#1 A strange “family”
Yoshifumi Nitta is a businessman turned big shot yakuza. He lives it up in a luxurious apartment in the big city, collecting pricey antiques and enjoying an expensive lifestyle. That is until a mysterious, teenage girl one day appears in his apartment. A girl with phenomenal psychic powers and a frightening appetite.
The relationship between Nitta and this girl—who is called Hina—is off to a rocky start. She uses her psychic powers to break Nitta’s vases and coerce him into letting her stay. He gives in, but remains passive-aggressive about it and starts looking for creative ways to get rid off her. It’s clear that there’s animosity and mistrust between the two of them, and neither is prepared to let down their guard.
This changes when, over the course of several comedic storylines, the two of them steadily grow closer together. They still get into all kinds of arguments and fights, expensive pottery still routinely gets broken, but it’s clear that a familial bond starts to form between the two of them.
This character development is the heart of Hinamatsuri. Watching this self-absorbed businessman slowly realize that he does care about this kid and figure out how to fulfil a fatherly role was very entertaining; especially when the anime touches on the shortcomings of his own childhood. The same goes for Hina, who is initially very reserved, but steadily grows more expressive and affectionate as the story goes on.
#2 One of the best comedy anime of recent times
Hinamatsuri is mainly a comedy anime and, by that metric, easily one of the funniest I have seen in recent times. There are few anime that come to mind where I laughed as often and loudly as I did during this one.
Many people have likely already seen the “battle” by the river that was used in Crunchyroll’s advertisements of Hinamatsuri. It’s a fantastic scene and an iconic example of the kind of comedy you get from this anime. The animations are full of funny details, the jokes are goofy and absurd, and the (punch)lines are super snappy. The scene works great in isolation, but is then extra fun when you get to see it in the actual show and fully understand the context it’s born from.
What also helps the comedy is that the cast is so well-defined. All the characters have a lot going on and distinct personalities, which give even the most casual banter an electrifying feel. When these characters then get caught up into all kinds of bizarre, paranormal situations, laughs were certain to follow.
#3 Side-stories that could’ve been their own anime
While Hina and Nitta are certainly the main characters, Hinamatsuri also has several stories centering around its fantastic supporting cast. Side-stories that are so engrossing that they sometimes take over entire episodes, during which the actual main cast might not even appear or only plays a minor role.
Two such story arcs stand out in particular. Firstly, Hina’s friend Hitomi is a hard-working student who always follows the rules, but she struggles with saying no to people. This one day leads to her becoming an underage bartender against her will. We frequently get to see how Hitomi adjusts to her new part-time job and what kind of struggles it puts her through, all of which is fun on its own, but it’s not the meat of her story. Everything relating to the bar is just part of an arc where her acquiescent nature steadily begins to complicate her life. Without getting into spoilers, this becomes very introspective and could be very relatable (or even helpful) for people who have similar struggles.
Then there is Anzu, another girl with psychic powers who mysteriously appears in Japan. Unlike Hina though, she doesn’t just luck her way into a nice, comfy home. She may be a powerful psychic, but she is still just a young girl that has now become homeless. No family, no close friends, and nowhere to really go. Her story is full of unfair hardships, but watching Anzu take them on and grow up through these experiences is touching in a way that few other anime achieve.
More anime & manga like this
Elfen Lied: An ordinary person is suddenly burdened with the care of a mysterious girl with amazing psychic powers.
Bunny Drop: A middle-aged man takes on the challenges of fatherhood after suddenly being charged with the care of a little kid.
Mob Psycho 100: Comedy anime (with occasional fights) about kids with amazing psychic powers.