"Minimum"— Otherwise known as "small miracles", is a special power that only manifests within a few, select humans. Those who possess this ability are called "Minimum Holders."
The detective duo of Nice and Murasaki, otherwise known as "Hamatora," wait again today for work with their friends at a table at Cafe Nowhere that they use as their agency. Suddenly, a job they receive seems to have a weird connection with the serial killer that their police friend, Art, is searching for.
Hamatora was a show I was quite interested in prior to its airing. Looking at the key visuals, the characters looked interesting; and the preview video showed some cool superpowers with flashy and colorful animation. But you may think the synopsis doesn't really sound interesting - cool guys fighting with superpowers are an overused trope in anime, to the point where it gets cliché. But wait, Hamatora throws some detective elements into the mix! So, does that make Hamatora an interesting, outstanding watch that puts the superpower guy cliché into good use? Well, as you can see on my final score, I don't share that opinion. Frankly, Hamatora - The Animation turns out to be a really underwhelming show that ends up forgettable quickly after completing it.
Set in a city where a small group of people with superpowers - called Minimum Holders - exist, the story follows a detective agency called Hamatora, a detective group made of Minimum Holders. Each episode we follow Hamatora solving various mysteries, always caused by another human who posesses Minimum Holder powers. Art, a superintendent of the police, usually cooperates with them to solve the cases, while it turns out that there is a mastermind behind all these mysterious happenings.
The story of Hamatora really isn't bad - each episode we get faced with a new detective case for our little detective group, and we follow them solve the cases and doing some fighting with their cool Minimum Holder powers. Here and there, we see some hints of an actual plot, which then gets fulfilled during the final few episodes. It could have been developed so much better though.
The first half of Hamatora (with the episodic short cases) was okay in the aspect that it also presented the antagonist and gave a small development up to the final conflict. The problem here is though that the time was not used effectively. Character development was close to zero, and instead we were presented with some filler-like episodes. Like the beach episode, which was used after a quite dramatic development, which was just completely out of place. And don't even get me started on episode 5, honestly.
The last few episodes focus on the actual "plot" of the series, as already mentioned. It definitely is better than the first half, as the plot thickens and the episodes focus on the main conflict. Sadly we get fed up with an extremely disappointing conclusion, which leaves questions open and brings the story down. Additionally, at some point you aren't really interested in following the story anymore and lose interest more and more as the story progresses. This is mostly due to the extremely weak characters.
And this leads me to my next point - the characters, which make up the weakest part in this series. As I've said, with the exception of some backstory hints, there is no real development and we don't get to know much about them. Hell, if they weren't called names like "Birthday" and "Nice" I don't think I would be able to remember much of them. Nice has some backstory, and characters like Murasaki, Art and Three also have some hints on their past here and there. But the rest gets left in the dark.
Especially characters like Koneko, Hajime and Master could have easily been left out in their entity and the story could still progress the same, as they don't play any role in the main plot. At all. Maybe they play a bigger role in the manga or the upcoming video game - at least in the anime, they are completely useless.
Finally there is also our "bad guy" Moral, who makes quite an underwhelming enemy character. I felt his reasoning for being the bad guy was quite a disappointment - you would expect so much more.
Overall, since we barely get to know anything about the characters - thanks to the aforementioned use of filler-like episodes - so we are presented with characters that we can't relate to or connect with at all. I think this also plays a part why the enjoyment is so little - at some point you do not really care how the story progresses anymore since you can't really feel anything for the characters.
The art is one of the more positive aspects, the character design is good and as I've already mentioned, the fighting scenes in their full colorful glory were quite a please to look at. The animation was okay too most of the time, though there were some episodes with lots of quality issues present. The music was decent too, with nice opening and ending songs.
But of course, some art and music don't make an anime, which now leads me to my overall opinion - Hamatora could have been a good and fun show, as the flashy visuals and the superpowers surely pique one's interest, but was brought down by an average plot and unrelateable characters. All this together results in my final score 4/10. read more
Hamatora is an anime that showed plenty of promise at first. It could have been excellent if not for one major setback: most of the anime is filler. The story is actually great when it gets down to it, but having one of the most thrilling scenes of any show this season followed up by a beach episode before returning to the actual plot just destroys the mood and momentum this show could have built up much more. That's not the only problem, but it certainly is the biggest and most noticeable one.
