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Michiko & Hatchin: The Complete Series – Part One (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 16, 2013 by  



“Michiko & Hatchin” is an anime series that is unique, action-packed and a type of series that you rarely see released in Japan.  Recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2013 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Michiko Hatchin: The Complete Series – Part One

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2008-2009

DURATION: Episodes 1-11 (320 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080i High Definition, English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATING: M

Release Date: September 17, 2013

Directed by Sayo Yamamoto

Script by Takashi Ujita

Music by Kassin

Character Design by Hiroshi Shimizu

Art Director: Seiki Tamura

Anime Production: Studio Manglobe

Featuring the following voice talent:

Suzuka Ohgo/Jad Saxton as Hana “Hatchin” Morenos

Yoko Maki/Monica Rial as Michiko Malandro

Masaki Miura/Akron Watson as Satoshi Batista

Ken Mitsuishi/Brandon Potter as Ricardo Solo

Kanji Tsuda/Christopher Bevins as Hiroshi Morenos

Maki Sakai/Sametria Ewunes as Atsuko Jackson

Jun Murakami/Scott Freeman as Shinsuke Sasse Rodrigues

Michiko is a stunning escaped convict with lethal looks and a deadly disrespect for the lawmen trying to hunt her down. Hatchin is a hapless orphan pushed to the breaking point by the sadistic spawn of her fiendish foster parents. On their own, these chicas are nothing more than a Yin searching for its Yang, but when fate – in the form of a mysterious hombre from their past – brings them together, the world better watch out!

With the future dead-ahead and la policia hot on their heels, Michiko and Hatchin burn rubber through exotic locals where danger lurks around every corner. It’s two against the world in this sun-soaked, Latin-tinged tale of partners in crime who won’t stop running till they chase down a dream.

In 2008, the 22-episode anime series “Michiko & Hatchin” was aired on Fuji TV.

The original series is produced by studio Manglobe instead of hiring voice actresses, hired two film actresses, Yoko Maki (“The Grudge” and Suzuka Ohgo (“Memoirs of a Geisha”) to do the voices for the series.

The series is directed by Sayo Yamamoto (“Ergo Proxy”, “Texhnolyze”, “Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine”), screenplay by Takashi Ujita, music by Kassin, character designs by Hiroshi Shimizu (“Bakmumatsu Gijinden Roman”, Kemonozume”, “Magic Tree House”) and art backgrounds by Seiki Tamura (“Attack on the Titan”, “Guilty Crown”, “K-ON!”, “Clannad”).

And now the series will be released in two parts on Blu-ray/DVD combo-pack courtesy of FUNimation.

“Michiko & Hatchin” is a series that takes place in a fictional country (a blend of Japan/Brazil).

The series begins with Michiko Malandro escaping from one of the most heavily guarded prisons.

We are first introduced  to Hana “Hatchin” Morenos, a young girl who lives with a foster family.  While one would think that living in a home for a pastor would be a good environment for Hatchin, the truth is that she is abused at home by the parents, her foster sister and foster brother.  She doesn’t fight back, nor does she defend herself in worries that she won’t have a place to live, but her foster siblings are very cruel to her.  She dreams that one day, her father will come back for her.

One day, Hatchin’s foster family receives a call from Michiko pretending to be her mother and that she would be arriving the next day to pick her up.   Michiko ends up crashing into the home with her cycle and taking Hatchin and thus begins the story of “Michiko & Hatchin”.

The first part of “Michiko & Hatchin: The Complete Series” features the first eleven episodes.  Here is a brief spoilerless summary of each episode:

  • EPISODE 1 – Michiko Malandro breaks out of prison and an introduction to Hana Morenos, who lives with an abusive family.
  • EPISODE 2 – Michiko is a wanted person for abducting Hana and in pursuit of Michiko is a police sergeant who knows Michiko quite well!  The history of Michiko and the police sergeant, Atsuko Jackson
  • EPISODE 3 – Michiko & Hatchin end up in Sao Cabal and Michiko consults with a fortune teller in her search for Hiroshi.
  • EPISODE 4 – Michiko is summoned at gunpoint and must see Rico, the local favela boss.  Meanwhile, a woman named Pepe wants to meet with Hachiko and Hatchin.
  • EPISODE 5 – Michiko visits her old friend Ivan to find out if he can help her find Satoshi, who may know where Hiroshi is.
  • EPISODE 6 – Hatchin is missing and Michiko goes to look for her.
  • EPISODE 7 – Michiko’s motorbike has broken down and the two are stranded in a rural area.
  • EPISODE 8 – Michiko and Hatchin arrive in Osso and the two get into a heated argument.
  • EPISODE 9 – Hatchin who has ditched Michiko ends up in the town of Perna and meets a girl named Rita.
  • EPISODE 10 – Satoshi tracks down Manabe and takes his family hostage.
  • EPISODE 11 – As Hatchin is adjusting with life without Michiko, she starts to learn that something is not right with the circus.

