For an anime I expected nothing from, Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens delivered a fairly compelling story full of fun and interesting characters. What did you think of it or did you miss this during the Winter 2018 season?
There was no doubt that one of my favourite shows from the Winter 2018 season was Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens. I really enjoyed the character interactions and the way each story thread and introduced element ended up being used in a meaningful way. There never felt like something just existed for the sake of it or that any loose ends were left out. While the subject matter might put some people off (there’s quite a bit of violence and death as well as assault), this one ended up being really interesting to watch.
The opening theme really gets you excited for the episode and I thoroughly enjoyed it each episode. It kind of perfectly set the tone of the episode and introduced the characters and their relationships nicely without giving too much away. The jazzy music continued throughout the rest of the episode and generally was always kind of fun even if a lack of variety was noted at times.
The character relationships, particularly the developing relationship between Banba and Lin, were definitely part of the draw of this show. Characters met and their meetings had impact on other characters. The character that had the largest character focus was Lin and his character ended up being quite interesting despite the fairly generic tragic backstory. This one is another case for generic not always being bad. While it was pretty by the numbers tragedy due to poverty leading to being trained as a hitman (okay, maybe not that standard but it felt pretty generic while watching the flash back episode) they timed it right when I had wanted to learn more about his character and it filled in some of the gaps while also setting up the final villain of the series. Again, everything was purposeful and used so even the less amazing story elements were pretty acceptable.
The support cast are pretty awesome, with a range of personalities and roles and again, all of these are used. None of them feel unnecessary to the story as a whole and none of the characters feel repetitive or unused. The one exception is a character who sees to just be the one destined to have poor luck which is used for fairly lack lustre comedic effect a few times but fortunately isn’t an overt distraction from the story, and even then their presence is integrated into the greater narrative.
Given this one is listed as an action, I should probably address that. If you are after epic battles and fight sequences, this one isn’t going to work for you. The action is fast and brutal with most sequences over in seconds. That said, it always injects some drama into the scene and each character has a unique approach to fighting that is visually distinct.
However, this show does have some real downsides. One of those is the lack of danger or tension in the series. None of the villains, even the final one, present much in the way of a real threat and after the first one, very few are even built up to be threatening. The main cast don’t get injured, or their injuries are brushed aside even when they shouldn’t be. It all leaves you feeling a bit like none of the drama in the series will amount to much, so if you aren’t having fun with this series there isn’t a lot else to connect with. There’s also this weird visually effect with light that they use throughout the series that is kind of distracting but it isn’t a deal breaker, it is just kind of ugly.
That said, I had a great time with this show and really looked forward to it each week. I wouldn’t mind another show like this one. While it isn’t perfect, it is definitely watchable and well worth giving a try provided you aren’t put off by violence.
- Episode 12: They Set is Up and Bring It Home
- Episode 11: Betrayal By Any Other Name
- Episode 10: Two Episodes To Go And All The Threads Are Coming Together
- Episode 9: This Confirms It – Lin Needs a Hug
- Episode 8: I Think We Need A Spin-Off Series Called Saito’s Revenge
- Episode 7: About Time Someone Tried To Kill the Hacker
- Episode 6: Mistaken Identity Can Be Fun
- Episode 5: Why Not a Ninja?
- Episode 4: And With That The First Story Draws To A Close – And Then They Play Baseball
- Episode 3: Game On
- Episode 2: The Plot Thickens
- Episode 1: Hitmen, Detectives, and Corruption
- Friday’s Feature: Why Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Works
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