Hakata! Home to detectives, assassins, hackers, international criminal organisations, torturers, plastic surgeons, ramen chefs, and baseball players! But don’t let that put you off, they’re mostly pretty nice!
What did you watch?
For the letter H in my A to Z Anime Challenge, I choose to watch Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens. I was really struggling on which one to pick and in the end just took a shot in the dark, which seems kind of appropriate that I would end up with a series about assassins. All I knew about this series was that Karandi from 100 Word Anime had done a number of posts on the series, although having a violent aversion to spoilers, I avoided them like the plague. However, if Karandi was willing to invest the time, then there had to be something there. Anyhow, here’s what I thought, and yes, there will be spoilers.
It follows Banba, a private detective who has ruffled the feathers of a mob boss. In order to get him off their backs, they send Lin, a cross-dressing assassin to take care of him, but they also recently stiffed Lin on a previous job, so he has taken it upon himself to make sure that no one assassinates Banba. To facilitate this, Lin moves in with Banba who then convinces him to join his baseball team.
Now living together, Banba learns that Lin was a product of a brutal assassin training camp and is searching for his missing sister. Lin also discovers that Banba is also an assassin and not just any assassin, but the legendary Niwaka Samurai. Will they get to the bottom of Lin’s missing sister, stop the mob boss from killing Banba, and manage to steal third?
What did you think?
I had absolutely no expectations going into this series as I knew absolutely nothing about it, but that doesn’t matter one bit because I loved it. On top of the standard assassin and detective stuff, there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors as the team pull off all sorts of insane routines and manoeuvres.
I also really enjoyed the friendship between Banba and Lin, not to mention the rest of the supporting cast. Most of them get an episode to delve into their pasts which was great and it all manages to come back around to support the later escapades. This series was a lot of fun.
What was your favourite moment?
Obviously, the Niwaka Samurai scenes were awesome, but it was actually Lin’s backstory that I really enjoyed. Not in the sense that it was fun, but it was excellently dealt with. Watching him train with his cellmate as they pushed each other to become the best of the best. I knew how it was going to end, that was a little predictable, but it was still very emotional.
What was your least favourite moment?
There were some real scumbags in this series, most notably the son of the mayor with his twisted fetish for killing women and the bodyguards that would clean up his mess. He got his just deserts, however, and I loved how it gave Saitoh a chance to show what he was made of.
Who was your favourite character?
Banba, without a doubt. Lin comes in as a very close second, but Banba is just too cool. He seems to have an answer for everything and he’s also pretty unstoppable with a katana. I loved that he was so into his baseball and used it as an analogy for everything. He was also pretty laid back except when it came to his festival.
Who was your least favourite character?
Either the Mayor’s son or Feilang, Lin’s former cellmate. Both of these guys were pretty low, but then that just makes the good assassins that much nicer because they only really take care of the real scumbags. Otherwise, it might be hard to cheer them on if they’re just going around killing random people.
Who needs more screen time?
We didn’t see too much of Genzo until the last couple of episodes where we discovered that he used to be an incredible assassin too. It would be fun to see more of that, but I would be happy with more of the Ocean’s
Would you like some more?
I’d quite like to see a prequel series about Genzo from his time as the number one assassin in Hakata. Admittedly, I would be happy with more of all of them. This series was a real surprise and it’s yet another win for the A to Z Anime Challenge. So far, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve seen, but some have been exceptional.
Other Posts in the Series
- A to Z Anime Challenge
- Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero
- Blood-C / Blood-C: The Last Dark
- Cat Planet Cuties
- Dragonar Academy
- El Cazador de la Bruja
- Freezing / Freezing Vibrations
- Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions
- Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens
- Is It Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon?
- Jormungand / Jormungand: Perfect Order
- Knight’s & Magic
- Lord Marksman and Vanadis
- My First Girlfriend is a Gal
- No Game No Life
- Outbreak Company
- Punch Line