Michiko to Hatchin is one of the shows form the fall 08-winter 09 season that I put off on watching to wait for it to end first. No Name proposed that we marathon it now that it’s over, so I figured ‘why not.’ After all, the show seemed interesting enough – as a matter of fact, I’d been looking forward to it a good bit at some point. With music produced by Shinichiro Watanabe, promises of tons of style, and the premise of a hot chick and loli travelling the land, it looked great. The production is by Manglobe, who had previously produced the very awesome Samurai Champloo and the immensely shitty Ergo Proxy. After 5 episodes of Michiko to Hatchin, I think I can say that Manglobe is 1/2 so far on it’s productions.
The first episode was actually pretty good and got my hopes a little bit higher. The episode was cruel, but it characterized Hatchin as a very strong girl, and let me tell you now, there is nothing I like more than strong-willed lolis. Nothing. NOTHING. So right fromt eh get-go I knew I’d love Hatchin. The episode was pretty well-directed and the animation was ungodly nice. It mostly served as a kick-off episode, so there wasn’t much to say about the plot yet.
Episode 2 was kind of just decent. The biggest problem I had, which continued through the other episodes, was that Michiko and Hatchin were boring together. They didn’t have any fun dialog or emotional connection or anything, they just were kind of there together, and that’s exactly how it is through the next few episodes. Episode 2 only really brings out more of the basic premise and groundwork of the show before moving on.
Now, episode 3 had something definitively in it’s favor – it was fucking hilarious. The episode starts with a hilarious gag about an old spiritual guidance woman who Michiko goes to and prophesies the rest of the episode. It was nothing original, but funny as hell. We then have the Chinese restaurant owner that Hatchin starts working for who is hilarious in his uber-steriotype portrayal. Other than the funny parts, though, the episode only had a little going for it. The second episode had a lot more in the way of action, and more in fac than any of the next three episodes, and the would-be exciting bits of episode 3 were hardly such.
Then it was in episodes 4 and 5 that I lost all interest in the show. First of all, episode 4 made no goddamn sense whatsoever. In spite of the show having followed one plot so far, this one decided to be on it’s own with a side character. The episode pretends like it’s going to tie into the main plot at one point, but then admits it was lying. The side character’s dialog was hideously terrible and completely uninformative to the point that the episode’s plot was hard to understand in any way. The whole thing becomes this clusterfuck of ‘do what now?’ and ends with the loose ends tied up only because the side character fucking died and therefor none of it even matters.
Then episode 5 was a poor-ass attempt at backstory mixed with plot progression. It read like a fucking 5th grader trying to emulate Cowboy Bebop. As a matter of fact, it was like when I was younger and would come up with stories directly reflecting the episode pacing of shows I liked (i.e. plot goes in ep 5). The flashbacks were a waste of time since they only raised more fucking questions than they answered, and the throwing around of faction names and peoples’ names was both convoluted and didn’t seem to matter much anyway. The episode jsut kind of dances around itself trying to decide what the fuck it’s own plot is, and once again the dialog is pure shit. A guy who is excited to see Michiko one minute now wishes he hadn’t seen her face, Michiko randomly drops Hatchin off at an old orphanage without any money just because he was going to do something no more dangerous than situations she’s already involved Hatchin in and doesn’t have the decency to give Hatchin a good reason for leaving her behind. The whole thing was just a fucking mess.
I feel like this show was a premise before a plot, and like the writers really had no fucking idea where to go with it. They knew they wanted style, ethnic stuff, Watanabe cool, and a 2-girls premise, but the rest was just shit they pulled out of a hat and hoped like fuck it would all work. They take a simple story and bullshit it with bad pacing and fragmented storytelling that makes it needlessly complex. Utterly fail writing.
This theme of not knowing much beyond the premise permeates the show, too. The soundtrack has a couple good tracks, but mostly seems like a disheartened and failed attempt at style. The animation is no doubt fluid and detailed (with painstaking care to mouth movements) but also feels very stiff at all times, which is probably thanks to the character designs which are less-than-great. Once again, it’s like a failed attempt at style. It’s like this show is to stylish, funky anime what Ergo Proxy is to intelligent, pretentious anime – a mock-up, uninspired attempt that misses the point and overestimates it’s own merits.
I really wanted to like Michiko to Hatchin, but I couldn’t continue after the shitfest that was episode 5. I’d much rather watch Cowboy Bebop or Black Lagoon, and I can get my strong-willed lolis from somewhere else.