Hi-Score Girl : A Rom Com or An Ode to Classic Arcade?


Hi Score Girl is an anime I watched on Netflix using a “borrowed” password of one of NEOtakus’ Teammates without their knowledge. But TBH this is how I binge-watched anime after anime pre-covid and during covid. It was during that time I came across Hi Score Girl which is Based on the popular Japanese manga series of the same name, HI SCORE GIRL.

It is an anime series about a young gamer named Haruo Yagushi who is bad at school and sports, but is quite good in arcade games. He meets his rival, friend, and love interest Akira Oono, a rich and intelligent classmate who’s from a rich family that runs and controls her life. Their relationship begins at the arcade where she (Akira) beats him (Haruo) at his favorite game,  Street Fighter II .

Source : Hi Score Girl (c) Rensuke Oshikiri/J.C.Staff (production)
SMDE(animation)

Now, Ahem…Using my analytical skill I have acquired as a psychologist, I see this anime as having two main plots that define the anime and it will be one or the other that will make viewers either love it or hate it. What would define the anime better, as a Rom-Com or as an Ode to classic arcade gaming? Well, the answer to that would be of a subjective nature to the audience. To me, it is an anime that showcases the evolution of games and it is a good tribute to the gaming scenario but that evolution also was accompanied with the coming of age rom-com of the protagonists in the series.

Overall the story is easy-going and full of fun, and the loveable characters made it work. The storyline is not too intense but still feels completely engaging. The unexpected turn to a romantic storyline was necessary because if all it was is a tribute to the early gaming period, then it would have lost its charm halfway through the story. However, if you are a fan of an all-out romantic story, you might not like it much as it never went all out in either direction.

Source : Hi Score Girl (c) Rensuke Oshikiri/J.C.Staff (production)
SMDE(animation)

Personally, I did not like the animation style much as emotions and expressions were not fully emphasised. The only cute thing about the animation is when Oono takes a bite…. You’ll see what I mean if you watch it. But it grows on you. It’s not so bad considering its consistency.

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The character growth and development as the series progresses is quite impressive. You see a typical school boy who hates school and is into gaming but eventually grows from being a pre-pubic adolescent who cannot think of anything else but gaming into a person who starts to develop complex emotional growth and is dealing with abstract concepts but still remaining true to his passion and talent, i.e., gaming. The series also shows emotional growth and really great character development concerning the female lead.

Source : Hi Score Girl (c) Rensuke Oshikiri/J.C.Staff (production)
SMDE(animation)

Oono, a once reserved and isolated girl begins to open up and form an attachment with another individual, so be it, for the same interests of gaming but that relationship then begins to expand to something else special with the male lead. This kind of progress is especially relatable to me because this could be anybody really.

The kind of growth that the characters showed points to the importance of relatable interests and connection between one human with another. It also shows that as people, we shouldn’t be quick to judge a person by the first few impressions because we simply do not know the background or the history or the baggage that that person who we were quick to judge carries with them. Maybe before we judge, before we assume anything, we stop and ask ourselves if we know the truth first because in your life, you will meet people who use up all their energy and positivity just to get out of bed.

Source : Hi Score Girl (c) Rensuke Oshikiri/J.C.Staff (production)
SMDE(animation)

Another interesting plot of this series is the love triangle situation happening when Koharu Idaka appears in the series. She becomes the girl that is interested in Haruo but obviously the boy is oblivious to her feelings (as he was to Oono’s) as he is more focused on the video games and trying to surpass Oono in Street Fighter rather than being more attune to the situation and emotions around him. But to be fair, Girls have always been the one to surpass boys in emotional intelligence and they can perceive and understand much more complex and abstract feelings and emotions than boys even who are a few years older.

In conclusion, the anime is quite interesting from a rom-com point of view or from a retro gaming tribute
viewpoint. It showed the deep connection between the evolutions of the games while experimenting with a deeper connection between the characters. Yes!!! It’s not the best anime out there, but it’s just one of those chill anime that have some positives and some negatives with a big room for growth and full of nostalgic factor.

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Featured image from Netflix.

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