What would you get if you crossed Thelma & Louise with City of God? You may get complete drivel, or you may, if you're very lucky, get something like Michiko to Hatchin.
Manglobe, the production company (and the brains behind), Michiko to Hatchin, have really pushed the boat out with this anime. But then again, they're no strangers to success or quality, especially as they are the company responsible for Ergo Proxy and Samurai Champloo. The series was directed by Yamamoto Sayo and is effectively her first full time at the helm of a production, and whilst this may have been a gamble on the part
of Manglobe, it's one that certainly paid off as Michiko to Hatchin has a certain "fresh" quality that I haven't seen in anime in a long time (not since Cowboy Bebop in fact).
The tale is about an escaped convict named Michiko Malandro and her quest to find her lost, and supposedly dead, lover Hiroshi Morenos. In order to achieve this, she "kidnaps" a girl who is supposedly Hiroshi's daughter, initially thinking that she would know where Hiroshi is. However the world has changed during her years in prison, becoming at times more brutal and less forgiving.
The decision to set this tale in a quasi-South American (Brazilian), country was a stroke of genius as the creators and director could do things that would never have been included had the show been given a more staid setting. In addition to this, the characters themselves are able to have that little bit more "flair" about them because of the setting, something that initially detracts from some of them until one realises that the gaudiness is all simply part of that character's persona - more on that later though.
Now fans of Ergo Proxy and Samurai Champloo will know that Manglobe are able to produce some stunning visuals, and Michiko to Hatchin is no slouch in this department. From barren deserts to lush jungles, from slum shanties to sleek factories, the level of detail is excellent, and well above that of many recent titles. In addition to this, the various settings in which the story takes place have a certain realistic quality about them that belies the fact that this is an anime.
In addition to the great scenery, the characters are extremely unique and well designed, again, adding to the sense of realism about the show. The leads and immediate supporting cast are individuals to a tee, with each character possessing a certain lifelike quality that many anime would find difficult to match.
One area where the show really excels is with the animation. It's rare to see such lifelike movement in anime, and in many ways the fluidity and natural motion in Michiko to Hatchin represents a step up from that of Samurai Champloo.
Sound is another area where this show works very well. The effects are extremely well chosen and choreographed, and while some may be overwhelming, this is actually purposeful because of the situations the characters may find themselves in. The music used throughout the series is atmospheric and refreshing, and is reflective of the Latin-American feel of the show. The OP, a track called "Paraiso" by the Japanese jazz band Soil & "Pimp" Sessions, is an excellent piece that harks back to the classic "Tank!" of Cowboy Bebop fame. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the ED, "Best Friend" by Karutetto, as it is a bit too "boy-band" for my tastes.
One of the truly great things about Michiko to Hatchin is actually the cast. Manglobe and Yamamoto took the somewhat surprising, move when they chose the actors, opting not for established traditional seiyuu but for established screen actors. However, this seemingly risky choice has paid off in spades for the series. Maki Yoko (Battle Royale II: Requiem, The Grudge), is extremely versatile as the sexy, pouting, hotheaded, and somewhat childish Michiko, whilst Ohgo Suzuka (Year One in the North, Memoirs of a Geisha), is truly excellent in the role of Hatchin as she provides a depth of character that is rare to find.
Which neatly brings us to the characters themselves. Michiko is willful, headstrong, selfish in the extreme, and very childish. Hatchin is somewhat shy and nervous, but also responsible, tidy, and hates laziness. Both leads are extremely well defined from the outset, something which is reinforced as the relationship between the two is extremely combative (the pair are effectively polar opposites). Others like the terrifying Satoshi Batista or the terrier-like (i.e. always chasing Michiko), Atsuko Jackson are also well defined from the start, and through the first few episodes it may be difficult to see how any of the characters are actually developing because of the strength of the characterizations.
One reason for this is because both Manglobe and Yamamoto decided against using normal anime practices for developing characters, and instead chose a far more realistic and subtle approach. One needs only to compare the relationship between Michiko and Hatchin (or even Michiko and Atsuko), at the beginning of the series, with their behaviour towards the end to see exactly how much they have developed as characters. An example of this is the fact that Michiko is initially very much an annoying, sexy, pouting, selfish jerk, however at the end of the series she reminds me of Balsa from Seirei no Moribito. Hatchin, Atsuko and Satoshi also undergo this extremely subtle development (you'll see how much by episode 20).
I thoroughly enjoyed this series for many reasons, the main one being the fact that this is a show that is not afraid to show the casual brutality of its setting. There will be some out there who didn't like the way the series ended, however I found the conclusion to be very much in keeping with the essence of the series, whilst at the same time being far more realistic than the endings of most other anime.
Michiko to Hatchin is a rarity in the medium, and should not be prejudged on the basis of one or two episodes. The complexity of each character, the harsh, unforgiving setting, the sometimes brutally real actions of individuals, and the extremely subtle development all serve to make this one of the best shows of 2008, and one of the best anime to appear in the last decade. At times Thelma & Louise, at times City of God, at times Laurel and Hardy, this anime possesses a style and flair that surpasses that of Samurai Champloo - a feat by any measure.
Given the quality of this series, and its previous titles, I'm rapidly becoming a fan of Manglobe.
In a world plunged into an immoral wasteland, it is often difficult to find friends and comrades that you can believe in. The cold brutality of the situation may be that you simply can’t. But sometimes a slight glimmer of hope remains amid the tumult and chaos, that maybe perhaps you really do have a partner out there, a comrade that will stick with you and care for you to the very end.
The world depicted in “Michiko to Hatchin” is this wasteland, a setting fraught with greed and death amid the indigent and the impoverished. This is South America (Brazil), or rather a variation of
it. From the gritty alleys, to the squalid shanties and the lush and viridescent landscapes, Manglobe doesn’t disappoint. The setting is not only a beauty to look at but is also something unique and rare that allows the show to take wing and travel regions that are distinctive yet still within the realms of what was initially established. Through this director Yamamoto is able to channel the genius of Watanabe and the result is something unlike any other that challenges and perhaps even surpasses works such as Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo.
The story chronicles the lives of mainly Michiko Malandro, an escaped convict on a desperate hunt to find a supposedly dead man that was once her everything and Hana Morenas nicknamed Hatchin, the apparent daughter of this man and who Michiko initially thinks is the ultimate clue to helping her achieve her goal. The premise is set, but the main plot is less prominent than what many would expect. In this show it is merely used as a device to tie in many self-contained stories together and give the show a satisfactory conclusion because ultimately this show isn’t about the goal, it never was. The show is about the journey and the bonds that are broken and healed along the way. And the stubborn, immature Michiko along with the self-righteous, mature Hatchin are characters real and charming enough to carry you through this journey and not let you go.
The show also has an astounding soundtrack that lives and breathes nearly as much as the characters do. The energetic soundtrack fits every beat and every pulse of this high-powered train ride, yet also smoothly transitions towards a more melancholy nature when the situation calls for it. Through this the music is able to create remarkable scenes of raw emotion and immeasurable charisma that echo and persist long after you have finished the show. The animation is no slouch in its department either. One of the reasons why Michiko and Hatchin feel so startlingly real is that they look and move like real people as well and while there are times where the animation quality may drop, it still stays very consistent throughout and lends to an experience that is both aesthetically pleasing and emotionally stimulating.
