- Alt. Name
- Haikara-san ga Tooru Movie 1: Benio, Hana no 17-sai
- Release Date
- November 2017
- Run Time
- 1 hr. 37 min.
- Nippon Animation
Haikara-San: Here Comes Miss Modern Part 1 is a 2017 Romantic Drama with subtle comedic elements thrown in the mix anime film by longtime Japanese anime studio Nippon Animation. While their backlog of creations dates back all the sixties does not mean everything the studio has once created is worthy of watching, hence why some series are better than others. Though can a series that’s source material from the seventies be any entertaining to viewers nearly half a century later? Will the story be worth watching, or will this be a ridiculous outdated storyline that should have never been made?
After losing her mother when she was very young, she was raised by her father, a high-ranking official in the Japanese army. As a result, she has grown into a tomboy – outside of a traditional Japanese notion of femineity. She studies kendo, drinks sake, and dresses in often outlandish-looking Western fashions instead of the traditional kimono. Benio determines to find love independently, though her family has other plans. With all the problems that come with war, can she endure the pressures of her independence and constantly reject the idea of arranged marriages as her beliefs in women’s rights to a career and to marry for love are consistently tested each step of the way?
While newer anime series and films that adapt their source material tend to be within the turn of the century. However, when it comes to Haikara-san, their source material is over forty years before the first adaptation. Considering that the flow and tempo of the story were very smooth from beginning to the end was rather pleasing, especially for being a period piece. Some viewers may consider details like these dull and quickly become uninterested, which would be a fair assumption; however, this is not a run-of-the-mill time capsule. The amount of character development within the story that slowly builds over time is remarkable yet shocking at the same time.
Another positive that viewers need to know before viewing is that some modern problems seem to be still connected to issues from 1918. Women’s rights and the ability to choose their fate is the main focal point of the story, but the writers didn’t push too hard as viewers would expect as it was selectively used throughout the romance and storyline. Doing this correctly made the drama and the romantic pieces feel more natural and less forced when the story continued on its own merits.
Many other stories in and outside the anime spectrum have used hardship from the current era of the story; the best that comes to mind is The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow. However, this was a double-edged sword that viewers may find troublesome. For instance, the ability to use woman’s freedoms were used. They were very underhanded approaches. Though they used the problems accurately, the writers did use them sparingly and with a very “appropriate for all ages” approach. Having done so, they may have made some potential viewers feel bored watching this story.
However, viewers will be very disappointed if one is hoping to watch this for a beautiful, timeless romance story. Whatever the reason may be, this romantic movie is very light on the romance, which is politely putting it. Sure, there are cute romantic moments here and there, but there is no “wow” moment that the viewers will immediately understand when they fall in love with them. Perhaps that is asking a bit too much, considering that the two main characters are rarely in a scene together in nearly three-fourths of the film. But outside what viewers see on screen, the two characters somehow fall for each other.
On the artistic side of Haikara-san, the creators did an excellent job creating something beautiful. The warm and vibrant colors in the background and buildings were a fantastic and proper choice for them to choose. The clothing designs for the buildings were a good fit to witness as the viewers see all the pretty old-fashioned Japanese style meets “modern” aristocrats. Though viewers will quickly notice that some details are more important than others when designing the artwork.
Now when it comes to the Animation Production side of this movie, they had a bit of a challenge evenly spreading the same production level as they did in the critical points of the story. The presentation was generally good; however, when someone analysis the entire thing, they can quickly figure out the problem areas. For instance, there is very little music used within this film, and when it was used, it was subtle. Though it was good pieces, there could still be a couple more instances of music of some kind for the viewer instead of what they were given. However, what the production did well was the voice acting, which was rather stunning. Whether it was perfect or not is not the item at hand, but viewers can clearly tell for most of the screen time the voice cast actors were honestly trying, and it shows their efforts very well.
Benio Hanamura is the main female character of the story. She is best described as being hard-headed in her beliefs but a product of her time. She can work hard and be there for her friends without making herself seem unthankful for her joys in life. She is very fashionably dressed and always willing to help someone even if it goes against the norms of society.
Shinobu Ijuin is the main male character of the film and is best described as being the Prince Charming of the story. He comes from a wealthy family with a historical background yet is in the military. He has charming, good looks and is well mannered but doesn’t come off as cocky or snobbish. He loves helping people and going out of his way to ensure everyone is safe. With his good looks and charm, he is an easy catch to any girls’ eyes which causes quite a few headaches for him and his beloved.
While this series may have had an original adaptation back in the seventies, this adaptation is newer and cleaner. Though comparing this anime to the many other time-centered pieces, this one is at the bottom of the list. The story is decent, but there wasn’t one to witness for a romance story. Perhaps the second part is a better connection between the two, but if viewers didn’t like the first one, why would they watch the second part?
Haikara-san: Here Comes Miss Modern Part 1 attempted to get the romance within the story but failed miserably. This anime is a shame since the voice actors did such a great job with the exciting artwork. Having the level within a romance-heavy anime that lacks so much romance is shocking and barely redeemable for any viewer. If the viewer does decide to watch this film, just be warned that there are plenty of other options to watch if one is looking to waste their time.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.