Posted on 19 March 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Michiko e Hatchin



Ah, time to review one of my favourites of the past season. Manglobe always manages to come with some fun, interesting and innovative series, and this one’s no different. While Samurai Champloo had its action, Ergo Proxy had its plot, Michiko e Hatchin stands out in its characters. But like the other two, it really has so much more to like about it.

I often criticise anime for taking place too much in Japan, while there are much more interesting sites in the world to explore. This series does that exactly, giving an incredibly accurate portrayal of Brazil in the 1980s to work with. From the police driving in beetles to the busy cities, everything just screams “Brazil” throughout the entire series. The only other series that I can think of that play out somewhere in south America are more than twenty-five years old by now.

And like mentioned above: the characters are the true highlight of this series. While at first this seems like your average strong character travels together with weak character, it soon becomes clear that the relationship between Michiko and Hatchin is much, much different. Michiko is a sleezebag, she constantly causes trouble and knows nothing about raising children. Hatchin is neat, tidy and ordered, but hates laziness with passion. The personalities between the two constantly clash, and it actually takes a very, very long time for the two of them to get used to each other, but when they do, they really complement their own weaknesses. Especially Hatchin grows into an awesome character, who is constantly fun to watch.

This series can also boast one of the best villains out there in a long, long time. Satoshi doesn’t appear on the screen a lot, but when he does, you instantly know that this guy is incredibly dangerous, and yet at the same time he stands so far away from your standard “Muaha, I’m going to destroy the world because I’m evil!” that you seem to see in nearly every anime nowadays.

What also made this into such a great show is that it’s incredibly varied. It’s a show with many different faces, rather than just one general tone that keeps up for the entire series. One episode may be fun and full of comedy, while the next is an incredibly dark one about the inner clashes of street gangs, while the next may turn into a fun action-game sequence. You’ll never know what the series is going to focus on next, but it’s always going to be fresh and interesting.

Right now, I’m trying to think of a big flaw in this series, but all I can think of is some tiny flaws, like how for some characters the introduction seems to be missing, so you’re often thrown into the blue, or how the ending doesn’t answer all of the questions that you might have gathered through the series, but those are just mere details.

The thing is, that Michiko e Hatchin is an awesome, stylish and mature series and it excels at just about everything that it does. There is a fantastic dynamic between the characters, and never once does it feel childish or anything, despite Hatchin being a 10 year old and all. It’s really got a bit of everything, and it’s my personal favourite series of a studio that had already a record of putting down the most amazing series.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 9/10
Posted on with categories: Michiko e Hatchin



Short Synopsis: It’s time for Hiroshi to make his appearance.
Episode Rating: 8/10 (Excellent)
And so it has ended. The ending was good, and in a way it was the only ending that would have made sense. I really like how the creators didn’t try to stuff too much into this episode, but also saved enough for this episode to happen. the whole gang wars and Satoshi storyline all ended in the previous episode, and this episode was just about Hatchin, Hiroshi, Michiko and the police. The creators could have kept Satoshi alive in order to create some chaotic ending, or like Samurai Champloo, they could have saved him for the big fight, like with Samurai Champloo, but this ending was very focused, and indeed served very clearly its purpose.

So yeah, while it would have been nice for Michiko, Hiroshi and Hatchin to live happily ever after, that just isn’t realistic. Michiko is wanted by the police. It just isn’t realistic for her to raise a child while she constantly has to look out for the police, and the only reason why she took the huge gamble of busting jail and running away from the police was to let Hatchin meet her father. Even though she definitely wanted to see Hiroshi back, and probably still loves him, she knew all along that she’d be returning to jail when she ended up meeting the guy, and Atsuko saw that as well.

And then of course it would have been nice for Hatchin to grow up along with her father in Mexico, but the dude ran away for a reason. There’s no way that he’s suddenly going to have a change of heart. He indeed quickly left Hatchin to chase after another woman. I didn’t quite catch where Hatchin’s kid came from, but that’s not really important for the story. In any case, Hatchin renames herself back to Hana and starts working quietly as a restaurant’s cook for a bunch of years, to wait for Michiko to sit out her time in jail. And so, when the latter gets released for real, she of course immediately heads to where Hatchin ended up living (she probably knew this because Hiroshi left her the address). Oh, and grown up Hatchin looks awesome, by the way.

The only disappointment with this ending really was that we never knew who exactly was Hatchin’s mother. Sure we also don’t know exactly what happened during Hiroshi’s bus accident, but we don’t need to: he clearly faked his own death in order to run away from the likes of Satoshi and the other gang members he got on bad terms with, but I’d love to have seen Hatchin’s mother, though that would probably be one of the countless women Hiroshi hung out with, only to dump afterwards after making her get the wing tattoo.

