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Michiko & Hatchin

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A place to discuss particular episodes, arcs and moments from the show's run. Please remember this isn't a complete catch-all topic -- check out the forum for character topics and other places for show-related talk.

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First impression: I need to go see what "It's a hard knock life" is when translated to Spanish. From the first search engine that I came across, it comes out "Es una vida de duro golpe."


Damn, Hannah's life sucked. Michiko could be a cannibal for all we know, and Hannah would be in better hands than with her foster family.

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I hadn't thought about it until you mentioned it, but isn't "It's a hard knock life" a line from Annie? I vaguely recall a promo for a local production of it where she's going "Golly, it sure is a hard knock life!", or something like that.

The church where Father Douchenozzle officiates appears to be Catholic, but he must have special dispensation if he's got a Mrs. Douchenozzle and a couple of little Douchenozzles. And a riot shotgun.

Speaking of the shotgun, why the hell did he have it loaded with slugs? He expecting Michiko to be a bear? Or maybe he's hoping that his missed shots will go through the wall and kill his neighbors down the road?

I expect that the foster family is going to die horribly. Usually that's what happens when a dramatic anime depicts characters as complete irredeemable scumbags.

BTW Hana is a fairly common Japanese name. It means "flower."

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My wife, listening in from the next room on home life with the Douchenozzles: "that sounds like our kids!".

Totally off topic: my favorite line from Annie is "Nobody cares a smidge / when you're in an orphanage". I am in awe of the rhyme there.

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This week: Michiko is a "work in progress." Even with the violence that surrounds her, she's still a better adult for Hatchin than her former family. For crying out loud, her foster father tried to kill her for the insurance money. Even in a genre defied by shitty parents (Ragyo, Gendo, the dude with the daughter and dog in both versions of Fullmetal Alchemist), that's a dick move.


ETA: Dunno why I was blanking on Shou Tucker's name . . .

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I hope this was the last "setup" episode. Time to get on with it. Nice variation in this one on the "dumb parent/smart kid" cliche, where Michiko is the parent figure.

You know you're in a real banana republic when the police cars are all original run VW Beetles.

Even in a genre defied by shitty parents...

Some more horrible parents from well known anime:

Emperor Charles from Code Geass

Precia Testarossa from the Nanoha franchise

Medusa from Soul Eater

Gambino from Berserk

Mayuri Kurotsuchi from Bleach

Gaara's father from Naruto

I wouldn't have thought that it would be possible, but Emperor Charles is the nice one on that list.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bumping up for the latest episode. Why do I feel that we need to check in on Hatchin's old family to show that Michiko isn't that bad by comparison? In other news . . . psychics are legit, you guys!

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"I always have this face."

Me too, Hatchin. Me too.

So does Michiko "find" all her clothes? She doesn't seem like she brings a lot of luggage with her.

All in all, I'm enjoying the ride.

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Finally got around to checking this out. It’s fun, and I saw Shinichiro Watanabe’s name in the credits, so yeah, I’m in.
Ep. 1 - Farewell, Cruel Paradise!
I know that the point is to show Little Orphan (H)ana being bullied from all sides, but she’s kind’ve lacking basic survival instincts. Kids build up avoidance and defense mechanisms, for example. Hana is just a little too virtuous…martyr-like. I’m trying to remember if this is how Dickens novels begin.

He expecting Michiko to be a bear?

Heh. He’s expecting hordes of jealous kidnappers after his money—maybe that’s a narcissist’s “bear.” The speed with which the Padre makes Hana’s “mother’s” visit about him and his money is hysterical, actually. Seriously, it’s half a sentence.
Strongest dinner table ever. Or, really crappy moped.
When did the one-raised-pant leg thing begin? The 80s?
Ep 2 – The Brown Sugar Outlaw
How tiresome: the episode hit the sexist, racist, homophobic trifecta. Remember the “Knock it off!” campaign with Wanda Sykes? I wanted a “Knock it off, Japan!” PSA as soon as Michiko started reframing the entire story, her and Hana’s entire reason for being, around a man. The scene where Michiko itemizes Hana’s physical features and places value on them based on whether they reflect the man…Gah!!
There’s no way Dad can live up to all this hype.
Ep 3 - Like a Frantic Pinball

So does Michiko "find" all her clothes?

