I really am trying to not become one of those cynical anime watchers who think the best has already come and never will again, but you’re really trying my resolve this year Japan. Hidan no Aria was a show that for whatever reason I had a great deal of excitement and anticipation for. I was won over by the early pre-production artwork without knowing really anything at all about what it was going to be about or the source materials. When I learned the seiyuu cast and the plot synopsis I was pretty sure what I was going to be in store for. In that sense I probably shouldn't have been disappointed at all.
What Hidan no Aria gives us as a premise is about as generic and played as it comes. A high school boy... sigh why is it I always have to start it with that? Anyway he goes to Butai High School, a place where Japan teaches its youngsters to be assassins, thieves, and super powered shrine maidens. It’s like any other anime high school except the students all carry guns and katanas. No seriously it’s just like every other high school. So from there our hero, Kinji, suitably useless and powerless Japanese male gets involved right off the bat with the more dangerous female classmates who either want his body or him dead or more often both. Of course Kinji is able to tap into a hidden power of his own called "Hysteria Mode" which he enters from being sexually aroused. Really I'm serious here. I can't make this stuff up. Further nonsense ensues from this point and I honestly couldn’t make heads or tails of any of it from the beginning.
As with most anime of this type it likes to throw out tons of nonsensical and contradictory terminology and other assorted garbage. While in the beginning it doesn't seem like that much of a stretch it really starts to take a turn for the bizarre after a few episodes. That’s when we start having characters assigned names from other fictional and totally unrelated content. Such as Sherlock Holmes, Lupin IV, Jeane of Arc, and Dracula? It’s a mishmash of themes that have absolutely nothing in common with each other and make no sense when even applied to the story. It’s almost like the author of the story just picked random names from a library shelf and jammed them into his story as if they applied some sort of deeper meaning to it. The names don’t even have any bearing on how the characters act either. Jeane of Arc has ice powers, Dracula is a werewolf, and Holmes is a gun totting, dual katana wielding loli. Wuh? This only further confuses an already pointless and directionless story which doesn't seem to stick to one theme for more than a few episodes before meandering off into another direction. All in all it’s bad... REALLY BAD. Perhaps the worst excuse for a story I have seen in anything to date.
That brings us to the characters which really don’t far much better. Our hero Kinji is barely worth mentioning. Seriously when are they going to just stop giving the guys in anime names or even bother drawing on faces on them anymore? Just go ahead and give in to the otaku pervs and just complete the fantasy by having replacing them with faceless stick figures to allow them to complete their 2D on screen fantasy.
As for the girls the results are bad, even for a harem. Other than Aria the other girls are pretty much unmentionable. Aria is your standard loli tsundere. She says all of the things you would expect of her archetype and is performed brilliant by the undisputed seiyuu queen of this type, Rie Kugimiya. As much of a completely uninspired character or even acting performance that makes Aria up, it is Kugimiya that makes this series even remotely palatable to watch. Sure we have seen her do this role dozens of times before but I for one really never grow tired of it. In that sense it is a thoroughly Kugimiya type performance that is right in her wheel house and one that she completely hits out of the park. The real question is how many people are, unlike me, totally sick and tired of it?
J.C. Staff is usually pretty solid with their animation and production values and that doesn't really change here. But a lot like Kugimiya, I suspect a great many viewers are becoming weary of seeing the same damn thing over and over again. It would be nice to see them try to stretch themselves sometimes and be unafraid to take some risks. The one thing that really did stand out to me was how utterly silly the various girls hid their weapons. Take Aria, who is a tiny girl with an impossibly short skirt yet somehow manages to hid 2 enormous pistols under it and yet not be constantly seen when she is not drawing them. In addition to the even more ridiculous dual katanas she hides, under her blouse. It seems Aria's clothes are a lot like Doctor Who's TARDIS: bigger inside than it appears from the outside. Not that this is the first time anime has played with physics before but this really seemed to stretch the realm of believability.
From an acting and sound standpoint, Hidan no Aria is very good. As mentioned I think Rie Kugimiya was in her element and delivered a very enjoyable performance. The rest of the cast played their parts as expected. The music was pretty exciting and good. I especially enjoyed May'n Scarlet Ballet.
I actually found a great amount of this series to be amusing, mostly because I am a Kugimiya fangirl. As nonsensical and clichéd as everything about this anime was there was plenty of amusement to be found in watching the characters act this way. But at the same time I am fully aware that pretty much everything else about this show is terrible. For that reason I can’t recommend it to anyone.
For a video review, check out my Youtube channel. Link on my profile page.
This is part 1 of a two part review of the Hidan no Aria franchise.
*Now the first thing I liked in Hidan no Aria was our main male character Kinji and more specifically when he entered Hysteria Mode. When he wasn’t into his special mode, he was a very stereotypical male character but when he entered Hysteria Mode he transformed into a badass and you all know from previous reviews that badasses belong to my favorite kind of male characters. Now about that being stereotypical I do have some more things to say later on because Kinji wasn’t the only character that was stereotypical.
*Next up was the music, I really liked the rock music that Hidan no Aria used in its opening and ending. Apart from classical music I can definitely appreciate some good rock songs because it always pumped me up for the episode that was to come.
*And as a last positive point: action is the main focus of this anime and it pulled it off quite well. The whole secret agent thing was well executed and the action scenes that came with it did the anime good. So I liked the overall premise and story that Hidan no Aria had.
