Hamatora – 01
OP: 「FLAT」 by livetune adding Yuuki Ozaki
「File-01 コロンブスの卵」 (File-01 Koronbusu no Tamago)
“File-01: Egg of Columbus”
There’s not a lot of background information on Hamatora available without reading directly from the manga that released a few months ago. That being said, I wasn’t sure what I expecting when I started this episode. First of all – I like it! I give it thumbs up for a first episode that isn’t too overwhelming, nor is it too lackluster. The story formula is very tried and true, and one that works to my liking even though it may not be original. I love me a good mystery and I think this series delivers that. This first episode seemed very episodic (for the sake of an introduction), but I don’t expect that to continue into the next arc. I think this series delivers a great set up for the rest of the show this way, and it clearly lays out who “Minimum Holders” are and what makes our protagonists so special.
There’s not much more I can say about this show that I haven’t already said in my preview. It’s about two guys, Nice (Osaka Ryota) and Murasaki (Hatano Wataru) and they’re both private investigators that make up the group Hamatora. Their “office” is actually just a table in a bar and they take on random cases here and there to make a living. They’re both also “Minimum Holders” – people born with supernatural abilities. Unlike others though, they don’t abuse their powers and use it only to defend people. Their circle of friends include a girl that likes to eat (that’s me!) named Hajime (Kato Emiri), an actual police investigator named Art (Kamiya Hiroshi), other Minimum Holders and then some. I won’t name them all here because I’m sure we’ll get to see much more of them later on.
A few impressions that I got when I started initially previewing this series was that Nice and Murasaki were pretty much broke. I thought they weren’t very good at their job (which means they don’t have income) and they didn’t have many companions either. To my surprise, that’s not the case at all. In fact, Nice and Murasaki are very good at what they do and they should be rolling in dough from the way they solved this one! They also have friends (some of the Minimum Holders too I expect) that help them along the way. Sounds cliché, but as an introductory episode, I’ll let it slide. In terms of plot and story, I’m quite impressed by how much they were able to fit in one episode. There are obviously a lot of coincidences and a lot of thought processing (especially within Nice’s mind) that the viewer doesn’t see, but I think the anime tries to convey as much as possible without giving too much away. I can appreciate that the whole point of the story is just to provide some context for what’s to come so I won’t criticize it too much yet.
The animation definitely is the biggest issue I have with the show so far. Not that it’s bad but there’s a huge difference from the beginning of the episode, to the end. It’s fairly inconsistent because as someone who doesn’t pride themselves as “all-anime-knowing”, even I can see the fluctuations. I hope this doesn’t become a problem later on (or see the production value decrease even further) because I think some of the scenes are already below average (or maybe it’s just huge censorship…). Even some of the color contrasts and scenes, make my eyes cringe because it’s like they flipped the switch on the “invert colors with high saturation and contrast” button and it’s supposed to symbolize the activation of Minimum powers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work well with me. Everything else seems to work fine though – the storytelling is very reminiscent of Durarara!! as many people point out, but I think it has a long way to go to meet those standards (I really liked that show!). The songs choices (both OP and ED) are very J-pop-like and aren’t anything too memorable for the time being. I like how they give a brief bio on each character in the opening sequence though. It seems like the creators have a story waiting to be told and I like that in a series, especially when it’s new and original. I’ll definitely stick around to see what’s in store… like I said, I love a good mystery and there haven’t been that many lately that blew me away.
TL;DR – @RCCherrie: #Hamatora is such a pleasant surprise =) I like it. The animation could use some work but I like the storytelling and the mystery amuses me.
ED: 「Hikari」 by 羽多野渉 (Wataru Hatano)