This week’s episode of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens gives us yet another story arc. This time around we’re trading in hitmen for hackers! Heavy hitters, Lin and Banba take a backseat to Enokida who winds up taking the lead in this week’s episode.
Japanese Original Episode Title:リードオフマン
When a group of hackers starts targeting the Tonkotsu Ramens, it’s up to the team’s information broker to step up to the plate and handle business. But, when a face from his past appears, things get a little complicated for Enokida and the rest of the crew.
A different kind of villain: This week the bad guys aren’t hitmen or members of the Hakata underground, but members of a cyber-hacking ring. In fact, it’s only three guys, this a bit of a divergence from the organized crime-heavy villain of the week format of the earlier episodes.
Townsperson B gets his own episode: This week’s episode gives the crew’s resident information broker, Enokida, a bit of much-needed character development, with his very own episode!!
Cold open: The episode hits the ground running. There is literally no set up. We are introduced to two previously unknown characters who are dealing with an as of yet unknown problem. Who are these characters? What do they have to do with the Tonkotsu Ramens? You’ll have to watch the rest of the episode to find out.
Themes & Trivia
You’ve been hacked: Each of the members of the Tonkotsu Ramens become the unwitting victim of a cyberterrorist group. As usual, our boy Saitou gets it the worst, having been arrested for ‘sending’ death threats to politicians online and the hacker loaded his laptop with kiddie porn, just for extra measure.
Mr. Unlucky: It seems that no matter what happens, Saitou always seems to be the person that gets the short end of the stick. So far he’s been framed for murder, he was the target of a hitman, was kidnapped, was tortured, and most recently, had kiddie porn loaded on his computer by hackers. Poor kid can’t catch a break.
Natural Blonde: Enokida claims to be this when Jose presents him with a wig that looks almost exactly like his signature blonde bowl cut… he’s lying of course.
Rich kid incognito: Enokida is actually the son of a wealthy family, but after his father ordered a hit on him, he hasn’t spoken with them since.
English Names: Most of the hacker handles used in this episode are in English (ie. Macro Hard and Enokida’s handle, Black Leg).
Lead-off hitter: This week’s episode title is yet another baseball reference (go figure). In baseball, a Lead-off Hitter is the batter that bats first in a lineup. They take on a number of roles on the field, most notably drawing out the pitcher’s pick-off move and stealing bases. In this case, Enokida is the team’s lead-off pitcher, with his hacking skills serving to draw out information on potential threats.
This was an interesting departure from the usual hitman-centric episodes. Rather than dramatic showdowns between the Hakata crew and some random underground crime organization, most of the episode’s fighting takes place online.
I didn’t really pay much attention to Enokida before this episode since he was largely a supporting cast member that only showed up when Banba or Lin needed dirt on someone. But, after this week’s episode, I still feel the same way about him, but he’s growing on me.
Battle of the Hackers
Episode 7 is a much slower episode than those we’ve seen previously, but, it allows for a bit more character development from one of the more underused characters in the series.
What did you think of this week’s episode of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens? What do you think of the new arc? Let us know in the comment section! And don’t forget to check the rest of the Winter 2018 anime reviews on MANGA.TOKYO!