*Now before I mentioned that the non-aroused Kinji was kind of stereotypical but in fact the whole anime was stereotypical. The used comedy was really stereotypical with moments that it went more towards the ecchi comedy which I’ve seen plenty of times before. But where I noticed the stereotypicalness the most was in the characters.
Let’s start with our main female character Aria. She’s a textbook tsundure: small, flat, twin tails, aggressive and brute but still easily flustered. You can’t go more tsundere than Aria. Than there was Kinji’s childhood friend Shirayuki. Again everything about her was stereotypical: she’s a childhood friend that’s in love with the main male and she becomes a yandere when another girl shows interest in the main male. And the fact that she’s than this kind of priestess completed the whole ‘childhood friend’ picture.
So we have a tsundere, a yandere than we still need a kuudere and guess what: we have one in Hidan no Aria in the form of Reki. A quiet, introvert girl whose one hell of a sniper. Reki was definitely my favorite character of the anime but also she was very stereotypical.
*Next negative point was the end fight or the boss fight if you will at the end of the anime. I found that to be quite anticlimactic, I expected a lot more from the final battle of an action anime but the final villain gets defeated really fast and quite easily so that was disappointing.
*Which brings me almost instantly at my last negative point which is that the story of Hidan no Aria is far from finished at the end of the anime. The anime only covers 2 light novels while there are now about 20 of those. I would have definitely liked to see a second season of Hidan no Aria but unfortunately we got kind of a shitty spin-off instead but more about that in a minute.
So as a conclusion, despite being stereotypical in a lot of aspects, I still enjoyed Hidan no Aria. It was an action packed anime which unfortunately didn’t end on a high note. And that stereotypicalness didn’t annoy me to much. So that’s why I’m going to rate Hidan no Aria at 3,5 stars. One day I might read the light novels to see how the story progresses after the anime. One day if I find the time to do it.
This is a unique story:n Male protagonist who has a secret or awesome power and is surrounded by girls... yeah.
The plost seemed interesting enough. A teenage boy who gained amazing abilities when aroused through some comedic accidents. These moments didn't seem to come up as much as it should of and made the fighting scenes less enjoyable because he didn't go into "badass mode." When Aria's backstory was introduced, I thought "man this anime can be really good."
It wasn't. They had a great oppurtunity to develop not only the story but the characters as well. Instead we got a half-assed story with overused characterisitcs in our protagonists.
Kinji lacked diversity and remained a static character who was oblivious enough to not stop the constant interest (read as: getting hit on, sexual harrassment) from the girls surrounding him. It continuingly got annoying how often the girls started fighting over him without striaght out admitting their love (except for Shirayuki who creeped me out how obsessive she was). He did nothng for that predicament nor did anything to move the story forward.
Aria. First episode, she came off as badass, whooo! Very next episode, she got annoying. She literally would not shut up. Listen when other's talk to you sweety. Also, she needs better threats. "I'm going to pump you full of holes," gets old. Specially when you don't follow through. She got less annoying when I learned about her back story.
Overall, I was disappointed.Honestly, I shouldn't of expected too much since it has the same trope as many other animes that I don't particularly like as well. (Asterisk War, Rakudai Kishi no Calvary, Hundred, etc)
Overall, Id have to say I was impressed enough with this anime to actually reply by making a review. The story line itself was pretty much a team vs team based storyline with historic references along with humor, hot loli chicks (dont judge me o.o) and gun blazing, super powered sword slicing action. Id have to say I am very impressed with the animations, although they do sheen quite a few things that is kind of unncessisary, I still liked the show, and its not too much of a distraction. As for the gun battles, they are kinda basic, cowboy bebop kind of feel (with less bullets) they could put more attention on the guns themselves with more flash to put more focus on the single shots, but otherwise I didnt see any issues with it. The characters are all quite humorous, and I can definitely see this anime being something a lot of fanbase could follow.
There are some things in anime I really don't like or find quite a nucense. However I am trying to watch more shows outside of my action/adventure safe zone of anime. I have never much been a fan of the token tsundere characters, however I can see past my dislike if the character is good or has other good qualities. Some shows however, win me over when I just don't think about it and just have fun with it. Aria isnt loved by everyone but I myself didn't take the show to seriously and liked it.
Aria started off interesting enough with a Ken being held up at gunpoint by the assassin killer and the first episode had a funny twist by having his "Histeria" mode activate when he gets horny, which I found funny. The first few episodes had a similer plot and slowely grow into a more concise story. I didn't like that this show was only 12 episodes though. The issue with it is the fact they dont have time to flesh out the other characters that form the supporting cast. Also the length sorta hurts the last episode because the final fight sorta happens rather quickly and ends not long after it begins.
Another thing I want to bring up was the humor. I felt this show had a fair amount of humor, again if you keep your expectations lower then normal. Also I found some humor in the times fanservice is used in this show.
Overall: I enjoyed this show, simpley for the fact it was fun to watch cuz I didn't take it too seriously and enjoyed the action sequences. I also want to give a nod to the dub cast for doing a pretty good job on the characters, even if they were typical sterotypes. Its a average show that you can watch quickly. I reccommend it if you don't mind a bit of fanservice and fair amount of humor with your action and mini harem.