The story follows Benio "Haikara-san" Hanamura, who lost her mother when she was very young and has been raised by her father, a high-ranking official in the Japanese army. As a result, she has grown into a tomboy. Contrary to traditional Japanese notions of femininity, she studies kendo, drinks sake, dresses in often outlandish-looking Western fashions instead of the traditional kimono, and is not as interested in housework as she is in literature. She also rejects the idea of arranged marriages and believes in a woman's right to a career and to marry for love. (Source: ANN)
The story started off great, with Benio in high spirits while looking for Shinobu. She was as proactive and headstrong as always. Very entertaining to watch her opening adventure. Unfortunately, her pro-activeness ended quickly.
As the truth behind Shinobu’s disappearance was revealed, the plot became extremely predictable and got tiring quickly. The pacing was way too slow in the middle portion of this film. Every prediction I made ended up happening, even the ones I was really hoping wouldn’t.
Benio isn’t the only one who loses her agency. Things just happen to Shinobu and he’s constantly tied up in worry. He’s only spurned into action by the words of others. The only two characters that actively caused things to happen in the plot were destined to fail by the laws of shoujo. Obstacles were written out too conveniently. The ending did not feel earned.