I really love how this show manages to have such a large cast of characters and yet treat all of them with such depth. It’s really the only series I can think of that has managed to do this so well aside from Simoun. But the more remarkable part is we’re only at the third episode so far! The way they manage to interleave all the characters together works really well – in most shows there tend to be certain episodes that focus on certain characters, but Hourou Musuko hasn’t fallen into this trap. This works so well because character development isn’t about the characters themselves, but about the relationships between them.
This is illustrated perfectly by Maho (Nittori’s sister) in this episode. When she is with her brother, she is rude to him and mostly tries to ignore him. When she is with her modelling friends, she gossips and is a typical teenage girl. And with her boyfriend she is a bit shy and embarrassed. The viewer builds a consistent image of Maho through these conflicting actions she takes depending on the situation. And this is true of nearly all the characters. Nittori acts differently around Mako-chan, Chiba or Takatsuki; the afro-girl sucks up to Chii and ignores everyone else; Chiba is rude to most people, friendly with Sasa and obviously putting on moves with Nittori.
I think that so far my favorite character is Chiba – she knows what she wants and does her best to get it, even though she knows it is more or less hopeless. This is part of why I like this show so much – there’s none of this “I love everyone equally” crap that so many shows seem to be into. Middle schoolers are middle schoolers and actually have relationships and fights with each other.