TV (13 eps)
Fall 2008
3.58 out of 5 from 3,282 votes
Rank #4,612

Kamizono Academy is so spacious that transfer student Ayumi Nonomura and long time resident Tatsuki Iizuka find themselves lost together in the corridors. With the addition of fiery Torako Kageyama and quirky, somber Suzume Saotome, the four quickly become friends and comrades in arms against boredom. Whether it's being a last minute Morals Officer with bisexual Nene or constructing robots with Kageyama, there's plenty of fun to go around at Kamizono Academy!

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I've viewed a lot of animes where cute girls interact with each other through their high school years.  Hidamari Sketch.  Kinmoza.  Lucky Star.  Azumanga Daioh.  But there is something different about Hyakko (2008).  Perhaps it's the wider range of personalities that sweep across the screen in those thirteen episodes.  Perhaps it's the surreal setting of the expansive Kamizono Academy, home to 3000 students of elementary, middle, and high school caliber (where we see only very few of those 3000 ... just the quaint variety). Perhaps it’s the prequel-ish final episode which looms toward the iconic opening scene of Torako's leap from a second story window ... only to suddenly stop in a faltering mid-step.  If this was some amateurish attempt for a second season ... it didn't work. Maybe it was that annoyingly piercing voice screeching 'Hyakko' that divided the episode at the commercial break.  No, that possibly is not a feature one would brag about. Personalities drive the Hyakko storyline, so let's start with the main four.  Ayumi is a shy girl who is beginning her term at Kamizono and has no sense of what to make of the place.  She meets Tatsuki who has been at Kamizono since elementary school, and still has no sense of direction about the Academy.  Both are lost on campus.  Then Torako breaks in on this uneasy friendship ready to die at the budding stage ... from the forementioned second story window.  Torako is crazy erratic.  With her is her BFF Suzume, a pleasant blend of taciturn and comic relief.  Together, these four explore the ins and outs of life at a prestigious high school ... one that you'd feel was out to get you. Together, these four girls find other girls, each with some peculiar trait to share.  Nene is a hyper-sexed girl who could come on with guy or girl, but prefers girls.  Koma is a camera conscious girl who is in the hire of the boys to take as many salacious pics of the girls for the consumption of the male student body (and Nene).  Ushio makes for a veritable James Dean wannabe, a she-punk with a mean attitude.  Inori is a Sawako from The Ring look-alike who scares the student body until Torako discovers that her purple eyes makes for a good make-over project.  Minato is a klutz who would lack the confidence in her own graces (and graces she has to the eyelids).  Chie and Touma are the glasses-wearing girls of intelligence, Chie gushing with friendliness, and Touma ... not. But the last episodes reveal the emotional baggage of Torako who has been brought into a new family of people she would run away from regularly.  The free-spirit would not like to have her wings clipped.  Plus, Ayumi shows that she has been hurt in middle school and is striving to find love and friends at the next level ... with no clue how. The animation sports solid shape and colors as it apes an almost cartoonish view of the girls.  A careful study of diverse personalities trying out friendship with each other, you love the moments when Tatsuki fumes, Torako waxes weird, Suzume pantomimes, Ayumi moves toward tears.  The up-beat music moves you to the liveliness of the half-dozen or so cute girls who have some version of feminine mystique to share, and then closes with the notion that such girls can get hurt when love runs rough. It is what makes Hyakko a unique version of high school shojo/slice of life.  Happy-go-lucky can jive with heartbreak, creating a complex plot that is only more intriguing as it ends abruptly.

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