To be honest, I’ve actually been a little difficulty picturing how this would work as a long-form series. Yeah, these first few episodes have been great, but they’ve had such a gritty, indy film festival feel that hasn’t felt that… copacetic to the expectations of a 20-to-26-episode serial. It’s never been inconceivable, certainly - - just a little harder to picture.
Well, now MICHIKO & HATCHIN has settled into a groove that makes its ongoing storytelling prospects much easier to picture. I can totally see this duo hopping into one absurd underworld predicament after another; saving their skins through a combination of wits and LOONY TOONS-style acrobats. (Seriously, who else was thinking about this when they saw Michiko in the get-up she's got on above).
The way this particular episode centers on one specific, colorful and well-researched subject - - namely bullfighting - - reminds me of the better episodes of SAMURAI CHAMPLOO, actually. Just as that show was more-or-less a series of entertaining, one-off history lessons strung together by the rather open-ended hunt for the “Samurai Who Smells of Sunflowers,” I’m sure this’ll be a travelogue ambling along to the door step of Hatchin’s real Dad.
There’s just a real wealth of personality here. From Michiko’s brutal-yet-endearing mother to the buffoonish-yet-capable Russian booker, there are no characters who feel like they’ve been cut out of some sheet of stock stereotypes. And I was pleasantly surprised to the see the visual language of all the mean urban combat we’ve seen so far being instead used for an almost Chaplin-esque set-piece of escalating slapstick here. (Michiko really comes across as a feral and belligerent “Tramp," I'll tell you).
Every part of the show feels unique and well thought-out. I’m really running out of new ways to phrase how different it feels from any other anime I’ve seen.