Anime: Re: Hamatora
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: January 26th, 2016
Retail Price: $69.98
If you are a fan of superhero stylized anime series, you may have heard of the sleeper hit Hamatora. The anime centers on a world where there are select individuals with powers/abilities called “Minimum Holders.” Each minimum holder has their own unique abilities that are explored in the series first season (and the second for one character in specific) but some use their abilities to help – while others may have other goals in mind. The first season introduced viewers to a group of protagonists and their uncanny camaraderie, setting up both fun character driven stories with major nods to a budding serious plot that you would predict to hit a boiling point. In the last moments of season 1, Hamatora ends on a massive cliffhanger with a character’s life being in limbo which is answered within the first episode of the second anime installment (season 2 is titled Re: Hamatora.)
When the series begins, viewers are led to believe that a fan favorite character has met his end – but to some people’s surprise (not all) there is a major reveal that sets the tone for the second season (a much lighter tone). Having a hero turned villain wandering around the world of Hamatora would be a highly anticipated and climactic story to delve into, and it does take more serious turns from time to time – but I would certainly say that Re: Hamatora wants to mend these fractured relationships as best as possible. The relationship between Nice (the focal point of Hamatora) and Art is a constant power struggle for Art, seeking out the chance to hit an equivalency in abilities to his counterpart. Although the first season had you hoping things could level out for the pair, season 2 left me not as hopeful for their rekindling.
Art has played a major role in Hamatora and Re: Hamatora, and his “death” during season one was one of the most gripping scenes – and played a point to finally divulge the secret of Art’s minimum which involves being a Michael Myers of Jason Voorhees type of character who cannot be stopped so easily. Art continues down a path of destruction in Re: Hamatora, and his shot at redemption nosedives with each scene he appears in, making for a fascinating story for all of the characters who had established relationships with the somber minimum holder (which includes the delightful Hajime, Murasaki, Birthday, and more.) I believe that you are meant to sympathize with what Art has become to an extent, but I found his role rather frustrating and constantly crossing my fingers that he could potentially receive a strong dose of karma. (However, a more surprising ending for his character occurs that could leave fans torn.)
The characters in the Hamatora anime series are one of the strongest attributes to the Sentai licensed animation, with good amount of unusual and very different characters to digest. As mentioned earlier, the first season provides a few select serious stories to expand on, however it does feel like those issues became more background plot points to leave certain parts open ended. For example, one of my favorite characters in the series (Birthday) has an ill fated future in the cards, but Re: Hamatora leaves the plot as-is, which I actually didn’t mind on account of a depressing ending for his character would have been rather upsetting (my brief fan perspective on the scenario.) I also appreciated that Hajime took a more drastic role in the season, and while she does get her time to shine – it is very clear that Art and Nice are the center of this ongoing character orbit.
Hamatora has many positive attributes to it, and the animation is surely a strong contender to remind viewers how enjoyable it can be. The character designs bring a uniqueness to each look, with specified traits complimenting their personalities. If you were to look at Nice, and follow it up by seeing his characteristics you would understand just how accurately he’s depicted from wardrobe to mannerisms. The special abilities also are a visual bonus to the story, with fun uses of superpowers that sometimes have a sense of beauty to them as well. There is not doubting that Re: Hamatora contains stunning visuals, and it’s a huge contribution to the overall quality of the anime.
Overall Score: 8/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
-I will always enjoy a chance to see the return of the goofy character Birthday, and yes… I ship him with Ratio. How can you not appreciate their adorable dynamic?
-Nice and Art (who sound like a given compliment when said together) go back and forth between an interesting development and a frustrating story based on Art’s actions.
-The closing song titled “Brand New World” is now one of my favorite anime related songs.
-The use of flashback sequences regarding the three main characters was a well worked plot expansion to the second season.
-There was a budding battle throughout Re: Hamatora, and the ending felt like an unexpected conclusion that wasn’t easy to process.