Anime Spotlight: Hamatora

Hamatora is an anime produced by Naz, and directed by Seiji Kishi and Hiroshi Kimura. The series aired on Japanese television from January 7-March 25, 2014.

As of this writing, Crunchyroll has the North American streaming rights for the series. Unfortunately, no one has acquired the North American home video license for Hamatora.

Hamatora is set in Yokohama in 2014. In the world of this series, humans with supernatural abilities have been discovered; they are referred to as Minimum Holders. Two Minimum Holders named Nice and Murasaki have formed a detective agency called Hamatora, and they rent out a table at the Nowhere Café and call it their office. Their friends, Birthday and Ratio, who are also Minimum Holders, are also part of the Hamatora team.

Nice and Murasaki have a friend named Art, who is the superintendent of the Yokohama Police Department. Art is investigating a string of serial murders, and the murderer’s sole target is Minimum Holders. Art asks for Honey and Three to assist him on the case; both of these characters are Minimum Holders.

It’s revealed during the series that several of the Minimum Holder characters were students at Facultas Academy, which is a place that trains Minimum Holders to develop their potential. We also learn that Nice was the top graduate of the academy, with Murasaki being the second top graduate.

Art learns that the suspect in the serial murders is Moral, a former professor at Facultas Academy. His motive is to give everyone Minimums in order to achieve equality; in order to do this, he had to kill several Minimum Holders and use their brains to unlock the Minimums. It’s up to Art and to Hamatora to try to stop Moral before he can succeed with his plan.

After watching the first episode of Hamatora, I felt that the series showed a bit of promise; however, I was little turned off by the character of Hajime, because it appeared her gluttony was going to be a major source of humor for the series. It turns out we learn later on why Hajime is such a glutton, and it also turned out that there was more in the way of humor than just Hajime’s gluttony.

The second episode ultimately sold me on Hamatora. I enjoyed seeing the various mysteries that came Hamatora’s way, and how several of the episodes were able to take what appeared to be two unrelated plots and find a way to weave the two together rather successfully by the end.

Overall, I enjoyed the series, although I thought that episode five was on the strange side (this is the episode that takes place in a hot spring with the guy who had a Minimum that made people fall in love with him). The only other episode that I didn’t entirely enjoy was Episode 8; that’s the one where Nice and Murasaki take an assignment which leads them to Okinawa and they find themselves in a triathlon competition that arises between two high schools.

Overall, I enjoyed Hamatora quite a bit, even with this season having a “WTF?” ending. It’s been my favorite of the six new shows I started during Winter 2014, and for the most part, I don’t see that any of the remaining three Winter 2014 series I have yet to complete will beat Hamatora out.

At the end of Episode 12, there’s a message that says that there will be more Hamatora in the future; unfortunately, there’s been no word as to when more episodes will air. While I’m grateful to know that more episodes will be coming so the series doesn’t end on such a cliffhanger, I wish I knew when I can expect to hopefully get some answers as to what exactly took place at the end of Episode 12.

It’s a shame that no one seems to have acquired the North American home video rights for Hamatora, because for me, it was the best of the six new shows I watched during Winter 2014. Come on, North American anime distributors! Give Hamatora a chance!

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