Hamatora: The Animation - Series 1 (2014) (NTSC)

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Released 13-Jan-2016

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime More…-Textless Opening (1:33)
More…-Textless Closings (3:04)
More…-Japanese Disclaimers (3:14)
Trailer-x 2 for the anime
Trailer-x 4 for other anime
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 286:50 (Case: 300)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Seiji Kishi
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Ryota Ohsaka / Adam Gibbs
Wataru Hatano / David Wald
Hiroshi Kamiya / Leraldo Anzaldua
Yuuki Ono / Chris Patton
Jun Fukuyama / Blake Shephard
Yuichi Nakamura / Andrew Love
Eri Kitamura / Margaret McDonald
Katsuki Murase / George Manley
Emiri Kato / Christina Kelly
Kiyono Yasumo / Nancy Novotny
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Makoto Yoshimori


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, end credits of a number of episodes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Minimum Holders are individuals gifted with an innate extraordinary power or ability (a minimum) that differs from person to person. Hamatora is a detective agency run by two minimum holders, Nice (voiced by Ryota Ohsaka / Adam Gibbs) and Murasaki (Wataru Hatano / David Wald), who operate from a table in Café Nowhere in Yokohama. Also hanging around the café are minimum holders Birthday (Jun Fukuyama / Blake Shephard) and Ratio (Yuichi Nakamura / Andrew Love), who help out occasionally, perpetually hungry young girl Hajime (Emiri Kato / Christina Kelly) and Hamatora’s “agent” Koneko (Kiyono Yasumo / Nancy Novotny), who for some unexplained reason has a long tail.

     Children identified as possessing a minimum attend the special Facultas Academy which is controlled by the Minimum Agency, where their minimums are tested and developed. After graduation from Facultas the minimum holders take up privileged positions in business and government, however Nice and Murasaki left the academy before graduation and, perpetually broke, use their special powers to solve cases which interest them, occasionally assisting their friend Inspector Art (Hiroshi Kamiya / Leraldo Anzaldua). Hamatora are certainly interested when Art reveals that there is a serial killer on the loose who is murdering minimum holders and removing their brains. They start to investigate along with other minimum holders drawn into the case, Honey (Eri Kitamura / Margaret McDonald) and her protector, the beastly Three (Katsuki Murase / George Manley). The serial killer is Moral (Yuuki Ono / Chris Patton), a researcher who left Facultas Academy. He has a plan to equalise the imbalance between those with special powers and those without and, it seems, he has a special interest in Nice.

     Hamatora is based on the manga by Yuki Kodama and Yukinori Kitajima. It is a different take on super hero powers, being quirky and funny in places, with interesting characters and an evolving mystery, not about the villain, as we know who it is early in the series, but about the backgrounds of the various minimum holders. As such, while Nice is the main character, the series takes time to delve into the nature and abilities of the other minimum holders in stories involving different incidents and crimes being committed. However, all these crimes are masterminded by Moral who identifies individuals who have unfulfilled desires and, using the internet, he creates artificial minimum holders and lets them loose to change the reality of their lives. While each story arc involves the activities of one or more artificial minimum holders, the overarching plot-line remains Moral’s grand plan for the future.

     Hamatora is generally light-hearted and frequently amusing with digs at popular culture and social media. But amid the humour the series has some serious, and sometimes sad, things to say about social structures, the manipulation of media and the haves and have nots as it explores themes of loss, identity and belonging, what it is to be different, bullying and being yourself. Many aspects of the background stories of Nice and the others are not resolved in this series, and episode 12 ends in an absolute cliff-hanger! Re_Hamatora (season 2) has been shown on TV in Japan A and Madman are due to release the DVD of this second series in Australia in June this year.

     This series of 12 episodes aired on Japanese TV between January and March 2014. This release, Hamatora: The Animation – Season 1, contains all 12 episodes of this first season on two DVDs; episodes 1-6 are on disc 1 while episodes 7-12 and the minor extras are on disc 2.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Hamatora: The Animation is NTSC formatted and presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original broadcast ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced. In some episodes, in scenes involving Moral, the screen opens out to 2.35:1.

     This is a nice looking anime. The lines are strong and the backgrounds detailed. The colours are bright and rich in the normal segments but become far more unusual and vibrant, with changes in contrast and brightness, during any action involving special abilities.

     I did not notice any marks or artefacts.

     The English subtitles are a clear yellow font unless more than one person is speaking when subtitles in a white font appear simultaneously on the screen, which sometimes makes it difficult to read both at once! The subtitles are not burnt in when the Japanese dub is selected so they can be removed for Japanese speakers. I noticed no obvious errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Audio is a choice between the original Japanese or an English dub, both Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps. I listened to some of the episodes alternatively as the audio and subtitles can be changed on the fly with the remote.

     Both tracks are surround encoded and have similar effects. Dialogue is clear and the rears do feature music and ambient effects such as rain while there are louder effects during the special ability action scenes. The sub-woofer added some bass to the action.

     The English voice cast were quite good although I still prefer the Japanese.

     The music by Makoto Yoshimori is fine although not as distinctive, or memorable, as that for some anime.

     This is anime so lip synchronisation is approximate in either audio track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Textless Opening (1:33)

     The opening song without the credits.

Textless Closings (3:04)

     Two versions of the closing song animation without the credits.

Japanese Disclaimers (3:14)

     Four Japanese copyright and health warnings voiced by characters from the anime.

Japanese Promos (2:45)

     Two trailers for the series.

Trailers

     Trailers for Nobunga The Fool Part 1 (1:42), Noragami Series Collection (1:30), Magical Warfare Series Collection (1:42) and Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions Series Collection (1:43).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Our Region 4 release of Hamatora: The Animation – Season 1 has the same specifications and extras as the US Region 1 version. Buy local.

Summary

     Hamatora is quirky and funny, with interesting characters and some serious things to say about society, pop culture, the manipulation of media and the haves and have nots. I enjoyed it a lot, but as nothing is really resolved it is great that the second series is on the way.

     The video is very good, the audio fine. The extras are not extensive but are the same as are available in the US.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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