She changes clothes so much here, I’ve started calling her “Blaxploitation Barbie” in my head. (With vintage motorcycle accessory sold stolen separately.) Michiko, or the animators, enjoyed playing dressup.
I’m enjoying Monica Rial’s voice work, BTW. There are moments when you can tell Michiko is lying or disappointed, with the voice as the only clue. Rial adds a lot of depth to simple dialogue, like in the scene where Michiko realizes it’s not Hiroshi.
Michiko’s drawing of Hatchin scaring strangers—hee!
Ep 4 – Stray Cat Milky Way
“All Power to the Black Peopre”—so close!!
Michiko, stripper heckler. And once again the show pits women against each other. The way the scenes are connected, it’s like Michiko is mad/frustrated over Hiroshi (the man) and takes it out on the nearest woman, too. (Knock it off, Japan!)
Interesting that the story repositions Michiko and Hatchin as sisters—in parallel to Pepe and her sister—after implying mother and daughter before. I noticed the shift when Pepe repeated dialogue to her sister that Michiko said to Hatchin in ep. 3. Or at least paraphrased it.
Any connection to “Stray Dog Strut”, ep 2 of Cowboy Bebop, I wonder?

The church where Father Douchenozzle officiates appears to be Catholic, but he must have special dispensation if he's got a Mrs. Douchenozzle and a couple of little Douchenozzles.

You used the phrase Generic Church of Anime once to describe I-can’t-remember-which other show. I’m thinking that about covers it.

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You used the phrase Generic Church of Anime once to describe I-can’t-remember-which other show.

That was a Blue Exorcist post, over at TWoP.

Japan sure loves Catholics, even if they only understand about 2% of it.

I think it's partially a fascination with all the cool trappings; crosses, cathedrals, holy water, and so on. And sexy mini-skirt low-neckline nun costumes, of course.
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I can understand that. There are many more recognizable symbols to work with Catholicism than with, say, Unitarianism.

I hadn't thought about it until you mentioned it, but isn't "It's a hard knock life" a line from Annie? I vaguely recall a promo for a local production of it where she's going "Golly, it sure is a hard knock life!", or something like that.

You're right. It's a song from Annie, sung by the little orphans.

It seems to be taking place in Brazil, so Portuguese, not Spanish. Which explains Michiko's childhood nemesis having a blond afro.

Japan sure loves Catholics, even if they only understand about 2% of it.

Yes, if they haven't grasped the celibacy of the priesthood, they haven't looked into it beyond the outfits. And the Korean chef Hatchin was working for was borderline offensive.

It is Portuguese rather than Spanish that the titles, dates, and locations are written in. They use "São" for "Saint" where the Spanish would use "San" or "Santo."

That frowny face of Hatchin's cracks me up. She hasn't had a reason to do a lot of smiling in her young life, and not much practice in trust.

I love the animation and the music. It does remind me of Cowboy Bebop in many ways, and the search for Hanchin's father is reminiscent of Samurai Champloo.

Any thoughts on why Michiko decides to call Hana Hatchin instead?

Edited by Kris117
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Yes, if they haven't grasped the celibacy of the priesthood, they haven't looked into it beyond the outfits.

Some of it comes from assumptions that the roles of Catholic priests and nuns are similar to the roles of Shinto priests and miko, and to Buddhist monks as well.
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  • 3 weeks later...

Just checking to see if anybody is watching. The last few episodes involved bullfighting, which is a bit barbaric to me, since I was raised on Ferdinand. I will say that Michiko made for a nice-looking matador.

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Anybody else figure Japan's tobacco industry has too much pull in anime? Between Asuma in Naruto, Sanji in One Piece and this show, I think things have gotten out of hand. Shit, you half-expect Hatchin to start the habit based on the shit she has to put up with Michiko.


BTW, is it going to be a running gag that pint-sized toughs will always be attracted to her shoes? I can see where that can run thin.

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I’m still watching…and enjoying it, though the story is more ridiculous and oddly morose in the latest few eps.

