Why is that whenever I type Hamatora…it wants to be corrected to Hamtaro?
Hamatora The Animation threw me for a little loop, but not in a bad way. This will be NAZ’s first official anime title, and from what I saw it’s going to be pretty artsy and fun. I walked into Hamatora without much knowledge of it, and I wasn’t disappointed, though I will probably need more substance to really convince me that this is going to be a really good show. Right now, I can say it’s going to be a pretty watch with all the colors and action, some comedy with the character interactions, and magical/ supernatural aspects from these characters.
I really enjoyed the opening of Hamatora. It reminded me of a vocaloid song, but with normal lyrics and not Miku singing. I didn’t like that the frames were all static without any animation of movement, while things that actually moved were rips from the episode itself. I felt it to be a bit lazy, which isn’t a good sign in my opinion. Hopefully this won’t mean the rest of the episodes will share lazy scenes and repetitive moments. But I said the same thing over Hataraku Maou-sama! until they changed it to a slightly less lazy version of their first opening. Openings don’t exactly show you what to expect in an anime, so I shouldn’t judge too harshly. That, and they might be trying to conserve budget.
I thought the introduction scenes of Hamatora were fun, interesting, and even a bit comedic. We open with two of our main characters at a bank while on the phone speaking to a teller. Our protagonist, Nice, is yelling at his superior Murasaki about his troubles at the bank while Murasaki explains to him what do. The teller looks fairly nervous (because Nice is yelling on the phone and causing quite the commotion), but Nice doesn’t care and the adorable Hajime next to him explains how hungry she is. Now at first you might think of this scene as fairly comical, yet nothing too special. The scene pans back a bit to give a better perspective of the area, and we find Nice and Hajime in the middle of (and apparently leading) a bank robbery heist. This scene alone piqued my interest as a creative introduction to our characters and the nature of business they will be conducting themselves with.
As the episode continues we are introduced to the other characters. We find out they have super powers, each fairly unique from each other, and goals that somewhat put them in the same boat. As a result, they run a detective service called Hamatora, and they deal with cases all over. While there was nothing exceedingly impressive in our cast, the content of the show is enjoyable. After the bank heist, we find that the next mission on the list is to crack a safe and to protect a girl with some fairly important secrets to keep, only to find out the cases are connected and that the safe just contained a rich old man’s porn stash (and a homage to prostitution, since the magazines we covered with young girls and not models, if you catch my drift). From what I read about the content of the series, it goes over some touchy topics in modern society. Overall, if the cast ever gets bland (which is quite possible) at least the quirkiness of the content can make up for it. And you’ll find that the comedy is either a hit or miss (such as the “dressed up as a maid” scene). Some might find it funny, but I thought it was out of place.
In a way it has the opposite reactions I had toward Gatchaman Crowds where the characters were so colorful and enjoyable but the content was a tad lacking. I couldn’t help but compare Hamatora to other series. At first I had a feeling of [C]: Control – The Money of Soul and Possibility, a splash of Persona 4 The Animation, the colorfulness and charm of Gatchaman Crowds, and a sprinkle of Durarara!!. Someone actually mentioned it was similar to GetBackers which, now that I think about it, is pretty accurate. There are even a character or two that resemble some of the GetBackers cast.
There’s a whole list of comparisons I can continue to make too. The art was designed by Kodama Yuki, the same guy behind Blood Lad (see, another comparison). The directors have a good enough reputation to ensure that this show won’t go down the drain in terms of quality. The animation overall is alright from what I saw, not too spectacular but not so terrible it makes my eyes bleed. Some scenes are better than others, while it goes from normal-ish to pretty trippy really quick. I might pick up the manga just to see how the story plays out.
Bottom line: I’m looking forward to what this show will bring me. While the scenes are potential acid trips, it has a cool sense of style and is enjoyable to sit through.