Hamatora is an anime with a similar style to things like Persona 4 or Danganronpa which are based on video games (though Hamatora's game has yet to actually be made...). It centers around a group of crime fighting, mystery solving "superhumans" called "Hamatora" and the other similar groups of people that they know. Most of the main characters have abilities called "Minimums" which allow them to use some power when they fulfill a certain requirement (ex. gain super-strength when they take off their glasses). The main characters and members of Hamatora are Nice and Murasaki who are both Minimum Holders (people who have minimums). The story begins with them just doing their usual crime solving and being dirt poor because they don't get enough jobs and a girl named Hajime spends a lot of Nice's money on food. They soon start getting job requests that interconnect and begin to reveal a much larger scale crime.
But before that all happens, the show has filler. Lots of filler. Most episodes have some small connection to the plot, but that will only be just about a minute out of an otherwise filler-filled episode. Whether it's a beach episode, spa episode with sit-ups (and I mean LOTS of sit-ups), or just some random event involving the minor characters, this show just has too much filler. However, the actual story is brilliant. The show overall resembles something like Psycho-Pass and Darker Than Black in the way the world and the minimum powers work and eventually crumble into chaos. The end of the show is excellent and leaves a possibility for a second season, which I would love to happen.
As for the characters, they are all interesting but none develop very much or at least get enough screen time to develop. As much as I like Nice and Murasaki, they really don't develop as much as characters in similar shows, and the show only gave small glimpses into their pasts which needed much more elaboration as they seemed very interesting. A detective named Art is also interesting and his relationship with Nice is one of the higher points in the character aspect. Hajime, a girl who hangs out with Hamatora, appears to have the potential to be the main female protagonist at first with her intense hunger driving Nice into poverty, but she ends up only having a minor role with just two big appearances (one being the intense sit-up filler episode; you'll know which one I mean when you see it). The rest of the important supporting characters (who all have random English words for names) are just as interesting as the main cast. They were also given some short backstories, but not enough screen-time either. Hopefully a second season will bring about more of the characters' pasts.
However, the best character in this show is actually the villain, Moral. He's just psychotic and and the show does an excellent job of building him up. His scenes with Art and Nice are never bad and are the best scenes in the entire anime. He just wants everyone in the world in to be equal, but that means eliminating those who think differently than him. He's an understandable villain whose goals are similar to those of real life people, but he actually puts his plans into action.
The animation is generally very good despite the show's obviously low budget. The psychedelic look of when minimum holders use their powers make the action scenes very stimulating to the viewer, and all of the characters designs are great (Honey is especially cute). Moral, Nice, and everyone else look cool and their designs fit their parts well. The emotions the characters show really work well especially for showing how insane Moral is (at least compared to what society considers sanity). The urban scenery and everything else looks good as well. Really all that holds the animation back is just the low budget which is especially apparent in some of the filler episodes in the middle of the show, but the creators at least did a good job of saving the budget for more important scenes.
The soundtrack is also one of the better parts. It uses a lot of piano tracks with unique rhythms that speed up and down a lot depending on the mood. During the action scenes, rock songs are used. Nice's signature song that plays whenever he puts his headphones on stands out in particular. The OP is also one of my favorites of this winter season.
Hamatora may have issues with fillers that throw off the pace of the story and a noticeably low animation budget, but it's still very enjoyable. Even with a poor budget, they make it count when it needs to. The characters just needed a little more development to be really good, but the soundtrack is consistently great and sets a great mood to help fix all of the other problems. Some scenes are amazing and some are just frustrating, but Hamatora is still a fun and emotional anime that better get a second season.read more
Certain humans born with special powers. How many series have you watched involved some sort of a similar theme? What Hamatora delivers includes a package of characters known as “Minimum Holders”. Yet everything else it comes with is hardly anything but special. In essence, Hamatora is a sour bag of trite cliches formulated by its premise. For what it’s worth, this show’s is dense with minimal value.
To trace back a bit, we learn that there are special humans with abilities that are known as “Minimum Holders” in a setting known as Yokohama City. The titular title “Hamatora” is a collectively group of Minimum Holders founded by a young man named Nice. Having graduated at the top of his class at Facultas Academy, he forms this group as a detective agency to solve supernatural cases. Whether it puts them in danger or not doesn’t really seem to matter. Because in the end, the goal is to get the job done.
