Anime Review: Hamatora (Investigators with a Classy Fashion Sense)

(Manga written by: Yukino Kitajima Anime written by: Toka Machida & Jun Kumagi Original run: January7, 2014 - March 25, 2014 No of episodes: 12
(Manga written by: Yukino Kitajima
Anime written by: Toka Machida & Jun Kumagi
Original run: January7, 2014 – March 25, 2014
No of episodes: 12

 Overview:

The story is set in modern Yokohama where humans with beyond-the-normal abilities co-exist with the ordinary citizens. They are called ‘Minimum Holders’, whose existence is considered classified and are therefore hidden from the general public.

They started off studying at Facultas Academy, a training school for potential holders, where their skills are trained and developed. Those who succeed are promised top-tier careers around different industries even on some high ranking positions within the government.

Hamatora is a private investigation team consisting of two Minimum Holders, Nice and Murasaki. They, along with their other colleagues who also possess supernatural powers operate in duo and help solve any kind of cases from different clients provided that you pay the right price.

But Nice is sometimes being too nice….and takes up low paying jobs not enough to pay all of their expenses.

Review:

I like this anime. It’s colorful, has great-looking characters and a good premise to begin with. There was a sudden twist in the story in the middle that is reasonable but too sudden.

What started off as light, funny and a collection of independent episodes progressed to something darker in context, with the battle to resolve human inequality as its dominant theme (at least from the middle part to the end).

Gorgeous-looking main cast (Thumbs up!)

hamatora-full-3
(From top left to top right: Birthday, Ratio, Art, Nice, Murasaki )

For an anime almost always compared to the classic X-Men because of some identical plot theme and sequence, Hamatora brought the graphic experience to a whole new level.

You see, we’ve got young, lean bodied detectives with supernatural powers compared to those mature, hunks and lass we have on X-Men. And though there is indeed some kind of similarity on the theme that prevailed on the later episodes, I wouldn’t go as far as saying that they are the same.

For one, Hamatora (Nice and Murasaki), Birthday (yes, this is a name), Ratio, Honey, and Three are not really our typical heroes who go out every time a threat to humanity is detected. In fact they’re not heroes.

"So...which case should we accept?"
“So…which case should we accept?”

They’re workers. You hire them to do a job at a certain price and they decide if they want to take it or not. For Murasaki, the decision lies mainly on the ‘how much’ factor you are willing to pay. The higher, the better. Pretty carefree, isn’t it?

Two, they don’t need those special costumes and masks to do their job. They pretty much get things done by simply activating their Minimums (special abilities), which can be triggered by, let’s say, a rather natural habit. (i.e putting the headphones on, praying to God, biting a lollipop, etc.)

Three, they don’t have that modern-looking, heavy guarded security headquarters to hold their meetings. They do it inside Coffee shop Nowhere. And they can hardly even pay the rent.

Four, they look good in action – with casual clothing on.

Crafty Professor on a Brain Hunting Escapade (Thumbs up!)

I’m very keen on spotting villains because without good ones, the story will lack the struggle necessary to fuel the motivations of our protagonist. The lack of a skilled, not necessarily sensible, villains have the potential of lowering down the excitement factor of the story.

Same thing happened with some of the previous animes we reviewed on this blog like Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, where the entire series focused on glorifying the main character, Tatsuya Shiba, eventually diminishing the thrill factor, knowing that no one’s just good enough to rival him.

Hamatora didn’t commit the same sin –Thank goodness! – The conflict started with the enigmatic researcher and graduate of Facultas Academy, Professor Moral, who’s got the minimum that allows him to change faces.

professor-moralHe’s got the wit that made him on top of his league in the Minimum Agency, and the persuasion prowess enough to convince those less appreciated, unrecognized, bullied and oppressed people to step up and ask for power.

He’s crafty and has enough contact with different people that are more than willing to provide him with the resource to further their own selfish cause.

Moral’s technically a genius – someone who is very much capable of pulling off a stunt that can defeat our good guys. He’s most of the time working alone, preferring to deal with his accomplices via mobile or online.

One thing that makes him a good villain is his sense of purpose. He’s a believer of societal equality and believes that making every person strong by giving them Minimums is the best way to achieve this. Most notably, he lives up to be the great villain in the story by making sure that he accomplishes his task at any way possible.

professor-moral-2Even if it means getting the brains of Minimum Holders and transplanting them to ordinary citizens. He’s intelligent, tough, self-proclaimed messiah of justice and creepy at some point.

And more importantly, he knows what he’s doing. And he does it the most badass way possible with a smile.

Flashy – and Funny Minimums (Thumbs up!)

