This week’s episode of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish! After last week’s whammy ending, Episode 3 ups the ante with some pretty big reveals. There is never a dull moment when you’re hanging with the Hakata crew. So, sit back and relax, as we delve into this week’s high stakes episode!!
Japanese Original Episode Title: チームワーク
The morning after a night in the town, newbie hitman Saitou discovers he’s been framed for murder. Meanwhile, Lin and Banba team up to take out the people responsible for Lin’s sister’s murder.
We are terrible people: After successfully framing Saitou for the murder of a young woman, the two hitmen responsible remark that they are probably going to meet terrible ends for all the things they’ve done in their line of work. Given their line of work, you’d expect them to be pretty unsympathetic, yet they actually feel some degree of guilt… albeit briefly.
Dead they hit the floor: Lin is a capable hitman, always cool, calm, and collected… But, after experiencing a bit of tragedy last episode, he completely loses his shit and goes on a one-man crusade against the folks who wronged him. Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens has never shied away from blood and violence, but watching Lin take down four armed men in such quick succession without so much as skipping a beat or breaking a sweat… all to a sick jazz tune… it’s breathtaking!
Beware the Nice Ones: Okay so this is a bit of a stretch, but Saitou is such a nice unassuming guy, so it’s strange to think of such a sweetie being a member of the infamous Murder Inc. Well, he finally reveals that he almost killed someone in the past, a fact that may have weighed heavily on Murder Inc.’s decision to hire him despite not being ‘hitman material.’
Surprisingly Naive: Lin and Banba are investigating Lin’s sister’s death when one of their leads points them in the direction of our dear sweet Saitou, who spent the night on the town bouncing from titty bars to cabarets to shake joints. So when, Lin, who has been single-mindedly working to pay off his debts and has no idea what those places are, inquires about them, Banba sums them all up as ‘a place where you get to touch boobs’.
Themes & Trivia
Hi-tech Gadgets: Lin usually uses knives to send his marks off to the hereafter, but when he faces an opponent who is immune to them, he has to switch things up with a knife that doubles as a gun. Yes, kid you not, a knife that has bullets, a knife pistol. It sounds stupid, but it’s actually one of the coolest weapons I’ve seen to date! Then there’s Banba’s tracking spider, that adds new meaning to the phrase, ‘you’ve been bugged’ (though spiders aren’t bugs… but, you get what I mean).
Teamwork makes the dream work: There are a few instances of this, the first being Lin and Banba teaming up to take down the people responsible for his sister’s murder. Of course, Banba requires payment for his services in the amount of… 5 years worth of spicy pollack roe… yeah… The second instance is when Saitou, who’s now on the run for a crime he didn’t commit, seeks the services of the Hakata Avengers.
Humanizing killers-: This show does a phenomenal job of humanizing their rather unsavory cast. You have hitmen, torturers, and folks who would normally be considered antagonists in any other series in prominent roles. It is done in such a way that you really get to know the characters and their motivations for doing what they do. Strangely enough, you empathize with them despite all the horrible things they do, because underneath it all, they are still just people.
So you lean that way…: Since Lin is always dressed in women’s clothing, one of Banba’s associates assumes he is Banba’s girlfriend. However, Lin shuts that down when he reveals that he is a man. Without skipping a beat, the friend then inquires if Banba swings that way and Banba doesn’t even dignify it with a response. Lin on the other hand vehemently denies it… perhaps someone doth protest too much.
You clean up nice: Banba and Lin get all dolled up for an undercover mission, and damn, they look good! Banba dons a suit and slicks his hair back. I never thought I’d say this, but Lin looks even more flawless than he usually does!
OMG OMG OMG OMG (x1000) I did not need three episodes to know that I was going to love this series. I knew it after the first five minutes of Episode 1, but damn, they really outdid themselves this week! If I had to describe this series with one word, it’s have to be ‘non-stop.’ Everything is always moving, whether it’s the plot, the scenery, or just the characters themselves. There is always something going on and while that may sound like a detriment, the fast-paced style of the series actually works well because it’s a story with so many interconnected plotlines. You don’t feel like you’re being overwhelmed because everything just kind of flows together seamlessly, so that new elements don’t seem out of place when held against the ongoing plot points.
BUT, (and I apologize in advance) if this episode is going in the direction I think it is, and I sincerely hope it is, I am curious to see how Banba and Lin get themselves out of their most recent situation… because, that last reveal, while I kind of saw it coming, just blew my mind!
Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire
We’re three episodes in and if you haven’t jumped on the Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens hype train, you’d better hop on quick, because you are missing out on something amazing! This episode brought a lot of loose threads together, connecting many of the previously independent storylines and characters with the main Lin/Banba bits. It’s starting to come together, and damnit, I can’t believe I have to wait another week for the next episode… WHHHHHYYYYYYY!?
What did you think of this week’s episode of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens? Are you as geeked about the series as I am? What do you think about that reveal?! And don’t forget to check the rest of the Winter 2018 anime reviews on MANGA.TOKYO!