Trap Thursdays: Hakata Tonkatsu Ramens

Trap Thursdays: Hakata Tonkatsu Ramens

I gotta admit, I got purely baited by the description of this anime and the hopes that it could be something similar to the likes of Durarara. The basic synopsis of HTR is that being a professional killer isn’t a far cry from normal in Fukuoka. In turn, crime organizations run the underground and rivalries are always brewing. The hitmen sometimes even have their own agent, to get them the right job and make sure they don’t get screwed over. Backstabbing is a reoccurring theme and there’s even legendary hitman-hitman, that is called upon to take care of…other hitman.

Just to compare to Durarara, for those that don’t know, Durarara is set in a town that seems normal at first glance but is kinda ruled by warring gangs and obscenely strong individuals that no one would dare cross. You might see the same hope I did in the slight similarities. Boy, was I disappointed when I finally finished this series.

Trap Reason #1: There are actually no female characters, aside from a small supporting female child role. The “girl” you see on the cover, is actually Lin, a Chinese hitman that likes to crossdress. He was trained in a hellhole of a camp that just breeds hitman from a young age. I actually really enjoyed his character and backstory. He’s pretty much the main backbone of this series despite what other factors might suggest.

Trap Reason #2: The second main character, Banba Zenji, is actually fodder for Lin’s character growth. Although he is a main focal point of the plot, after taking a look back at him, I feel as though his potential was ruined by the focal point switching over to Lin. To be fair, Lin was thrown into our sights at the very beginning to focus on. Banba slowly turned into a mentor/best friend for Lin.

So now that the two main characters are ruined, you must be expecting the story to be trash right? Well, that’s only about maybe two-thirds correct, in my opinion. The first little arc was really good at pulling you in. Lin is working as a hitman under this organization to earn enough money to pay off but he’s sick of putting up with the shitty jobs that won’t get him any closer to his goals. One thing leads to another and Lin decides to screw over his boss by protecting the next target against any hitman, that target turns out to be Banba.

This sets me up for Trap Reason #3: They actually tried to imitate Durarara and didn’t succeed, in my eyes. If you’ve watched Durarara, you know that they make multiple things happen simultaneously, thus creating a deeper web of plotlines amongst the entire cast that somehow connect together. This happened in HTR only once, within the first 3 episodes if I’m not mistaken, and afterward, they just switch up their plot style for the rest of the series.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually kind of enjoyed their plot for a while but during the middle, I just stopped giving a crap about the characters and I think that’s what it really comes down to. When you start the series expecting to learn more about all these people that are intertwined with each other by their jobs, then you finish the series and really only find out the most of Lin. There’s a mini-arc about Enokida’s backstory, the resident super hacker, but even that wasn’t enough.

Then the final arc comes, it’s a revenge story at its’ core but it felt so poorly executed. Everything felt predictable, the antagonist was mediocre at best, and by the end, I felt like I wasted my time watching this series. It wasn’t spectacular, I had my hopes up for something I should have known it was never going to be. The one good thing I did enjoy was the plot style they changed to. They used a sort of detective/mystery style, I fooled you into thinking this happened but really all this stuff happened in the background. I felt like they pulled this off really well and wished they started with this from the beginning.

I wish this was something more than what it was. I know that’s saying a lot and it has gotten fairly decent reviews with a 7.5/10 on MAL & 4.5/5 on CR but it kept falling short for me. I keep thinking, what if they embraced and increased the deception factor, made action scenes a little more clever, and built the other characters better instead of just focusing on one? Would it have been a home run then? Who knows.

Final Trap Reason: This anime had nothing to do with ramen. A retired hitman who is now Banba’s agent owns a ramen stand and the cast mildly visits there.
Lesson Learned: Don’t fall for traps.

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