and her classmates Ayumi, Tatsuki and Suzume there is a large cast of secondary characters who feature regularly and have distinct personalities; most notable are the bisexual class president Nene, rebel Ushio, creepy looking Inori and the clumsy Minato.
The episodes feature typical school activities such as finding a club to join, having lunch and making new friends; while these don't seem like subjects for comedy they are done in a believable yet funny way; the main characters were likable especially Torako who provides most of the laughs. While it is a comedy there was a little drama too; the penultimate episode where we learn more about Torako's family was particularly poignant. At only thirteen episodes the series felt short and I was left wanting more although that is better than a series that goes on well past its prime and ceases to be interesting or funny. I thought the animation was of a high quality and liked the character designs.
These comments are based on watching the series in Japanese with English subtitles.
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