Anime Review

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Episode 4 Review: Ninth Inning, Two Outs

Last week’s episode left our heroes in a rather tense situation, cornered like rats. Lin and Banba were at the mercy of the Hakata underworld with no hope of rescue in sight… What will be the fate of our dynamic duo? Will this be the end for one of them? Find out in this week’s thrilling episode of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens.

Japanese Original Episode Title: 9回裏ツーアウト

Plot

Lin and Banba execute their plan to take down the Mayor and his son for murdering Lin’s sister. But their mission goes sour when it seems they have been double-crossed by their informant, Enokido, resulting in a cornered Lin. To make matters worse, the Niwaka Samurai is there to tie up some loose ends as well.

Episode Highlights

Tying Up Loose Ends: This episode serves as a sort of ‘resolution to the events that occurred in the previous three episodes. All the characters and loose threads came together for one of the most satisfying conclusions I’ve seen in a long time!

Killing is an Art: The Niwaka Samurai finally makes his first non-flashback on-screen appearance, and as you’d expect from a character that has been hyped up from the beginning, he is a sight to behold! Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens doesn’t shy away from blood and violence. At least one person dies an episode, but this is the first time we see the famed hitmen’s hitman in action, and ‘Sweet Christmas’, it makes all the other killings look amateurish. I mean, damn, the movements are smooth, the angles crisp, it’s like watching a master chef at work… it’s just so fluid! The things that man does with a sword… it’s artistry at its finest.

This just got a little… umm… gay: Perhaps the copious amounts of Yaoi/BL material I consume have desensitized me to some of the more subtle BL undertones in this show or maybe this is my inner fujoshi seeing BL where there really is none. But, looking back, there are a LOT of moments where Banba and Lin’s relationship crosses over into the belligerent sexual tension/ OMG I SHIP IT territory. You know what I mean; those lingering looks, the bickering like an old married couple, and then there’s this beautiful scene where Banba gives Lin a piggyback ride… HELL, there’s even a damn sunrise in the background as they walk down a rather scenic tree lined street… Maybe I’m imagining things…

Calm After the Storm: After everything is said and done, the main cast all gather for a rousing game of baseball! I shit you not, the last five minutes of the episode are dedicated to a lighthearted baseball scene in which all of the Hitmen (those still alive) and Avengers prepare to take on another local baseball team. Oh and get this, their team name is the Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens and the uniforms are pink with little piggys on them!

Themes & Trivia

Humanizing the Bad Guys: This series does this a lot with their traditionally unsavory cast. Case in point, when hitwoman Reiko hears that the Niwaka Samurai is coming for Yusuke, she tries to get the hell out of there lickity split. When Yusuke calls her on her cowardice, she remarks that she is not dying for a little shit like him and heads straight for the door. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end well for her…

Foreshadowing: I mentioned this in my last week’s review; Reiko and her associate remark that because of all the bad stuff they’ve done in the past, they’re most likely going to meet pretty gruesome ends. The moment added a bit of depth to the otherwise black-and-white characters… well, turns out their comments weren’t far off, because they get their comeuppance in the most fantastic way possible. Hint: It involves the Niwaka Samurai.

Obvious Reveal was Obvious: Right, so in hindsight, the identity of the Niwaka Samurai was kind of obvious. Okay, it was super obvious, but that doesn’t mean the reveal was any less awesome. I could literally point out all of the little hints that pointed to the Samurai’s identity, but where’s the fun in that?

Take me out to the ball game: As if the title of this week’s episode weren’t enough of a giveaway, the baseball references are back in full force!! The baseball references are a carryover from the light novel series, in which the chapters are referred to as ‘Innings’ and the sport plays a prominent role in many of the character’s pasts/presents.

Six Degrees of Separation/It’s a Small World: In the spirit of such games as ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’, Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens has a similar situation occur with Banba. It seems everyone wasn’t as disconnected as we thought. They all have a connection to a certain PI… You can literally connect everyone in the show to Banba in some way and it’s kind of funny when they all come together in the end to take down the big bad.

Comments

I didn’t think it was possible, but I am even more in love with this show than I was in the beginning. Unlike the other series I’m reviewing, I always look forward to each week’s new episode! The action was spot on and the reveal of the Niwaka Samurai while, obvious, was done in such a way that it still managed to be exciting. The lighting, the atmosphere, the characters, the music, all of it, just comes together so nicely in this episode. Damn, like, damn!

Side note, I totally ship Lin and Banba. It’s been four episodes, and I can’t unsee what has been seen…

A Five Year Supply of Spicy Pollack Roe

If the show ended right here, I would be completely satisfied! The first four episodes present a rather complete narrative with a clear, beginning, middle, and end. Everything is tied up nicely and there really isn’t much left to reveal. It’s almost like the first four episodes were just a really long introduction to the characters and world of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens, and if this was just the beginning, I can’t wait to see what comes next!

What did you think of this week’s episode of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens? Are you as geeked about the series as I am? What do you think they’re going to do next?! Let us know in the comment section! And don’t forget to check the rest of the Winter 2018 anime reviews on MANGA.TOKYO!

NEXT TIME: Tryouts (トライアウト)

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens

Winter 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast

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