Re 01: Melancholy of Hero
After what was probably one of Winter 2014’s most seizure inducing cliffhanger of endings, the series returns with a second season as Re:␣Hamatora. One vast improvement has definitely got to be this season’s OP (Sen no Tsubasa by Takuro Sugawara). But I digress.. The episode opens on a sombre note, along with equally sombre music, as the entire team gathered at Nowhere Café, seemingly holding a memorial service for Nice who, according to the newspapers, died in the hospital.
We learn that three months have passed since the riots that were instigated by Moral and that life for the ordinary Yokohama folk has returned to some semblance of normalcy. Word of Nice’s actions (i.e. his fight against Moral) as well as Honey’s attempts to provide help to the citizens have served to quell the discrimination against Minimum Holders. While the riots have died down and we are told from Murasaki’s narration that the city is trying to change for the better, the stigma of being a Minimum Holder is still ever prevalent and we see them struggling with their daily lives – Three doubling up as a children’s ride and Birthday offering battery-charging services are just some prime examples of the Minimum Holders trying very hard to earn their keep.
Our characters from season one are back in this second season (well, the information broker was missing but maybe he will appear in the episodes to come). While most of them are still the same old same old (definitely looking at you, Birthday (Fukuyama Jun)), there is a distinct difference to Hajime’s (Katou Emiri) character. For starters, she has definitely stepped up as a member of Hamatora, going as far as to accept a job and even attempting to carry it out properly. I suppose what happened to Nice certainly shook her up a fair bit and she has taken it upon herself to fill Nice’s shoes during his absence. While she was certainly portrayed as a rather interesting character in the first season, it was quite wasted, as there was not much development on her character. So I was most pleased to find out that we appear to be getting a little more insight to this character.
In this episode, the Hamatora team declined an assassination job and correspondingly accepted a job to protect a certain celebrity Minimum Holder, Hikaru. Natsukawa (Hikaru’s manager, who also kind of acts as Hikaru’s pimp in his personal side business of selling Hikaru-handshake tickets to enthusiastic/delusional Hikaru fans) might have reasoned that the population needed a tragic hero, but I am more inclined to think that he was merely using Hikaru as a tool. Natsukawa did not treat Hikaru as a proper person, but instead used him as a product – his very own cash cow. This begs the question: just what are Minimum Holders in the eyes of the non Minimum Holders? It is obvious that the discrimination will never cease in Hamatora world, and this definitely hits home because this phenomenon is rampant in real life as well. Once again, I greatly appreciate that Hamatora engages with real life situations and am pleased to find that this second season is carrying on with it.
This opening episode waited till the very last moment to bring in our main character, and good golly was the suspense simply killing me before that scene. Simply from the cast list itself, one would have been able to figure out that Nice (Oosaka Ryouta being credited as a MAIN) was in fact not dead. Hints were also dropped throughout the episode, like the internet search on who the person inside Toranker-kun was. All of that, as well as the fact that the memorial service was distinctly odd. I mean, close friends would be mourning and not joking about the deceased’s porn stash, or pour cola on said dead guy’s photo. Yeah.. the team’s actions certainly gave the answer away. What we (or me at least) seek however, is not an answer to whether Nice was dead or not, but how alive he was and just what happened between him and Art. Unfortunately, that remains shrouded in mystery.
Speaking of Art, our favourite inspector made an appearance at the very very very end of the episode. And while we were told close to NOTHING about his character, I am just glad to have heard Kamiya Hiroshi speak, even if it was just that one line. We have a good 12/13 episodes to expand on the plot, so I am definitely not pressed for answers at this stage. Not yet at least. This was quite a good second season start to what was a rocky lead up to season one’s finish. There is so much to expand on and I really hope that this second season does the story justice. Here’s hoping that with this season, the show really paces itself well. Staff-san, here is kiseki’s request: no fillers this time please~