After a cold open that shows how far the characters we haven’t met yet have come, we start back at the beginning with Homura Chika‘s first day at Shimizu High, wanting to re-invent herself into a refined, maidenly “cute girl” by taking up the flute, complete with pink case.
Immediately she starts to run into a few problems, like her “uncouth” sneezing, and the fact the volleyball team is stalking her, hoping to recruit her. But she’s been down that road, and wants to spend her youth another way. She also has crazy colorful eyes.
Her third and perhaps most problematic roadblock to her reinvention (besides the fact she isn’t really the person she’s trying to be) is her unexpected reunion with her former neighbor and childhood friend, Kamijou Haruta.
On first glance, Chika describes Haruta in very feminine terms (an early clue to the show’s romantic structure), but more importantly, knows exactly who she really is and is quick to note how little she’s changed since nine years ago, when she used to put pro-wrestling moves on him, eat his snacks, etc.
Chika is a true beginning flutist in the scant five-member (including her) brass band, but everyone sees…something in her and welcome her. They’re also dealing with a minor mystery: a message written in musical notation on the chalkboard with red paint.
Haruta, perhaps taking belated revenge for all of Chika’s past terrorizing, seems to lord his superior musical and historical knowledge and detective skills over her, as well as admonish her for failing to carefully mind her surroundings. What we have here are two very different people who know each other very well and feel comfortable around one another, even after all this time.
That brings us to the ending twist: despite the title, Haruta and Chika may not be the central romantic item in this show; rather, they’re only two parts of a love triangle, with both Haruta and Chika liking Kusakabe Shinjirou, the brass band’s conductor.
Gay main characters in anime are very rare indeed, but I’m very bit as intrigued as my shippier half is disappointed by this change of romantic perspective. To its credit the show doesn’t waste any time revealing this twist, insinuating that holding one’s breath for Haru X Chika all season probably won’t be a profitable enterprise.
All in all, a solid first episode. I’m less enthused with Kusakabe and the gimmicky twins, and the first mystery, while novel from a technical standpoint, was a bit dull, but Chika is a very fun and vibrant female lead, and Haru is an excellent foil. A “Fine”, then, sounds about right.