First Impressions – HaruChika: Haruto to Chika wa Seishun Suru


Band is the pathway to maidenly cuteness

I’ve seen some folks asking why such a show should even exist given that both Hyouka and Hibike! Euphonium already do; basically grabbing the two readily recognizable parts this show only resembles on it’s surface.
Last time around, skylion put the post together, but this time it’s me. And what is this post for? It’s for Haruta to Chika wa Seishun Suru, also known as HaruChika. I joked in the Winter preview that it was PA Works attempt at mashing up a bunch of Kyoto Animation’s previous shows, but let’s see how this actually worked, and if it felt like as much of a ripoff as the “Hyouka! Euphonium demo Koi ga Shitai” idea I floated (and everyone else dismisses it as) made it seem.

I Love It When a Concept Comes Together

HaruChika - The mystery of the bloody song

The whole club tries to solve the bloody song

There are a lot of ways that mashup concepts can go wrong. It’s a cliché that a standard pitch is “Think Seinfeld, but with Bunny Rabbits!” or some such, but it happens all the time, because people want to relate the things they don’t know to the things they know. So it was a nice surprise to start watching HaruChika and have these character tropes and situations come together in what really felt like an organic and authentic way, even if they’re familiar on their own. Chika, the headstrong tomboy who is good at sports, has decided that she wants to change herself for high school, and become a Cute Girl, no matter how much the Volleyball club chases after her. And her way to becoming a maidenly cute girl is to join the wind ensemble and play the flute. So with her shiny new case, and her unplayed flute, she fends off those clamoring for her attention, happens to meet the band advisor, and steps right down memory lane, reuniting with her osaninajimi, Haruta. And along the way, they happen to solve a minor mystery: what is the message written in “blood” on the blackboard?

HaruChika - Not taking guff

“What was that you were saying?”

And for me, the mashup concept really worked. And I’ll even say that it worked for mostly the same reason that Hibike! Euphonium worked: The characters are really good. It’s not “shows about bands are good”, it’s “Shows with good characters and good characterization are good. Chika gets MILES out of that pouty face. She even manages to hold her own against the club president trying to take the piss out of her for not knowing who Bach was. And Haruta pulls off the smarty-pants character well, without getting too smarmy about it, again leavened by Chika’s counterpoint. And the final revelation about the two of them, that they are “love rivals” in what I can only call a school boy/girl crush, just puts an interesting little point on the relationship.

HaruChika - Friends and rivals

Rivals and Friends

Keep telling the stories, it’s what gives us purpose…

HaruChika - Not gonna lose

Chika won’t lose!

While some surface assumptions are not such a bad thing when the previews are circulating, once the show comes out poor assumptions starts to get whiffy. The short answer to these concerns is quite the simplest answer: just watch the show without any expectations, let it tell you it’s story. From that we can get a slightly longer answer. Why bother doing Star Wars when both any given western and any given Flash Gordon reel and any given WWII film exists? Why bother with Fate Stay/Night when the Epic of Gilgamesh serves? Why bother with any remix or cover song? It’s what we do, that’s why. We’ve been remixing stories for many many millennium…So honestly, anyone, after the first episode has aired, that still refers to this one as anything resembling Hyouka! Euphonium is either crass or ignorant; and I’ll even pull my old man pants up here….given most of online English speaking anime fandom, my guess is stuuuuupid crass.

HaruChika - Can't beat the pout

The pout says “take your complaints about my eyes and shove ’em!”

Now when it comes to watching this: for my money keep your eyes on the prize, and in this story that is defiantly Chika. She had me from that first pout of hers, shortly after being reunited with her childhood friend and co-star Haru. She’s a young girl in love with the idea of being in love, or in love with an ideal. This ideal, to be the ideal cute young lady, turning her back on her old tom-boyish ways, is going to be the driver for most of the show. I suspect that a great many interesting things will come her way, and they’ll be of tangential concern to her, forever falling in the shadow of her ideals. You can say an awful lot with a character like that. To remix it, “never his eyes on where he was, what he was doing”….


