Michiko & Hatchin is the 2008 directorial debut for Sayo Yamamoto and produced by Shinichirō Watanabe. The series sees the unique pairing of two feisty females in their search to find a lost love and a father, which takes them on a road trip full of danger.
Michiko is a mixed bag of tough as nails, ready to take on a whole gang of thugs and a lonely heart looking for love. Hatchin is an orphaned child who will not take crap from anyone, but deep down just wants a family to call her own. Together these two broken halves connect in an unconventional way forming a kinship neither has ever known before. Their relationship is put to the test throughout Part 1, with both characters learning how to trust each other.
The opening sequence immediately evokes a sense of nostalgia, both visually and audibly, likening it to Cowboy Bebop’s opening would not be far off given the people involved in its production, but while having a note of familiarity about it, it also feels very new and fresh. The show’s style is a very unique blend of traditional animation with a vintage quality, but also feels modern at the same time. It has the quirky unpolished style for all the vehicles and backgrounds,while the characters stand out and are truly brought to life.
The soundtrack without a doubt comes from Watanabe’s influence and role as a producer. The composition of the music is handled by the Brazilian musician, Alexandre Kassin, and the audio is really used to maximum effect, blending well into the atmosphere in any given scene. This series is not just a treat for the eyes but also the ears. This release includes both Japanese and English audio options, Watanabe’s projects much like Studio Ghibli’s offer English dubs that match the quality of the original Japanese audio, Michiko & Hatchin being no exception. The Japanese audio boasts a cast of Yōko Maki (The Grudge) and Suzuka Ohgo (Memoirs of a Geisha) in the title roles, this being their only foray into voice acting.
Extras included on the disc are the usual textless opening/closing videos and trailers. Episode commentary by the English cast for episodes one and two. Interestingly it doesn’t stop there as we are also treated to a mini documentary/interview with the English voice of Michiko, Monica Rial, in a video called Michiko: The Woman Behind It All. That’s all for the English speaking side of the series, next we have the unveiling press conference in Japan that includes some of the female cast and finally a live action promo video and an original anime promo.
This emotional roller-coaster of a road trip with these two feisty females really shows how you can't keep a strong woman down. Fighting for what they believe in and for each other is wonderfully enhanced by great stylistic visuals and a soundtrack full of feeling. With both the Japanese and English language options pulling out all the stops this series is great whichever way you go, not stopping there MVM have bundled a load of interesting extras into this release to help ease the pain of waiting for part 2.