Hitman Reborn, aka “The Idiotic Mafia anime”. Not that it’s really about mafia; just like it happens with most shonen, the theme is just flavour. It could be about pirates or ninjas and it wouldn’t make a difference.
The premise is the typical “insecure boy grows stronger, makes allies and creates his own empire” with the catch being he didn’t chose it. He doesn’t want to be famous and powerful, his father does, so he can succeed him in his mafia family when he retires. Being forced to do something is an interesting twist, since it gives lots of openings for dealing with psychological pressure, in the likes of Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis.
Unfortunately, Hitman Reborn is not Neon Genesis. Don’t expect anything multi-layered, or well-thought out, since it is mostly a silly action/comedy focused on random gags, slapstick humour, and occasionally some excuse to have teenagers with superpowers fighting each other.
Speaking of teenagers, character appeal in this series is awful. The protagonist appears to be Tsuma, but he is just a boring wimp who just has to do stuff for the heck of it. The real protagonists are Reborn, the baby-mafia with a lizard gun, and Lambo, the afro cow-uniform baby. There are others almost as interesting and, yeah, again all of them are babies doing nonsense. Do you believe this is a shonen about babies? And their character designs are shit. People who complain a lot about the way One Piece characters look, they need to check out Hitman Reborn and realise how they are far from the worst.
Most of them are defined by a single personality quirk, making them one dimensional at best, and have a running gag which repeats way too much without being smart or funny. Unless your mental age is bellow 8 years old or something, you will not laugh after the second time they reuse the exact same joke. Especially the part where Tsuma is in trouble, Reborn shoots him with a magic bullet, and he gets a convenient power up to save the day. All of which while shredding his clothes because that is supposed to be funny if you are 7 years old. It becomes annoying very fast.
Any supposed character development happens in a fatalistic way. What I mean is that there is time travel in this show, where you see how cool and powerful everybody becomes in the future. You know from the very beginning what they will be like at the end of the story. Nobody is trying to learn or mature, they only switch into their future selves, or try to imitate what they know they will become. Tsuma in particular is a spineless wimp, who becomes furious and powerful every time a magic bullet hits him. As soon as the effect wears off, he reverts back into a spineless idiot. That is not character development, it’s freaking bullshit.
Thus along with the awful characters comes the awful script. The story is barely there, goes nowhere, and you shouldn’t even care about it. Whatever plot progression they throw at you, it’s slow, generic, filled with dead time, and on top of that it’s incomplete.
And it’s not like they don’t overcome challenges or become stronger as time goes by, it’s that it all plays out in a very silly way and outside of some juvenile jokes, there is not pay off. You know they will win because you see their future selves, and the way they win is by magic power ups instead of tactical warfare. They are all lazily convenient and lack excitement.
Even if you keep your expectations low, the pacing is dragging to the point of insanity. The first 20 episodes are just introduction of characters with no plot continuity, and around episode 80, half the content is a summary, a preview, completely unrelated gag shorts as an epilogue, and lots of boring filler arcs. They even go as low as showing girls cooking in the middle of a freaking mafia war. Because that’s the only thing girls can do in this show; they cook while the boys do all the fighting. Fate/Stay Kitchen.
So, if you want to watch a badly paced shonen about babies with time machines and spineless boys running around naked, be my guest and watch this incomplete garbage. If on the other hand you want to watch an actually good shonen, there is always Hokuto no Ken.
