Hamatora: Episode 04

hamatora ep 4 - safety club

Fear not the strangers who threaten to clean your bathroom uninvited, because the Yokohama safety club will keep them at bay! They will stop strangers from entering your bathroom without permission, stop them from making your toilet clean, stop them from making it sparkle. That’s right, the days of your bathroom being infiltrated by strangers who clean is but a distant memory, because the four warriors of Yokohama – Sonic idaten / Speed taro (really? yam??), Thunder good guy, Mad doctor and Megane (four-eyes) – will protect us!

This week’s LOL moment came in the form of a commercial shoot. Not only was the commercial itself hilarious, but so was the aftermath. The contrast of each Hamatora member’s reaction, mixed with their reactions towards one another’s reactions towards having to shoot such a gaudy commercial gave rise to a good several minutes of laughter. Even though all the main members were roped in to do the shoot, some were far more enthusiastic than others. Nice and Birthday were clearly enjoying themselves, while on the other end of the spectrum, Murasaki appeared to be rather traumatised to have had actually been persuaded to participate. And when Hamatora received another acting job, this time in a nursing home, Murasaki’s instant “TURN IT DOWN!!” had me laughing so hard. Goodness, he sounded so ashamed and humiliated. Honestly, if you watched it, I’m sure you would be able to feel the dread, pain and anguish in his voice.

Oh Hatano Wataru… I wonder what was going through his mind when he recited those lines. Maybe the experience he had when his mother handed out his drama CDs to her colleagues, thinking she was distributing his music CD. The poor poor thing! Apparently his mother and her colleagues actually listened to one of his drama CDs! How absolutely beyond embarrassing D: I haven’t any idea how to react if such a thing happened to me, ahahahaha *nervous laughter* In any case, back to the series discussion.. from Murasaki’s slightly manic behavior, one would be inclined to think that he was utterly ashamed of doing the commercial. But oh no.. in a slightly failed mind-troll attempt, Murasaki eventually let slip that he was actually really into it! The bit that got him obsessive was the fact that he got stuck with Megane as his nickname.

Other than Murasaki, other members had more screen time this episode. We find out that Ratio is actually a doctor! How lovely! I guess the ‘operating table’ line that he had, together with his Mad doctor nickname, kind of make a whole lot of sense now. The scene in which he was listening to that old lady rant about her problems made me giggle. Nakamura Yuuichi does one of the best stoic voices I know. The way he lowers his voice and makes it devoid of all emotion – ah, love~

We move on to Ratio’s crime fighting partner, Birthday. As usual, the resident class clown makes us viewers happy and fills our screen with fun and laughter. With his weird costume and insane acting during the commercial, Birthday has more than cemented his place as comedic relief for Hamatora. However, beneath that cheery façade lies a much deeper and possibly darker person. In one of the scenes, Birthday was seen commenting that life is too short and that “we’re missing out if we’re not trying different things and having fun“. And to that, I could not agree more. Having fun is pretty much my philosophy in life. It is the driving force behind almost everything that I do. If I am not having fun or do not foresee myself having fun doing something, then I see absolutely no point in it. And I am convinced that many people out there function the same way. As such, I see Birthday as an extremely relatable character.

Hamatora ep 4 - birthday on fun

In addition to that, it might have been a rather off-handed comment on Birthday’s part. However, I suspect that there is something more to it. As is usually the case with the most open and boisterous characters, they show their true selves during their very brief and rare serious moments. And during Birthday’s serious moment this episode, it hinted (at least to me it did) that there are possibly lots more conflicts and complexities to Birthday’s persona than he is letting on. Maybe he went through something really emotional and mentally scarring/exhausting in the past (intriguing background story alert~~). And hence he now takes things as they are and wants to simply enjoy life to the fullest. Or maybe by giving off a very cheery disposition, he is trying not to be a downer and is (in his own quirky way) encouraging the people around him to just have fun and be happier while doing so. Or I might just be reading too much into this and things are not as complicated as I am making them seem. Whichever way, Birthday is such an interesting character and I enjoy every moment he appears on the screen. And the fact that he is voiced by the adorable Fukuyama Jun also helps ^^

Rounding up the Birthday section in this week’s review, just one more comment that might be quite repetitive. When Birthday said “life’s too short” and Ratio replied with a “don’t talk like that”, it definitely got the questions rolling in. Is there something that they are not telling us? What is going on with Birthday? If this were some normal everyday drama, I would definitely be thinking: oh no, does Birthday have a terminal illness or something? But this is not any normal drama. This is Hamatora the Animation. So again, maybe his story is really more complex than what we have seen so far. Maybe someone close to him was suddenly taken away? Ah, too much guessing!! We are not told much at this juncture, but this particular storyline has definitely piqued my interest.

hamatora ep 4 - honey and threeMoving on from the regulars, a couple of new characters are introduced – Honey (Kitamura Eri) and Three (Murase Katsuki). Honey is girly, cutesy and with the help of this handy little gadget of hers, clairvoyant. Three looks like an animal-like human and he protects Honey. Although they have only just been introduced, it is evident that their relationship is built on a very strong foundation of trust. When Honey was in danger, her faith in Three kept her calm in spite of the fact that her life had been threatened. Putting aside characters for a moment to focus on the seiyuus, this week, we witness a fine example of how good voice acting brings so much more emotion and life to the animation. Kitamura Eri did a marvelous job – that quiver in her voice when Honey thought she lost her bag (it got switched with another’s).. Gosh, my heart totally went out to her. I honestly felt her pain. Can’t imagine ever losing my bag with all me precious belongings along with it! Anyway, while not particularly eye-catching, this duo did somewhat contribute to the plot and it seems we can expect to see more of them in the coming episodes.

So.. the story this week? A new case that Art is investigating – children who have been given guns in exchange for participating in an insurrection. Someone, using the Internet, has been empowering others (with guns) and then forcing them to take action. This is very much akin to bribery and blackmail. In a sense, it is the core of the cases of this week as well as the previous week’s. Again, the parallel with real-world phenomena is startling. However, I shall reserve further comment till further revelations are made in the episodes to come.

hamatora ep 4 - gunshotWhile on the topic of this week’s crime, Moral has to be mentioned. Once again, Moral’s little speech carries so much truth and makes so much sense – “If providing people with what they desire is a sin, then all mothers are sinners and the world is bereft of love”. Moral raised a strong defense for himself by saying that he merely provided the children with what they wanted (i.e. the guns and by extension, violence). Indeed, all he did was provide the children with an opportunity. The ones who chose ‘wrong’ are the children themselves, for they are the ones who desired violence. Drawing this back to real-life occurrences once again, very often, we put the blame on others. However, we should take a step back and think: what part did we ourselves have to play in this? In the case of episode 4, the children are the ones who made the final decision of choosing the gun. Hypnotised or not, they had a choice. They made the final click of the mouse button.

And so, with this week’s gun episode, we round up yet another crime. However, it brings us to yet another question – just what is Moral trying to do? Looking at the big picture, he might be planning a showdown with Nice. Looking at the bigger picture, I am still not sure. Moral and Nice have been said to have similarities – even their speeches were mirrored (the looks like he’s having fun comment that they both made). Just what do the writers have in store for us? Not much of the BIG picture has been revealed as yet but I am most definitely tuning in for more.

Can’t wait for next week’s onsen episode~~

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