Flight of the Victor – 勝者の敗走
This was a mess of an episode. It was bloody and emotional, with lots of head squishing, body smashing, screaming and crying. Towards the final seconds, one thing was clear – our main & main supporting characters were most certainly not happy. Anger radiated from our Hamatora duo (pardon my previous mistake, I assumed that everyone was part of Hamatora and only just realised that Hamatora consists of only Nice and Murasaki), Birthday & Ratio, Koneko and even Hajime. Above all of that, we finally got some much-needed progression, albeit grossly overdue. As is typical of Hamatora, the episode ended in yet another cliffhanger. Although, props to the writers for making it a different cliffhanger this time round. Needless to say, it is going to be a very long week ahead, before the revelation in next week’s final episode.
And so, with one episode left to the series, Nice and Moral finally meet. As predicted, they did not come to blows. Not yet at least. It was all very civilised, the two of them sitting down in Nowhere café, conversing over drinks. Even though this was expected, I have to admit that the interaction between the pair was quite a let down. As a viewer, I found the entire scene rather disjointed from the main storyline. There was such a strong build up to this confrontation, with the previous episodes laying so much groundwork. And yet, the meeting rather fell flat. Of course, I am partially to blame for having expected something BIG, but Hamatora really did not deliver on this front. It was akin to reaching the peak of a mountain after an arduous climb, only to have the breathtaking scenery blocked by a tree. The interaction between Nice and Moral simply was not enough. There were so many things missing. And the conversation was merely a repeat of what either party had said in the previous episodes, the only difference being that this time, they were speaking to each other.
Speaking of things which were missing, again Hamatora refuses to tell us what happened to Art. This constant teasing is highly uncalled for. And it is seriously getting old. Question: what is the forbidden minimum? Hajime’s little tornado show after the ED made me wonder whether she might be the one who is close possessing it instead. Talk about a dark horse! The whole time I was focussed on Art having some secret special power hidden up his sleeve, Hajime jumps in at the eleventh hour and completely confounds everything.
Although I am very appreciative of this mini plot twist, I cannot help but be a little irked by that final scene. Why have the writers decided to bring this in at such a late stage? Considering the number of uncertainties that are still up in the air, I foresee the final episode being a mad rush of tying up all the loose ends. Even though I have resigned myself to accept an abrupt and choppy ending, the thought of it is really sigh-inducing. After last season’s stampede of rushed endings, I was hoping for the anime series this season to pace themselves better. Oh Hamatora, you have been such a good contender this Winter 2014. Please please please do not trip so close to the finishing line. There is still one episode, but to avoid disappointment, I shall not get my hopes up.
Continuing my rant from last week, I would like to point out that this episode cements the fact that Three’s filler episode was a waste. If you noticed, both Three and Honey barely appeared in this episode. This just goes to show that the important bits in episode 9 could have well been conveyed in a few scenes, instead of taking up an entire precious episode. Unfortunately, it really has turned into a what could have been situation…
Okay, so if you have managed to follow my review to this stage, many thanks. The rant on inefficient storytelling officially stops here. On to the essence of the story! In true Hamatora fashion, the series once again gives us much to think about the harsh realities of life. Moral finally confessed to being the mastermind and we see all the rioting happening in Hamatora world. The people were divided into Minimum Holders and non-Minimum Holders. Right… as if it were as simple as that. Minimum Holders ganged up against other Minimum Holders for not conforming to their ideals – Murasaki was subject to the “bullying” by the non-innate Minimum Holders. This phenomenon of taking sides and shunning the non-believers, so to speak, is something that we currently face in our world as well. Certainly, when two different views collide, there will be a divide; people will take sides. And to that I can’t help but ask, why bother? Doesn’t it take extra effort to oppose someone? Honestly, if people are willing to live and let live, and not bother with all these little discrepancies, the world could be a much happier and peaceful place. Although, I suppose my comment just goes to show that I am guilty of taking sides as well, having just expressed my disdain at people who hold others in disdain. Vicious circle, this problem is. まぁいいか ヽ(ー_ー )ノ
Plot aside, the seiyuus are what keep me returning for more. Many favourites are in this one – HiroC, junjun,Nakamura Yuuichi, to name a few. Out of all of them though, HiroC is definitely THE ONE to listen out for. He only had a couple of lines this episode, but the impact that him-as-evil-Art made was huge. He is just such an AMAZING voice actor, love for him goes beyond rationality. Junjun is another one to look out for. Honestly, in this episode I could not even tell it was him. He sounded so different, I actually wondered whether they had replaced him with another seiyuu (which of course it was not because they would never do that to junjun, he is too loveable). They are veterans for a reason. A very good reason. Of course, not forgetting the newer ones, Oosaka Ryouta also gets notable mention for another commendable performance. This up and coming seiyuu has done a nice job with Nice so far. As the episode ended with an angry Nice, I expect that he is really going to showcase his acting chops in the next episode. Let’s wait and see what other surprises he has in store for us ^^
Here’s hoping for a better finale~