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Anime review: ‘Michiko & Hatchin’

Michiko & Hatchin part one
©2008 manglobe/ Caliente latino18. Licensed by FUNimation® Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Continuing with the backlog theme, we review “Michiko & Hatchin” from FUNimation Entertainment, an action/drama series from the creators of “Cowboy Bebop” and “Samurai Champloo”.

“Michiko & Hatchin” follows two very interesting female leads, an escaped convict named Michiko Malandro and an orphan named Hana Morenos, whose lives are joined together through one man, Hana’s father. Living with her foster parents, and suffering abuse from both parents and their children, Hana dreams of nothing more than for someone to show up one day and take her away to a better life.

What she never could have expected is that the person who would show up is Michiko, who after learning of Hana’s existence, escapes prison and tracks her down. Michiko makes an impressive entrance, crashing through the window and landing on the kitchen table, and tells Hana, she eventually nicknames her Hatchin, it is time to go. Hana is reluctant to go with a stranger, until she thinks about what her life will be like if she stays.

The two then embark on a cross country adventure in search of Hana’s father, the man that Michiko is still in love with despite him leaving years earlier. Along their journey the two will escape countless police, including a childhood friend of Michiko’s who is obsessed with her, assassins and gang leaders from Michiko’s past, along with a few other surprises, all while trying not to kill each other.

The “Michiko & Hatchin” story was one of my favorites, the two lead characters are so drastically different that their clashes are always entertaining. Along their journey though, they begin to grow close and trust one another, and a little of each of their personalities begin to rub off on one another.

Chasing down Hana’s father might be what ties the two main characters together, but both prove that a man doesn’t have to be the main focus of the story. Both Michiko and Hana are strong characters that are easy to like. Michiko is a tough beauty, hell-bent on finding her love who eventually finds someone that she could die for, and with Hana you get a reserved young girl who is kind of sweet but she also has it in her to be just as tough and in-your-face as Michiko.

In part one, the main story is being established, but as you get into part two, things really start to pick up, including the action, and the story gets really good. One surprise is that even though Michiko is a bit provocative, this isn’t really a fanservice-filled series, it focuses more on the story than trying to be sexy.

Visually, “Michiko & Hatchin” is beautifully done, the picture quality is clear and colorful, while the animation is smooth. This review is based on the DVD versions of parts one and two of the series, it is likely that Blu-ray will have an improved quality. The character designs of the series were interesting, Michiko and Hana’s styles are so different from one another, but they match their personalities perfectly.

As far as the voice options go, this was one series where I enjoyed the English dub more than the Japanese cast. The Japanese cast was good, but Monica Rial did such a great job with Michiko that it sold me on the English dub. Should you watch the series with the English subtitles, they are clear, easy to read, remain on screen for a fair length of time and the translations have a good flow.

As on-disc extras, the first collection includes promo videos, press conference footage, trailers for other FUNimation Entertainment titles, the textless opening and closing, episode 1 and 2 commentary and “Michiko: The Woman Behind It All”, where Monica Rial, the English voice of Michiko, discusses the character. The second collection also includes trailers for other FUNimation releases, original commercials, episode 20 and 22 commentary, the textless opening and closing, Japanese cast interview footage, and “Hatchin: The Girl We All Love”, in which Jad Saxton, the voice of Hana, discusses her character.

“Michiko & Hatchin” ranks among my favorite series after watching it. There was a lot of great action, some comedy and plenty of drama, sure to keep viewers interested throughout. Both lead characters, as well as some of the side characters, were strong females, which was nice to see and they manage to hold their own without having to flash their boobs, although Michiko is pretty proud of hers.

If you enjoyed series like “El Cazador de la Bruja” and “Bunny Drop” (“Michiko & Hatchin” is a lot more violent), then “Michiko & Hatchin” will definitely interest you.

Score

Part 1
4.5 out of 5

Part 2
4.5 out of 5

Michiko & Hatchin

Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Runtime: Part 1: 275 minutes, Part 2: 275 minutes
Number of Episodes: Part 1: 11 (1-11), Part 2: 11 (12-22)
Number of Discs: Part 1: 2 DVDs, Part 2: 2 DVDs (Both parts also on Blu-ray)
Languages: English, Japanese with English subtitles
Age Rating: TV-MA
Release Date: September 17, 2014 (Both parts)

(Review copies of both parts one and two of “Michiko & Hatchin” on DVD were provided by FUNimation Entertainment.)