Essentially, the show does its job by presenting various cases on a weekly basis scenario. Later on it shifts to an ongoing arc involving a criminal who is known to go after the heads of other Minimum Holders; or rather precisely what’s inside of their heads. As a supernatural mystery, this should bring together a collection of insight to be explored. Yet, the show often neglects this because of its lazy elements. Even Hamatora itself is known to loft around waiting for clients rather than seeking them out. The whole concept becomes an ennui with the way the story constructs itself. To make matters worse, the characters are generic and lacks connection. What it tries to bring together with a main antagonist often gets sidetracked by non-standardized episodes. It fails to communicate to viewers its point or purpose involving its cases. And the ending? That invites questions from all angles.
By centralizing a small cast of characters as a collective force, one would expect the show to develop them on a deeper level. Unfortunately, Hamatora doesn’t follow that pattern and relies on its more generic concepts. The crass concept of ‘teenagers with superpowers’ comes to mind easily. After all, most of the main characters doesn’t look old enough to be out of higher tier school. At the same time, none of the characters stands out intelligently by themselves. How can we take a character seriously when our main character is named “Nice”? It doesn’t just cast off itself as him being a non-sensational character. Others such as Hajime, Birthday, and Ratio hardly are distinguishing by their personalities. The aloof writing gives them a lack of connection with Nice and with the audience with their lack of backgrounds. One of the only more dynamic connection that may be noticeable is the “Minimum Holder PI duo”, made up of Nice and Murasaki. But to call them dynamic would be an overstatement considering their lack of compatibility. Rather, it would be more simplistic to say they are partners on a professional level. But going any deeper than that would be laughable with the duo’s connection given their conflicting ideologies, Murasaki’s envy for his partner’s skills, and their ways of dealing with cases. In retrospect, their relationship can be described as oafish. It’s not silly in the way since one half of the duo (Murasaki) sheds off the humor with his serious nature. Thus, it just comes off as dull saturated with toppings of boredom.
Throughout the series, there’s a scenario of cat-and-mouse. It won’t feel like it but the concept is there. This is caused by its odd combination of implied humor with its general premise that comes together as frivolous. But what’s to be taken seriously is a criminal named Moral roaming through the streets. He has made it a goal to kill Minimal Users with his ideological mind. In essence, he comes off as a bigot with the stereotypical attributes of an antagonist. Embracing ideas of humanism, we learn of Moral’s goals for the future and his nature. There’s no mistake to describe Moral as a villain as he cares about no one but his ambitions – to make equality. In one specific episode, he even tries to murder a character for rejecting his offer. While this all may spark interest for viewers to see how far his goal comes across, it ultimately demonstrates a cliched and predictable outcome. There’s little insight going about his morality given the lack of characterization in Moral’s character. At the same time, it demoralizes the series’ story with an abject way of structuring its episodes. In other words, the series quickly shifts itself between its main story to its nonsensical episodes aimed for eye candy.
With a concept of super powers, you’d expect a deeper exposition right? Well, on most standards, the series only explains itself with weak effect. Minimum powers are only explored on the surface by showing, rather than telling such as the case of Hajime. Only a few characters such as Honey gets a bit of characterization with their back-stories. But what comes together as a unity ultimately is blend thanks to everything going on at once. It’s not just cliche but just badly formulated together as a whole.
It’s also difficult to fathom this show’s comedy on a variety of levels. This is illustrated by the dialogues delivered with cheesy execution, weak interactions, and jokes that sometimes makes almost no sense on occasions. The more concrete moments involve a deeper conversation between Art and Moral in the latter half of the show. At its climax, it delivers our villain’s message. Yet, this only comes as ephemeral as his lecture may be forgotten easily with the absurd story structure. Also taking on a mystery genre, the cases themselves started out with interest and even demonstrates some mature scenes with its debut. While this works out at first, it dies out quickly as viewers will find themselves questioning why they should care. Most of the cases lacks strength with morality. In general, it doesn’t let viewers draw in what they are interested from these cases. It’s also throws in random gags, background characters that somehow gets caught up with the mystery, and in general weak delivery.
Hamatora isn’t entirely filled with intolerable holes. There are some parts that are worth of praise such as the action. There’s strong evidence given the serious nature of Minimum Holders and why the public holds different opinion of them. By action, Minimum Holders deliver supernatural feats that are astonishing. Fights are intense on most scales and although doesn’t last long can leave an impression. While the characters (mainly Minimum Holders) lacks characterization, they don’t frustrate viewers to give them pity as most of them are capable of fighting themselves. In other words, they don’t come off as weaklings to despise on. There’s also a bit of anticipation coming together in the latter half of the story involving identity issues and what’s to expect from certain truth being potentially discovered. While it lacks a laudable mystery delivery, it does keep viewers from watching this show to anticipate to see what happens next.
