Note: Due to the timing of this review, this article is based upon the first two episodes.
Hamatora the Animation is an anime series based upon a manga series created by Yukino Kitajima, Yuki Kodama and Yu Wazu. The show was produced by Naz.
Leading the Naz production team are Seiji Kishi (Devil Survivor 2: The Animation) and Hiroshi Kimura (Naruto Shippuden) as directors and Toka Machida and Jun Kumagi (Persona 3: The Movie #1 Spring of Birth) as the show’s main writers.
The show revolves around two Private Investigators, the impulsive Nice and clear-headed Murasaki, both of which are Minimum Holders, people with superhuman abilities.
These Minimum users seem to get their powers through a specific action that is unique to themselves and their abilities. For example while Nice gets his powers from listening to music on his head phones his partner Murasaki get’s his from removing his glasses.
Others seem to get them from other tasks like chewing gum or biting on a stun gun (that on would suck the most).
While the two are partners in crime solving there are a number of other character’s who help them along the way such as Art a Superintendent at the local police department.
As you’d expect from a mystery anime each episode deals with a new case. While the first episode dealt with two seemingly unrelated cases the duo soon see that there related and have to join forces to stop both a robbery and a kidnapping.
The second episode deals with the disappearance of a schoolteacher and a series of seemingly related bombings.
While the two and their friends are solving cases the police start investigating a string of murders involving Minimum Holders. While the story is just getting started, it’s safe to say that the duo will some find themselves working that case.
Despite the show’s dealings with murder and death the show’s tone is light and humors at times.
Unlike other titles like Persona 4, Hamatora seems to only use the humor when it wants to as the majority of the time the show is played straight only breaking for the main characters to play straight man to the ridicules things that happen around them.
However, this could end up helping the show in the end. While Persona spent so much time with comedy that it forgot what it was a series show until the final few episodes, Hamatora seems to be more grounded.
While this is only a review of the first two episodes, the show’s tone might drastically change over time, despite that one thing that won’t change is the show’s stylized art design.
While the scenery and setting are normal the characters and their abilities stand out from the backdrop.
Each character features their own unique features and even colour scheme that makes them different from one another.
However, the art truly changes when the Minimum Holders use their powers. The shows colours shift almost creating a psychedelic look to the screen.
Underneath the fight scenes is the show’s rock heavy soundtrack.
The soundtrack was done by Makotao Yoshimori (Durarara!!, Baccona!) and while it doesn’t really stand out a lot during the show’s first two episodes, when it does make it’s presence known the distorted guitar riffs and chords back up the action nicely.
Yuki Ozaki and Wataru Hatano perform the show’s opening and closing themes, “Flat” and “Hikari” respectively. While “Flat” is more of a pop song with electronic drumbeats and rock guitar’s, “Hikair” is more of a straightforward rock song.
Both song’s seem to match up with the visuals given and seem to fit with the show as a whole. Despite that without the visuals the songs would just be another nameless anime theme songs.
One of things that do bug me about the show is its main twist of superhuman characters.
While it’s clear that this idea is nothing new in the world of anime, this concept is fairly similar to one of my favorite titles Darker Than Black.
Looking past the terminology and tone differences both titles deal with character’s having to fulfill an action in order to use their power.
Where Hamatora makes the takes as easy as removing glasses in Darker Than Black each “contract” was deeper and more interesting with such goals as breaking your own fingers or folding the pages of a book.
I can’t in good conscience hold that against Hamatora as it’s a solid show that just seems to have a similar hook, but it’s still worth noting that maybe show creators and manga writers need to come up with new ideas (says the guy with a blog and no fiction publishing experience).
Additionally the show seems to use odd cuts during scenes. While normal cuts are normal these happen seemingly at random and display words for about a second making it difficult to understand what it’s suppose to be/say.
Despite these gripes with the first two episodes watched it’s clear that Hamatora is a solid title.
The show has interesting characters, a strong tone, a clear goal for the main characters and solid animation.
Although its’ similar to another popular title there’s still enough about the show to make it interesting on it’s own.
Hamatora was produced by Naz. The show is currently being simulcast on Crunchyroll’s website.