Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens was one of the Winter 2018 anime I've anticipated for quite a while, and it truly delivered the punch that it deserves.
The city of Fukuoka (or Hakata City as always mentioned) is not your usual city, while it thrives on the outside world, its citizens are literally another story. Basically, the thing is, one in every three citizens is are revenge-job-seeking hitmen, killers (whether hired or not) and detectives, all laying low in the lurch.
Zenji Banba is one of those private detectives in the Hakata area, trying to seek out hitmen companies so that he could interfere with their hitmen jobs, and that raises the aspect of hitmen Ling Xianming, a crossdressing man who's complaining about the lack of jobs and pay of his hitmen agency. A killer job out to exterminate Banba sets him the job of partnering with him and the slew of casts who are tied together with him (Saitou, hire-turn-target for Murder Inc, Enokida the mushroom head and intelligent hacker, the other hitmen Jiro and his caretaker Misaki) to figure out the disturbings of Hakata city.
Based off a novel series of the same name, I was immediately pumped by the setting and was deeply enthralled with the killing (be advised, no one below 18 should watch this) and action that kept me engrossed all the while, and I wasn't disappointed one bit.
Zenji Banba isn't your causal, typical detective. Nicknamed the Niwaka Samurai for his slick-sharp ninja skills, he's considered the primary target for most of the hitmen, including the organization (sorry I forgot the name) that on hindsight oversees the entire hitmen situation, and with the help of his friends, he's always a step above the competition. His love for ramen, pollock roe and baseball defines the show's title and it's uncanny but good information.
Ling Xianming the crossdressing man who's on a mission to figure out the death of his sister, is the usual hitmen, until (as mentioned) the very agency he worked for are the culprits behind the murdering, and storms on a rage to get his revenge back. His young appearance with Fei-lan serves as both a brother and a backstabber, as his killing-ridden youth serves him the purpose of being a hitmen to this day. Never a man that's cool on jokes, he primarily serves to get his job done with the least amount of disruption possible.
Kazuki Saito is your average hired hitmen that really can't seem to do his job well after a hiring from Murder, Inc. that leaves him in tropes that nothing ever goes well for him, and that relegates him into secondary character development.
Enokida, Banba's best informant and hacker, is also uncanny, but the best character I have seen in this series: Intelligent, knows his way around things, and even if in a tight corner, plays the trick games to eliminate his opponents into oblivion. His signature hacking is displayed by his red mechanical spiders that pick up info, and serves great information for him as sort of a pick-up. His relationship with his father is canon to the series, once admonished for hacking his dad's stuff, was sent to be killed but given a chance to live in Hakata and reestablish him as an alias to his real identity.
Shunsake Saruwatari (or Sarucchi as Nitta calls him) the hitmen sent to kill Banba (that no one else can kill) and Naoya Nitta the consultant on child murders both have a relationship that extends beyond the agency that they once worked for, Murder Inc. Their young days were spent playing baseball, and with that relationship, extends to the hitmen days where Sarucchi (like Lin) was getting tired of lesser jobs, and left Murder Inc on the job to exterminate Banba. Unfortunately, crossing with Banba with his always miss-the-target shirukens, so his killing resolves into another day.
The other characters (Jiro the other hitmen, Misaki his caretaker) really did a good job showing off their character traits, and that's something that I really treasure with the series, it's really good.
Satelight really did their magic on this, and it really feels on-point with the lavishing visuals of Hakata City, no to mention the murders that though feel like uncensored, but it really fleshes out the series as its driving tour de force. The character designs were really nice and thought out through and through, giving the series the stylized, serious but casual look. Well done and well played.
It's weird for an OST to have a jazz-sounding track on here, but it's the same reason that is exemplifies the series when it comes in adherence to the settings that the series is based upon. With that said, the OST here is nothing short of a great job done, with the OP really giving the sense of the killing and murder intent and the ED totally jazz-sounding end card that showcases the series setting (AGAIN) and rounds it up like a summary.
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens definitely isn't a show for those below 18 (age-restriction), but it highlights what it was supposed to do, and it does that well. Moreover, like me, if you came into this with the PVs before it, the anticipation really turned out to be an experience not to be missed. With that said (for anime onlys), if you're up for the action, I'd recommend this to you, it's one of the great shows of the Winter season.