Ep. 5 - The Saudade of Fools, Part 1
Is this the first time we’ve seen Hatchin’s stomach tattoo? I remember wondering in an earlier episode if Hatchin had lied about having it, simply in order to escape the awful foster family. Guess not.
Well, with Michiko’s backstory filling in, the deconstruction of Dad is underway and he really doesn’t live up to the hype, as expected. Both a low-level, ineffectual gangster and a “coward”…I sense that the character will be revealed to be more than this through more flashbacks, but for now, it’s excellent that the show is going for depth.
How Michiko and Hiroshi meet is fascinating too, and surprisingly not exploitive or sexist for a scene that has a topless head-butt. Not only is Michiko not ashamed of her nudity, but the men don’t say offensive things about it either (for once). And, that scene is about Michiko’s power and choice, IMO—she chooses Hiroshi.
I didn’t care for the reveal/claim that Michiko is actually innocent of the murder. I really hope she won’t be whitewashed.
Ep.’s best line: “Oh, you silly, busty hot-head.”
Ep. 6 - The Saudade of Fools, Part 2
Well, the show’s not making Michiko any smarter, that’s for sure. Gawd, the entire bullfight was ridiculous. I both felt bad for the bull and irritated that the bull wasn’t better at being…a bull. And, *eyeroll* at Michiko’s pink sword.
I wasn’t that interested in the orphanage/child-trafficking subplot, either. I suppose it showed that, for Michiko, the devil she knows (her foster “mother”) is better than just abandoning Hatchin. But it was too inconsistent that Michiko suddenly couldn’t defend herself against a middle-aged woman.
Ep.’s funniest line: “It appears to be a young girl, armed only with a ladle!!”
Ep. 7 - The Rain that Falls in Monotone
Aaaannnnddd…Michiko’s not getting any better as a caretaker or parental figure, either.
To a point, this was an unexpected, challenging episode that explores Michiko’s uncertainty and loneliness—what is she being faithful to by still loving Hiroshi? But it was also slow in an existential, Hemingway-novel way. With shades of Tennessee Williams thrown in. And maybe an early 80’s movie about an affair in the tropics? The name escapes me.

Anybody else figure Japan's tobacco industry has too much pull in anime?

The cigarette-lighting as surrogate kiss was provocative but nothing in comparison to Black Lagoon’s, of course!


Anyway, cigarette sales may still be going strong in Japan, but in anime, I see cigarettes as a reflection of their pop culture iconography, usually. For 100+ years, the US has exported the imagery and the symbolism of the cigarette, probably even more than they still export actual cigarettes. And cigarettes were synonymous with “cool,” “criminal,” and even “American,” for that 100+ years—I once had a History professor argue that cigarettes were integral to the cultural propaganda of Casablanca, for example. So, I figure anime borrows cigarettes the way it borrows so many other pop culture or literary references.

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Roughly 50% of the men and 10% of the women in Japan smoke (although only about half of that number classify themselves as "smokers" in surveys. Gotta love the power of denial.) If producers were being realistic, we'd see a lot more smokers in anime. We're just hypersensitive to seeing smokers on TV and in movies here. Personally I find it hilarious when a show which has characters smoking is followed by ad breaks with PSAs from those "truth" idiots.


Episode felt like a particularly dull French film. Where's Gerard Depardieu?

Edited by Sandman87
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That game of Catch the Trolly reminded me a lot of Die Hard with a Vengeance, but with trolleys instead of pay-phones.

I like the painting over the bed in Michiko's hotel room. It's either a face looking out or two faces looking at each other, depending on how your brain is gestalting at any given moment.

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Heh..."Blond Afro Urkel."


Amazing how many kids in this show are jerks. Come to think of it, most of the adults are jerks too.


It struck me just now that Hana's new circus performer friend is the first real friend that she's ever had. 10 years without any friends...

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Michiko looks like crap but is not dead, because Atsuko still values their history somehow. Satoshi also seems to survive, although probably is not happy with his former deputy, Sideshow Bob.

Last episode and this one - all about growing up and how we choose to become the adults we are. Hana's friend Rita with some very pointed references in particular - was that some veiled pubescent one-ups-womanship?

They did a great job using the same VA (?) for 10-year-old Hiroshi as they have for Hana, and he looked almost the same. He has the LBOD tattoo on his arm also. No wonder Michiko recognized Hana right away.

Seems like we might even see Hiroshi (only mostly dead!) before this is all done, although maybe he will not live up to Michiko's expectations?

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So was it Rita's older guy partner, who left, that was stopping the circus people from going bad? Or that was going on all the time and Rita and Hatchin just hadn't gotten involved.

They didn't actually have to name the Madam "Michiko" (or call her "the Madam" for that matter). I think we would've figured it out OK.

