Based on the light novel series written by Shimesaba and illustrated by booota, HIGEHIRO was one of 2021’s Spring anime highlights. Adapted by Project No.9 (Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki, Super HxEros), this story revolves around 26-year-old Yoshida who finally gathers the courage to confess his feelings for his boss, Airi Gotou.
To his humiliation, he ends up getting rejected and goes out drinking with his best friend Hashimoto to relieve himself of his sorrows. Heading back home in a drunken state, he then meets high school student Sayu Ogiwara under the lamp-post who asks to spend the night with him. After refusing her proposal, he allows her to stay for one night in the hopes of rejecting her the next day.
Now, you’re probably thinking the same thing as well. A salaryman taking in a homeless teenager? In the world of anime, Higehiro was travelling towards something very predictable. However, despite the odd circumstances and lewd advances by Sayu, the story surprisingly diverted from the predictable trajectory and paved its own tangent instead.
For anyone watching the show, Higehiro has a remarkable strange string of events. To our utmost surprise, Yoshida finds himself unable to kick Sayu out, and as a result, Sayu somehow begins to live with him. Being the sensible adult he is, Yoshida provides Sayu with clothing and proper resources to get her back on her feet. In exchange for staying, Sayu must do chores whilst finding self-respect and independence so she could one day go back home.
For the living situation to spontaneously change overnight, Yoshida’s life changed for the better. Thanks to Sayu, Yoshida now looks more presentable than usual, transforming from a slob to a sharp-looking man at work. As a result, all thirsty females have got their eyes are on him — including his boss who once rejected him. Back at home, Yoshida and Sayu must resist tempestuous desires when they’re together.
[spoilers] But believe it or not, Higehiro is not all fun and breezy. Beyond her cute and cheerful exterior, Sayu is a runaway teenager from Hokkaido who has been seducing strangers in exchange for a roof over her head. To think that this story began with cliche ‘harem’ banter, the story has become rather tragic and melancholic when it delves into taboo topics such as suicide and domestic violence. And also, due to the fact that Sayu is an underage minor, Yoshida could easily get convicted for kidnapping charges which is something that Japan frowns upon.
By exploring relatable issues that will hit home with viewers, the story becomes a real contender for storytelling greatness. And of course, the story would not have been that great if it weren’t for its complex characters. Personally, it is absolutely refreshing to see a main male character who is intelligent, compassionate, and filled with integrity — and not just some horny male in a harem story. As a result, it makes Yoshida’s intentions wholesome and his bond genuinely paternal towards Sayu.
Overall: There is more to Higehiro than what meets the eye. For what began as an overrated story that only became a hit due to its suggestive story, Higehiro eventually went on to challenge these first impressions. Tackling serious issues in an authentic way, the story transformed into an underrated gem that should not be overlooked. As a seasonal anime fan, it is rare to say that we were satisfied with the bittersweet conclusion, and what the future holds for the two main characters.
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