Toonami Airdate: October 24th, 2015
That title… sure is a mouthful, eh? Is this an episode of Michiko & Hatchin or an episode of One Piece?
This week, our leads find themselves in the Chinese-dominated city of Seentwan, where they’re getting some fake passports printed up for the two of them. After taking the photos and waiting, a man named Wen calls Michiko to come claim the passports. She tells Hatchin to wait at their hotel as she follows him out of the area. Hatchin, while riding to the hotel on a rickshaw, spots Michiko walking down an alley with him, and she also catches sight of two large half-built towers. Michiko is taken to a man named Pidan, who presents her with the passports but demands the money first. She takes out her wallet but finds that it’s empty, realizing that someone she had bumped into in the alley most likely took her money. Pidan and Wen try to reach a compromise, suggesting a month of prostitution to pay off the fees, but instead she chooses to kick Pidan in the face and run off. His underlings quickly give chase, following her into a store full of fish and knocking her out cold. Hatchin notices that Michiko hasn’t returned and goes out looking for her the next day, eventually catching a glimpse of Wen and chasing him into the alleys. She loses him but stops at a building called “Dong Gong Sea Gong”, where an older man happens to show up, dragging her back out into the streets and telling her to get as far away from the area as possible. She gets lost trying to find her way back to the hotel, and eventually the man finds her again. Looking out for her well-being, he promises to take her back to her hotel, but unfortunately Hatchin can’t remember the name since she doesn’t understand Chinese. She tries drawing the name from memory, but it doesn’t help much.
The man agrees to take her in until they find the hotel, taking her with him to his house. On the way, he warns Hatchin about the territory she was in, which is usually the source of criminal activity from the Heike Syndicate. Back at the man’s house, he and Hatchin sit at a table trying to figure out the name of the hotel from her drawing, while the man’s daughter, Bebel, brings freshly prepared food to the table. Hatchin lets him know about her search for Michiko and the circumstances of her disappearance, even showing him a picture of the two so he can help find her. He asks Bebel to look after Hatchin while he goes off to find her, and he promptly heads out, but not before Bebel says goodbye to her father. As soon as he leaves, Bebel proceeds to act rude and crass, inhaling food like she’s Goku or Luffy, and tells Hatchin to not worry so much because “us guys will take care of it”. Hatchin asks what she means by “us guys”, to which Bebel responds by standing up and lifting her dress, revealing that she is in fact a boy. Bebel proceeds to go all evil stepmother on Hatchin, chewing her out for her “ghetto slobbishness” and whacking her with a bamboo stick. She gets pissed and throws a bowl against the wall, leading Bebel to play innocent and cry, claiming that Hatchin’s being mean to him unprovoked.
Bebel forces Hatchin to clean the floor while eating snacks and just general being rude to her. Hmmm… a bratty kid forcing Hatchin to do chores while being a shit-head. Is this a Chinese town, or are we back at the orphanage from the beginning of the series? Anyway, Hatchin catches sight of a detailed poster drawing of someone, and Bebel points out that this is his dad.
It turns out Bebel’s dad, who we finally learn is named Nei Feng-Yi, has a career as an immensely popular dan actor. Quick vocabulary lesson: dan is the general term for women roles in Chinese operas, often denoting a prominent female lead. Bebel then proceeds to tell Hatchin about Nei’s life and growth: he used to be a worthless drunk who was never around, but managed to straighten himself out and become a real father after his wife died. He assures her that Nei will come through and find Michiko for her. Meanwhile, back at the unfinished-looking structure glimpsed earlier, a familiar voice is seen talking to Wen and another man named Edward. As it turns out, Shinsuke is in fact still alive, and he asks these two (members of the Heike Syndicate) for some help in hunting down Satoshi, specifying that he needs him alive. A man drops off a package from Nei while Edward and Shinsuke negotiate, with Edward requesting an alliance between Heike and Monstro, as well as the ability to conduct gang business openly on Monstro territory. Out on the roof of the building, Edward and his associates meet up with Nei to enjoy a delicious meal made from the duck that he obtained earlier. While the group eats, he asks Edward if his syndicate had captured a woman recently, to which they say that they have. He asks for the group to free Michiko, and Edward agrees to let her compete in a game of chance to win her freedom.
Michiko is brought out onto the roof and told she’ll play a game of Rock Paper Scissors with Wen, to which she responds by uppercutting him like her name was Little Mac. Back at Nei’s home, Bebel tries to cheer Hatchin up by performing a song that he’s famous for, but the tape ends up breaking apart, leading him to suspect that his dad’s in trouble. He tries to run off to save him, but Bebel slips on the broken tape and breaks his stick, leading him to cry and declare the situation hopeless.
Hatchin grabs him and furiously tells Bebel that his dad will take care of everything. After Michiko gets beaten down for punching Wen in the face, Nei promises to take her place with whatever they plan to do to her. Edward offers him another game of chance: put on a blindfold and run along a steel girder perched over the edge of the building, making sure to stop at the right time. He agrees, with Edward adding one more stipulation: tying Michiko and Nei together. Hatchin and Bebel are searching through the Chinese opera house hoping to find Nei, and while this is happening, the game gets underway. Nei and one of Edward’s lackeys run along the girders, with both of them slipping, and Nei in particular falling over and dragging Michiko along the girder. She hangs on with her legs and tries to pull him up with her, but the rope suddenly snaps. She’s able to grab on with her mouth and, using every ounce of strength she has, breaks free from the rope and pulls him up.
They’re allowed to go free, taking a rickshaw to the opera house, and Michiko thanks Nei for all he’s done. They find Bebel and Hatchin waiting outside, with Nei taking Bebel inside and Michiko scolding Hatchin for not staying at the hotel. The episode ends with her hugging Michiko and apologizing for putting her through all that trouble.
This week’s episode is kind of a mixed bag, with your feelings ultimately depending on how capable you are on dealing with its extremely uncomforting nature. This is obvious with the Heike syndicate’s treatment of Michiko, beating her senseless and threatening to sell her off into prostitution. In addition, the scenes with Bebel bullying Hatchin around seem to be callbacks to the first episode, which is still the most uncomfortable that the series has ever been. Personally speaking, the darker moments didn’t bother me as much since the episode had enough hopefully and silly moments to balance it out. I also liked some of the plot developments that took place, especially with the return of Shinsuke, who I still can’t believe is capable of surviving getting struck by a car. I’m still interested to see where all of this Monstro business with Shinsuke and Satoshi ends up going. I also really enjoyed some of the voice work in this episode, mostly on the part of the Heike syndicate. I like the attention to detail in the writing and performances as they work in effectively sounding like a foreign minority who don’t fully speak clean English. A decent episode, and I can’t wait to see what kind of story turns we might get in the next few weeks.