Friday, March 27, 2009


Michiko to Hatchin ended a little while back, and I didn't have the chance to watch the last 4 or so episodes until just now.

Have I mentioned that I love this show?

It's flawed. So what? I still love it.

There are aspects of the animation that are crude and clumsy, even until the end. Yet there are cuts that are brilliant and perfect. And the art direction is tremendously spot-on, with a sensuous attention to detail and a scintallating use of color.

And the characters... Even the side characters are lively and fun, despite the occasional lapse into cliche. Our leads, though, are a tremendous presence, with noted screen stars doing the voices, as opposed to the usual anime dub artists (who have a following of their own, of course). That presence is nothing without the character design and animation (and "fashion-of-the-week") artistry from the different studios and animators involved. It was subtle but obvious that there were many players doing their part in this, and it added to the enjoyment from my perspective. I hope I can find out more about "who did what" someday.

The writing, well, again, it had it's moments, but in a "journey is greater than the destination" sense. Which I enjoyed quite a bit. There were homages, tropes, shortcuts, and cliches, and yet there was an ultimate sense of the "moment" when it was important to feel something. It was a fine ride.

The best and most unique part of the whole series -- the sort of thing that is the polar opposite of what you typically find in Japanese shows -- is that there was a distinct feminine perspective to many of those "moments". It's hard for me, a crotchety old bachelor, to put my rhetorical finger on it, but it was pretty clear in a few clear sequences that there was definitely a woman's perspective behind it. Certain gestures, expressions, reactions... you never see these little touches in most any other anime to this point. Or much of any animation for that matter (except probably Persepolis or various indie shorts). It make the whole series a little more honest and true, despite its little indulgences into genre homage and trope-a-liciousness.

I really hope this one gets a decent licensing deal. Sign me up for Blu-ray discs the moment they come out! It would be awesome if it made it a wider audience through some sort of TV syndication. But I fear it might be a bit too quirky around the edges to cross over... We'll see.

(Oh, and I wanted to make a crack about Shinchiro Wantanbe seeming to want to be a DJ more than he wants to be an animator, but damnit, the music was excellent and fun and who can fault him for his contribution here?? *grin*)

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