“Michiko & Hatchin” features the following characters:

  • Michiko Malandro – A woman who escaped prison and abducts Hana.  She reveals to Hana that she knows her father Hiroshi and had fallen in love with him. She is searching for Hiroshi who supposedly died in a bus accident but she feels he is very much alive.
  • Hana “Hatchin” Morenos – A victim of abuse by her foster parents, she is hesitant to trust anyone and wished that someday someone would rescue her from the abusive home that she lived in. But when Michiko saves her, she has no idea who this woman is.
  • Hiroshi Morenos – Hana’s father and Michiko’s lover from the past.  He is believed to be dead but Michiko believes he is alive.  He shares a tattoo that Michiko has and Hana is supposedly to have as well on their stomachs.
  • Atsuko Jackson – Grew up with Michiko in the orphanage and is now a police officer responsible for arresting Michiko and putting her in prison 12 years ago.  Is she an antagonist or a friend?
  • Satoshi Batista – A friend of Hiroshi who controls the crime syndicate “Monstro Preto”.

VIDEO:

“Michiko & Hatchin: The Complete Series – Part One” is presented in 1080p High Definition. For the most part Studio Manglobe’s animation style with cool character design, well-shaded characters but also wonderfully detailed art backgrounds.  Good use of CG for mechanical designs and overall a stylish series created in 2008-2009.  I emphasize those years because I tend to have a timeline that anime series created after 2010, studios were much more serious about their series in HD from 2010 and on.  So, there is a bit of softness in this series, but a lot of TV anime series do exhibit a bit of softness, so it’s OK.   There is also some banding but once again, these things are typically evident in older series especially before 2010.  cThe series is colorful, I like the use of environments, crashed vehicles and use of buildings in this fictional country that resembles Brazil.

But considering this is a 2008-2009 anime series, I’m content with the Blu-ray presentation.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Michiko Hatchin: The Complete Series – Part One” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. The Japanese soundtrack is well-done and considering that the Japanese used real film actresses versus voice actresses was an interesting decision, but it no doubt brought attention to the series in Japan.  Great acting when it comes to the more emotional scenes by the Japanese voice talent.  But with that being said, the English dialogue has more of a rawness due to the characters.  You expect a lot of profanity, you also expect better dynamic range due to the 5.1 soundtrack and that is where the English dub does sound better. The jazzy soundtrack and the dialogue are crystal clear and great use of the surround channels as well.   But for the most part, both are well-acted and I have to say, this is probably the first time where I have heard Monica Rial playing a character with a lower voice versus the high-pitched voices that we have seen of her for many other series.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Michiko & Hatchin: The Complete Series – Part One” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Episode 01 – Voice Director Christopher Bevins (and also voice of Hiroshi), Monica Rial (voice of Michiko) and Jad Saxton (voice of Hatchin).
  • Audio Commentary – Episode 02 – Voice Director Christopher Bevins (and also voice of Hiroshi), Monica Rial (voice of Michiko) and Sametria Ewunes (voice of Atsuko).
  • Michiko: The Woman Behind it All – (14:56) English dub voice actress Monica Rial talks about the character of Michiko and her relation to Hatchin and more.
  • Unveiling Press Conference(10:47) The Japanese press conference for “Michiko & Hatchin” featuring director Sayo Yamamoto, Suzuka Ohgo, Yoko Maki and Maki Sakai.
  • Live Action Promo Video – (00:32) Featuring a live action (featuring the Japanese voice actresses: Suzuka Ohgo, Yoko Maki and Maki Sakai.) and anime promo for “Michiko & Hatchin”.
  • Anime Promo Video – (1:49) The Japanese animated PV for “Michiko & Hatchin”.
  • Textless Opening Song
  • Textless Closing Song
  • Trailers – FUNimation trailers

Unique, different and action-packed, “Michiko & Hatchin” is an anime series that is rarely released in Japan.

Featuring an independent, strong and potty-mouth protagonist with a young child accompanying her, instead of going through a banal route of adult trying to protect the young all the time, both Michiko & Hatchin for the first half of the series are like oil and water.

While Michiko has abducted and also protects the young Hatchin, the problem for Hatchin are Michiko’s immoral and selfish lifestyle.  She steals whenever its convenient and she’s not necessarily a good influence as she talks about sex and also profanity in front of Hatchin.  And thus, it begins a relationship where both are constantly bickering with each other and Hatchin ditching Michiko because she can’t stand how she behaves, but also acting impulsively because she has no money and not sure how she is going to survive without her.

For now, the first half of “Michiko & Hatchin” are introductory episodes. Introduction to Michiko, Hatchin, Atsuko, Satoshi and also getting a little glimpse of Hiroshi and Michiko and more!

Picture quality is good on Blu-ray but considering it’s an older 2008-2009 series, it does have softness and banding.  As for the special features, you get two solid audio commentaries plus featurettes with Monica Rial but also the opening press conference of the Japanese announcement of the series and more.  It’s also important to note that if this Blu-ray release came with any extra features, I am unable to comment as the version I am reviewing are the discs that FUNimation supplied to us.

But so far, judging from the first eleven episodes, “Michiko & Hatchin” is a fun series, definitely much more mature courtesy of the profanity and sexual dialogue but also for the violence.  Despite a series featuring an adult and a young girl, this is not an anime series for children to watch.

“Michiko & Hatchin” is an anime series that is unique, action-packed and a type of series that you rarely see released in Japan.  Recommended!

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