覚悟 (エゴ) – Resolve (Ego)
After 12 episodes, Hamatora finally comes to an end. And what a whirlwind of a ride it has been. There was fun, there was laughter, there were gasps, there were screams – all of which led up to this final episode and continued all the way to the very last scene. If you haven’t already seen it, I strongly urge you to do so. It is mind-blowing.
This episode started where it left off the previously, with Hajime’s ‘awakening’. Although the previous episode built up so much intrigued, her little power up came and went in a flash. I could not help but feel rather cheated, as I was honestly led to believe that there would be something more than just 3 seconds of Hajime beating the crap out of some dude. Sadly, this little scene turned out to be just an insignificant teaser, which was highly unnecessary. The impression I got from watching that scene was that the writers were simply looking for a way to waste several seconds, to make up this 23:54 minute episode. If time permits, I would be ready to forgive certain fillers/time-wasters. However, considering how rushed the storytelling already is, I say this was a terrible use of airtime.
Time wasting really hit a homerun during the confrontation scene between Moral and Nice. Again, we see the writers wasting precious seconds building up Nice’s snapping, only to end with a gag. Honestly, I was not expecting that at all. Although it was a good comedic relief moment, as Hamatora had so nicely presented us with many over the previous episodes, it felt quite abrupt given the gravity of the prevailing scene. Again, what resulted was something very displaced and somewhat uncalled for.
Having said that, the gag bit remains my only gripe, as I did appreciate the rest of the Moral vs Art scene. For starters, they did eventually come to physical blows! Of course, I guess this was to be expected, as the Hamatora duo is quite the physical pair – constantly getting into fights & blows with others. However, their fight was, as predicted, rushed. But I shan’t harp on that any more. What I really want to concentrate on is the animation. I absolutely loved the way the animators conveyed the Zero-shiki Minimum and Nice’s manipulation of speed by emphasising on the stillness of the water droplets. Nothing was redundant in the animation. Everything little detail played a specific role. The background was dark, which helped accentuate the colour of the water droplets. The animators made it so that our characters were outdoors and in the rain, which helped set the scene and provide the water droplets to play with in the first place. It was exemplary use of the different elements to put forth the animation and I applaud the animators for a job well done on that front.
So, on to the plot. As I have mentioned time and again in my previous Hamatora entries, this series touches on many real life situations. This episode is no different. In true Hamatora fashion, we are once again presented with Moral-ity issues. This week’s episode focused on the never-ending struggle for power, the insatiable desire for more. It also took a turn for the darker, as we see the weak-turned-strong killing the other weak ones. Moral’s elaborate plan was further put into motion, as he revealed that he planned on making the ignorant weak ones realise their weakness. And just how might he do that? Why, by bursting their eardrums of course. Moral’s plan was to punish the weak by making them CARE that they were weak. Upon doing so, they would then come crawling to him, begging for power. Right.. forget Robin Hood complex. The dude has a serious God complex there for you. Wanting to be the messiah, wanting to save those who are weak, wanting equality for all – Moral really has issues.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have Nice. He gave a very admirable little speech towards the end of the episode. He tells us that he is not a hero and does not care for saving others. He has always used his powers for himself and that is the way he does things. After clearly renouncing any responsibility for the plight of the ones who were due to get their eardrums blown out, Nice then went on to challenge Moral. He told him very clearly that he would stop Moral, simply because he did not like him. Kudos to you, Nice. You are not just a run-off-the-mill character, which definitely adds to your charm. I have to say, I particularly enjoyed that scene, because it just goes to show how real our protagonist is. He views himself as a normal person (well, as normal as one with super powers can get) and lives his life as he thinks he should. His declaration made me take to him all the more, and just goes to show that you can have a ‘hero’ who isn’t all that concerned about saving the day.
Speaking of saving the day, I guess Nice should not be all that concerned about saving the day when he is the one who is in desperate need of saving. After being shown brutally murdered by Moral in episode 7, Art FINALLY returns! However, his return was not depicted in the way that I was hoping for, despite having expected it. All was fine and dandy, up till the last 10 seconds of the series. I kid you not, it was a *gasps* WHAT IN THE WORLD ART?!!!! moment. If ever a series were to mind-troll you at the very last second, this would be one of them. In fact, I was so caught up in the final seconds that I forgot to breathe. And so.. What is in store for Hamatora? What is going to happen to our Nice protagonist? After all that waiting, Art finally shows up.. what exactly happened to him? I guess we will have to wait to find out. That, or we may never ever know *shock horror*
All in all, this was a good series. What initially caught my attention was the seiyuus – knowing that Hatano Wataru (Murasaki) was one of the main characters got me on board the Hamatora viewer-ship immediately. However, his performance was not much to write about. That aside, Oosaka Ryouta (Nice) is one to listen out for in this series. He really did a fine job conveying Nice’s emotions through his acting. This boy has done quite a few starring roles in the recent seasons and I expect he will continue dazzling us with his praiseworthy performances. Of course, not forgetting fond shoutouts to HiroC (Art), Junjun (Birthday), Nakamura Yuuichi (Ratio) and Kitamura Eri (Honey), all of whom helped to make this series all the more enjoyable. If you do not want to watch Hamatora for anything else, at least give it a go because the seiyuus really made this series all the better.
And before I end off, I would just like to thank anyone and everyone who has followed my coverage of this series or read any of my Hamatora posts at all. I had lots of fun watching as well as writing & reviewing this series. Here’s hoping that the writers have mercy on us viewers and decide to give us some answers. Till next time~
*update* 2 May 2014:「Hamatora season 2: Re Hamatora」