Michiko to Hatchin – I Don't Want to Say 'Shitty Cowboy Bebop Knockoff' But….

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.

20 thoughts on “Michiko to Hatchin – I Don't Want to Say 'Shitty Cowboy Bebop Knockoff' But….

  1. Almost exactly my experience with the series, though I journeyed further, up to episode 9, until I dropped it. The kind of half-assed story progression strains my patience. Like, am I supposed to care about the main plot, or is it some excuse to do string together a bunch of side stories like a Bebop? And unlike Bebop, the two main characters have no chemistry together; all I’ve seen them do is bitch at each other all series long. It’s just not as fun as it wants to be.

  2. It seems I’ve been dumbfounded watching the first episode. I’m gonna have to day it doesn’t live up to the Cowboy Bebop levels, it’s completely different.

  3. I loved MichiHatchi with passion. I see where it went wrong for you, and I’m still stuck in the third episode of Cowboy Bebop so I don’t have its presumed awesomeness shadowing this one, but the storytelling really got to me from a very early point. Ironically, I was extremely disappointed with the over-simplified cinderella story of the first episode. I do agree with some stuff you complained about, though, like the slightly too abrupt ending of the fourth episode and the overall shakiness of the early eps. However, I found the character interaction nearly flawless in its refreshing subtlety and complexity where the show didn’t try to give the audience simple answers, like Michiko and Hatchin’s relationship actually took time to evolve instead of being formed solid in the first three episodes.

    You didn’t even watch till Satoshi gets into picture? He rocks so very, very much I can’t even phrase it. I suspect you would’ve liked him. Overall, I thought this was a stronger show than Casshern Sins whose uninteresting main characters and latter half’s sloppy writing annoyed me a lot.

  4. @Arana – now see, your later paragraph proves we are at ends here, seeing as how Casshern was nearly flawless to me, lol. What it come down to with Michihatchin is that it’s a show that should be fun, and it wasn’t fun enough.

  5. I just started marathoning it too! Totally have to disagree with you though. As of episode 6, I’m loving it. Is it as good as Cowboy Bebop or Samurai Champloo? I think it’s too early for me to make that sort of judgement, one way or the other. Worst case scenario, this series is still way above the industry average.

    It seems we’re seeing the same thing, but interpreting it completely different. For instance, I thought episode 4 was very well executed from start to finish. Thematically, the episode ties into the show’s main plotline perfectly.

    Of course, every time I watch it I wonder to myself just how different the series would have been if Watanabe had actually directed it. But I won’t let that get in my way of enjoying the series.

  6. @Micheal – I can’t say that Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo comparisons alone are what make this anime suck for me. I love stylish anime in general. That’s why this anime feels so fail to me in terms of style – it feels so lackluster and played. It’s almost like Bee Train doing Noir – the show obviously wanted to be a stylish killer-chick movie type thing, but the style felt forced and horrible (and they actually went on to do a much better stylish anime with El Cazador de la Bruja, though that one is marred by totally shitty animation). As I said in my post, it’s the same things Manglobe did with Ergo Proxy – they tried to make this kind of anime without really the heart and ideas to capture what they are doing.

    Cowboy Bebop is a giant throwback to every kind of cinema and music style there is. Watanabe carefully stylized every episode to resemble some kind of film (action, drama, noir, anything) and that made those styles that much cooler. Samurai Champloo was tapped into the style of samurai films as well as fluent in blackenese and what’s hip and cool. Michiko to Hatchin just tries to have style for the sake of style. It has chase scenes and gunfights, but there is nothing special about them – nothing that grabs your attention and nothing that looks like this idea someone’s been dying to put into an anime like would be the case with Cowboy Bebop.

    The show kind of reminds me of Natural Born Killers – a film that wanted to be stylish like a Tarantino flick and even had him as a part of it (much like Watanabe is a part of this) but that failed because unlike Tarantino who is stylish based on things he loves and wants to incorporate, that movie just wanted to be stylish like Tarantino.

    I’m not sure if I’m actually making sense right now, since it’s humid and none of this sounds right, but whatever.

  7. Lol at your last sentence.

    I guess we’ll agree to disagree. I agree with what you said on Bebop and Champloo, but I feel that so far Michiko has plenty of well orchestrated style too. I haven’t seen Natural Born Killers or Ergo Proxy, so I can’t comment on those. But I loooove Noir. Cazador was plenty of fun, but it can’t compare to Noir in my book. But that’s a whole ‘nother debate.

  8. I disagree, I think the show was good. It managed to create a stylish and authentic world, with charismatic central characters and and an interesting plot driven by those characters. Some of the side stories, especially episode 7, were done really well to. It’s not Cowboy Bebop or Samurai Champloo either; just because a show has its own (unique) style, doesn’t mean it’s a knock-off of every other stylish show ever made.

  9. @Omysith: It does when that style is taking pages right out of another show’s book. Yeah, you don’t have to agree with me or anything, but like I said, it’s the style being not well-thought-out that bothers me here.

  10. now see, your later paragraph proves we are at ends here, seeing as how Casshern was nearly flawless to me, lol. What it come down to with Michihatchin is that it’s a show that should be fun, and it wasn’t fun enough.

    I think Casshern was very good, but that aside, the fact that we think differently about one series does in no way say anything about our views on another title, especially with such fundamentally differing shows. Also, I think MichiHatchi was actually a very serious anime, although the OP might fool you into thinking otherwise. It has its fun moments, but it’s never even meant to be a fun series per se.

    I thought it resembled Tarantino films very much, not just in the Natural Born Killers way but through and through. That’s one of the reasons I liked it so much.

  11. I wish I could say the same. I just didn’t feel the inspiration in it. It just seemed sloppy and not well-put-together. I know I’m repeating myself, but compared to something like Cowboy Bebop which was very carefully constructed to convey certain things, this show didn’t measure up.

  12. “However, I found the character interaction nearly flawless in its refreshing subtlety and complexity where the show didn’t try to give the audience simple answers, like Michiko and Hatchin’s relationship actually took time to evolve instead of being formed solid in the first three episodes.”

    This. You have to let it come together a bit more. The main story is “the two’s quest for Hiroshi”, of course. But because that’s so general, that allows for a lot of separate adventures that help develop Michiko, Hatchin and some of the other people that they meet on the journey.

    It also helped that I didn’t look at the show as related to Cowboy Bebop or Samurai Champloo at any point in time. But it makes me wonder what you were looking for when watching this show. If you look at it in comparison to “Cowboy Bebop”, judging how highly you place that show, of course it’s not going to match up. But it’s not trying to be Cowboy Bebop either. :P

  13. I think Wilson’s plottin on me. Ever since he went missing last month and returned like nothing’s happened, he’s been acting strange. Gotta get out this comment section before it’s too late.

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