After wrapping up the first four-episode arc last week, Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens proves it can still pack a punch in this week’s thrilling episode. Old faces and new rivals take center stage in the city where 3% of the population are hitmen! There’s never a dull moment in Hakata, so grab your business cards and references, the Hakata crew is going job hunting?!
Japanese Original Episode Title: トライアウト
After wrapping everything up last week, the Hakata crew settles back into their everyday routine, but things take a turn for the dramatic when Murder Inc. puts a hit out on Saitou, and a new hitman arrives on the scene looking to take down the Niwaka Samurai. Oh, and everyone seems to be job hunting… who knew hitmen needed resumes?!
This is my day job: In the world of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens, being a hitman is a job like any other, maybe more like contract workers or temps. There are organizations like Murder Inc. that contract out hitmen for odd jobs around the city. And then there’s the Niwaka Samurai who is more of a freelance hitman, but the fact remains that being a hitman is a day job. It comes with a cubicle, business cards, and shit you not, benefits! Now, this is the type of world building I live for, blending fantasy with reality!! There are even hitmen consultants and hitman job apps in this world too!!
Name cards: In hindsight, one of the ‘setbacks’ (a term I use loosely) of the first four episodes was that it was hard to keep track of anyone’s name outside of the main… three. New characters would crop up every other episode with little to no introduction, and in the event, their name was even mentioned, it was usually said so fast that you’d miss it the first time around. In Episode 5, the names of certain characters now pop up on the screen when they are first introduced.
Blatant Ship Tease: I mentioned this last week, but there are a lot of subtle moments between Banba and Lin that suggest there’s a little *eyebrow wiggle* something *eyebrow wiggle* going on between the two of them. Well, this week’s episode throws away all subtlety and literally throws Lin into Banba’s lap and when you see where his hand is placed on his thigh… you get the picture…
Now with more characters! This episode introduces some new characters! A new big bad and two new hitmen for hire, Sarucchi and Hitman consultant (yes you read that right), Naoya!
A new rival appears- Sarucchi and Naoya appear to be gunning for the Niwaka Samurai, but first, they must make a name for themselves by taking out some of the local hitmen, under the guise of the Hitmen Ninja… yeah, it’s not as cool as Niwaka Samurai, but eh, you get what you can take…
Themes & Trivia
You are a liability: After the events of the last episode, the hitmen of Murder Inc. are going underground, but first, they have to tie up some loose ends, namely our adorable hitman for hire, Saitou. The big boss puts a hit out on the kid claiming that ‘he knows too much’ to be left to his own devices. They even enlist the aid of the Enokida in sniffing the boy out… and we all know how that turned out for Lin and Banba last week…
Even Hitmen need references: In a hilarious and rather accurate turn of events, a new hitman, Sarucchi, arrives at Murder Inc. hoping to gain employment with them, only to have the interviewer tell him he doesn’t have the references needed to get the job. As a recent grad still looking for a job in my field of study, I can say with all honesty, this is the realest thing in an anime I have seen all year.
Bland Name Job App: There is an in-series SnagAJob.com-like job app called ShadyJobs.com, for folks looking for employment in the less savory side of things. Granted the only way to access it is through the dark web, but the very fact that it exists is definitely worth the mention for the believability factor it adds to the show.
You are the weakest link: Lin sucks at baseball… like really sucks hard, even losing the game for the team. This, of course, prompts the usually chill Banba to lose his shit, hilarity ensues.
Typical Shounen Protagonist: Sarucchi. He quit his job and moved because he wanted a job that offered more of a challenge. He was tired of fighting ‘weaklings’ and wants to go up against ‘stronger’ opponents… He even has white highly stylized anime hair… and gold eyes. If that doesn’t scream shounen anime protagonist, I don’t know what does.
Mario Bros.: There’s a blink and you’d miss the reference to Princess Peach from the Mario Bros. franchise in this week’s episode. Misaki’s class is putting on a play, so Jiro designs her costume… Princess of the Mushroom Kingdom.
Baseball is life: Banba believes that baseball idioms can be used in all aspects of one’s life… and it actually comes in handy when Lin and Saitou wind up in a sticky situation…
Hakata Gion Yamakasa: Banba decides to take time off from work to take part in Hakata Gion Yamakasa, a 15-day festival (July 1st-15th), surrounding the Kushida-jinja, in which men from Hakata carry a massive float called the Kakiyama around the town. The festivities culminate in the Oiyama, a foot race between the seven districts of Hakata (Higashi, Nakasu, Nishi, Chiyo, Ebisu, Doi, and Daikoku) to see which one can carry the float through a five-kilometer stretch the fastest.
A series that can make fun of itself is A-okay in my book!! This episode serves as the introduction to the next story arc in Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens and it is not above poking fun at some of the more ridiculous aspects of the show and I love it.
This week’s episode traded in some of the action from the earlier episodes in favor of some realism. Many of the members of the Hakata crew are in need of work, so they shine up their resumes and portfolios and hit the streets in search of employment. I normally wouldn’t bring it up, but as a recent grad still looking for a job in my field, their struggle hit close to home…
There were some new characters introduced this episode and I’m curious to see how they fit in with the existing crowd, especially the Submarine Ninja, Sarucchi, who is gunning for our boy Banba! I am excited to see where they plan on taking this next arc and I CAN’T WAIT FOR NEXT WEEK’S EPISODE!!!
They Knock Another One Outta the Park
I’m running out of ways to say this, but seriously, Y’ALL NEED TO WATCH THIS SHOW ASAP! This episode toned down some of the action in favor of some world building and new character introductions, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a hell of a wild ride! Another home run for the series that is firmly supplanting itself on my top ten anime list!
What did you think of this week’s episode of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens? What do you think of the Submarine Ninja? Are you excited for the next arc? Let us know in the comment section below! And don’t forget to check the rest of the Winter 2018 anime reviews on MANGA.TOKYO!