I don’t think that this is going to be one of the best endings of the season, though it is probably going to be the most realistic one. And furthermore, the rest of this series definitely has been one of the most enjoyable ones out of the ones currently airing, apart from Birdy the Mighty. It was definitely fun blogging this series (and fanboying about Hatchin), and I’m looking forward to about two years from now, in which we get to see Manglobe’s next epic.

Posted on 12 March 2009 with categories: Michiko e Hatchin



Short Synopsis: Michiko tries to find Hatchin as she’s chased by the police.
Episode Rating: 8,5/10 (Awesome)
Oh, how I love this series. Why must there be only one episode left!?

In any case, this episode was very much about the dark side of Michiko e Hatchin as it prepared for the final episode… and finishes off Satoshi’s storyline. I must say that his time together with Hatchin made a lot of impact on me. Hatchin is such an awesome damsel in distress: while she pretty much got dragged along by Satoshi, she constantly tried to argue with him and run away. Even going as far as trying to throw rocks at the guy when he had his gun pointed at her.

Satoshi’s end was… amazing, but not in the usual way. His development in the end was so incredibly subtle. There was no “zomg look here I did something nice for a change”. She came to him at a time in which he was in trouble and alone as well, there was just his time hanging out with Hatchin, his constant arguing with her, and this one line in which he acknowledged her (when she tried to throw that rock to him). With that, his sacrifice made perfect sense. Anime has a bad track record of making bad-ass punks like him turn soft in an overly cheesy way, but there was no cheese whatsoever in Satoshi’s death. His demise was brutal, there was no crying, overacted sadness or anything. Just a couple of smiling punks that grinned as they finished him off. It’s been a while since I’ve seen such a cold death from one of my favourite characters.

The past two episodes were really about the Hatchin vs. Satoshi, but at the same time Michiko did enough to keep her side of the story busy. Hatchin really has a lot of influence on the people she meets, and the creators did such a wonderful job on making this assumable. Michiko, a woman who is supposed to be on the run instead of hiding focuses on trying to get Hatchin back, throwing herself onto the lions. We’ve seen thus far that the police are not exactly perfect in this series but you don’t want to be walking right into them or you’ll be screwed.

The new policemen also felt like they were supposed to be introduced at this point, not like Samurai Champloo which needed a bunch of villains for its action-packed finale. And oh boy, speaking of which: I was so sure that the creators were going to wait till the next episode to show Hiroshi, and yet the bugger already popped up right now.

The next episode… it really promises to become an amazing one. I love endings which don’t revolve around two extremely powerful people going at it against each other (after all, it’s just too predictable, we’ve seen those things many times before), and in the end it’s going to be a combination of a cat-and-mouse game with the police and that loser of a Hiroshi trying to justify himself in front of his daughter. The interesting thing is of course going to be that Hatchin really doesn’t care about whether she can meet her father or not, but she is essentially trying to find him for Michiko. With Fuu, her journey was pretty much over when she met her father, but for Michiko and Hatchin, there’s a whole more dimension between them and Hiroshi.

At this point, I’d definitely label this series at the top of the season, even above Casshern Sins which in the end didn’t live up to its expectations. Michiko e Hatchin more than did, and I’m SO looking forward to that final episode, and at the same time I’d just wish it were longer. You can pretty much consider me a Manglobe-fanboy at this point. Samurai Champloo and Ergo Proxy already were incredibly good, but Michiko e Hatchin far surpassed them.

Posted on 6 March 2009 with categories: Michiko e Hatchin



Short Synopsis: Satoshi vs Shinsuke.
Episode Rating: 8,5/10 (Awesome)
Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! This series already was one of my favourites of the currently airing shows, and in the past two episodes it really surpassed itself! While for Casshern Sins I wasn’t sure whether everything would come together in the end, I can be sure for Michiko e Hatchin: it’s going to have an awesome finale! There are so many trumps that it hasn’t played yet, and yet it feels like they can perfectly fit within the final two episodes of this show. At this point, I can say that Michiko e Hatchin has been Manglobe’s best work: Ergo Proxy had pacing issues and Samurai Champloo was a bit meager on its overall storyline, but this time it feels like they’ve done a job without any major flaws. Not to mention that it’s been incredibly fun so far.

This episode really surprised me when it Satoshi took care of Shinsuke and his gang. Especially the way he used his head to completely screw over all of his attackers was awesome, and now he ended up killing someone he grew up with. He originally was portrayed as a heartless bastard, but I really liked it how he did show emotion when he was about to kill Shinsuke. And again we see Michiko and Hatchin split up for more than one episode. Michiko’s parts were also pretty intense.

