It’s time to say goodbye to the Ramens in this week’s thrilling final episode of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens! It’s been a fun ride with the hitmen of Hakata. We’ve seen a lot of highs this season and it’s hard to let this one go, but of course, this series goes out with a bang!
Japanese Original Episode Title: サヨナラホームラン
The Ramens are gearing up for their final showdown with Fei Lan and the Kakyu Association. Will Lin be able to put aside his past trauma and take down Fei Lan?
Dramatic Opening: This anime has had its fair share of dramatic openings over the course of its twelve-episode run, so I expected a lot from this week’s episode and it more than delivered. The episode opens where last week’s left off, with the confrontation between Lin and Fei Lan! Dramatic camera angles, heated dialogue and of course some fast-paced animated action abound!
Something for the ladies: Banba is usually seen in his wide collar sweater and slacks, or his Niwaka Samurai costume, none of which do anything for his figure. But, in this week’s episode, we get to see just how well defined Banba is… and let’s just say, that sweater wasn’t doing him justice *wipes drool* HOMEBOY IS FINE!!!
Terms of endearment: Stop the presses! In an exciting turn of events, Lin calls Banba, Banba-kun (Ban in the English sub)! Why is this important? Because up until this point he’s been calling Banba, Banba-san, which is much more formal… The change marks a shift in how Lin sees Banba. He’s finally trusting him on a deeper level!!
Meanwhile: Because of the nature of the plot and the rather large cast, there are times when the series will show the same scenarios from the perspectives of different characters. In this week’s episode, we get to see Lin and Banba’s confinement by Fei Lan from their perspective and from the perspective of the rest of the Ramens, who are on the outside staging an elaborate escape plan.
Okaeri/Tadaima: After weeks of Banba trying to get Lin to say the proper greetings to him, Lin FINALLY does it! After everything is said and done, Lin returns to the Ramens and Banba welcomes him back with an ‘おかえり’ (Welcome home/back). Usually Lin will just ignore him and go about his merry way. But, for the first time ever, Lin responds with ‘ただいま’ (I’m home/back)!
Final Showdown: The final confrontation between Lin and Fei Lan was oddly subdued when compared with some of the other fighting sequences in the series. Don’t get me wrong, the action and animation were on point, but, as a whole, it was a much more emotional battle than anything else, with an emphasis on the movements of the characters as an extension of the emotional state rather than ‘fighting prowess.’ Even the music is downplayed. Rather than the high energy jazz we’ve come to expect, the music here has a more epic, final boss battle tone to it.
Themes & Trivia
Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me: After avoiding Banba for three episodes, Lin, in an act of desperation, finally calls Banba for help, only for him to appear casually out of the shadows.
In the presence of royalty: Turns out Genzo, the old man that runs the Ramen stand the Ramens frequent is more than a chef or even their point of contact for jobs. Homeboy was a bonafide hitman in his day, and not just any gun-for-hire. Genzo was known as the number one hitman Jiji!
Mr Sunshine: You’d think after being shot and captured by Fei Lan and his lackeys, Banba would be just a little worried, but nope, not Banba! In fact, he seems to be even more upbeat and chipper than he usually is… laughing, joking around with Lin, you’d think this was all just some game the way he’s carrying on.
Fight to the Death: We all knew it was coming, but for the third time in so many episodes two characters are but in a no holds barred fight to the death scenario. This time around it’s Banba and Lin!
Baseball is a way of life: This show has shown that baseball can be applied to just about every facet of one’s life, even a life or death battle royale. Not only does Banba apply one of his witty baseball themed idioms to their current situation, but he even uses a baseball bat as an effective weapon against a crossbow!
X-Box controller: In a ‘blink and you’d miss it’ scene, the Ramens use what appears to be an X-Box controller to maneuver a remote controlled car strapped with explosives.
You’ll have to go through me: Shunsuke wants a rematch with Fei Lan for kicking his ass five ways to Sunday last episode, but Banba stands in his way since Fei Lan is Lin’s fight. It’s subverted, because Shunsuke sees that Banba is clearly not up for a fair fight and in a surprising turn of events decides to bow out gracefully! Remember this is the same guy that proclaimed he quit his job because he wanted to fight stronger opponents… that’s character growth for you!
Walk-Off Home Run: In baseball, a walk-off home run is a game ending home run that usually occurs in the final inning that gives the home team the win. The opposing team must ‘walk off’ the field in defeat without finishing the inning. This happens quite literally at the end of the episode, courtesy of Banba!
From start to finish, I have been enamored with Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens! It has everything I love in my anime: a dynamic and versatile cast of quirky characters, phenomenal storytelling, a nice balance of lighthearted and serious moments, and it’s just a lot of fun to watch! Out of the two anime series I covered this season, this is by far my favorite and more than earned a spot on my favorite anime list.
This episode kept the momentum going, there seriously was never a dull moment in this final episode, because the series had done a fantastic job of setting everything up for this thrilling conclusion.
Knocked it out of the Park
What can I say that I haven’t already? The final episode of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens is a fitting conclusion to a fantastic series! The stakes were high and the characters and story more than rose to the occasion. It’s only been 12 episodes, but I feel like in that time we really got to know these characters, fall in love with them, and I for one, will surely miss this anime. My Fridays won’t be the same without the Hakata crew.
What did you think of this week’s episode of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens? Are you satisfied with the conclusion? Or did episode 12 leave you wanting more from the Hakata crew? Let us know in the comment section below! And don’t forget to check the rest of theWinter 2018 anime reviewson MANGA.TOKYO!