In Michiko & Hatchin's opening minutes, we see a prisoner by the name of Michiko Malandro (voiced by Monica Rial) escaping a maximum security prison followed by a hail of gun fire. The reason for her escape is to find the 9 year old daughter of Hiroshi, her past lover whom was thought to have died 11 years earlier in a bus crash, Hana is the proof that Hiroshi never died and Michiko plans to find her in hopes that it will bring him back to her.
After this brief opening, the rest of the introduction episode follows Hana Morenos (Later renamed Hatchin after she voices distaste for Hana. Voiced by Jad Saxton.) Hana is the 9 year old daughter of Hiroshi that lives a classic Cinderella story. Living with an abusive foster family whom she is forced to cook and clean for, and is rewarded by being beaten by the spoiled kids. One day everything is going per usual, until Michiko comes crashing through the window, taking Hana and escaping with her, beginning the story of Michiko & Hatchin.
Soon after we are introduced to Atsuko Jackson (voiced by Samantha Ewules), an old childhood friend of Michiko, but also Michiko's main antagonist for the series. Atsuko is the same police officer that caught her years ago and still continually hunts her down. She pops up randomly throughout these 11 episodes, typically seen investigating the trail Michiko has left in her wake. While I would have liked a bit more focus on her character in this set, hopefully she gets a bit more screen time in part 2.
The rest of the 11 episodes featured in this set are handled in 1-3 episode arcs of the 2 leads traveling town to town looking for Hiroshi. The content of the episodes are a bit all over the map... one episode focuses on Hatchin losing her shoes, and after Michiko steals a pair, Hatchin finds a job to pay for them. Another episode, and perhaps the most random, takes place at a bull fight. My favorite arc of the 1st 11 episodes, are the final 3 episodes on the set. After leaving Michiko, Hatchin meets her first real friend, Rita. Rita is apart of a circus that Hatchin joins, the circus is actually a front for a child sex ring, it's up to Michiko and a hilarious investigative reporter who wants fame to save them. Although there is not much interaction between the title characters in this arc, the development between the 2 is outstanding and very touching.
The focus of these episodes aren't really on the overall story, but instead focuses on the relationship between the main characters. At the start of the show, Hatchin was simply a pawn to Michiko, something to use to find Hiroshi, but by the end of episode 11, the dynamic has shifted, it's obvious that Hatchin is more important to her, and they have a bizarre mother/daughter relationship. It's incredibly fleshed out, and I wish more shows were like it.
- The setting. I really loved the South American environment they picked, the Brzil setting is extremely unique to anime and makes the show stand out.
- Character development.
- Monica Rial as Michiko. Holy hell was she amazing in this. Monica Rial absolutely blew me away with her performance, which i'm convinced is her best work to date.
- Not enough focus on Atsuko. I feel if she is gonna be a legitimate threat to Michiko, we should see more of her.
On a side note, Michiko & Hatchin is produced by anime legend, Shinichiro Watanabe, the director of animes like Cowboy Bebop, which I consider the best anime out there, and Samurai Champloo.
Video and Audio
Michiko & Hatchin looks great on Blu-ray, especially for an anime made in 2008. Nothing really pops or stands out here, but everything is detailed perfectly and meticulously. I'm very impressed with the art direction for the series.
For Audio we are presented with 2 options, the first is a TrueHD English 5.1 and the TrueHD Japanese Stereo. I watched the English dub track and it sounds very good. The dubbing is fantastic with the standouts being the 2 leads, Monica Rial brings a great authenticity to the role of Michiko, and Jad Saxton plays the innocent Hatchin to perfection. Lastly, The jazzy music in the show is one of my favorite aspects of the series, and the 5.1 track really helps bring it out.
- Episode 1 commentary with Monica Rial (Michiko), Jad Saxton (Hatchin) and Christopher Bevins (Director/Hiroshi.)
- Episode 2 commentary with Monica Rial, Sametria Ewunes (Atsuko) and Christopher Bevins.
- Michiko: The Woman Behind It All - A 15 minute interview of Monica Rial essentially talking about her love for the show and character. It's a nice interview, and I really appreciate the effort FUNimation is making to put more extra's on their releases.
- Unveiling press conference.
- Live action promo video.
- Anime promo video.
- FUNimation trailers.
- Textless opening and closing themes.
The Limited Edition set also comes with a great chipboard art box, that fits perfectly with the show.
Michiko & Hatchin may not be the masterpiece Cowboy Bebop is, or the epic that is Samurai Champloo, but what it IS, is one the best character studies I've been exposed to, which makes it a masterpiece in it's own right. I cannot recommend this enough and am greatly looking forward to Part 2. Highly Recommended.