Hey, guys. RobBarracuda here, it’s Labor Day weekend, and Toonami took Saturday off from airing anything new. In place of the usual line-up, we got a marathon of the 7 most recently aired episodes of the anime Michiko and Hatchin. So for this week, let’s do a little recap piece of the first 10 episodes of the series thus far. This will mainly be a broad overview of the plot so far, covering the important story threads established up to know, and any specific details I find interesting. Let’s do this!
Taking place in the Brazilian-inspired fictional country of Diamandra, the opening of the series starts off with a prison break, where we meet our main protagonist Michiko Malandro. She successfully manages to escape despite constant pursuit by officers and even a helicopter, and afterwards we cut to our other titular protagonist Hana “Hatchin” Morenos, living in what may be the worst foster home on the face of the earth. The caretaker Father Pedro, and his wife are both phenomenally abusive assholes, and that’s to say nothing of the other two kids, Maria and Gabriel. Together, they all constantly make Hana as miserable as possible, which includes plenty of verbal abuse as well as physical abuse. One day, while all of them are eating together, Michiko unexpectedly busts through the window via motorcycle and proceeds to take Hana with her. Since she believes Hana to be her daughter (mainly owing to a strange tattoo that both of them possess), Michiko keeps her around. Together, the two go off throughout the gritty crime-ridden streets of Diamandra trying to find Hiroshi Morenos, Michiko’s past lover and Hana’s father. We learn in a flashback that Hiroshi probably died in a bus explosion several years ago, but Michiko still believes that he might be alive somewhere. Meanwhile, they have to evade being captured by constantly pursuing police forces being led by Atsuko, an old childhood friend of Michiko’s, in addition to miscellaneous other bad guys they come across.
Throughout this journey, our heroes find themselves embroiled in a variety of conflicts that serve to expand on the larger backstory that precedes the present-day events of the series. One of the critical running plot threads concerns a long-standing rivalry between two groups known as Fantasma and Monstro Preto. Michiko was arrested 12 years prior to the events of the series for destroying properties that were connected to the Fantasma group. She has some kind of association with the Preto group, but in some of the flashbacks she claims to not have direct involvement with them, although Hiroshi was a member of the group himself. As Michiko and Hana go on their search, the two get several leads as to where he could be, but most of them end up being dead ends. In episode 3, Michiko uses a hand-drawn image to find where he could be, which leads her to a man that while matching the image, is not actually Hiroshi since he doesn’t seem to have the same swagger and coolness. In episode 4, Michiko and Hana encounter a stripper named Pepe Lima who claims to have knowledge of his whereabouts and agrees to exchange information with them if Michiko can beat her in a drinking competition. Of course Michiko wins, but Lima has one too many and is unable to communicate anything afterwards.
Drunk Hana is still the best thing, by the way.
One of the only substantial clues that our two leads seems to have is pursuing a man named Satoshi Batista, a criminal and leader of Monstro Preto who was friends with Hiroshi back when they were children. One of the first major mentions of Satoshi is in the two-part episode “The Saudade of Fools”, when Michiko attempts to pursue him, and leaves Hana at the orphanage where Michiko herself grew up. Hana escapes and ends up getting kidnapped by a criminal gang led by Vasily, who we see make a call to Satoshi and informing him of Michiko’s returned presence. Later on, in the episode “Black Noise and a Dope Game”, our leads are in the city of Osso where Hana ends up following and trailing someone going around with the name Satoshi. After Hana relays this information to Michiko, Michiko ends up pursuing the man, only to find out that the ”Satoshi” in question is actually an imposter named Davi Nativa going around using Satoshi’s name as an alias. She then answers a phone call from a man named Shinsuke who is also familiar with Michiko and is an ally of the real Satoshi. After sending her and Davi on a wild goose chase in which they have to traverse the trolley system, they end up in the hands of Shinsuke who holds them hostage. “The Carnival of Hyenas” finally shows us the real Satoshi Batista, as he kidnaps a former Monstro Preto boss, holds his family hostage, and uses their house as a place for Shinsuke to drop off the kidnapped Michiko. At this point, Atsuko and the police show up at the house, but Satoshi and Michiko escape into the nearby fields. Michiko and Atsuko have a brief standoff before she allows Michiko to escape, and Satoshi also ends up getting away. This basically covers the string of important plot events and details from episodes 1-10.
Oh, before we get into my thoughts so far, one stray observation made while watching the series, and maybe you all saw it too: in the opening flashback of “The Carnival of Hyenas”, there’s a scene where Hiroshi’s making an omelette, he drops an eggshell piece into the omelette, and he tries to pick it out. This is reminiscent of a scene in the first episode where Hana’s cooking breakfast for her foster family and she does the same thing. Also this episode gives us zero doubt that Hiroshi is Hana’s father, since Hiroshi as a kid looks exactly the same as Hana now.
Some opinions about the show so far: One thing I’ll give the show is that it’s very impressive from a technical standpoint. Visually, I love the really gritty-yet-stylish look and feel of Diamandra and its various cities and locales, echoing the aesthetic sensibilities of a Robert Rodriguez film like Machete, Desperado, and El Mariachi. I also really like the music, which always feels quite fitting and authentically South American. The dub and acting are also pretty good throughout, with the obvious MVP being Monica Rial as Michiko, being perfectly angry, abrasive, obnoxious, and kind of fun at times.
The story is pretty interesting and attention-getting, with the best parts being anything related to the backstory of Monstro Preto and their rivalry with the Fantasma gang that constantly has me wanting to know more. Admittingly, the series isn’t constant balls-out crazy action, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, since when we do get a major action setpiece, they’re pretty engaging and memorable. The most memorable so far is definitely the bullfight in “The Saudade of Fools (part 2)”, in which Michiko and Hana attempt to evade a bull as Michiko is also simultaneously fighting the gang leader Vasily. It’s a pure spectacle to behold and is just a ton of fun to watch. The series is not perfect, though. If there’s any major flaw so far, it is the relationship between the two titular characters. There’s quite a lot of arguing and bickering between the two, with Michiko being kind of a hardass mother figure and Hana being unable to deal with it, but they argue so often that it gets a little grating and repetitive. That’s really the only thing that I can say is enough of a flaw to somewhat drag the show’s quality down. But other than that, Michiko and Hatchin has been pretty good so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the rest of the series goes.
I’ll be recapping and reviewing episodes of Michiko and Hatchin as they air on Toonami, so make sure to stay tuned for those. Follow me on Twitter!