Describing Hamatora’s art is easy to see with the eyes. The colorful exposition is there with fantastic action made up of explosions, knuckle sandwiches, and violence. Minimum Users’ abilities is intense as fans may expect and the artwork captures the majority of that. On the other hand, background artwork lacks any distinguishing features and the way characters are designed are generic. It isn’t even original considering that Yuki Kodama, whom previously worked on Blood Lad traces its designs. They don’t look just similar but hardly has anything to write home about.
Soundtrack stands out as one of its strengths. It is noticeable with alternative ways and well-coordinated delivery of its OST. At same time, it can keep up with the momentum and matches it consistently. Similarly, both the OP and ED songs delivers well with appropriate instrumentality. The mixture of its rock and techno notions also captures its moments. In general, it will leave an impressions for the audience. But on the topic of voice acting, some of the characters lacks strength in delivery in particular Nice and Murasaki with their chemistry. Moral’s lectures can also feel monotonous and seemingly forgettable despite his persistence.
This review didn’t take too much thought to write thanks to Hamatora’s lack of thoughtfulness behind its concept. Expectations coming into this show should be minimal with a potential case of being put to the ‘on-hold’ list. The story clustered with cliche characters doesn’t bring out anything special. Neither are the cases with their ridiculous jokes, hopeless messages, and whatever purpose it tries to deliver. Yet, the technical aspects of the show can keep it together at some instances. And as a supernatural mystery how, you’d need patience to get through Hamatora to experience what it has to offer. Still in the end, it’s just another formulaic throwback that doesn’t add anything more for its generic thought. read more
“You have no business telling me that I’m strong or alone or whatever. In fact, it’s no one’s business to decide who’s weak or strong.” – Nice
Hamatora The Animation is one that will leave you excited, shocked, angry, and confused at some point. Set in the year that this anime aired, people in this world will have a power called a “Minimum”, therefore being called “Minimum Holders.” “It is an extraordinary power beyond the understanding of man that manifests whenever a specific condition is met in the form of an action.” Unfortunately, others won’t have this kind of power because they weren’t born or gifted with it; and that’s when the main conflict starts to head in. They would be seeking power because they are the “weak.”
Hamatora itself is made out of a group of people who accept job offers in order to make money. These jobs are usually ones they need to solve or investigate and are offered to them because Hamatora is known to have pairs with special abilities, or said in the last paragraph, a power called a “Minimum.” These special abilities help solve or conclude those investigations. The main investigation is to stop a serial killer targeting Minimum Holders.
The art in Hamatora is very colorful. One look at this anime and you know there will be flying colors everywhere. Especially when the characters construct their powers, colors are just in there. The characters themselves are also colorful; with what they wear and what item/element they use. There are also very flashy scenes. Other scenes include a bit of gore. The backgrounds are really just casual settings, nothing to fancy and nothing to dull - considering it is set in 2014.
I thought the OP of this anime had that futuristic feel to it. Being set in our current timeline, but with people having superhuman abilities, I think the OP played a pretty good role. The ED, I thought, had that sad feeling to it. It wasn’t gloomy or anything, I just felt like it was playing a sad tune or something. The background music/sounds played pretty well in terms of setting the mood/scene in each episode. But there really wasn't an OST that caught my attention.
With some there to make all the action, some there just to be funny, and some there to explain situations that viewers need explaining to, the characters in Hamatora are pretty cool, in my opinion. Though their names could have been better, the characters' names are pretty easy to remember - especially the ones in Hamatora itself. The top duo in Hamatora are Nice and Murasaki. Nice being the top Minimum Holder and Murasaki following behind. Other characters included, showed some pretty amazing powers. They made me laugh, tear up, angry, confused, and just simply shocked. Character developments weren't as good as how most anime would develop characters. But they're pretty fun to watch.
Overall, I enjoyed this anime from beginning to end. There were quite a few of cliffhangers - especially the last episode - which kept me kind of clinging on to the series. Though, if this series had a better character development and more episodes that went into the main plot, then maybe this show would have a little more fans. But even so, I think it's pretty entertaining.read more
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