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It’s a rare thing for PA Works to let me down. While the character animation and backgrounds aren’t up to their usual aplomb, they are very serviceable. Nothing looks outright awful or on a shoestring. It all fits well. Story-wise, Yoshida Reiko knows how to pace her characters and her plots. I expect some hidden depths from all the mains, and in fact, am looking forward to it. This gives me a K-ON vibe that the more you watch the more you enjoy it. Or is that another musical reference too much?! Ah, to heck with that bad attitude. This was a damn fine first episode. It made me smile more than I thought it would, and I genuinely thought it would a great deal to begin with. Cheers.


I liked this show a lot when I watched it, and I liked it again when looking at it to write this post. Chika is a really fun character, and they make her be energetic and serious without having her spoil the show by sucking up too much of the air. As always with a PA Works production, the attention to detail is excellent, and all the parts are working together well, from Reiko Yoshida’s series composition to Shiro Hamaguchi’s music to probably the best song I’ve heard from fhána. And I’m thinking we even get another song by ChouCho next week. I thought this was a good start, and even if the rest of the intarwebz can’t manage to figure out the show, well, I’ve been there before with PA Works efforts.


We live, laugh, enjoy and strictly believe on "more the merrier". When together, we usually come up with very chatty, conversation-based episodics and interesting posts.
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10 Responses to “First Impressions – HaruChika: Haruto to Chika wa Seishun Suru”

  1. akagami says:

    This is up on my next to check-out list! I’m a bit tired though, so maybe this will have to wait to tomorrow~ But P.A. Works has never let me down.

    • skylion says:

      Yah, this one has a really good charm to to it. I don’t know exactly the shape it’s gonna take, but like we are all saying, PA Works doesn’t let down…

      • Highway says:

        Well, we’re all saying it, but I’m seeing a disappointing number of people who can’t get past a few things with this show (like Chika’s eyes) and a lot of the “This isn’t the second season of that KyoAni show that I thought it was, so I don’t like it!”

        • akagami says:

          Hmm, but how many KyoAni fans are also P.A. Works fans? I’m sure there’s some overlap, but I would say KyoAni is much more mainstream than P.A. Works.

          • Highway says:

            I would say that KyoAni has a lot more people who will watch a show because it’s by them than PA Works does. Heck, there are probably far more people who *won’t* watch a show by PA Works, just because it’s PA Works, than the same for KyoAni, even though KyoAni has a much larger name recognition.

            Comparing the two, PA Works is much more likely to try something different, be a bit more experimental, switch things up. And even when they do that, the quality stays high, even if fewer people like the show, even if it looks different. Honestly, I’m a huge PA Works fanboy, much more than KyoAni (who don’t need MY help with anything). But I don’t think PA Works has made any show that was less than “pretty darn good”.

            • akagami says:

              That’s what I mean though. P.A. Works is a bit more niche, down the less-traveled road Some people just don’t like things when they diverge from the middle of the road.

  2. akagami says:

    Loved it! So far this and Stride are my favs of this season.

    The pics just don’t do Chika justice, her animation is great and makes Chika shine. Also loving her eyes, reminds me of Nia from TTGL (LOVED HER EYES). I thought her hair looked a bit silly in pictures, but I don’t have any complaints seeing her animated. It actually works out quite well.

    Having Chika start out as a beginner and trying out the flute was a nice touch. I remember the same when I first started playing the clarinet, except I got some squeaky notes in as well.

    My only dislike was starting with the end. I’ve never liked the practice of showing the future and then starting from day zero and working to there. I’d rather they just cut the future scene out altogether.

    Got to say that P.A. Works is still keeping everything fashionable. I seriously want that blue shirt of Chika’s.

    • Highway says:

      Yay, there’s three of us! 🙂

      I think the idea of starting out with the “Look at our band now!” thing wasn’t a bad choice for a show like this. It’s not like giving away the last battle or anything like that. It’s more showing that the 5-person band does have some success finding friends. It kind of takes away a lot of that “they’re struggling so much to have a club” aspect.

      You can’t really get a squeaky note with a flute, you just get that wheezy sound. 🙂

      • akagami says:

        Yeah, that’s the thing with reed instruments. If your reed isn’t used right, squeak squeak!

  3. akagami says:

    Hmm, spammy is being selective, went for my short post instead =/

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