Back from 2011 once again for another retro review. The famous PSP/PS2 franchise gets its own anime adaptation and proves to worm its way into this reviewer’s spectrum. A must-see.
The art of detective work is a very intricate and complex business which takes fanciful behaviour and eccentric demeanours for it to be considered an entertaining series. Detective Conan succeeds by doing just that, but wouldn’t it be cool to add superpowers to the equation? Hamatora makes it mark by doing just THAT.
Hamatora is the name of a detective agency set up by unusually named individuals such as Nice and Birthday and Murasaki…OK, that one’s not so weird but you get the idea. These people are different from normal folk; especially when you discover they’re not normal folk. This world the characters live in is filled with heightened beings referred to as “Minimums” or “Small Miracles”. These people are dotted across the country; some do nothing and hide their talents, some skulk around in the darkness and some use their powers to make money which is what Nice and company do.
We are thrown into the plot immediately as we are shown that the detective company don’t have their own office [they rent a table in a local bar, I guess if they need to drown their sorrows they don’t have to go far!] and scrape by with barely enough money to live. Luck turns to them though in the first episode and the extent of their talents is unveiled. These aren’t hapless dreamers with the hopes of fame; they already have that and their workflow is established early on. By the end of the first few episodes, we’re fully into what’s going on.
However, these fellows don’t have it all their way as it’s made clear that someone is after them. A serial killer is going around killing “Minimums” in a violent attempt to rid the world of their kind and either restore order to society or simply attaining absolute domination for themselves. It’s actually very reminiscent of Heroes when you think about it; people with individual powers, a force killing them off – it’s an interesting parallel. There’s one part in particular which is very apparent but it’s a major spoiler for both series so I shall leave it to you to discover yourself. What makes Hamatora different though is that it feels a lot more relaxed and episodic in that most plots are wrapped up in one episode and if you pay attention in the episode you get the overall picture.
Hamatora began publication in November 2013 with a manga detailing the events which led to Nice and Murasaki joining forces. It acts as a prequel to the anime with both it and the manga being a joint release instead of a straight manga-to-anime adaptation. A game will be released in the summer of 2014 as well.
The show looks really slick. Powerful visuals, artistic nuances and a colourful palette really make the characters and worlds pop out before us despite it being a real-world setting; sort of like Danganronpa on an artistic level. The powers that the “Minimums” possess are well portrayed and some are quite creative [one “Minimum” has the power to bring memories and feelings to life via pens and ink]. It’s all packaged beautifully. Nice feels like a struggling whippet and Murasaki the cool-headed pro [sorta like Naruto and Sasuke!] and the pair of them together really work well. Nice’s power is a little confusing to understand at first but if you generalise it and say that he has sound powers, it’s enough. It could’ve been explained a little better but that’s only a minor nitpick.
Hamatora is a fun show with tons of potential for being a great mixed media universe for players, viewers and readers to explore. It’s a force to be reckoned with and one that strives to match the likes of Persona and indeed Danganronpa. Its aspirations are palpable and I wish it every luck and recommend this show for those seeking fast-paced fun and smart, thoughtful plot intricacies. One last thing, the bartender. Does he actually serve anything or does he just grind stuff all day?
Hamatora is available to stream on Crunchyroll.
RATING: CONTINUE [Fast, colourful fun!]
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