Before you start reading this review, I will tell you it will contain spoilers... that said, I will assume the reader has already watched the anime (wholly or not). You have been warned…
I hesitatingly started to watch Hitman Reborn after playing Jump Ultimate Stars, a DS game with a wide variety of shounen anime characters. Tsuna was one of the playable characters and I found him most interesting. I had never heard of the anime and didn’t really know what to expect. The storyline is somewhat unbelievable, with baby mafia hitmen and whatnot, but that’s why you have imagination for. Every anime has its own reality after all… and I liked this reality from the get-go. The anime starts off under a comedic angle, spending 19 episodes to make the viewer familiar with the characters. And though they were a lot of fun to watch and made you laugh a lot, if I had to sit through 203 episodes like this, I would’ve given up before reaching 50. I had nothing to worry about however, since episode 20 puts an end to the first slice of life arc and starts an arc with a lot more action in it. Now, a few introduction episodes are not bad, of course, but 20 are far too many. I can remember several episodes that could easily be left out, like the one where Moretti is introduced in (only to appear a few more times along Iemitsu’s team). When writing a anime, aiming for an audience that likes shounen, don’t start with 20 episodes that most of those Shounen fans would call pointless filler. But enough whining about that 10% of the anime that disappointed me a bit.
As I advanced in the anime, I really started to like this whole story. There’re a lot of epic moments and the fights are always different. I had to get used a bit to the box weapons introduced in the Future Arc, but I soon started to like that new style of fighting. This anime has excited far more than any other anime ever has…
However, with every anime, there’s always a few negative points. First, from experience I know that shows (anime or regular ones) that involve time and dimension travel tend to mess up around that aspect. It’s sad to say, but Katekyo Hitman Reborn is no exception. Especially the fact that one week in the present is 10 minutes (or so, don’t remember correctly) in the future and that later on, one month in the future is 3 days in the present. Aside from that, they use the 10-year bazooka. The 10-year bazooka shoots someone from the present to 10 years in the future, while the same person from the future is brought back to the present… past… whatever. The present and future person switch places for 5 minutes. The problem here is that, when someone goes back to the present, stays there for a week and then uses the 10-year bazooka to shoot itself back to the future, he logically should arrive in the future with a week difference between the point where he went back to the present and when he came back to the future. He used the 10-year bazooka after all… right? Wrong… at least, that’s where the inconsistency here lies.
Furthermore, according to this anime, every time you make a choice, new dimensions are made, with in each dimension playing out the scenario what would’ve happened if you made another decision… However, that would mean that in one second a billion new dimensions are created by one person’s possible actions alone. It’s a bit unbelievable, but okay, why not.
My second point is the fact that, if you don’t read the manga (like I do), the anime leaves the viewer with a lot of questions. What’s the story behind the arcobalenos? Why did Colonello push Lal Mirch away at the last second? More of those questions… I’m sure they will be explained in the manga eventually, but it still leaves the viewer confused.
The story gets a 8.5 from me.
Now, let me state one thing. I’m not a person that pays too much attention to the animation. When determining if I want to watch an anime, I mostly look at the level of animation, but that’s pretty much all. As long as I don’t think the animation-style is ugly, I’m okay with it. That said, I don’t really know how to rate this. I don’t think the animation stands out, but it wasn’t bad either.
Let’s give it a 9…
Just like with animation, I’m not really a person to pay much attention to the music either. I mostly skip over the opening themes and don’t watch the ending themes. The OST was great though. Future Hibari’s theme song was a great one. I don’t know much about voice acting, so I’ll leave it at this.
A 9 for this one.
This is where, I think, the anime stands out the most. An anime always starts off with characters that have generic personalities. It’s hard to show a character’s original when they are first introduced. There’s always a character from another anime that looks a lot like that particular character (physically or personality-wise). Of course, Katekyo Hitman Reborn is not exception. There’s the extremely unlucky, but gentle, Tsuna, the hot-headed Gokudera, the silent and “cool” Hibari, the annoying Lambo etc. However, as you advance in the series, you will soon notice that the characters get developed very well from the get-go. I especially liked it that a lot of the running gags of this anime always involve more than one person, mostly two. When certain people meet, you inevitably know what will be happening. Hibari and Mukuro meet? They get in a fight. Gokudera sees Bianchi’s face? Gokudera falls down to the ground, feeling another stomach ache coming up. Bianchi spots adult Lambo? Adult Lambo has to run for his life to not get killed by Bianchi. I-Pin sees Hibari? She immediately activates the Pinzu-Timed Super Explosion. There’s more of those. And it doesn’t matter under what circumstances, these things will happen.