I did love the shot where Hatchin bounces and slides down the balloon. The animation right then felt very whimsical, almost Ghibli, unlike the other action sequences on this show.

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  • 2 weeks later...

  • 3 weeks later...

Catching up - I watched the last two eps back to back (aged assassin and Hana's amnesia guy).

I could watch Michiko snarl at people all day. I think you'd need a whole vocabulary to describe them all.

I like the symmetry that Hana causes (sort of) the amnesiac event that she was afraid of. And at the end he disappears, like she did in his waking dreams. This may be my favorite episode so far!

P.S. I forgot to mention that this is one of the few episodes where we see any traces of Hana's post traumatic stress from her time with the priest's family.

Edited by lathspel
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  • 2 weeks later...

Just checking to see if anybody else is watching. Two questions:


1. Anybody else expect Michiko to declare that Setoshi "smells like sunflowers"?


2. The picture with Michiko and Hatchin play-wrestling ...  is that the only time they smiled together? It sure does feel like that's the case.

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Yeah, at this point I'm just watching it because I'm waiting for the show after it to start. It's a bunch of unpleasant people that I don't care about interacting in an unpleasant place that I don't care about and trying to accomplish things that I don't care about. Also, the soundtrack annoys me.


There are echoes of other, better shows here, like Cowboy Bebop and Noir.

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Honestly, I watch it in the same spirit as Space Dandy - appreciate the well-animated insanity. Each episode is a set piece on a theme. Character growth is not required (and in some cases might be counterproductive.)

I appreciated that this episode didn't refer to the quest for Hiroshi at all. I find that the least interesting of their plot devices.

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Speaking of the quest for Hiroshi: The evidence so far is that he's a jerk who eventually abandons all the women in his life, including Hatchin. Seems like every episode or two they encounter another one of his cast-offs. Michiko is delusional if she thinks her Prince Charming is gonna give her a happy-ever-after. Not quite sure what Hatchin expects from him, other than maybe just getting to know him or asking him "WTF dude?"

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Agreed, Sandman87. I knew Hiroshi wouldn’t live up to Michiko’s hype, but the low-life, tomato farmer described is actually worse than imagined.

That turns out to be the whole point

, thankfully.
I can never find the time to watch Michiko & Hatchin on a weekly or bi-weekly or, hell, monthly basis. So I just marathoned the whole thing this week. From what I can tell, Toonami has aired through ep. 17—yes?


...it's getting a little predicable that everyone has a doppelgänger, to enable others to work out their issues. It seems like we've done that several times on this show.

More than several. I swear they meet the same characters/archetypes over and over, really. And, they have the same, often sexist, conflicts with the new characters, because of Michiko’s one-note insecurities, jealousies and lack of impulse control. Michiko as a character does not marathon well, in retrospect.
And speaking of doppelgängers, for once in an anime, the meta seems unnecessary: the telenovela explains “the show,” when its themes are already obvious, I mean.

Also, the soundtrack annoys me.

 The soundtrack I like a lot, though, both songs and score. Speaking of Ghibli, lathspel, some of the piano music reminded me of Spirited Away.


Overall, I truly enjoyed the show's atmosphere and style, the animation and art. And I do believe the ending redeems chunks of the story. (But more on that later, of course.) If only the storytelling weren't so flawed...

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  • 1 month later...

Satoshi finally catches up to Shinsuke.

I was liking how Satoshi has the same rose colored view of Hiroshi that Michiko does. Until the show pointed it out, and then I hated it again.

It's also affecting my limited suspension of disbelief that all central characters in this show are from the Japanese naming ghetto of this unnamed South American country.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It never occurred to me that Hiroshi might be a complete delusion. Would have been more interesting if they had left that possibility open. Sort of like the ending of Mahoromatic, which is so ambiguous that you can interpret it about 10 or 12 different ways.

Edited by Sandman87
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So Hiroshi bailed on Hana...again! Big surprise. Luckily she didn't expect anything else. Her kid was pretty cute.


Did we ever get a definitive answer as to who Hana's mother is? It was sort of implied that it's Michiko, but...


What happened with her adoptive family? Did they just give up? Adopt another kid? I figured we'd see Father Douchenozzle at least one more time.


What ever happened with that old assassin who was supposed to kill Michiko? He called a temporary truce and gave her a lift at the end of his episode, and then we never heard from him again.

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