This series really has something I’ve been looking for a long time now. I think the last series I watched that had it was Shion no Ou: call it the X-factor. Characters that can be awesome no matter what they do. It’s really one of the reasons why I’m still so much into anime. The nicely written series are a nice way to spend time, but the really special series like this one are especially the ones that make it worth it. This is of course something incredibly subjective, but for me this series has been an awesome ride.

Posted on 5 March 2009 with categories: Michiko e Hatchin



Short Synopsis: A trainwreck. Literally!
Episode Rating: 9/10 (fantastic)
Haha! So what if the animation style was completely different from the rest of the series?! This most likely was one of the best episodes of Michiko e Hatchin yet! It’s really awesome that everything is now coming together more than ever. I really have to say that Manglobe did a fantastic job on this episode, and I can only hope that the rest of the series’ finale is going to be as awesome as this!

And MAN! Satoshi seriously is the best villain I’ve seen in a long, long while, and that considering how relatively little airtime he has gotten in the series! Every time he appears, you just know that he’s going to do something evil, and yet he stands so far above 99% of all those “Muaha I’m going to destroy the world because I’m evil!!1!”-villains. This episode makes it even better when it unites the two best characters of this series: Hatchin and Satoshi, with awesome results.

And in the meantime Atsuko pays a visit to Michiko. Ah, so what if it’s forced and directed, it was damn awesome as well: we finally get some real insight into Atsuko’s character. Even when Michiko served in jail, she just kept running after her like a shadow, but in the end she values her as a friend and really intends to help her escape, although this would mean that she’d have to abandon Hiroshi and Hatchin for it. And yet again, Michiko ignores her requests. It turns out that what she wants more than anything else isn’t revenge on Michiko, but instead acknowledgement. She wants Michiko to see her as an equal, and she just keeps failing at it.

And yeah, the animation was screwed up, but nevertheless it looked GREAT. There was lots of movement and interesting camera-angles, perhaps at the expense of a Hatchin that looked less cute than usual. At times like these, I’m grateful for this series’ really weird broadcasting policy: I can hardly wait for that next episode!

Posted on 20 February 2009 with categories: Michiko e Hatchin



Short Synopsis: Hatchin goes after a TV-star who looks like Hiroshi.
Episode Rating: 8,5/10 (Awesome)
Haha, as if Hatchin hadn’t already proven her awesomeness! In this episode, she manages to break into the house of a famous TV-star, breaking his window in the process because she thought he had something to do with Hiroshi. The episode was a bit hard to understand (Kansai-ben in Brazil?! What the…?), but if I understood correctly then this guy was scouted along with Hiroshi, but then Hiroshi left again. At this point, I’m really not sure what’s up with the guy: on one hand he’s running away all the time, but on the other hand he does find the time to appear on TV and in the newspaper, and yet at the same time he takes on a small job as a truck driver. Is this really the same guy?

And on a completely different note: Hatchin’s outfit in this episode rocked! Not only did it look even more awesome than usual, but for the first time she’s not afraid to hide the tattoo on her belly, even though we’ve only seen it like what… one time before? I must say that she gets more adorable with every single episode: her big motive in this episode for finding Hiroshi isn’t for her to find her own father, but instead she wanted to see Michiko’s smile back, who finally showed some signs of happiness when Hiroshi finally seemed within her reach (including a very strange blood-nose). That’s just too damn cute.

At this point, I’m pretty sure of my top 3 shows from the past Fall Season: 1) Mouryou no Hako, 2) Casshern, 3) Michiko e Hatchin. While these three are without a doubt my favourites of the shows that started airing in that season, their order is still debatable, depending on how they chose to end themselves. Michiko e Hatchin has pretty much labelled me as a Manglobe fan, and along with Bee-Train, they’re the only studio of which I’m pretty much guaranteed to blog every one of their TV-Series that come out. I so hope that this series is going to be more than 22 episodes. Not because the finale isn’t going to fit there (it’s actually the perfect length for such a series), but I just don’t want the goodness of this series to end. This show could ave gone on for twenty more episodes if it wanted to without ever getting dull.

Posted on 13 February 2009 with categories: Michiko e Hatchin



Short Synopsis: Michiko screws up while trying to get some passports and Hatchin meets a bunch of weirdos.
Episode Rating: 8,5/10 (Awesome)
Awesome to see that both installments of Michiko e Hatchin hit the mark exactly this week. This episode combines the dark parts of the Michiko-stories with the adorable parts of the Hatchin-story-lines. So what does that mean? A bunch of cross-dressers, of course!

