Story & Art by Masao Ohtake
Translated by Stephen Kohler
It’s hard to describe Hinamatsuri as anything but pure insanity. The series has come a long way from its hilarious beginnings, and it’s somehow managed to become even crazier in the process. Volume 6 puts this on full display, playing to the strenghts of its amazing cast and showcasing some of the series’ best humor to date.
Despite being the titular character, Hina’s active presence in the series has gradually diminished. Still, that’s not to say that she isn’t relevant. Rather, Hinamatsuri has expanded its focus to the people surrounding Hina. We immediately see this with the introduction of Ikaruga, a security chief from Hina’s world that has come to observe her behavior from afar. Ikaruga’s presence is incredibly humorous, as he watches his ambitious assumptions about Hina slowly crumble away over a single day. Hina’s nature contradicts the notions of those around her, and that serves as a solid new foundation for the series’ humor.
Out of the entire cast, the best character is still easily Hitomi. While she started out as the straight-man for the series, her role has far exceeded that. Hitomi has been consistently opposed to the crazy antics that happen near her, but she is also unable to completely reject them. Through the course of the volume, we see her take up a slew of jobs through her bartender patrons and this takes that internal conflict to a new extreme. Hitomi is forced into the role of an adult against her wishes, and her attempts to escape it are some of the biggest highlights of the series so far. Hitomi’s stories never disappoint and Hinamatsuri is all the better for it.
Ohtake’s artwork has come a long way from Hinamatsuri’s debut, and it’s showcased at its best here. While Hitomi and Nitta have some amazing reactions to the story’s events, the series elevates itself further by dramatically shifting the expressions of characters from panel to panel. It’s a fantastic contrast that pairs perfectly with the manga’s humor, while also providing its gags with an extra layer of impact. Hinamatsuri’s visual comedy is stellar, keeping you glued to the page from start to finish.
Hinamatsuri continues to be an absolute treat to read, being filled to the brim with unparalleled characters and humorous antics. Ohtake has crafted a series that has no limits, allowing for a melting pot of creative and hilarious ideas to come forth. There’s no telling where the story will go next, but it’s clear that the lives of Hina and her friends won’t be losing steam.