We don’t have a collection of super unique extraordinary abilities here. We have lightning, super strength, transportation, ability to harden the body like metal …(and many more)…- skills that we have all been introduced to in other superhero stories both in anime and cartoons.

birthdayStill, the way on how these skills are used, alongside the splash of colors that accompany their activation is very notable. In fact, the colors became more of the highlights compared to actual combat that involves punches and kicks.

And hey, there are funny and unique minimums that you can only see here. How does a sweat pheromone ability that only affects male sounds?

‘Because Art is an Explosion!’ (Thumbs up!)

I know, I know…We’re not talking of Deidara in Naruto here. There just happens to be a character in Hamatora with the name Art, who is the head inspector of the police force.

Like our protagonists, Art is a graduate of Facultas Academy. But unlike the others, he was the only graduate who was not able to manifest his Minimum ability no matter how he tried.

He’s got an extraordinary persistence though, and he’s gifted with a sharp mind. This is what allowed him to graduate with special commendations despite the inability to actualize any super physical skills.

artArt started as a good friend of Hamatora and the rest, closely coordinating with them on the cases involving serial killings of Minimum Holders which were orchestrated by no other than Moral.

He’s intelligent, kindhearted, sharp, and persistent – a good guy. But he’s also trying to get over with his personal insecurities in not being able to be on the same level as his friends despite graduating on the same school.

art-moralArt pushes himself to his limits, which is what led to that tragedy on the 7th episode.

And as if it was not enough of a surprise, the series ended with Art, shocking us even more.

Cliffhanger in the end, but definitely something to look for given that the second season has already been released!

Random Sideline Comedy (Okay desu!)

"Birthday, noooo!!!"
“Birthday, noooo!!!”

By far, episode 5 is I think the funniest episode that I enjoyed in the series. I wouldn’t be spoiling what it is all about more than the fact that it involves an Arab prince, hot springs, our gorgeous main cast and that guy who possessed the sweat pheromone to attract other guys.

Birthday and Ratio’s bantering is also a must watch. You may not learn a lot but you’ll have a bunch of fun.

(In modern time, this is how fortune telling looks like..)
(In modern time, this is how fortune telling looks like..)

Talks and Blabber (Okay desu!)

There’s a lot of talking involved in this anime. And we don’t just mean the individual spiels made by our characters to let us know what they think and leak us some of their plans for domination.

We also mean the dialogues that happen all at the same time. While Nice and Murasaki are arguing, another pair can be talking of a different topic on the background. Unless you can read subtitles really fast, you may need to click pause on some scenes.

But there is a significant amount of thoughts that you can get from this anime straight from our characters! For instance:

All human beings can only perceive the world through the filter of their values. Mediocre values may be harmless, but they are also utterly useless.”Professor Moral

Time is money. If you want money, you must work.”Koneko

Legwork is the meat and potatoes of any investigation. I’m going back to the basics.”Art

And a whole lot more!

Uprising of the Weak (Thumbs down!)

I would understand while others see this anime as something that lacks focus. It started interesting, with a group of broke inspectors with supernatural skills. But the simple, light appeal of the story turned out to be a full blown issue of suppressing the people’s rebellion as they rally against the Minimum Holders.

attackYou see, their existence is not public and when Moral finally decided to show the whole world what their society is composed of, ordinary citizens started to air discontent and aversion to the Holders.

The reaction is understandable. I just don’t like the idea that everything, everyone has turned antagonistic. Where did the police force go? Any official issues from the government? How is it that nobody, aside from the Minimum Holders, took action to suppress the riot?

Ambitious Non-innate Minimum Holders (Thumbs down!)

For people who consider themselves weak and sought Moral’s help, it’s disappointing to see how lame those non-innate minimum holders are – action scenes speaking – even after receiving superpowers.

villain

Nobody ever stood a chance against Nice or Murasaki. Worse, they’ve got too much confidence in themselves. And look where it got them.

CONCLUSION: Hamatora is not an anime series fitted for kids. But for those who fancy nice graphics, with a light start and an easy to follow story, I’m highly recommending this 12 episode series. Plus, the 2nd season is already up, so you don’t need to worry about being left hanging on the last episode.

RATING: In a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, Hamatora the Animation is a colorful 8!

hamatora-group

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4 thoughts on “Anime Review: Hamatora (Investigators with a Classy Fashion Sense)”

  1. Awesome review! I really like the way you broke everything down into sections, each with their own personal rankings.

    I agree, Hamatora is one of those series that is just pops, a visually stunning anime with some pretty great characters! Though I kind of wish Moral had stuck around for Re: Hamatora.

    Liked by 1 person

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