I think a 10 is a well-earned rating.
Try to get past the first 19 episodes… after that, this is anime is beyond epic, proving time and time again that this is not just a simple anime. A must-watch for every shounen fan!
This anime is awesome! At first I disliked it because in the first 20 episodes (or something like this) was stupid and very annoying. But after this, the plot started and the character designs improved. C'mon, look at how Tsuna looks in the first episode and after see how Tsuna looks like in episode 100 for example.
Honestly, after some episodes I wanted to drop it, but I was thinking that it will become better after few episodes. And I was right! You should watch it! It's AMAZING! If you want to see some scenes, then search on YouTube "Make it rock" and click on the first video, the one with Hyper Mode Tsuna. :D
Sorry If my english is bad.
(NO SPOILERS AND SHORT) Now LISTEN. Before you start, or maybe as you're on like episode 10 you're reading this, You might think this anime is a waste of your time and you're really not feeling it. LISTEN PLEASE LISTEN TO THE OTHER reviews It gets BETTER after the first 20 THE WHOLE Atmosphere changes, I went from "What is this I'm not going to be able to finish 203 episodes of this nonsense to it being one of my favorite anime's I've seen in my life, the story gets so deep, THE fight scenes get you SOOO HYPED! Opening and Endings are nice. I honestly got to the last 20 episodes in 2015 and Didn't finish it until Today in 2016... Just because I didn't want to finish this greatness. I almost cried a few times cause I didn't want it to end. WATCH IT TRUST ME.
Story: I remember several years back, when Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn! first aired, I was in my Bleach jammies watching the first episode and I wasn't all too amazed. Though, thanks to the suggestions of my High School friends, I eventually gave it another chance. The first arc is absolutely nonsensical, the humor is great-- but it's so silly that it tends to discourage viewers from continuing to watch. By the time the plot really kicks into gear though, I found myself waiting impatiently for the next episode to air. The series starts out with an extremely below-average middle school student, Tsuna, who fatefully meets an infant mafia member named Reborn. Reborn reveals to Tsuna that he's the up-and-coming boss for the Vongola family and all of the crazy shenanigans between Reborn, Tsuna and the rest of the cast begins from there. Essentially, KHR! is your typical shounen series, following a similar formula to that of Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece. Despite that, KHR! shines brilliantly with well-orchestrated battles and memorable--even touching events.
Animation: To be honest, the animation isn't as great as it could be. The scenery could be more detailed, the faces are distorted in strange angles, and the character designs were very average. Speaking of character designs, I initially despised the babies; they looked like walking bobble-head dolls, but I eventually warmed up to them and their odd appearance. What I thought was done well were the intense battles. The movement was fluid in key fights and that was satisfying enough for an action fan like myself.
Sound: I have to say that the sound is amazing. Most of the openings and endings were really catchy, and each character had a theme that was suitable for them. From Lambo's mischievous tune, to Bianchi's mysterious and sexy composition, every theme fit their character perfectly!
Characters: KHR! boasts some of the most interesting characters and personalities. Initially, they start out as very one-dimensional characters (i.e. the whiny and reluctant Tsuna, the hot-headed and absurdly loyal Hayato, and the oblivious and optimistic Takeshi). As time passes, these characters evolve little by little, and without even realizing it, they develop into true Vongola-style hitmen. Aside from those three though, most characters remain quite flat, such as Lambo, or the super-cool Kyoya Hibari. Notwithstanding, these characters still entertain with Kyoya's fights and unyielding coolness giving me chills down my spine, and Lambo providing consistent laughs throughout the series. I would have given the characters a higher rating if it weren't for several characters turning out to be disappointing or downright annoying, but I shall not spoil that for you.
Overall: All things considered, KHR! shot up the list as one of my favorite Shonen Jump series of all time, alongside One Piece. If you're really into action series with great comedy, and haven't watched KHR! yet, then you're really missing out.