Ultimately this is a series that as well as examining the lengths in which people would go to accomplish their goals, more importantly looks at the bonds that are formed during that time. Michiko and Hatchin go on a dangerous adventure together as a tornado of a tag team, and through this are able to form a relationship that overcomes the trials and tribulations that come their way and even the long and arduous chasm created by time. It is a bond both honest and deep that lies in juxtaposition with the superficial and vapid bonds congesting the streets of Brazil, a strong bond of indomitable love and unending trust. And though there are many instances throughout the series where the two characters pull each other down with their flawed personas to the extent that you would think they are better off without each other, it becomes evident later on how much they need one another, how much more they are able to accomplish with each other as their platforms. The show does well to depict two sides of a relationship, one of anger and disarray during quarrels and also one of a serene and resonant beauty during the rare moments of an embrace and while the show is far from deep or a riddled literary piece of work, it does well to show the power of friendship and love in a realistic manner and the way in which it is able to travel the void of time and always be there right when you need it, proving that love is far from a burden, but rather a privilege. The privilege of being responsible for another.
Sayo Yamamoto’s first work is by no means perfect, but through its unique setting, remarkable soundtrack and captivating characters, she is able to construct a show filled with raw emotions and a flaring style constituting to a heartening, disturbing and riveting journey that in my book is nothing less than a masterpiece.
Anime that are set out of Japan whilst not as uncommon as many may think are still few and far between but what is even more rare is an anime that takes place in Latin America. Michiko to Hatchin is representative of everything that is uncommon but amazing about the anime industry: it has style, nice characters, a unique setting and a vast array of themes, and whilst at times it is harsh it never forgets to be light-hearted in its ingenuity.
Michiko to hatchin's story is rather unusually executed; my original impressions was that the series was episodic but upon completion that statement was a
fairly inaccurate description, but in saying that I still find that each episode is 'episodic' in its own way. Each episode does contribute to the story being told, but interestingly enough they also provide detail on many background details: such as the lives of a group of kids growing up in the slums Sao Paulo, or even settling in on the business motives of an organized crime network hosting a bullfighting tournament or a prostitution ring etc etc...
To its credit these many moments scattered throughout the series helped maintain my interest throughout the series entirety; each scenario was new and refreshing, each life had something different to offer. Unfortunately, criticisms still need to be considered, as whilst all these many moments managed to pique my interest. I could only feel that they somehow seemed to be a foot-hold in grabbing the viewers attention because the actual story seems kind of trivial in comparison to many of the side-stories.
This observation still only further justifies why i believe this series to be good, as it came up with such a variety of side-stories that managed to maintain a consistently high level of quality, that made the long journey all the more worth it in the end.
One thing that I wanted to point out upon entering this series, is that at the period of time in which Michiko to Hatchin is set. Brazil was going through a revolution. I was personally a little disappointed when I discovered that this series covered very little of that historic event. Not to discredit the series for this because instead of doing that, it's vivid portrayal of life in Brazil at the time seems particularly plausible and in many ways makes up for my disappointment. Underneath every garbage bin and behind every building, the place oozes with a deep sinister corruption. Everything from the police cover-ups and false justifications, money laundering, prostitution, you name it, this series probably has it.
A positive to all this, is that the series doesn't try to make a bad name out of all of this. It simply lets its vision unwrap itself never bombarding its audience with moral preaching. This is the lives of these people, are they happy with it? Maybe, maybe not, but at least they are making a living out of what they got, and if what they have is morally ambiguous then why not use its absolute best.
The actual story whilst being rather trivial as I mentioned earlier is twisted around with the many side-stories adding a bit to the series worth. What irks me though is the motivations behind the foundation of the story, our main character Michiko being one of the soul main characters comes across as ditzy and in many ways, really gullible which does little to help with story progression, and most of the story is moved forward by side-characters.
Even with these criticisms, I still must say that Michiko to Hatchin's ending is probably one of the best conclusions to an anime series that I have ever encountered. One problem I have found with many shows is that they take too long to conclude or the exact opposite where they don't have a conclusion. Michiko to Hatchin falls fair and square into the middle. Covering everything that it had previously established and no noticable plot threads are left unresolved without seeming to rushed or too slow.
One of the most notable things about Michiko to Hatchin's story is its interesting cast. The show takes the time and effort to construct a diverse quantity of personality and character traits. I do have a couple of issues with some minor and the main characters, some minor characters (not many) are occasionally used as plot conveniences but even these characters still get some level of development. Emphasizing that this series waste's no time in establishing its characters personalities, ambitions and motivations, which is certainly a good thing.
One of the best things about watching this series was watching Michiko and Hatchin's characters develop as the series played out, they're an unusual and possibly eccentric combination of mother and daughter. Many times I began to wonder if they are even related, like at all, but as a member of the audience, I could feel a relationship present, whilst being slightly unorthodox it was not an impossible relationship to envision. It is entertaining to watch as they interact, learning from each others mistakes. Watching the unusually mature Hatchin take care of the naively reckless but caring Michiko, and vice-versa.
My complaints with some of the characters, are that their motivations are occasionally very vague. A good example would be some of the interactions between Michiko and Atsuko, a few of the outcomes from there encounters are occasionally poorly explained and sometimes a little stupid. Without giving away any spoilers, there was one particular scene where I was screaming at Atsuko in my head for not carrying out a particular action that she had tried so hard to achieve but in the end didn't carry it out. The reason? Well I might have missed it because the motivation behind it was sort of precarious but the consequences for iit rendered their reasons completely arbitrary.
Our main character Michiko isn't without fault either, very prone to some questionable actions throughout the series, chasing someone who is clearly trying to get away from her just seems to be a motivation that is slightly beyond my comprehension.
Other than these complaints it was an interesting cast nonetheless and despite these people's shortcomings, these actions (even the ones that I previously mentioned) never felt out of character and becomes a small plus in my book.
The Art whilst not anything spectacular is very clean and this quality is constant throughout the entirety of the series. The most notable moments are seen in the many action sequences. Each scenes choreography was well animated rarely ever resorting to cheap techniques (and if the series did they were very well disguised). Each scene had a fluidity all on its own, it was fast-paced when it needed to be, retrospectively it was slow when demanded and normal between these many moments. Each frame never felt out of place when actions were being displayed. I mention this because the sheer breadth and style of the many action sequences in this series never lets up and the art knows how to dictate the adrenaline pumping moments and thus contributes to the series well-established atmosphere.
One of the best things about Michiko to Hatchin is the background designs. Never before have I seen a 3rd world/2nd world country presentation as detailed than I have in Michiko to Hatchin (with a possible exception of "Flag") in an anime/manga series. Everything from the large open spaces accompanying a desolate road; to the slum, crime ridden districts of Brazil's many cities, towns and communities. The level of detail that goes into many of the locations emphasize the tensions building in each district and community.
The character designs across the board are very commendable, and I loved how all the characters have a degree of acceptable realism to them. Whilst Michiko the main lead has a busty accentuated figure, her figure is complimented by the shows diverse characters and as mentioned previously with their large range of personalities, the same can be said for each character's designs. Figures often appear in a versatility of chubby, well-groomed and formal, poor and hungry, old and young character types. Serving to make the characters far more relatable, increasing the series impact.
One particular aspect of the art that I wish to take into consideration is actually the opening and ending credits. One thing I loved about this series was the mesh of beautiful textures that I witnessed upon entering and leaving every episode. With a hint of photo-shop thrown into the blend of pseudo-phantasmagorical art reminiscent of a retro-American psychedelic hippie movement.
