Haruta & Chika (Haruchika)

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Haruta & Chika (Haruchika) combines two of my favourite genres of anime: slice-of-life and mystery. It’s not often you get to chill with a wholesome puzzle solving anime, so I was overjoyed to discover this one.

We’re first introduced to Chika who, with the ambition of restarting her reputation to become a maidenly cute girl, buys a flute and decides to join the brass band club. She inadvertently reunites with her childhood friend Haruta, a maidenly boy, who reveals her energetic and tomboyish past life. Haruta plays the French horn in the brass band club, and has a penchant for solving mysteries. Though, much like Chika, he’s not exactly who he thinks he is.

Haruta being bullied by Chika as children

Haruta and Chika’s dream is to play on the national stage, but to do that they’ll need to recruit more members. However, despite amazing musical talent, some are quite resistant to joining the club. With the help of Haruta’s tenacity and Chika’s explosive energy, the two find themselves solving puzzles and mysteries in order to convince them to be a part of the team.

Yes, one of the mysteries involved solving a Rubik’s Cube

When you start the show, the first thing you’ll notice are the eyes. The absolute, magnificent detail that makes everyone’s eyes look like a fireworks display at a New Year’s party. They certainly drew me away from the occasionally stiff body animation. Fortunately, that didn’t detract at all from the show or my enjoyment of it. Haruta & Chika makes up for it with a pretty cool bunch of characters that keep you coming back for more.

The best friendship I’ve seen between a girl and a guy in an anime

Haruta and Chika themselves have a really nice chemistry between them that makes me fall even more in love with this anime. There’s no romance between them (even though everyone thinks there is), which makes it even better. But then, enter the charming and enigmatic Mr. Kusakabe, the brass band club’s teacher and conductor. Mr. Kusakabe, to Chika’s chagrin, is pursued not just by herself, but also Haruta (PLOT TWIST). This makes for a few genuinely funny moments where Chika and Haruta try to stop the other from “going behind their back.”

As I said, I dig mystery and slice-of-life stuff, and I totally dig this anime. It doesn’t make you think like other mystery stories. But there are certainly elements of realness that make you respect the characters and their situations (even if those situations are suddenly forgotten in future episodes).

I laughed, I cried, I left the series with a smile on my face. Haruta & Chika is perhaps one of my favourite anime of all time. It certainly is one of the more memorable.

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