The sequel to Hamatora, the story picks up immediately after the events in season 1 so be prepared for a few major spoilers for season 1 if you read on.
Hamatora is an enjoyable enough story with a bit of mystery, a bit of super powered violence, some friendship stuff and a lot of bright colours. Re: Hamatora is a passable follow up but taken by itself is not a good piece of story telling nor character piece.
Actually, Re: Hamatora falls into traps that many sequels have issues with. Firstly, we ended season one on an enormous cliff hanger.
Art shot Nice. Nice had finally beaten the crazy serial killer and saved the city and Art shot him point blank (or at least seemed to but of course it happens ‘off screen’). Art was his friend, and a detective, and completely committed to protecting others and the formerly believed to have been killed Art turns up and shoots Nice.
That’s a pretty big finish to a series and is more or less a guarantee that people will come back for a season 2.
And yet, by the end of episode 1 we might as well say, well, that was pointless and move on with out lives. Nice isn’t dead (given he’s the main character and displayed prominently on the DVD case and pretty much every image of Re: Hamatora) and the motive for playing dead is at best incredibly lame. While we’ll need longer to figure out what is going on with Art and why he took that course of action this would only be a good enough hook if Art’s character had been developed as anything other than the nice guy, powerless do-gooder prior to these events. We don’t care about Art because season 1 gave us no reason to. Art’s death was a shocking moment. It came suddenly and with only a few minutes between the foreshadowing and execution so it definitely shocked, but it wasn’t because we liked Art. It was more the impact his death would ultimately have on Nice and that up until that point we had no reason to believe the killer would target non-minimum holders.
So before season 2 even gets rolling we have a shaky foundation with some questionable choices but the issues don’t stop there for the story.
The show has always had a vague focus on the discrimination minimum holders and/or normal people face in the world (those with power vs those who don’t) and yet this isn’t actually part of the overall motive for the serial killer, Art, or Nice as all three of these characters are more or less indifferent to the issue. Even Nice who protects others at times doesn’t really see the point of discrimination in either direction and he’s ‘off beat’ enough to just sail through life without really dealing with it. Art on the other hand has more issues with his own inferiority complex rather than an issue with external discrimination. So a major theme that attempts to build some sort of social commentary in this story, and scenes and sub-plots around this dominate whole episodes, but don’t actually link in to the main plot in a cohesive or meaningful manner. It’s more just a backdrop that takes up a lot of time and space.
Season 2 also sees an increased focus on Hajime (Nice’s friend who he regularly feeds at Cafe Nowhere who seems tough but we haven’t really seen her do anything prior to season 2). While she ultimately gets a really intriguing back story and a great side-story the link back to the overarching plot is again tenuous. Her story does lead to some complications with the powers of the characters and is probably the most interesting of all the stories we see in season 2, but it isn’t enough to carry the whole series.
Re: Hamatora ultimately has a bunch of ideas all competing for attention to the point where you all but forget that dramatic conclusion to season 1 or even what it is the characters were ultimately trying to achieve (if anything).
Despite the story issues, of which there are many, it is the fact that the characters seem so disconnected from these events and do not seem to undergo much development or growth that really causes it all to come tumbling down. A fragmented story could still come together if the characters drove through the plot and learned from each of their encounters and took something with them. But Nice is apparently perfect from the get go and others just need to see he’s fine. The other characters personalities barely blink over the course of the events and so as an audience member you are not asked to care about any of the goings on but are merely expected to embrace the zany colour pattern (which is intensely bright, even more so than season 1) and the sickening scene transitions.
This is a watchable follow up and it does ultimately answer questions about the school and Minimum Holders and it does end, but honestly there is little point in watching unless you just like anything involving super powers. Because it is not bad. It may not be good but there is fun to be found in watching this just don’t expect anything amazing.
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