Continuing the arc from last week, we find Enokida pinned down by the as of yet unknown hacker ring. Without the use of his computers, the poor kid is like a sitting duck, what tricks does Enokida have up his sleeves? Find out in this week’s thrilling episode of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens!
Japanese Original Episode Title: トリックプレイ
The hackers have Enokida stuck between a rock and a hard place, after infecting his computers with a virus. With nowhere left to go, Enokida attempts to implement a counterattack unlike any he has ever employed before!
Big Brother is Watching- Like last week’s episode a lot of the suspence comes from the fact that the bad guys don’t employ the usual shoot first ask questions later methods of attack against the Ramen crew. Instead, the attacks are calculated four or five steps in advance, with various safeguards and diversions built in, not to mention most of it is carried out over a long distance with the help of the very same tech we use every single day.
Music Upgrade- Rather than the usual high energy jazz pieces we’ve come to know and love, these last two episodes used a much more by the book cold, mechanical sounding suspense track, which is fitting given the cold detached nature of the bad guys this time around.
Want some ice for that burn- Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens is an anime with a lot of fun witty banter, but I will admit that some of the best lines have come from Enokida, who is not above delivering sick burns in his signature cocky monotone. My favorite by far is when the supposed to be dead Enokida confronts one of the hackers only for the guy to ask, “How are you alive?” So Enokida shoots back with, “Because I’m not dead.” and you can almost hear the mic drop after his deadpan delivery. Perfection!
Ultimate Decoy- Enokida uses a complex plan to help evade the hacker ring hot on his trail that involves leading them on a wild goose chase all around the city.
Secret Messages- Enokida employs the use of secret coded messages to get in contact with Banba and Lin after he goes on the run from the cyber hacking ring… Of course he uses a baseball reference as his code… it wouldn’t be Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens without at least two baseball references an episode.
Take away his weapon and he’s powerless- As a hacker, Enokida lives on his computer, it’s the source of his livelihood, so when hackers infect his hard drive with a virus, they take away his only means of fighting back. They make a note of saying “a hacker without his computer is powerless” at least five different times, and to an extent they are right.
Themes & Trivia
Hero monologuing- After successfully outwitting one of the hackers, Enokida does a bit of villain-splaining, divulging just how he managed to give the bad guys the slip, by giving a play by play of his plan.
Trick play- Big surprise, yet another sports reference, this time around it’s a trick play, but surprisingly this tactic is used more often in Football, not Baseball… A trick play is a tactic that involves using deception or unorthodox methodologies to trick the opposing team and securing a much needed victory. These plays are extremely risky involving a lot of planning and rely heavily on whether or not the opponent falls for the trap. *ahem* The whole episode is trick play orchestrated by Enokida and the rest of the Ramens, and it goes off without a hitch!
One Hell of A Butler- Enokida’s combat butler Yagi, is this, jumping out of a window last episode and now taking out a group of thugs without even breaking a sweat. I suppose that’s to be expected seeing as the guy used to be a hitman before he took to the service industry…
Mushrooms- Right, so there quite a few references to fungi this time around. Due to his distinctive hairstyle, Enokida is often called “Mushroom Head” by Lin. The data-mining virus he uses is called, Flammulina which is the genus of a family of fungi often found in temperate regions known for their tendency to survive harsh climates and for their edibility and medicinal properties. But wait there’s more! Within the flammulina genus are the Enokitake mushrooms (the similarity to the name of a certain hacker should not be missed), long stemmed white mushrooms, known to be rich in nutrients and used in a number of East Asian cuisine.
Enokida is king! I had my doubts about whether or not Enokida could carry his own story arc and I am pleased to say that, yes he can! Enokida isn’t flashy like Lin or Banba, he relies heavily on subterfuge and deception, so it stands to reason that his conflict would be much the same. Like I said last week, we trade in the high energy sword/gun fights for long distance tech battles, and you’d think that would take away from the excitement of the episode, but it doesn’t. This week’s episode employs a different kind of suspense and while it isn’t one that comes with an immediate payoff, it does offer a whole hell of a lot of great storytelling.
Enokida is quite the Fungi…
Episode 8 of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens offers a different kind of story from the ones we are used to but, when you have an anime with such a strong cast of well developed characters, you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want and it’ll still be amazing!
What did you think of this week’s episode of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens? Are you feeling my boy Enokida more now? Or are you ready to get back to the hitman business? 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!