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.