Michiko to Hatchin's soundtrack is a well-made and thoroughly appropriate soundtrack with a collaboration of string instrumentals, mostly of the ukulele and acoustic guitar, with a common accompaniment of percussion instruments such as the timpani, bongos and such. A lot of the songs in the series ost are wildly and energetically presented, catering to the fun and adrenalin-soaked and occasionally sexually fused atmosphere that the series provides.
Some of the tracks are particularly memorable, most notably the opening sequence with its bubbly bebop jazz style. Effectively melding its complex harmonics making it an absolute blast to listen to, with the show forcing me to listen to it every single time I started a new episode, and that is definitely a good thing.
Each track adequately sets the tone of each scene and never fails to boast an exciting entourage. Overall I see no reason to complain about the ost. It is effective, different and great to listen to.
Overall, this show does have a couple of faulty points, where entertainment value can be somewhat lacking on a couple of occasions and at times I felt the characters make stupid decisions but they are few and far between. And as I mentioned before, rarely do those stupid decisions seem out of character, so if anything it helps benefit the series.
Altogether this series is a quality adventure taking place in an untouched landscape. It has a positively balanced story with non-repetitive scenario's, the show never tries too hard at what it does and loves to revel in its own world. It knows its limits and actively makes use of that boundary. It is a vision that is both refreshing and entertaining and I would recommend it to anyone who shares a delight in venturing into a world of interesting characters and constant thumping of a glorious beat in every background.
Have you ever felt the need to watch an anime that butchers the Bechdel test in every episide, centered around two incredibly strong and well-rounded female characters? Then look no further.
Michiko e Hatchin follows the two unlikely comanions on their journey to find a man from their pasts, and in the course of the show we see wonderfully written characters going through beautiful character development.
The two main characters - as well as many of the recurring characters - go through important character development, and it's so fabulously excecuted you don't really notice it until it hits you hard.
As well as being full
of female characters, the cast is diverse, showing a wast collection of characters from different races and backgrounds.
Of course, the characters aren't everything in a show. The story is enjoyable and exciting and keeps your attention throughout the entire series. This is as much a story about finding oneself as it is about finding Hiroshi, maybe even more so. As both Machiko and Hatchin figure out who they are and what they want, the grow closer and learn the meaning of true love and understanding.
The story deals with various issues connected to living on the road, being poor, supporting a child etc., and it shows us that even an atypical family is a family, however small, and that even if you call yourself a family you may not actually be one.
To summarize, Michiko e Hatchin is true feminist writing about finding oneself and eachother, and it's truly beautiful.
For the most part, the story brings you in from the first episode. A real good plot, some really well drawn out character backgrounds, a spice of latin flavor in each episode and the occasional boob shaking, finger flipping action, courtesy of Michiko. You're going to love the random yet plot focused action of the femine duo. Many twists and turns await, and as of episode 11, it's been a great ride.
Art - 9.7/10 (A)
Well, i haven't seen such colorful designs in..never. Each episode brings something as unimportant (Ex. Shoes, TV's, a gas station) to life. This has something
to do with the setting, a great choice by the creator. You'll be amazed how well each piece of setting and backdrop is well animated. Michiko's design of a bad girl convict shows itself from the very beginning.
Sound - 8.3/10
--OP/ED Theme: 9.0/10
The Opening theme is a latin-flavored beat, "Paraiso" by Soul & Pimp Sessions, it really shows the cultural stance of Michiko to Hatchin. An upbeat, fiesta that can show that a non-vocal song can be just as good as a vocal one.
The Ending theme brings the show down to a mellow, humble stop with "Best Friend" by Karutetto (Quartet). A moving song with a variety of different drawings in each part of the ending, something that can really leave you (almost) in tears. Beautifully well sung, the adding vivid images that accompany it also well done.
The BGM is really well played, from the town on the outskirts to the strip bar scenes, it blends well. Some of the lesser bgm will probably leave your mind the next episode, but it's still good while it lasted.
Character - 8.9/10
There's a shortage of characters but the one's i can name are really well done. Aitsuko, the police chief and a (former) friend to Michiko, another bad girl cop with a no-nonsense attitude, how someone like her and Michiko ever became friends is still a mystery to me. Every character has a purpose for being there, and Michiko to Hatchin is one of those shows where they all come together in their own seperate and uniquely different ways. Now we have members of Monstro, including Satoshi. He's a real charmer..right.
Final Conclusion/Enjoyment - 9.3/10
Michiko to Hatchin is a show with a great future and a greater chance of becoming a hit show with a cult following, no doubt. It has the basic components that make a show and more. Only 6 episodes in, and i can tell you it's good and you WANT more. While every show that has been deemed "perfect", it's highly unlikely. Every show has faults, Michiko to Hatchin is no exception. However, it's cultural upbringing and remarkable characters along with the homely latin-flavored music can easily overcome those tiny faults. If you want a change, vote Michiko to Hatchin (pun intended).
"Michiko e Hatchin" is a hybrid between Brazilian and Japanese culture that is best compared at first as a "Cinderella"/"Prisoner 701 Scorpion" mix, however the episodes that follow seem more like a Thelma and Louise story arch accept it's a mother daughter combo. "City of God" was also mentioned by another reviewer and it's hard not to compare the Braziling like gang violence that occurs throughout this series. These comparisons are really loose references though, considering Michiko and Hana's relationship became much more dynamic as the series progressed. The artwork is very vibrant and fun, and the music has a spicy Brazilian edge and
keeps the tempo of this fast paced action drama melodically interesting.
Sayo Yamamoto's debut as a head director is full of promise. Yamamoto is no stranger to smash hits as he has directed episodes of Samurai Champloo, Eureka Seven and Ergo Proxy. Shinichiro Watanabe himself the director of "Cowboy Bebop" is lending a hand for his friend by producing the Music, and Seiki Tamura the art director of "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" and the Background art director of "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time", "Princess Mononoke" and "The Grave of the Fireflies" helps make this production definitely something that needs to be watched.
Story and Character Analysis:
At the center of this anime is a story about a society in which two little girls are forced to grow up early due to abuse and a world that won't let them have a childhood. Michiko(mother) and Hana(daughter) are both subjected to physical and mental torture from a young age. For Michiko, the need for love and reconciliation from the one person whom she believed loved her, husband Hiroshi, was originally the driving force to her existence. Michiko deeply desired some normality in her life, since she was forced as a little girl to grow up fending for herself. The normal future that was ripped away from her by a crime syndicate was something she never forgot. This dynamic later switches from Hiroshi to her daughter Hana.
Hana's search for her father is one part escaping her original dismal and abusive situation but eventually evolves into a quest to gain her mothers love and some since of family. Through out this story the mostly painful relationship between her and Michiko occurs mostly because of Michiko's selfish nature and Hana's protective personality. The mother/daughter angst story arc plays out right until the end and made the series feel completed and more realistic in my mind.
The little criticism I do have revolves mostly around the other underdeveloped story arc's which included subtle but sometimes blatant lesbian implications. Definitely a story that can be appreciated by feminists, me included.
This show came out in October 2008……..and yet I just found out about it or know its existence 4-5 years later. I did a little research about the show and wonder a few things about it, such as it was made by Manglobe, the same production studio who brought another favorite anime of mine, Samurai Champloo, and also it was the first anime directed by a newcomer by the name of Sayo Yamamoto, who later on went to direct Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine (which I heard good things about, although I don’t keep track on the franchise) and I can see
it as a spiritual cousin to both Champloo & Cowboy Bebop with a Latin / Jazz flavor mixed in.
