Hypnosis Mic -Division Rap Battle- Rhyme Anima
Episodes 10-11

by Lynzee Loveridge,

How would you rate episode 10 of
Hypnosis Mic -Division Rap Battle- Rhyme Anima ?

How would you rate episode 11 of
Hypnosis Mic -Division Rap Battle- Rhyme Anima ?

Hypnosis Mic barrels through the Division Battle finals with a few notable character beats but is still oddly defensive of revealing its cards.

We're in the last sprint before the season finale and even after an episode that is mostly dedicated to Ramuda's point of view, we still don't exactly know what he did in the past to orchestrate the fall of the Dirty Dawgs. Whatever it was, it put him under the government's heel, but I can't even say for sure what he gets out of the arrangement. Somehow our poppy pink prince is responsible for putting Jakurai's assistant in a coma and fueling the disagreement between Ichiro and Samatoki over their respective siblings, but major questions like why and how are still as vague as ever.

Ramuda enters into the face-off against Matenrō with assistance from the government; they want him to use a true Hypnosis Mic with all the power it bestows to capture Jakurai. They're apparently interested in his unique skill to heal the psyche of his partners during rap battles. This seemingly wounds Ramuda's pride but with his new secret weapon, winning the Division Battles is pretty much in the bag. Ramuda's always been a little shit but episode 10 sees him at his most self-serving as he plots to turn Jakurai into a walking zombie.

The Matenrō x Fling Posse battle was a lot more engaging than the Buster Bros versus Mad Trigger Crew skirmish in the previous episode. We almost get something akin to a confrontation but the battle still fails to tap into the root conflict between Jakurai and Ramuda. Instead, Ramuda has an attack of conscience when it comes time to pull out his trump card. Dice and Gentarō manage to appeal to his remaining shreds of morality and convince him to soldier on like a hero. Also my poor baby Doppo chokes on the big stage :( but manages to come around with a full-fledged depression manifestation to wipe out Fling Posse. I never stopped believing in you, Doppo!

After their defeat, Ramuda weighs his options after throwing the government under the bus in favor of a clean fight. He intends to make a break for it but realizes that Dice and Gentarō had some inkling of his plotting and decides to talk them into fleeing with him, although he doesn't frame it that way.

The final battle between Matenrō and Mad Trigger Crew has little to do with the group's shared past and is instead a vehicle for their different philosophies. I think it was interesting to contrast MTC's unified "strength" as no-nonsense, action-first types to Matenrō's family vibe. Jakurai is easily identified as a father figure to misfits Doppo and Hifumi whereas Samatoki, Rio, and Jyuto would be better described as comrades-in-arms. When they face off, it looks like an easy win for MTC who appears to just bulldoze the competition while Jakurai spams "heal" on his teammates. MTC is decidedly "harsher" in their verses and notice that Matenrou doesn't engage in shit talk; instead they just continue to assert their trust in one another as the key to their strength. It was very "shōnen final boss" kind of talk, but ultimately the showdown lacked the tension of Fling Posse vs Matenrō because the stakes were limited only to winning and not the larger plot as a whole.

The last three episodes are a definite improvement over the continuous "rap battle boys solve crime" episodes, but I wish the different groups were thrown together in a meaningful way sooner. The characters are more interesting outside of their typical trios because there's some semblance of real conflict. The next (one? two?) episode(s) will hopefully shine some light on the mishmash of context we've seen up to this point. Maybe Samatoki will finally talk to his sister!

Hypnosis Mic -Division Rap Battle- Rhyme Anima is currently streaming on Funimation. Save on Anime Streaming Subscriptions with Funimation.

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