Netflix has a lot of anime guys.
Random statement to start a post off with, I know, but I didn’t realize how much anime there was on Netflix until I just decided to scroll down the page after watching something. It’s crazy! Like pretty much anything I’d want to watch is on here, pretty fantastic. That’s pretty much what got me into watching anime again, if I’m being honest. I tried getting on Funimation’s site to watch stuff, the site’s interface was too clunky for me to care, and the same goes for Crunchyroll. I get not realizing blind people would want to watch anime (I don’t really but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt) but at least have your sites comply to the web accessibility it should and have some headings on there so your site isn’t a pain to navigate, geez!
But that’s a digression for another post. Netflix has a lot of anime, it’s accessible, and that means I’m all over it~
So what was the first anime I decided to watch, you say? Why, the topic of this blog post! After reading the premise of Hi Score Girl, it instantly made me interested. A romance that takes place around all of my favorite things, retro gaming and the 90s? I’m all in! But how does this show hold up in the end? Let’s jump into this review and see!
I’ve decided to split my anime reviews into sections. Headings are my brains best friend, and the best way I can write my thoughts down. The three things I’ll be reviewing anime on is story, characters, and accessibility of the show. What is that last category? Well since I can’t review visuals, instead I’ve turned that section into Accessibility. Things like how easy is the show to follow? Does it have audio description? So basically visuals, but from a blind point of view.
Now for real, let’s get into this!
The story of Hi Score Girl is pretty simple at it’s base. Haruo is a gamer, one of those crazily obsessed, kinda jerky gamers and Ono is the rich girl in school that is aloof, but surprise surprise also into gaming! She escapes her daily struggles by venturing into the arcades, and is like, top tier amazing and Haruo can have none of that so is a jerk to her until they slowly grow a bond throughout the series, that of course leads to love.
The story is basic, but the plot beats are not. This story takes place over a series of years, from their elementary days to high school and seeing the slow burn of their romance is just really sweet and charming. The pacing never feels out of place, and seeing the story be related through the lens of the gaming boom in the 90s and early 2000s is really relatable if you grew up in that era. It’s super nostalgic hearing the characters talking about Final Fantasy IV, VI, and Chrono Trigger being released, being so happy that amazing voice acting is getting into games, and the running joke of the oh-so-many Streetfighter 2 ports. That basically is the backdrop for the love story, and it works really well because both blend together perfectly, simply because both characters are into gaming, and the writing for both the accurate gamer depiction and the characters themselves just give the show and it’s characters really good chemistry.
The characters are really well written. As much as I think Haruo at times lends a little too much to the jerky gamer guy trope, it doesn’t detract from his character because we see throughout the story what lies underneath. Ono is silent the entire show, but she is so expressive with her actions that it really doesn’t feel like it. Koharu, although I was a tad annoyed a love triangle got into this show, is also a really well realized character and you feel for her also, and the way they do the love triangle trope subverts the trope quite nicely I think.
The supporting characters are really great as well. Haruo’s Mom is the best, we need more single Mom’s in shows! She’s just so much fun, and anytime she was on screen I enjoyed her being there. There’s a really fun aspect of the show I don’t want to spoil if you haven’t watched it, that I’d count as supporting characters and adds a lot to the gaming aspect of the show that makes it feel like this is someone’s life we’re looking at, and it isn’t just a show. Haruo’s school friends, Ono’s supporting cast…all just great additions to the show, and if I talked about them all individually we’d be here all day. Characters are great, long story short lol.
Netflix usually doesn’t have audio description for anime. It’s one of those mysteries I’ll always wonder, “WHY?”. But for Hi Score Girl, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had audio description for the episodes, maybe because they’re counting it as a Netflix Original? Anyway, it helps the show so much. Like I said earlier, Ono is silent the entire way through other than grunts and expressions, so having the audio description say what she was doing just added so much to the smaller moments in the series. Having the narrator say what she was doing at any given point in time made her my favorite character, and I don’t think that would have happened if audio description wasn’t there. I really hope Netflix continues to do this for anime, I think there’s a stigma on it where it would detract from the show but it definitely doesn’t and I mean…you can turn it off if you don’t like it XD
The rest of the show it was nice to have for sure. It wasn’t intrusive on any of the scenes like it sometimes can be when there’s major action or something, they didn’t duck the audio for the show too much when they had to. It really just added to the experience and I don’t think the show would have been as fun to watch without it.
If you couldn’t tell, I really enjoyed watching this show. It’s full of sweet moments, humor, and gaming, and all of it meshes together to make a very fun slice of life anime. I can’t wait to see what happens in season 2!
Have you watched Hi Score Girl? Let me know what you thought in the comments!