Hatchin is a girl raised by strict foster parents who has long given up her dreams of freedom. Michiko is a sexy criminal who escapes from a supposedly inescapable prison. When she suddenly enters Hana's life, these two very different women set off on a journey across a lawless land in search of a missing man from both their pasts.
Like I said, this show does have similarities to the two shows I just mentioned earlier; most likely the former considering it is a type of show where the journey of finding this mysterious man named Hiroshi and traveling to the destination is more focused than the destination itself with these wild, crazy, and charismatic characters drawn in and the cities/towns they visit along the way. It’s not really a show with a strong or overwhelming plot but it’s more entertaining and thrilling where all you need is a simple premise but make it watchable on screen. As for the other surrounding factors, the anime is based more on realism than it seems with the cities, ghettos, rivers, deserts and of course, the characters themselves.
Speaking of that, I really loved the characters of Michiko and Hatchin as to me, they are like the badass and child pairing that wouldn’t look right on the drawing board first, but it worked out. Michiko is like the female version of Mugen from Samurai Champloo with a bit of the same characteristics: A mysterious and dark past, someone who seems to be very unstoppable to anybody she faces, kind of an idiot to be around, and can be very harsh to their companion…..at first. Hatchin or “Hana” is that one character I was really rooting for to…..well….survive. I wanted to say she’s like Ed from Cowboy Bebop but she’s actually more responsible than her and also the way she gets treated in the first 2 episodes by her foster family, I instantly wanted her to leave them because personally, I would’ve left there sooner and knocking all of them out (and yes, I mean, all of them). Sure, Michiko is not actually World’s Best Parent but she would be safer with her than them. Plus, the bond between them is very mother/daughter-like but the roles would be reserved and it’s actually funnier that way. Other characters including Atsuko Jackson is the foil to Michiko mostly because she’s always trying to catch her, yet she escapes and we all know that Atsuko has a soft spot for her as well, almost like the same connection as Michiko to Hatchin, a kindred spirit as you think about it. In short, all of the characters do have their moments of clarity and rough development. Some may as innocent as you think or vice-versa, either way, they all evolve in some form.
Animation-wise, this is very scenic and gorgeous to gaze at and if this show was to ever air in HD, it would enhance the viewing pleasure. This is one of Manglobe’s best looking shows to date, even better than most current shows (although the only shows from Manglobe I saw was Samurai Champloo, Deadman Wonderland, & House of Five Leaves) and let me remind you this was made in 2008 and I know it isn’t vintage yet but it’s something more unique than the usual anime and that’s also been said before but it’s true.
Music is another department where they succeed, especially with the opening, “Paradiso” by SOIL&PIMP Sessions and this opening is very reminiscent of the classic anime opening, “Tank!” from Cowboy Bebop and speaking of that, Shinichiro Watanabe happens to be the music producer of the series, which explains that Watanabe feel I was getting from the show itself. The music was by Brazilian musician Alexandre Kassin of The +2’s and the background music is also very impressive with its blend of jazz, funk, psyche Delia & samba music. However, the ending theme wasn’t bad, I just never think of that song when it comes to this series.
Now, even though I am a dub watcher, I saw this in the sub……mostly because this is no English dub (yet). As of the time of the review was written, FUNimation will release it this year with Monica Rial as the voice of Michiko & Jad Sexton as Hatchin. There isn’t a clip of the dub released yet but the sub was an overall decent effort.
FINAL VERDICT: I have found a new anime that really piques my interest and I really love this and I’m pretty sure that when the dub comes out, I’m going to love it as well but as of now, this is definitely a show I can recommend to most newcomers of anime and experienced watchers.
_M&H_ is an adventure anime featuring a young orphaned girl Hatchin who is kidnapped from her foster parents by an escaped felon to look for her father, Hiroshi McGuffin. They travel from town to town in a quasi Mexico-Brazil, searching for him while evading the police; invariably, they discover the princess is in another castle and must leave town under hot pursuit. Every episode, someone beats Hatchin, scams her, tries to sell her, kill her, abduct her, or lie to her, while no plot happens. This goes on for 22 episodes.
To be blunt, _M&H_ is an astonishingly mediocre anime. The plot is astoundingly boring as
Michiko and Hatchin kill time in random cities until something bad happens and they have to leave. The initial plot, finding Hiroshi, seems like it will be resolved within a few episodes and the series will get serious and deal with the incipient gang warfare, except, that turns out to be the *entire* series, dragging out endlessly as they miss Hiroshi skipping out on them like 4 times. Characters are brought in only to never play any particularly meaningful role (what was all that stuff with Satoshi Batista? it never went anywhere until he's casually killed off at the end). More time is spent ogling Michiko's breasts and stomach than trying any world-building so most of the time we're stuck watching the same Martian desert hellscape we've been watching for 15 episodes before. There is no dramatic suspense as we know that no matter how much Michiko screws up and no matter how many cops are after her, she will never be hit by their bullets and will somehow jump over all their cars in her motorcycle in sequences that have approximately 1.2% as much excitement or interest as a _Lupin the Third_ escape sequence. Did I mention that Hatchin is just treated absurdly badly by everyone in the whole series (including Michiko, and excluding the Chinese singer, who as far as I can tell is literally the only person in the series who actually treats Hatchin well - because even her 'friend' Rita somehow neglects to mention that the circus will sell her off).
The series is produced by Shinichirō Watanabe and created by Manglobe (Ergo Proxy, Samurai Champloo), but while I kind of guessed as much since I was getting a _Cowboy Bebop_ vibe, _M&H_ highlights by contrast just how great _Cowboy Bebop_ is: CB was regularly punctuated by unforgettable music and scenes, from "Green Bird" to the finale; _M&H_ has totally forgettable themes except for the mildly interesting animation of the OP; CB had a hallucination episode which, aside from being amusing, deepened the characterization of the main characters and added foreshadowing, while _M&H_'s hallucination episode was just some wacky images; CB had semi-realistic combat scenes and jeet kune do inspired martial arts, while M&H just leaves us eyes rolling at a woman in high heels yet again beating up some burly men; CB had a spaceship which bled and suffered with the main cast, while M&H has a motorcycle which keeps breaking yet mysteriously keeps showing up; CB had a thought-out yakuza backstory driving the central conflict, while M&H has some random stuff in the early episodes which turns out to not even matter once Satoshi gets killed off; CB had distinct locations and worlds, from Mars to Earth to Ganymede, while M&H has just two locations, a seaside town and dusty baked-dry slums. M&H just comes off as bizarrely half-baked, as if some notes were taken on a possible anime but then the anime studio had to turn them into an anime overnight without any time to research locations or come up with interesting places to go or things to do. Whether it's bizarre Japanisms like ear-cleaning (I am pretty sure girlfriends in Mexico do not clean their boyfriends' ears with giant fluffy q-tips) or the lack of any understanding of racial politics or identities in Latin America/Brazil (no matter the color, everyone interacts the same) or rendering pointless character arcs (the cop Atsuko, Michiko's masochist lesbian friend, who is hunting Michiko but keeps assisting her and letting her escape, finally definitively breaks with her at the end, declaring Michiko dead to her, in one of the few moving scenes: 'the next time we meet, it'll be as strangers'. So *of course* in the final episode, Atsuko will go and free her again!) (Satoshi, the gang boss, seems to have some sort of goal or grudge, although he remains mostly a cipher despite enormous amounts of screentime, but of course he is killed before meeting Hiroshi) or bring out sudden swerves in plots (in a brief timeskip at the end, we find Hatchin living and working on her own... as a single mother. Despite Hatchin having been the only sensible character who worked hard or planned ahead in the series! Can we believe this? No, we cannot. Nor can we believe that Michiko somehow escapes from jail without anyone noticing and spends weeks refinding Hatchin, who is then going to go on wild road-trips with Michiko and her baby.) or are just pointless (Hiroshi, far from being some sort of Jay Gatsby figure, turns out to just be a loser who keeps scamming people and disappears as soon as they find him) (if Michiko isn't Hatchin's mother, who is? No answer is ever given and hardly anyone even asks) (what was up with those tomatoes anyway?).
