The Summer 2014 Anime Preview Guide Re: Hamatora
Jul 7th 2014
Review: The first season of Seiji Kishi's ESP actioner ended with main character Nice being shot dead by good friend and star police detective Art. And now season two has done something even uglier. It brings Nice back. Not immediately, mind you. That'd be too kind. It begins with Nice's Hamatora comrades mourning his passing. The world is heralding Nice as a hero after he stopped Moral's rampage and died in the aftermath, but his friends are merely broken-hearted—setting up a shrine at his favorite seat and arguing whether divvying up his porn stash would dishonor his memory. We, on the other hand, are celebrating. Because we're finally living our long-held first season dream: watching Nice, safely dead, being replaced as main character by the infinitely more interesting and likeable Hajime. The laconic, gluttonous little bundle of adorableness has decided to take Nice's place as mega-strong Murasaki's primary partner and we… We are happy—so very, very happy.
At this point the episode is playing to the show's strengths. The decent supporting cast has taken center stage. Kishi's odd sense of humor has returned after going MIA during season one's climax. Nice isn't around to lecture the characters, and the show stays mostly away from philosophizing and social commentary—two things it is excruciatingly bad at. For her part, Hajime proves wonderfully bad at investigation (in her first case she tries to lure in a stalker with what she figures is irresistible bait: a towering pile of her favorite hamburgers. this turns out to be a great way to get comped food). But then things start to go sour. The more Hajime starts to talk, the more she starts to sound like Nice. Discussion turns to discrimination and other witlessly-parsed social issues. The episode's case starts to take on halfassed emotional overtones. And then Nice returns, very much alive, and the betrayal is complete.