Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hamatora

The world of Hamatora is defined by the existence of "Minimum Holders" - basically, mutants. Innate abilities in a small percentage of the population; some have super-hero-level powers, others much less impressive abilities. They never used the word "mutant" that I noticed, probably to avoid copyright infringement. But it's basically the same thing.
The story follows a group of about a half-dozen Minimum Holders. Most of them work for a private detective agency called Hamatora. Individual episodes are mostly about agency jobs, usually relating to bringing some kind of rogue Minimum Holder to justice. Most of the characters have odd names (Birthday, Moral, Three), but you get used to that fairly quickly.

There's a larger background story running throughout as well, involving the creation of artificial Minimum Holders, a grisly process involving the harvested brains of natural Minimum Holders. The reasoning of the head villain for doing this gets convoluted, but basically revolves around how he wants everyone to be equal. He goes on at length about granting power to the powerless, and how even the most powerful need equals. It's not the most compelling reasoning, but hey, he is the crazy head villain.

The show does a good job of spreading screen time around to various characters, but it's pretty clear that the main character is a guy called Nice. His power effectively stops time temporarily, and he uses it pretty regularly. He's not a traditional selfless hero, but he's certainly more altruistic than selfish. Several times he takes jobs for the agency which don't pay well, over the objections of his partner. He's supposedly the most powerful Minimum Holder, which makes him a target for the villain, who feels the need to make himself equal to Nice.

There are flashes of the usual anime silliness, such as when everyone ends up on Okinawa on a beach fighting with melons, or the guy whose power turns a health spa into a seduction zone. That stuff is fairly minimal, though, and often followed immediately by some sort of remark that makes fun of it.

I can't say that Hamatora breaks any new ground, but I enjoyed the ride. The ending wraps up the story but leaves the viewer with a cliffhanger. I'll be watching the sequel Re:_ Hamatora in the near future to see what happens.

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