The only two episodes which were any good was the bull-fighting episode, and the aforementioned Chinatown episode where the 'actress' rescues Michiko for Hatchin. (I was surprised to learn there were Chinatowns in Latin America: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinatowns_in_Latin_America I hadn't known there was significant Chinese emigration to any of those countries.)
So: the plot is boring and nonsensical; most of the characters uninteresting or undermined; the art would be OK if it ever changed; the music totally forgettable. It is a waste of an anime and worse than season 2 of _Kaiji_ or _Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro_.
Even though there has been only one episode aired, for those who want to know if this is good enough to watch - watch it. The first episode was full of surprises. It had me grinning, then depressed, then happy again. So far, the story is really good (very original), I really have not seen anything like it before. The voices don't seem to go well with the characters, but I know for sure that it'll grow on you as you watch. The pace seems slow, but it goes with the artwork, so it goes well with each other.
After seeing the first few minutes of MtH, I hav enoticed the character design for Michiko. She doesn't look like 99.99% of anime girls (woman in her case) but she looks 99.99% better than them. The sexy, cute, strong, rowdy, independent woman is composed to perfection in her. And I am glad to say that she never uses her sex-appeal to get what she wants.
As you can probably see, Michiko is the strongest point in this anime, but that doesn't mean that the side characters are worthless. This is one of the handful of animes in which side-characters and "villains" have more depth in
them than 99.99% of the main characters in animes out there.
However, there are times in the 22 episodes that can be so confusing that you just leave it be. Maybe it's because all the factions (including Michiko minus Hatchin) are folks who were born on the very bad side of life. But this is a good thing as well since it doesn't give the viewer a generic "black and white" that they have seen hundreds of times already.
Art-wise, it's great. The characters move fluidly; The camera angles are perfect; the action scenes are strong. Music-wise, the music fits the poverty stricken side of Latin-America. And of course, the story. It's realistic and feels like real life which just makes the title feel different from your run of the mill anime. And yes, it does feel like Cowboy Bebop, except that MtH is a more realistic version of that.
We often see in a lot of anime series either the same setting, Japan or an alternate apocalyptic distant future setting, well that happens most of the time in anime these days. Been a fan of anime I often ask myself: "When are we going to see the setting of a story, crossing the Sea of Japan and reaching a different shore?" Well Michiko to Hatchin is the answer. This series delivers in a single episode more of what you can see in anime these days, imagine all 22 episodes? The breathtaking locations, landscapes and scenarios are perfect; you will actually be transported into this
amazing country that has cultural traces from Brazil. I got to hand it to Sayo Yamamoto, this is her first directional debut, and what a job she has done, creating pure art. I am looking forward to see more of her work in the future. Studio Manglobe has done it again, form being highly involved in classics such as Samurai Champloo and Ergo Proxy, into creating one if not the best anime series this decade of 2000 has offered.
This is a story that focuses and tries to unite the two main character's differences into one goal. Suddenly everything becomes a wild adventure and you are there witnessing this entire phenomenal and unique bond between two people, despite the stepping-stones that awaits them in the road. The locations in the story left me speechless, there are scenes in rivers, deserts, cities, ghettos, and beautiful portrayed forest and jungles. You will see all kinds of characters in this story: from mafia syndicate leaders, to different kinds of gangs and hitmen, to robbers and cops, pimps and prostitutes, poor people and junkies. You will also see in the story unexpected characters to have good hearts, feelings and good intentions toward others. Every little detail in the story it is explain, there are no plot holes. The story is just to impressive and unique, even if it looks a little similar to the Hollywood film; Thelma and Louise, it's still way superior and also Michiko to Hatchin's story offers you way more, it is inspiring.
10 of 10
If you liked Samurai Champloo's art and animation, then Michiko to Hatchin will not disappoint you, because basically it's the same people. Studio Manglobe did this series with passion and love, something they have done before. The art is superb and beautiful, almost like a goddess. Every character is treated unique in their art design. The action and adventure's art and animation is perfectly executed. Like watching Cowboy Bebop's or Samurai Camploo's art and animation, you never get tired because it's perfect. Thats why the animation clearly never fails in every episode. The opening of the series is very creative, it has a 70's and 80's style but really impressive and the colors used are stylish, like the series. The ending is not that colorful like the opening; it's a calmed and relaxing projection of the hidden side of the story. The landscapes they create and show you are literally the definition of art. You are transported into the scene, and you will believe that you are inside, because of how perfect this art and animation has been done.
10 of 10
Every sound and music is perfectly sync and synchronized with every scene in the entire series. The seiyu in this series did one heck of a job, although the main cast is compose of more film actors than Seiyu, but they did a perfect job by lending their voices for those epic roles in this classic. Their voices match every character the play in the story. In this series when you hear gunshots the perception you feel is that they are real, because of how well the sound department has created them. The music composed is by a Brazilian music group called, Kassin + 2 and is also produced by Shinichiro Watanabe (Director of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo). The music is great in the entire series, because it fits in every important scene. Kassin + 2 does a great job with the music taking us into the roots and lands of Brazil with their music. The opening theme: "Paraiso" by Soil & "Pimp" Sessions is a good song, it depends on your music taste, some might like it, and others might not. But if you liked the originality that Yoko Kanno and The Seatbelts displayed in Cowboy Bebop's opening creating "Tank" then "Paraiso" will not be a disappointing song. The ending theme: "Best Friend" by Karutetto, is more passive than the opening, imagine the name says it all, but also a good song, also very original and not annoying. The sound and music of this series does not top the one in Ghost in the Shell SAC series or Eureka 7, but it takes another different direction, it takes you directly into the core of the cultural traces of Brazil.
10 of 10
One of my favorite things in a story, are the characters. Well let me tell you that in Michiko to Hatchin every character was literally develop to it's maximum. You never see a character get left behind in the story or plot like in other anime series. This is one of the great things that this series offers to it's viewers, also you get to see a lot of different points of views that every character offers you, so you can know him better thus in the end you can judge him differently. The names of all the characters are pretty solid and original. One of the main characters is named Hatchin (voiced by Suzuka Ohgo). She was a character that did deliver a solid performance, and left me speechless, she definitely earns a spot as one of the greatest characters in anime. All the characters are stylish; they have their own personalities and egos. Most of the characters in this story need innocence in order to prevail, that's something you see often in life. You will either feel a connection with one of the characters or one will automatically take you to feel his situation. That's how powerful the characters are develop in this story, they are memorable and not forgettable. One of the finest and best character developments I have seen since Cowboy Bebop.
