One frustrated evening, an intoxicated Michiko gets fed up looking for Hiroshi Morenos, (Hatchin’s father), and
becomes disruptive vents her aggression as usual while drinking at a strip club in São Cabal. A bit later that night when she stumbles drunkenly out of the bathroom, the stripper she insulted earlier introduces her to the floor for a little sweet revenge before sauntering off for the night.
Nursing a hangover the next morning at Hatchin’s part time job at the local Chinese restaurant, Hatchin asks her if Hiroshi has any friends or acquaintances that she knows about. A name comes to Michiko’s mind, but she blows it off and walks out to the tune of several little monkey kids who came to fetch her in a car with guns in hand. Rather than worry much about Michiko, Hatchin recognizes the thief who stole her shoes and screams at him as they drive away, escorting Michiko to their boss’s house.
Adjusting as needed, Rico introduces himself to Michiko while looking her straight in the eyes. Nicknaming her “Spicy Cat,” he tries to help her remember a little boy she may or may not have crushed her high heeled shoes into last week. Unfazed by his manly display of power, he stores his gun safely and tries to make her an offer she can’t refuse, but their conversation is momentarily marginalized by the blonde stripper Michiko saw the other night as she hurls a TV in their direction. After watching her unabashedly grab a beer and go back to her room to dance, the two finish their conversation and Michiko opens the door to the sight of a worried Hatchin. As they walk home, they meet the stripper again in a car that threatens to run them down for no apparent reason. Staring up from the pavement, Hatchin thinks her attitude reminds her a lot of Michiko.
The next day, the stripper “Pepe” shows up with her short companion “Lulu” at Hatchin’s restaurant holding the photo of Hiroshi that Michiko threw away at the strip club two days before. Claiming to be her father’s friend, she promises to tell her more if she shows up to the club tomorrow night to celebrate her birthday. Not worried at all that she didn’t bring any money for lunch, she dumps out what little change remains in her coin purse and hands the box of leftovers to Lulu before showing off a few skills she learned as a stripper to make a quick getaway.
Confidently dismissing the possibility that the Pepe wasn’t lying about Hatchin’s father, Michiko takes her to the birthday party the next night anyway. Before the show, Pepe tells Lulu that she doesn’t have to go through with “this” if she doesn’t want to. Wanting to do “it” anyway, Lulu only requests that Pepe keep smiling, because that’s all she needs to be happy. They really have a great dynamic between them, (even if the matching outfits are a little disturbing). Pepe asks Rico for some money, or at least a birthday present, when he comes in before the show starts, but he retorts with a slap that knocks her to the ground. Composed if not a bit pissed off, she walks out to start the festivities and shows a few gentlemen a good time on stage.
Hatchin and Michiko are drinking some “juice,” joined shortly by Pepe at the bar. A bit slurred already, Hatchin cares more about the status of Pepe’s missing underwear than where her father is. In response to Hatchin insulting her desire for money, Pepe tells her a sad history of why she ended up working in a place like this, easily reducing Hatchin to sympathetic tears. Lulu walks out the back door as Pepe challenges Michiko to a drinking contest to win information about Hiroshi ‘Moreno-koto’ – clearly lying, but Michiko charitably takes her up on the offer anyway. Winning the contest hands-down, Michiko drags Hatchin off the dance floor and takes her home empty-handed as Pepe falls off her barstool (after recalling what she had for lunch and dinner that day), giggling happily on the floor.
Back at their hotel room, Michiko tucks Hatchin in for the night only to suffer complete and total defeat at the surprisingly light and nimble feet of Lulu as she escapes with Michiko’s bag of personal belongings. After returning home and searching the bag, with no ID cards to show for their successful thievery, she apologizes to a compassionate Pepe for a failed mission. Pepe promises to buy Lulu an ID card with the money from tonight’s birthday party, but doesn’t yet know what to do about her own situation.
Finding out that a stripper showing up on your bed in the middle of the night isn’t as fun as it sounds, Rico suffers a soft brick to the head while Lulu breaks open his safe with a shotgun. Waking up penniless, he sends his army of street brats after the girls with a bounty on their heads. Almost getting away scot-free, Pepe suddenly realizes she left the one cute photo of Lulu behind in her bedroom at Rico’s house, and they need that to create her ID. Lulu tells her not to worry, and that she’ll go get it and return as fast as she can. The last we see of her is being chased down by two of the munchkin boys with Michiko as a witness on her bike.
Waiting frantically for Lulu’s return in Michiko’s hotel room a bit later, Pepe begs Michiko to help bring Lulu back on a suicide mission to Rico’s house. But despite desperate and heartfelt pleas, the only thing Michiko offers is a small wad of cash as Pepe walks out, determined to do this rescue mission on her own, no matter what it takes. Disappointed in own her lack of ability to help, Michiko smashes the bedroom mirror with the jeweled lighter from her pocket.
Alone in a taxi on the way to Rico’s, three of the boys convince the taxi driver to drop off his passenger and go back the way he came. With no choice but to accept their challenge, Pepe walks up for a confident showdown, and after a tense pause, all three of the boys shoot their guns directly at her multiple times before the screen goes black. A Continuar.
I know I said I wasn’t intending on blogging this show, but I cannot begin to express how entertaining this episode was. Episodes one to three were also a surprising breath of fresh air, so I urge any of you who were thinking about watching this show to give it a chance past the first episode. Originally suffering a miserable life at the hands of her foster parents in Brazil, Michiko rescued Hana (aka Hatchin) after a successful prison break, and they have been searching for Hatchin’s father ever since. It’s easy to feel contributor Shinichiro Watanabe’s connection with his other successful works like Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, from the searching-for-a-lost-loved-one storyline to the flamboyant and creative musical score. Not that either of those are even remotely bad things.
Coming from a rocky start, Michiko and Hatchin are building a really nice duo-vibe in their growing relationship. Hatchin is beginning to trust Michiko, and cares enough for her partner/friend/mother figure to go “rescue” her, shivering at the door of her enemy with a chef’s knife in hand – Even though at the time of her capture she was more concerned with her stolen shoes than her stolen companion, which I interpret as complete confidence that Michiko can take care of herself, with enough courtesy to remember to worry after the shoe-rage dissipated. Hatchin is also acclimating surprisingly quickly to the rough living style, and I get a large kick out of her outbursts and rising bad attitude. Which reminds me, no drinking “juice” until legal age, please.
As Hatchin pointed out, Pepe and Lulu really are virtually a mirror image of Michiko and Hatchin, except much worse off in terms of being stuck in a bad situation. They desperately need IDs in order to survive on their own, and Pepe’s intricate plot to take advantage of an unlucky and deserving victim quickly turned into the possibility to make a capable friend who can help her out of this rough spot and restore her faith in trusting people. Although I was a bit worried at first because of Lulu’s strange demeanor, she proved beyond a doubt that she’s quite the capable criminal.
The cliffhanger at the end of the episode left me open-mouthed in shock, so I’ll be anticipating the conclusion next week. They are doing an excellent job making the viewer care about the characters and their plights – even the ones we only just met this week. With a creative and stylish series like this, it truly is a sharp change of pace from everything else that’s out there, with incredibly high quality and yet potential to grow even more. I hope the rest of you aren’t forgetting to give this one a chance.