Anime Worth Watching: Michiko & Hatchin

Michiko & Hatchin (ミチコとハッチン) is a 2008, 22 episode anime series directed by Sayo Yamamoto and produced by Manglobe. The music is composed by Alexandre Kassin and produced by Shinichirō Watanabe.

Synopsis

Michiko & Hatchin is set in a fictional country in South America and focuses on the relationship between a young girl who has escaped an abusive home, Hana (nicknamed Hatchin), and an extremely competent and violent fugitive woman, Michiko, as they chase down Hana’s dad and elude authorities.

Appeal

Michiko & Hatchin’s strengths lie in it’s surprising depth of character of the two leading ladies. Michiko is ridiculously competent when it comes to violence, but she’s still very much caught up in her idea of youth, and her plans often go awry. Hana, although a child herself, plays the more logical and mature role in their relationship. They bicker and fight, but during all the shit that they go through together, you can see a real connection between them. The story is centered around finding Hana’s father, but the relationship between these two shows itself to be the primary focus of the narrative.

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Bonding over soda and booze

Even though M&H‘s focus is on a pseudo-parental relationship, this anime doesn’t pull punches. The Tarantino-esque comic violence and Lupin III style chases make you drop your guard for when shit gets real for both Michiko and Hana. It builds a violent and sometimes awful world and it doesn’t shy away from exposing the lead characters to exactly how shitty the world can be. I found myself wondering part-way through the series if the kid’s gonna die.

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This seems like healthy behavior for a child

The style of M&H is on point throughout, replicating the aesthetic of 80’s movies, it gives life to an interesting world. The character designs are realistic, authentic feeling, but still play well with the crazy action sequences that occur. The music is great, which isn’t surprising, considering Watanabe was producing. I’m probably gonna grab the soundtrack. Additionally, the VA work is fantastic for the Japanese dub, with Hana being played by Yōko Maki (The Grudge) and Michiko being played by Suzuka Ohgo (Memoirs of a Geisha). They play the roles very well and give real depth to some of the more emotional scenes.

Michiko’s “sexy diva” style definitely takes its roots from the 80′s theme, but it’s one of the rare characters in an anime who seems to be sexy all for herself. You don’t really feel the “male gaze” when watching this and it’s probably due to a conscious effort of director Sayo Yamamoto, and the fact that her target audience was office women. You can see a lot of M&H‘s influence in her later work, Lupon III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine.

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Just because she’s on the run, doesn’t mean she has to stop dressing like a badass

I feel the need to mention the diversity of the characters as an important aspect to the anime as well. The reason I heard of Michiko & Hatchin is because a friend showed it to me saying there was finally someone he wanted to cosplay. Having characters that aren’t all pale with straight hair is a really nice facet to a very good anime.

Downside

This show is a bit of a downer at times. Characters die, the world isn’t perfect, and the pair fight just as much as they care for each other. The design of Michiko can be a bit of a red flag for some people, but as I said above, it’s a part of the character. Still, that can be off-putting.

Conclusion

Weeb level: 3/10. This is entry-level anime for a person with certain taste. Besides a couple of homages to Lupin III, there’s not an expectation of anime knowledge at all. It’s not meta and it has its own voice.

Fanservice: 3*/10. This needs an asterisk, because the character design and characterization are the driving factors for the level of fanservice here. It’s a show made by a woman about women and for women, but it does still have a very sexual design for a main character.

Quality: 8.5/10. Overall, it’s refreshing to see a show with such well-developed female leads which shows poverty, abuse, single-motherhood and making your own family in a very human light. If you like 80′s aesthetic, Hotline Miami, Lupin III, Tarantino movies, Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, diverse characters, female leads, or just good character development, check out this show.

Where to Watch: It is available to stream on the FUNimation website as well as Hulu.