10 of 10
This is a series that when you actually finish watching it, you will say I will put it again because every moment was enjoyable and unforgettable. The action scenes are highly enjoyable and never boring, you will see them over and over again. To the problems and situations the main characters get into, to the gun shots you see, to the fighting scenes, to the fast pace action car chases and to every detail you come across with. You will enjoy it and you will be asking for more at the same time, hoping it never ends.
10 of 10
I was thinking that Code Geass was basically the best series of this decade, but I was wrong. Upon discovering Michiko to Hatchin everything changed. This series is more than about freedom, it's about what we have in life and what do we do with it, and what it means to us every second and moment of our existence. Every episode teaches us something different about life, something you don't see frequently in anime these days. If you like Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, then think of Michiko to Hatchin as the fused version, of those two titans. Clearly Michiko to Hatchin takes a whole different direction in anime, going beyond and transcending what is called a classic masterpiece. That’s why Michiko to Hatchin is the best anime series the 2000’s has given us. It deserves to be called, the greatest anime of this decade.
*Light-medium character spoilers ahead!* (speaking of their development and personality throughout the show)
Quite a few reviews praise the ability of the female cast, but I just had to say that I found them rather flawed, honestly, the entirety of the cast is flawed. It seems that in order to make characters w/o stereotypes, they just used characters that had strong personalities and very little to no grow for multiple episodes, which bothered me. Michiko is no doubt "strong" but extremely stubborn, and as others have mentioned, fails to move the plot forward in any way until someone has a lead on "Hiroshi" and his whereabouts.
favorite part of the show was when Satoshi Batista started to come into the forefront. Unlike a majority of the cast, Satoshi does whatever he sets out to do, and does not vocalize his regrets. I originally enjoyed seeing the human-"ness" of characters when they would express their disappointment in themselves vocally, but it got old rather quickly, part of the reason why I felt why the characters didn't grow is because they didn't learn anything from these mistakes. Satoshi is actually quite smart. He is extremely aware of his surroundings and the inability of being able to become boss of Monstro without help from Hiroshi. It seems they wanted him to be disliked at first, but later found some room to script sympathy for him.
Hatchin is super cute, and is probably the character with the most growth in the show. Her stubborness comes head to head with Michiko's quite often which is annoying after it happens the first few times. Atsuko is.. disappointing. She just can't decide what kind of character she wants to be. She's alot like Michiko in that where Michiko can't get Hiroshi off her mind, Atsuko is always ironically there to bail Michiko out of all her sticky situations, basically the personification of plot armor.
*END OF SPOILERS*
TL;DR, Characters can be kinda frustrating!! ;( Honestly the sub characters are better than the main ones.
Music is amazing (love soil & pimp), Art is gorgeous, Dub is great. 7/10 should watch if you're bored and looking for something different.
In a small Latin American town, a young girl dreams to be freed from her abusive foster parents. Her wishes come true when an escaped convict leaps through the dinner room window on a teal motorbike and asks her to help her find her mysterious father. Together, they travel the distance to find a man they thought they knew while experiencing the barren but lively existence shared by their fellow countrymen.
It's been a few seasons since the last promising title in this genre popped up--and Michiko to Hatchin certainly lives up to expectations. With deep Latin American vibes and subtle storytelling, the series manages to
pull the audience in for a look at several storylines loosely tied together through Michiko's (the vixen convict) past. While their search for Hatchin's father--Michiko's former lover--provides a stimulus for their journey, it acts more as a literary tool to pull the characters through a myopic look at the lives of their fellow countrymen. It is difficult for me to find a favorite among the subplots as they all took a decently honest and heartfelt look at how people in less developed nations survive--though I found the more dramatic subplots (i.e human trafficking) of rather mediocre execution.
Michiko and Hatchin act as foils for one another: Michiko, the adult, acts childish and impulsive while Hatchin, the child, behaves responsibly. Most reviewers seemed to enjoy this chemistry but I found it lukewarm and underdeveloped. While Hatchin's character failed to impress(her relationship with her abusive parents never felt present and her "maturity" seemed a pretentious addition), Michiko was developed extensively throughout the series and the characters associated with her past succeeded in hooking my attention. In fact, I personally preferred watching the minor characters in the series--their stories were deeply entrenched in their impoverished situations, yet the livelihood with which they confronted adversity became truly inspirational.
The series boasts a strong soundtrack and voice acting, nicely echoing an image of a boundless road, sprawled before Michiko, Hatchin, and the people they met. The Latin traces are very apparent in the bold color schemes: cyan skies splashed with vivid turquoise and deep reds. The combination of brilliant sound and great animation certainly makes this anime worth watching, even if it falls short of the true geniuses in the genre (see Cowboy Bebop + Samurai Champloo). So be sure to check this out for a look at something different than your run-of-the-mill titles!
P.S. After a quick check, Shinichiro Watanabe of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo fame was indeed involved in the soundtrack. Sayo Yamamoto, who directed Michiko to Hatchin, also played an important role in the making of Samurai Champloo. Good to see that these people are still making shows >3.
This anime was a breath of fresh air. In anime there's so many things you can do with a story and characters buy sometimes it's good to see a realistic setting (other than Japan) with (semi) realistic action and adventure. The dub really gave a feel to this anime the sub didn't.
Michiko and hatchin starts off with them on a quest to find hatchins father Hiroshi, sound familiar? It's more so about the ride and how the characters develop than an actual plot. Most episodes can standalone and still make sense of the story. Maybe 2 episodes kind of felt dragged but they were need
for character development so its not a big deal.
This series gives off a very bebop/champloo feel in the atmosphere. Action is present but is not the main focus of the anime. You'll appreciate it when it comes with how well its done.The colors and backgrounds are some so well which seems like a lost cause in some anime. Not only was their variety in scenery but the character designs were some of the best in a while as well.
Many thimgs make this series great and antagonists is one of them. Love them or hate them in the end you may hàve mixed emotions for them. From the police to the thugs it shows how violence and power can corrupt people and does a damn good job of that.
In conclusion I give this ani e a 8.7/10 with its uniqueness and staying true to what it was to the end. If youre looking for a realistic action type series you may be disappointed but going in with a clear head you may love it as well
I remember seeing this as a recommendation a while ago, and didn't really look much into it. I only started watching it after I found out Manglobe had filed for bankruptcy, just to see if they had gone completely belly up. How wrong I was! This feels like the tryptic entry to Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, they all have a similar enough feeling to them and an incredible soundtrack to keep everything together.
Michiko no Hatchin came out of the gate as quickly as Samurai Champloo, the first episode had me begging for more. The style is so similar, from the fluid movements and incredible
fight scenes to the snappy dialogue between snarky characters bound together on a journey. It also had a wonderful english dub, with a top notch cast that put an incredible performance into it. I'm starting to see how Manglobe put themselves into that much debt, because this show had a fantastic budget. You know a show has money to burn when the backgrounds on driving shots are just as good as the static ones.
The entirety of the show is this: Hatchin travels with Michiko to search for Hatchin's father, set in fake Brazil. It's largely episodic, with a Bebop "getting into hi-jinx at every possible turn" feel to it, from run ins with the police to shoot outs with slum kids and gang violence. The episodes are all entertaining in their own right, but where Michiko no Hatchin really shines is right there in the name, the two main characters and how they revolve around each other. In the beginning, both of their reasons for travelling together are completely selfish, and neither of them can stand each other. Through their misadventures and escapades, the two start to become friends and rely on each other more and more, but they'd never admit it. By the end, they honestly care about each other and in a way they need each other.
