Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (Winter 2018) – Up in the Air

Hakata is not a peaceful city if at first glance. This city filled with various kinds of criminal dark sides such as murderers, hitmen, detectives, executioners, and blackmailers. Every night, the crime rate increases but for some reason, it’s a peaceful city. But, as if nothing just happened. Of all the criminals, Zenji Banba is one of them. He is a detective investigating various kinds of criminals in the city. His meeting with Xianming Lin is changing everything.

Lin is a cross-dressing male hitman served in one of the companies he worked. But one day, Lin’s target committed suicide before he killed so the company refused to pay him. Lin asks for a further mission to kill Banba where their meeting starts from here. During their meeting at night, Banba discovered that Lin was a target of hitmen. Banba finally made an offer to recruit him as a team.

Hakata is a city filled with various kinds of dirty tricks such as corruption and etc. This show offers lots of unique things to talk about from its narrative, diverse characters, and urban style. Lin as the lone wolf had a simple impression at the beginning. However, there are so many complex backstories he had. He came to embrace with Banba and found that there were so many special people around him. Banba, besides his terrifying alter ego, has friends who like to play baseball. They formed a team from various companies and competing with each other. But, this is not a sports anime yet it provides a lot of connection of the show and metaphor.

It’s one of the purest light-hearted comedies with a tale of friendship, not too many I guess. The title, “Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen”, taken from Banba’s favorite food after Lin promises to buy him a ramen every day. This show has a lot of foods but its light in nature doesn’t seem complex. The show kind of reminds me of “Durarara!!” And “Baccano!”. Both anime were written by the same author, Ryohgo Narita, while this show was written by Chiaki Kisaki. The look of urban design at “Durarara!!” is very similar to this anime. In a city, there are many unique interconnected characters in it. However, everything is reciprocal and has an impact on each other. The music also has a vibe of “Baccano!” blends with modern jazz.

Apart from urban design and music, “Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen” acts as the same style. Regardless of this is about underworld criminal with dark themes, the show explores it with a comedy tone but not overpowering. The same is true with the characters. They put a lot of stakes in their life and career to death. It becomes part of entertaining. The out-of-sarcasm then wrapped in all kinds of awkward situations but with a combination of action and comedy. Even tones which seems serious like kidnapping and murder don’t guarantee that this anime is just the most underlooked.

The show, initially, was so interesting, really puts me in into the story and its world. However, the show suddenly undertone step by step. In the end, all the characters are no longer non-linear and complex. There are no interconnected characters with related events. The supporting characters don’t get too much portion from each development. But, they welcome the part of urban backgrounds with quite a likable character and memorable. The fast-paced makes this anime not last long. The world of scope as well became increasingly narrow, unlike the first episodes.

The main characters, Lin and Banba, ready to create chaos in such a criminal underworld in Hakata. They make various kinds of dark entertainment yet they have a lot of fun. They cut, they kill, they protect their identities, they break into, they blackmail a person, and etc. The composition is really great and the lighting at Hakata is pretty good as well. It has composed and well-written. This anime offers enough blood for a dark comedy show. Additional music with modern jazz and rock with a fast tempo. The opening and ending are quite similar to “Cowboy Bebop” but was even more excited. The voice actings do pretty well. Yuki Kaji and Daisuke Ono provide a lot into their characters especially Yuki Kaji.

“Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen” offers a unique style of distinctive visuals, scores, characters, and settings. But, the show suddenly loses its potential due to its linear narrative. In addition, this anime doesn’t offer complex plots. It’s not over-the-top or high-quality anime. It’s an underrated anime, personally, but offers a different style from others. A dark comedy but full of entertainment, this is a great noir action show it doesn’t offer too much complexity.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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