Last week we got a bit of background on Enokida, this week we get a glimpse into the past of the Ramens tsundere cross-dressing hitman, Lin. Prepare yourselves for some tears because this episode will hit you in the feels bigtime! So, let’s delve into the dark past of Lin in Episode 9 of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens!
Japanese Original Episode Title: エンドラン
We take a trip down memory lane with Lin as he reminisces about his childhood as an assassin trainee.
You’re not my mom: The relationship between Lin and Banba vacillates between ambiguously romantic to something akin to siblings, but Episode 9 introduces a new dynamic: parent/child. Lin comes in after a long night of killing and Banba welcomes him back the same way a parent would welcome a teen coming in from a long night of partying. He even makes a comment about how Lin is dressed (‘in a short skirt no less’), prompting Lin to tell Banba that he isn’t his mom.
Inner demons made real: Lin has had a pretty hard life, so it makes sense that he’d have a few inner demons to deal with… Well, the anime gives the monsters in his head a visual representation within the series with a rather surreal animated sequence. Lin looks down at his shadow, only for it to warp into a nightmare fuel inducing pulsing red and black stain on the ground, emanating a sinister voice that tells Lin that the only one he can trust is himself. The moment is quick, but the music and lighting change to reflect the change in atmosphere.
Flashback: Through a series of flashbacks, we learn a bit about Lin and the events that led to him becoming a hitman… it ’s really quite tragic and a definite heel turn from the light-hearted first half of the episode.
Alternative Theme Song: During one of the training montages, a slowed down version of the series’s ending theme, Dirty Bullet, plays.
Training montages/time skips: This episode is a flashback that takes place over the course of five years and rather than drawing it out and showing us every single detail, the episode employs a series of training montages to show the passage of time.
Themes & Trivia
Blood Moon: The episode opens with a shot of a blood red moon, before panning to a shot of Lin and Jiro torturing an unknown man for information. Blood moons are said to be forebringers of doom, so it’s only fitting that an episode that delves into Lin’s past starts with one.
Barcode Tattoo: Lin reveals that he has a barcode tattoo on his upper right arm. The barcode is used to identify an individual as a child assassin. The tattoo is more than a little reminiscent of the tattoos detained Jews received upon entering concentration camps.
The Ultimate Sacrifice: Seeing how his family is struggling, Lin makes the ultimate sacrifice, selling himself so that his family can have more money and with one less mouth to feed, a better life. We, of course, know how this is going to end, but that doesn’t mean his sacrifice is any less noble.
Assassin Bootcamp: The facility that trained Lin to become an assassin is like a cross between a bootcamp and a German concentration camp. The boys there are put through rigorous training from a young age, kept in cells, receive barcode tattoos for identification purposes, and they are trained from a young age to trust no one but themselves.
Partners: Lin makes a friend while at the assassin bootcamp. Of course, this comes after the episode drills into your head that ‘no one can be trusted’, so it’s safe to say that the friendship isn’t going to last all that long… But, for the majority of the episode we see just how close they become, which makes the ultimate resolution that much more tragic.
Wow, I’ve seen my fair share of flashback episodes, but this one really drove home just how tragic Lin’s life has been up until this point. But, more than that, I’m just glad that they stopped making Lin a damsel in distress. That was getting to be a little ridiculous.
I really liked how they framed this episode. They could have easily just made this a stand-alone flashback episode, but they decided to frame it within the context of the current timeline. We see how he is with Banba in the beginning, standoffish and distrustful, and now we are finally getting to see the reason for it all, which will make his eventual change of heart that much more gratifying.
Also… that after credits scene *squeals* That’s how you set up a new episode! *slow clap*
Pampered as hell…
I was starting to get worried that Lin was going to be regulated to just another B character since his portrayals in the past few episodes left much to be desired. He went from badass assassin to damsel in distress and then to whinny teen in the blink of an eye. But, with this week’s epi, ode we see a bit of a return to form for our favorite crossdressing hitman! Episode 9 is another home run!
What did you think of this week’s episode of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens? Are you feeling this flashback episode? 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!