Honestly, I think this might be an even stronger series than Champloo, because there's less filler, and the finale is a lot more satisfying. The only problem with it is what do you do when it's all over? Please tell me if you figure that out
Michiko to Hatchin, taking place somewhere in an eccentric, sandy, and unpredictable South American setting closely resembling Brazil, follows Michiko Malandro, a sexy and aggressive convict on the run, and 10 year old Hana Morenos, a shy, pale, mild mannered young girl living under the wing of a cruel foster family which has made her life a constant struggle for as long as she can remember. In a meandering and heart pumping trek across various South American cities filled with adventure, tragedy, and bloodshed, the unlikely duo stick together led by one common goal; the hope of finding Hiroshi Morenos, the man who Michiko fell
hopelessly in love with before being sent off to prison many years ago, and the father who Hana had the chance to meet. Along the way, the two deal with a wide variety of characters in the various towns they stop in, ranging from a psychedelic underground surgeon, a child sex-trafficking ring disguised as a group of traveling circus performers, and various men from Michiko and Hiroshi's past as members in the infamous Monstro gang.
The somewhat episodic nature of this show, which in turn leads to a variety of characters and side stories found within it, will ultimately lead some to believe that the show has no direction, or is plagued with inconsequential filler. However, in most cases, these arcs add a lot to the overarching story, as the world building and character development achieved in them are an invaluable part of Michiko to Hatchin's success, and are usually quite entertaining in their own right. With each stop on the path to finding Hiroshi, as the two characters go off on their separate paths (only to begrudgingly meet up when it's time to move on), they find themselves in a variety of dangerous, romantic, and humorous situations. By these means, the viewer gets a glimpse into their heads that we ultimately wouldn't get a chance to experience without the 'episodic' nature the show lends itself to; we're forced to see how both Hana and Michiko behave and adapt to various situations when they're not in the company of each other, and by these means, what would have otherwise stood out as a duo with opposite personalities, becomes a portrayal of two very unique characters in their own right.
In addition to the development of the main characters that we get to see in this manner, an equally important aspect is the showcasing of the show's environment. The South American setting, an unfamiliar one to most anime fans, is expanded and broadened constantly by the various settings and personalities one comes across when following the escapades of the two; we see the ins and outs of each city, from the poverty stricken streets, to the underground gangs controlling everything from behind closed doors, to the struggle of the everyday man trying to earn a living, to the run-down apartments the characters are always staying in. Their portrayals, along with the show's detailed and distinct background art, jazzy latin style soundtrack, and beautiful character designs, do a great job of immersing the viewer into what would otherwise be an unfamiliar Latin American setting.
The overarching plot itself is a solid one, though nothing mind-blowing. With each town the protagonists decide to rest in, we discover more and more clues regarding the whereabouts and backstory of their beloved Hiroshi, including many flashbacks explaining and highlighting his backstory as a powerful gang leader, which include some of the best scenes in the entire show. His shady history, and Michiko's quest to catch up with some of his old associates in a quest for clues to his whereabouts, make up most of what one would consider the show's "central plot". As the two delve deeper and deeper into things in a quest for the truth, and become more involved with various gangs, they find themselves facing an increasing amount of members who want their blood, and some who are after Hiroshi themselves. This dynamic, paired with the fact that the police are also after the two, makes for a fast paced story in which the characters are always on their toes, always ready to fight off or run from the various forces trying to bring them down.
Already having analyzed the show's strong points, there are a few flaws which need to be looked at with just as much conviction. Though they certainly weren't enough to ruin my enjoyment of the show, I couldn't help but feel that it could have been a lot better had a few glaring downsides been amended.
Firstly, and probably most disappointing considering the high production value and great character designs, were the action scenes. Despite the clever and suspenseful build-up leading to nearly each and every one of them, whenever the time came for shit to really hit the fan, the results were usually pretty underwhelming. These scenes had a overwhelming amount of mood ruining asspulls, the nonexistence of any antagonist who can seem to properly aim a gun, (at least when they're shooting at Michiko) and everyone's favorite, a police force chock full of bumbling idiots. The scenes which could have been a series of heart-pounding climaxes are usually done in a fairly uncreative manner, and they usually rely on the same exact tricks and situations as the last one; frankly, they felt lazy. Not over-the-top enough to make you really drop your jaw, but at the same time, not realistic enough to demand much attention from the viewer. Seeing as how this show took place in a setting dominated by cold blooded, gun wielding gang members, it's a pity that the action scenes couldn't have been stronger, and it definitely took some air out of the sails for me as the adventure went along.
While my second gripe might seemingly be a bit of a contradiction considering the praise I gave the show's episodic nature earlier, I felt that they did a poor job of connecting the story arcs. While it may have just been an unavoidable consequence of the way the story was told, we'd often find one adventure end, only to find the characters in a completely different situation by the time the next episode started. Without getting specific, there are a few times where the stories just didn't seem to get enough closure, and the viewers are frustratingly thrust into a sort of "square one" type situation, where all previous events are forgotten, and our heroes are just on the road again per usual. Whether it's the result of the episodic structure, the 22 episode allotment, or just a case of bad directing, I would have appreciated a bit more flow between the individual stories.
The only other flaw I wanted to bring up is difficult to describe without spoiling anything, but I found the pacing in the final two episodes to be uncharacteristically rushed, with an ending that just didn't seem to match the tone from the rest of the series, and one that left a bad taste in my mouth, despite being adequate.
Michiko to Hatchin is a show that managed to set the stage for an amazing story, with a set of likable and in-depth characters, brilliant thematic music and art, and a fantastic, believable atmosphere. While these strong points weren't exploited to their fullest thanks to a few pacing issues and some lacking action scenes, they make for one hell of an adventure that really shines when it shines, even if it's dragged down by a few murky moments.
Michiko to Hatchin starts out and finished strong and offers one of the most realistic, and believable portrayals of Latin America, Brazil in particular, that I've seen in anime. If you're on the fence about watching, don't hesitate, stop reading, and go watch! Since I've watched Samurai Champloo fairly recently and Manglobe produced both, I'll be referencing and making comparisons to Samurai Champloo throughout this review.
The story is engaging and thrilling from start to finish. The basic plot is quite simple and fairly reminiscent of Manglobe's prior original animation, Samurai Champloo, and also involves a series-long epic journey with the end goal of finding
a missing person. Also just like Samurai Champloo, the series is somewhat episodic by nature, with entertaining mini-sub plots and memorable one-time characters. I'd say the main complexity of this series is generated from character interactions, rather than convoluted and confusing plot devices or conflicts, which definitely helps give the story a very human-like perspective that at times could confuse the reader as to the motivations of certain characters.
The pacing is done quite well and rarely feels forced thanks to the many moments of refrain and reflection weaved in-between the frantic and speedy, yet fluid action scenes. The interactions between the brash Michiko and well-mannered Hana are enjoyable, comedic, and touching to watch. While both possess fairly different personalities and approaches to life, advances in character development are subtle, meaningful, and believable. The supporting cast is filled with strong, diverse, and unique characters that are rarely irritating or distracting.
The ending, as another reviewer pointed out, is definitely bitter-sweet, but offers a very believable and realistic outcome, which is most fitting for a series with realism at its core.
