Welcome everyone, to the next season of Throwback Thursday, Michiko & Hatchin! I hope you’re all having a great Thanksgiving. I hope I am, I’m writing this a few days in advance. We have a lot to talk about with this new series, and not a lot of time to do it, so lets jump right into it!
Starting off, lets talk production. I’m very split on how Michiko & Hatchin looks. The backgrounds are absolutely gorgeous, no question there. Whether it be the cheap “rich” inside of the priests house, with its fraying wallpaper contrasting the rich furniture, or the detailed and dirty city streets and all the graffiti present on the walls, it looks great. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a world so fully realized as this through just its background art alone. But the rest of the visuals… Something feels off. Michiko herself is fantastically animated at times, from the wind blowing through her hair as she rides her bike to her various gunfights. But something about Hatchin’s design, her face, the proportions, all feels off to me. Maybe I’ll get used to it with time and it won’t be an issue, but this early on there’s definitely something off putting about it.
As for my initial impressions of the show, I like it! I’m a big fan of the Latin American aesthetic/vibe, from its streets to its people. I wish it had a bit more of a latin flair in its music, but we are only 2 episodes in so I probably just haven’t had a good chance to hear it yet. Most of all though, I’m glad to be out of god damn highschool and into something a bit more adult. Not just in the “Guns and sex” way, but also the clearly corrupt government, the failing state, the socio-economic exploration we will probably get. I’m vibing with all of it! The only issue I’m seeing is that I don’t yet know what its narrative goal is, assuming it has one. Luckily for me, I’m a sucker for Found Family media, so I’ll probably enjoy whatever it ends up doing.
Meanwhile character-wise, I’m absolutely in love with Michiko. From her complete lack of empathy towards other people to her clear care for Hatchin. What I like most though? That Michiko & Hatchin isn’t even trying to convince us she’s a good person. Most shows, they introduce a criminal as their lead and they try to give them a heart of gold. Or show they are only a criminal by necessity. Michiko? She steals food from homeless dudes, shoots up banks, and outright tells a child if she isn’t who she thinks she is she will just abandon her. Michiko is not, in any way, a good person. Which is why I think those moments of care and human connection she shows shine so much. They feel more genuine when we know she doesn’t have to do them. And her motivations are just as nebulous!
We know she want to save Hana, sure. The reason being that Hana’s picture is what got her through her years of prison, kept her sane. But why did the picture help? Hana clearly isn’t Michiko’s daughter, not only do they look nothing alike but their ages don’t match up for that either. There are hints that Hana is the child of Michiko’s former love, which could work I suppose. But even for that we have conflicting dates as to his death and Hana’s birth. Not to mention this tattoo we keep seeing around that’s apparently on both of their stomachs. I don’t mean any of this as a criticism, we aren’t supposed to know any of it yet. I mean it more as a demonstration of just how many plot threads Michiko & Hatchin has created in just 2 episodes.
And then there’s still the question of how Jambo, the police sergeant, fits into all of this. She clearly has a history with Michiko, one going all the way back to their childhood. But I can’t yet figure out of that history is good or bad. They feel like they were friends at one point, and possibly even still are. Did Jambo give her that picture to try and help Michiko through prison, or to try and taunt her? Are they working together and thats why Michiko keeps getting away from her, or is there an actual rivalry there? I don’t have any idea! But I’m really hopeful that Michiko & Hatchin will answer these questions and more, because their relationship is perhaps the 2nd most interesting thing about the series so far. So yeah, first impressions are pretty damn good. Now onto the episodes themselves!
First up is episode 1, “Farewell, Cruel Paradise!”. Overall, I thought this was a pretty good intro episode. It excelled at building up and introducing us to the world of Michiko & Hatchin. From the abusive prison conditions to the terrible life on the streets, the money-obsessed priest to the stylish criminals. This episode did everything it could to engage us in it’s setting and tell us that this world is absolute shit. My only complaint about it is that it felt like it went to far at times with Hana’s abuse, both in length and degree. I understand that it wanted to sell us on her backstory, but I think it managed that in the first few moments alone. The fact it continued for almost the entire episode, to the point of threatening to burn her, just felt like a bit much to me.
Meanwhile in episode 2, “The Brown Sugar Outlaw”, where episode 1 established and introduced us to Hana this episode properly introduces us to Michiko. We get a bit of backstory, some action, introduced to some of her other relationships and, most importantly, see how these two come to trust each other by the end. Overall, again, I think it was pretty good. It sold me on how much of a piece of shit the priest is, the car chase through the streets action was fun, and I like that Hana came to realize that for all of her bluntness, Michiko is still probably the best person she’s met so far. And with that, I don’t really have any complaints about the episode. It was just a good time and we’ve already covered the main details above.
So yeah, all in all I’m really interested in Michiko and Hatchin so far. I’m a sucker for found family, the setting is really interesting, the Latin American aesthetic is always unique and nice to see in anime. My only real concern about it at this point is its narrative. I’m not yet sold on what it’s doing or where it’s going, mostly because I don’t know what it’s doing or where it’s going. I figure that as we get into the show proper, remember we are only 2 episodes in at this point so it’s completely understandable to not have answers to these things, that it will start to tell us more about what is going on. For now? For now I’m having a good time. Now back to Thanksgiving leftovers!