Post Reply RE: Hamatora
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Posted 9/11/14
by Eclipsed_Oblivion

Supernatural powers, flashing neon colors, and characters named after random English words? That was Hamatora, a comedic mystery anime that ended earlier this year. Despite suffering from moments of mediocrity, however, that wasn’t really the end; it’s back again for another season under the name Re: Hamatora, and those moments of mediocrity have vanished. Having learned from its mistakes, the series has become much more polished, and it does this without sacrificing any plot continuity. Most importantly, Re: Hamatora doesn’t toss away its roots, but rather still feels like Hamatora, unconventional, half-joking much of the time, yet also surprisingly philosophical — it is simply a better version.

Rather than starting right from season one’s dramatic cliffhanger, Re: Hamatora skips ahead three months to the titular group Hamatora, a private investigation agency run by people with supernatural powers, dealing with said cliffhanger’s aftermath. Two members of Hamatora, Hajime and Murasaki, have since formed a duo that continues to take regular jobs from the public, but also investigates the whereabouts of their enigmatic friend, Art. Re: Hamatora at times takes itself even less seriously than last season, but it counteracts this by infusing itself with a surprising amount of intensity, death, and despair it didn't have before.

Re: Hamatora adds more than just utter despair though; it is full of immediately obvious improvements from last season. The animation is a lot better quality, and the use of colours is much more effective; no longer must we dim our computer screens or else be blinded by all the flashing neon colors. As well, while last season's antagonist was fairly interesting, Re: Hamatora's antagonist is more engaging due to him not only being more morally ambiguous, but also for having a stronger emotional connection with the audience. Best of all is that the plot is much more streamlined than in the previous season; the previous season was filled with obscene amounts of filler, but now anything that could remotely be considered filler is still relevant to the plot. This definitely improves the pacing of the series so that it moves at a steady rate while still taking time for its offbeat comedy.

Improvements like these make Re: Hamatora different from before, but the series transitions itself well into its second season so that these changes feel like natural developments from last season. Within the first episode, Re: Hamatora fully explains the first season’s cliffhanger so that it is believable, which already gives the new season a solid starting point. The series also follows up on all unresolved plot elements rather than dismissing them, and their importance continues to be emphasized in the main plot. For instance, some incidents from last season have overhauled Re: Hamatora’s setting by having changed societal attitudes and having established a different social order. Moreover, as private investigators, Hamatora still take jobs from the masses, but this time these jobs all relate to the main plot, which suddenly makes everything that happens feel more meaningful than before. By doing this, Re: Hamatora does not sacrifice any plot elements that hadn’t worked last season, but instead turns them into successful facets of the series.

Despite being more successfully executed this time, Re: Hamatora does not at all forget its first season and still retains what made it Hamatora in the first place. It is still only half-serious most of the time, inserting out-of-place jokes everywhere — at one point, the characters discuss the fate of a deceased person's pornography collection while at said person's memorial service — but Re: Hamatora makes up for this by also having more dark, intense scenes than last season to still make the plot meaningful. The series also continues to be quite eccentric in various ways, including abrupt scene cuts and characters named after random English words, and this gives the show a unique flavor. Like last season though, Re: Hamatora contains a lot of philosophical musings about power and weakness, but this time it considers the other end of the spectrum. This bout of seriousness definitely helps balance out the oddities the series contains to help it remain more accessible to all audiences.

Ultimately, by being vastly improved and much more engaging than before, Re: Hamatora is a worthwhile sequel to Hamatora. The series transitions quite well into its second season by introducing new plot elements while still treating its previous ones with care, and it still possesses everything that made it Hamatora in the first place: unconventional comedy, an eccentric atmosphere, yet also philosophical introspection that envelops its surprisingly dark plot. So, is it better to be weak and happy, or strong and alone? You can contemplate this yourself while watching Re: Hamatora attempt to answer this amidst fighting for the truth.
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