Image source: アニメ「ひなろじ」公式アカウント‏ on Twitter

Hinalogic: From Luck & Logic takes a very different approach with its opening sequence, and all for the better. Rather uniquely for an anime series, the characters are brought into the real, three-dimensional world by the use of paper craft cut-outs, and the effect is spectacular.

The story of Hinalogic: From Luck & Logic is a slightly new twist on the magical girl genre. The animation, character types, and costume designs seem very similar to works like the Pretty Cure franchise. Very soon into the first episode, it becomes clear that this is a very different world with some of the typical magical girl tropes being played with for humor value.

In the opening sequence, each of the characters receives some amount of “internal” traditional animation within their cut-out “space.” However, as they move across the scenery, they do so in three dimensions, interacting of three-dimensional objects, and even casting three-dimensional shadows. Each part of the sequence shows the characters interacting with real objects related to their transformation sequence, costume design, and magical abilities.

In the case of Lion (pronounced Lee-own), she walks upon roses and transforms into her rose based costume. Nina’s cut-out is in a pile of feathers, and as she waves them around, she changes into her blue, archery-focused costume. Mahiro, who is connected to an android and is always making machines that blow up, is seen running on a spinning logic board with an old style vacuum tube. Yayoi, and her retainers, Karin and Karen, whose costumes are overtly East Asian designs, are transformed on a spinning bamboo tree. Also, their dorm resident assistant makes it into the opening sequence and transforms by drinking tea and eating a cookie. There are other characters—notably the student council—who do not make it into the opening sequence.

After all their transformations are complete, the characters are shown running, as cut-outs, across the three-dimensional scenery. They play and jump and just look like they’re generally having a good time. Obviously, the stop-motion nature of this style of animation means that there’s not much movement in facial expressions, but there’s a distinct realism that still manages to emerge. it gives the sense that the anime characters, as anime characters, could really interact with the three-dimensional world while remaining their two-dimensional selves. It’s a surrealistic feeling.

Which is about what could be said in regards to the entire series. The world of Hinalogic is a parallel Earth with a very different nation state history. Physical geography seems to be the same—and some cultural elements also remain, as Lion and Nina are clearly ethnically “Russian,” Yayoi, Karin, and Karen are overtly Yamato “Japanese.” The magical girls themselves are tied to other magical girls (or magical women) in alternate universes. They use their powers to defeat malicious invaders from these parallel universes. We come into a timeframe where the invaders have been defeated and there appears to be little need for the magical girls of Hinalogic to even exist.

Of all the tropes played with, the decidedly unprofessional nature of the teachers (who don’t even understand why they are teaching magical girls who will have no one to fight) is likely my favorite. Between these terribly bad examples of homeroom and subject teachers, and the unique take on animation which shows up in the opening sequence of the series, I’ve been successfully sold on finishing the series.

Hinalogic: From Luck & Logic can be seen subtitled on Crunchyroll now and dubbed on FUNimation from July 31.

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