Some series have reputations that proceed them, while some slink by unnoticed into your line of sight, but so rarely have I ever come across a series that has been a mix of both. I had heard of this show before, even see a few clips and images but it had never left much of an impact until I sat down to watch the series in full. Prepare to be taken on a bossa nova roller coaster.
Let’s take a look at Michiko & Hatchin.
A review copy was provided by FUNimation Entertainment
Michiko Malandro is a convict whose escaped from prison with a bad attitude. Hana Morenos is a foster child in an abusive family who longs for adventure. They are connected by one man: Hiroshi. Michiko grabs Hana, then dubbed Hatchin, head out on an adventure across the country to find the man who is Michiko’s true love and Hatchin’s father. I will say that not each episode is a well-paced gem, nor does it always tie in well for the arc but almost every episode was entertaining and colorful, even if there were some scenes that were tough to get through. I did like the ending, especially considering that we do get a look into the future with a more decisive ending, but I think more could have been done in the final episode to wrap up the narrative.
The plot often meanders for long stretches but in a way, it matters a lot less than with other shows. This anime is not so much plot driven as it is character driven, especially as the relationship between Michiko and Hatchin grow into a family bond. In fact, that’s what I find so refreshing about that show is that it doesn’t care about love interests or creating large and complicate narratives, but rather focuses on exploring the relationship that grows between an abused brazen adult and an abused angry child trying to find a way to make sense of the world. For me, that’s the show’s number one crowning achievement. If you need any reason to watch this show, its the two women at the heart of the story who develop a mother-daughter bond in the weirdest circumstances.
In terms of animation, there were a few noticeable shortcuts here and there, but otherwise the show looks gorgeous. On Blu Ray, the colors really pop and the backgrounds look stunning. You can tell a lot of work when into the creation of these different settings and buildings, and there’s a lot of well-animated motions to characters in the fore and background. There’s also a lot to be said for the effort of having characters who are super expressive and constantly change clothes.
The music is some of the best I’ve heard in any anime from any era. Stepping away from the bubble-gum-pop and over-the-top rock ballads, the show features Brazilian bossa novas and Latin-inspired sounds that really fit the outrageous actions and bright colors on screen. It’s one of the few anime that I would love to own the soundtrack for.
In terms of the dub and sub, I would actually say that both are well done and fit the characters to a tee. Neither language track had actors that felt out of place or too old for their character or even that they were phoning in or overdoing a performance. I will say I have a very slight preference for the Japanese because of how sassy Michiko is, but it is incredibly slight and I spent the entire show swapping back and forth between the track without any issue. Additionally, the features on the Blu Ray collection are a lot of fun, especially the interviews.
Michiko & Hatchin may not be a perfect show, but it is a surprisingly entertaining and well-structured anime that will punch its way into your heart with smart action scenes, gorgeous animation and excellent music. It may never be Cowboy Bebop but it certainly stands solidly on its own two legs and demands to be seen for what it is. If you want an anime that tries to be different in all the right ways and mostly succeeds, I would definitely recommend this one.
– Excellent character development.
– Great soundtrack.
– Great animation.
– Strong dub and sub.
– Plot meanders to a somewhat unsatisfying end.
– Pacing is off from episode to episode.