It took me a while to find this treasure amongst all the stuff I had to see – it came out in 2008 and I’ve just watched a month ou two ago, shame on me XP Had I known how much enjoyment it meant and certainly i would have watched it sooner.
Michiko to Hatchin is a Manglobe’s work, produced by Shinichiro Watanabe (one of my favourite) and directed by Yamamoto Sayo (one of the few female directors in the anime industry), which meant a unique and alternative style with great potential right from the bat.
The story is set in a country that for all that matters is a fictional brazil but with characteristics that can fit in a lot of south american countries – a setting that, for what I can recall, is very unusual in anime but a nice surprise nonetheless, specially because of all the effort put in its realism and attention to detail, done to a level well worth of praise.
It all starts with Michiko Malandro breaking from a high security prison, for the fourth time nonetheless, this time in order to track down Hiroshi Morenos, her love from the past who supposedly died in a bus accident, story that Michiko can’t believe because she knows that there is a daughter, Hana Morenos, who was born more than 9 months after the crash. First thing Michiko does is to locate Hana – who had been living a cinderella style life under the care of an abusive foster family – frees her and, with the police hot on their trails, sets on her quest.
Although there is a main line driving the whole story, almost each individual episode is a short story on its own, we could even say a chapter picked from their travels, very diverse in content as some don’t even progress the main plot, others do, some are filled with joyous and fun moments while other turn grim very fast. This world is filled with unique and well developed characters, even when most don’t appear more than once but who’s backstory is almost always explored to a point and they do have a purpose – in fact we could consider the characters, their personalities and the dynamic between the different relationships this anime’s strong point.
But what really ends up being the core of the anime is the relationship between the two main characters, Hatchin and Michiko, and how it evolves throughout the series. With very different personalities with little in common – the first being sceptical, very mature and conscious while Michiko is impulsive, selfish, troublesome and tends to violence a lot – they clash all the time and it takes a really long time to understand each other but it’s worth seeing them getting there. The rest of the plot seems somewhat weaker and anticlimatic at times in comparison (although not bad. it’s awesome nonetheless but I’m just comparing two points here)
i really liked the artstyle and the overall animation and the soundtrack falls right into place in whatever is happening on screen – something we’re used to see in whatever work that has Watanabe’s hand in it!
Overall Michiko to Hatchin is very worthwhile of your time, it’s something different, with a somewhat dark tone all over (crime, drugs, violence) but very humane at the same time. it’s dynamic and very well developed, a series that you’ll watch from beginning to end in no time.