Hatchin, while lost and searching for Michiko (who got herself into trouble yet again (nice restaurant, by the way: every table had a live canary on it) meets a guy who is willing to offer her a place to stay. He turns out to have a very kind daughter, and at first there seems nothing wrong with them… until it becomes clear that the guy is a stage cross-dresser performer, and his “daughter” is actually an ill-mannered boy. It was just adorable to see how much this boy looked up to his father: he behaved like an angel in front of him, and when he was alone with Hatchin he just kept bragging about how good and awesome his father was (which in a way was true: at the end of the episode he managed to get Michiko out of a tight spot while placing his life on the line for her).

I also like the subtlety in which some of the more negative sides of Brazil were highlighted, with the mother who simply used her baby as a beggar in order to get some money. I like how it got its point across without being overly preachy or moralistic about it.

We also see the guy with the weird hairdo back in this episode, and he’s shaping up to be not just a threat to Michiko, but Satoshi as well, making friends with the guys who caused Michiko problems in this episode. Since the creators didn’t use them at all in this episode, my guess would be that they’re going to play a major part in this episode. And in that aspect, I think that this series beats Samurai Champloo. while the action is less stylized, in SC the major antagonists really came from out of nowhere at the last possible moment, while here they appear every once in a while too do something.

Also, Michiko has a very strange sense of Rock Paper Scissors… And was it me, or was this episode obsessed with food? Seriously, the most detailed shots came from the various dishes that passed the screen…

Posted on with categories: Michiko e Hatchin



Short Synopsis: Michiko and Hatchin run into the woman who appeared with Hiroshi in the paper (Elis Michaela).
Episode Rating: 8,5/10 (Awesome)
This post is going to be short, since I’m hungry for that next episode, but I do want to say: Michiko Rocks! It’s always fun when her character clashes with that of another one. While this is usually Hatchin, this episode showed that the formula also works with others. The bitchfight between her and Elis was downright awesome (not to mention that kiss. ^^;).

And man, that Hiroshi is one bastard, who seems to be systematically on the run for either Michiko or Hatchin. He probably also faked his own death because of that, though it makes you wonder why he became stupid enough to be featured in a newspaper article. Did he do that because he fell in love with Elis?

Posted on 7 February 2009 with categories: Michiko e Hatchin



Short Synopsis: Hatchin meets a boy of her age at a local bookstore.
Episode Rating: 8/10 (Excellent)
It’s the episodes like this one that make this series so deceptive. One episode tells a cute love story between a bunch of kids, and yet the next one can focus on the incredibly dark Michiko-storyline. This really is a very varied show. Perhaps not the most balanced one, but you’ll never know what you’re going to get with every episode.

This episode definitely focused on the cute side of this show. while Hatchin’s stories generally lack a part in the overall storyline of this series, her character more than makes up for it. In this episode she also for the first time gets to find out what it means to have a crush on someone, ,though she more shies away from it. Especially the final shot of this episode made some impact. You could see that Michiko felt Hatchin’s sadness because it didn’t work out with the boy, and yet it was done with some great subtlety so that it didn’t turn out into an endless angst-fest.

And some more random comments: nice Ergo Proxy-reference with Vincent Law the author (he seems to have written quite a few books, they were really all over the bookstore ^^;). This episode also showed that it’s got a very talented musical producer: the background music never really stood out, but it was very varied and subtle, and overall it added really well to the different scenes.

Oh, and in this episode something finally happened that made Michiko and Hatchin sound like mother and daughter: Michiko wanted to have something, (a book in this case), and asked Michiko for permission to get it. That was definitely the sign (even more than the hug at the end of this episode) that they’re growing closer together. Oh, and next week should prove to be fun: another double-episode. Woo!

Posted on 29 January 2009 with categories: Michiko e Hatchin



Short Synopsis: Satoshi sends a bunch of hit-men after Michiko.
Episode Rating: 8/10 (Excellent)
The best moments in this episode were definitely the ones involving Satoshi. Really, the guy is one of the best villains I’ve seen in a while; he just screams “charisma”, even though we hardly know anything about him. You know this guy is dangerous, and surrounded by a cast of awesome characters as in this series, I can’t wait to see the guy fully back in action again.

The rest of this episode was typical Manglobe. Their series really have a tendency to include a game element at non-filler points, even though these seem quite illogical at the time, and especially Ergo Proxy loved pulling them. This the second episode of Michiko e Hatchin in which Michiko’s enemies start playing a cat and mouse game with their victims, and I must say that they’re just as fun, and much more balanced than the ones in Ergo Proxy, which lost track of its plot a bit as it went along.

Satoshi this time hires two assassins: one of them is a drug addict at the end of his road, who desperately needs the money in order to get back to his girlfriend, and the other is a once awesome assassin who now is retired. Apparently, he’s good buddies with Satoshi, so he agreed to lend out his skills again, though the guy does make use of the opportunity to play a little game with his opponent. This all goes well until the other assassin rages into Michiko, apparently having heard her location from Satoshi who heard her location from the old guy.

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