Today, I finished my 50th anime. Kind of. My definition for “finishing” is a little weird. But anyway, this was the 50th anime I finished, in my terms of finishing something. And really, I couldn’t ask for a better show for this milestone.
If you missed it, I wrote about episodes 1-6 at the beginning of this month, so before you continue, maybe you should check that out?
My Thoughts On: Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (Ep 1-6)
Even though I saw Crunchyroll promoting the heck out of this anime, I still saw such a lack of recognition while it was airing. Sure, people watched it, but there were other Winter 2018 anime people were more interested in.
If you haven’t watched this, I will be spoiling some of it, sorry. Though, I highly recommend giving it a try, as long as it’s something that won’t bother you. I will admit there are a few things that are a bit difficult to watch: murder, human trafficking, a near sex scene. If you can get past it, there’s a really well thought out show.
What Did I Not Discuss in My Last Post?
The animation, the characters, and the arcs.
I said in my previous post that any critical pieces would be left for this one. Well, here they are.
In general, it’s not super outstanding, but it’s not sub-par either. It’s nice to look at, my only complaint being that sometimes the blood is exaggerated a bit. Someone’s neck gets slit, and a gyser of blood half a foot tall comes out of his neck. I don’t know much about how a slit throat bleeds, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s a little less dramatic than that.
Aside from this, the opening and ending is where the art is the most aesthetically pleasing. There’s just something about the colorful tones of the background and shadows of the characters that makes it appealing.
Also, if you haven’t heard/watched the opening, you must. I’ve listened to it nearly every day for weeks.
The Plot is in Arcs
Like a vast majority of anime, this one is split into arcs. Saito/Qiaomei arc, Niwaka Samurai arc, Enokida arc, and Fei-Lan arc. These aren’t official names, this is just how I’d call them.
I liked the last arc the most, not too much of a surprise since that’s where the bulk of development is done and things can wind down to a close. The two middle arcs I tend to forget about, especially the third one. They’re both shorter than the first and last ones, being only two episodes each, while the first and last are four.
None of them are bad, I just felt some bits were lackluster. It didn’t help when I started seeing spoilers since I was a week behind everyone else. Luckily, for the last four episodes I got a 30 day trial for VRV so I could watch weekly.
In the end, this is what ties everything together, and I feel it’s that way with a lot of anime. Strangely, I hardly talked about the characters in the last post, so I definitely need to make up for it here.
The thing about liking the characters in this show is that you have to ignore the whole part about killing people. It’s one of those things like when people have villains as their favorite character. The things the characters do may not be something you agree with, but it’s still important to see the character for who they are despite the things they do that are wrong.
With that being said, I fell in love with both of the main characters. I like them separately, and as partners. I still can’t believe I didn’t even think to mention this in the last post.
Lin has quickly become one of the best male characters I’ve seen. He’s well developed and his baggage doesn’t completely shut him down. He’s strong but has plenty of weaknesses: lack of trust, hot-temper, impatience, and above all, stubbornness. He was lost in the beginning of the show, but finding and working with Banba I think is what saves him in the end.
Their vastly different personalities is what makes them a great team. And it’s clear fairly early on that they do care about each other, despite Lin having issues with trusting others. In all those situations where Lin is going to get hurt, Banba’s not far behind to help out. And in the last episode, both of them are shown to be willing to sacrifice their own life for the other. Their dynamic is really what made me love this show so much.
Good or Bad Ending?
What concerned me from the get go was how this whole story would be concluded. These people kill others for a living. They evade the police and make a choice humans shouldn’t decide for other humans: when they will die. It seemed like these characters I’d grow so attached to would have a devastating end.
That wasn’t the case here. The ending wasn’t groundbreaking, but it was still satisfying. Lin cleared up the troubles from his past, and maybe is beginning to learn that these people he’s associated himself with can be trusted. He can find a home in Hakata and be surrounded by people he likes. That’s not something he had in the start of this. He didn’t really have a “home.” He had a place to stay and a job, sure, but he was lonely. He was working to send money back to his family, but had no contact with them. Finding Banba and those he works with was exactly what Lin needed.
What I found as well was in the beginning, I’d assumed Banba was the main character, but it turned out to be Lin. Much of the story did revolve around him, I realize now.
This show is not just “here’s a bunch of killers as main characters, there’s a bunch of blood and death.” While that’s true, it really is a story of a lonely man finding his place; someone who loses his family and finds a new one.
And it includes some queer themes as well. Lin crossdresses, because he wants to, and there’s a canon gay character. It’s not something I expected, and I think it’s better that way. That doesn’t need to be a show’s selling point. It’s just a little extra fact that’s a bonus. I found a post on tumblr that sums this up in better words than I can, so I’ll link that here.
While this show seems violent and brutal, it has a layer of sweetness to it.
I felt so sad when I finished this anime. There were so many emotions I felt just in that last episode.
I’m so glad I saw someone mention this on Twitter at the beginning of the winter season. I would’ve never given it a second glance otherwise, like much of the seasonal anime this time around.
I want to do another post all on the morality of the characters in this show, but I’m unsure if I have time, or even if people would read it. Let me know!