As for visual and sound aspects, Manglobe has done it again and created an artistic masterpiece. Diamandara is as faithful an animated reproduction of the architecture and landscapes of Brazil that I've ever seen. Everything from the character models and clothing to the buildings, vehicles, and furniture is detailed and accurate. The use of spacing and colors are tastefully done and further reinforce the atmosphere. The setting is fairly dynamic and rarely feels dull with Michiko and Hana visiting cities, tropical forests, slums, market places, highways, Chinatown, and small towns. As mentioned before, action scenes are consistently fluid and well-animated, with good special effects. Characters have fluid movements and background scenes feel lively. Facial expressions are well-portrayed, subtle at times, and rarely over-done or over the top.
Along with the strong art, the music melds in perfectly with each scene, with touching vocal Latin inserts, blood-pumping action beats, heart-thumping build ups, and soothing Latin-inspired acoustic tunes. Not quite the unique, contrasting, hip-hop type of soundtrack that Samurai Champloo had, but definitely enjoyable and worked very well throughout all 22 episodes.
Voice acting is well-done across the board, with the quality being high initially and masterful mid-way through the series. Each major character had endearing voices that fit with their visual depictions and emotions were well-conveyed.
Overall, I gotta say, don't hesitate to watch this series, especially if you enjoyed watching Samurai Champloo! You won't be disappointed. Sit back and enjoy the wild, yet touching ride that Michiko and Hatchin has to offer!
The story for this series is fantastic. What I seem to be noticing is that anime sort of has a niched appeal, which is okay. However, the problem is that those who are responsible for creating the anime are more responsible for putting in the stylistic elements in anime that anime fans enjoy than creating a piece of literature that can benefit humanity. This series, however, transcends that and truly is a piece of artwork that pays no loyalty to the traditional standards of what makes anime entertaining, but rather is loyal to getting the creator's message across in the most effective way possible. In
this case his message is made quite well and movingly with this episodic story of a young girl and her hot, recently discovered biological mother search for the young girl's father.
One of the first clues that the the message was in fact made effectively is that the message can't be summarized very easily. What this means to me, is that every element of each episode is entirely necessary and has a purpose, and the message can't be made without them. Each run-in with a gang, or dealings with a stripper trying to escape, or a brief affair with a married man who smokes, all play a role to where the meaning of the series wouldn't be the same without each.
I particularly enjoyed it's discretion in the area of comedic relief. Nothing drives me up the wall in an anime than excessive and unnecessary humor, ESPECIALLY when it cuts off a serious moment that potentially could have a beautiful and lasting effect. This didn't have any of that but rather allowed the dark and depressing be dark and depressing and poking in some sophisticated humor only when it was due and this allowed it's emotional effect to be that much more poignant.
Overall, the story is very literary and riddled with symbolism, and makes for an entertaining and moving story. It's one flaw might come from being too dense to where some meaning might get loss in translation or forgotten.
Another spectacular aspect of this series. The character design, the setting, the colors, they all work together to set the perfect mood for the corresponding situation in the story. The environment, being in the colorful central america/south america was vibrant and beautiful to look at. All the characters finally evolve from the tired out, generic, ethnic-neutral style of other animes, and their appearance fits their character and personalities to a T.
I usually don't even bother with tihs section, but it is worth mentioning the soundtrack, written by the great Japanese neo-jazz group: SOIL and PIMP sessions. Like everything else discussed so far, the jazzy, dynamic soundtrack fits what's going on and works so perfectly with the tones throughout.
There are so many memorable characters in this series, and not one of them is flat. All of their behaviors, as it pertains to their character is so over the top in a good way. It's almost surreal the way the characters behave and look and it's so wonderful to watch.
It's true that one sort of has to have a mature sense of film and art to fully appreciate this series fully ( I hope that doesn't sound too pretentious or stuck up). It's not exactly a laid-back watch either, and somewhat requires your mind to interpret all that happens. By no means does that mean that there isn't enjoyment to be had, because absolutely there is enjoyment to be had by simply watching the drama and the emotional journey. I do recognize that in art series like this, there is a little more difficulty in pure entertainment, but I can't deny how invigorating this series is.
(I'm sold after watching Ergo Proxy and now this, these guys need to come to America and make a film. It'll go over like gangbusters.)
Michiko to Hatchin was a pleasant surprise. After reading a few short reviews I was intrigued by the fact that a lot of people pointed out how the series turned out to be a much deeper drama rather than a simple action-driven anime that they were expecting.
I was not disappointed. If you are looking for a series with interesting, complex characters, do not miss this. In fact, I will be go further and say that you should watch Michiko to Hatchin.
This series features some of the most deep and complex character portrayals I have ever seen in an anime. Be warned - the directors
don't go to great lengths to explain characters' thoughts or motivations behind their actions and I see this is a huge plus. This ambiguity is what makes this story come alive and seem so believable - it is how we see people around us in real life - often strange, often unpredictable and hard to explain. Some episodes will leave you pondering and thinking "why", and like any great work of art most of us will come to different conclusions. This puts M&H to the top among the classics in my books.
The story itself is not very original, it is quite simple and some episodes try to lighten the mood with side-stories that feel a little out of place. In a few rare places, it almost feels like directors tried a bit too hard to make this anime more appealing to the general crowd and gave it some attributes that it could have done without. For example, I couldn't help but wonder why so many characters have Japanese first names? Given that the story is set in an imaginary Latin American country, this detail is most peculiar.
In general, I felt like the characters held the whole thing together, their presence compensated for some gaps in the plot and I was literally glued to the screen until the very last episode.
It would be harsh not to mention what great job Manglobe has done here. Animation style is original and suits the setting very well, the music is superb and character designs are extremely well made. Without their creative touch this series wouldn't have been this good.
Overall - I give M&H a 10. It is definitely one of the best series in the past decade and it has the substance to rival some of the greatest series ever made. It is a must see for all anime fans out there.
Well well well here goes my first MAL short and sweet (SS) review! Let's hope I'm not rambling anything so here is how I'll go...
If you are an action addict like me and only came here to see whether this is a great action anime look somewhere else but if you somewhat happen to want to delve yourself into an adventure that has some outstanding characterisation, art and sound set in Brazil (it's Brazil! What a change of setting for once!) then this might be that hidden gem you're looking for.
As the summary by MAL suggests this anime tells us of the adventure
of two characters Michiko and Hatchin on a quest to find Hiroshi, a runaway. Now, this mediocre story sounds common right? Much like Samurai Champloo if you ask me but nonetheless everything is different in this anime... What I love about this story is the fact that it teaches you things about life along the way...especially the end. Life isn't a straight-line. This anime takes on a more realistic approach on things - one of the most realistic I've seen.
The art is absolutely fantastic. No doubt the visuals are appealing and the setting and surroundings reflect the themes portrayed in the show as well as the culture. Character designs are unique and very different to the "usual".
The soundtrack is flawless imo. With a south-american influence no doubt was it catchy when it needed to be and boy was the OP song enjoyable. I always skip intro songs but in this anime it was an exception. The jazzy, hip hop and south american feels made me feel lost in enjoyment which steered away the anime intentions but it was that good! Music usually increases my enjoyment by a 3-fold in anime and as a musician by hobby I thoroughly enjoyed some tracks in this one.
Characterisation was above your average. Need I say more? The chemistry between Michiko and Hatchin was entertaining yet intriguing. I do believe some characters should have had a bit more screen time just so the audience could figure things out for themselves.
I enjoyed the journey and am glad I stuck through...if this anime had more action...alot more action this anime would be a 10/10 based on my preferences which is rather ignorant. No doubt this anime isn't one to skip or underrate. Manglobe studios did a marvellous job in this one. To sum it up it's experimentation at it's finest.