How can the good guys just accept Art into their group with open arms? Are you kidding me? Sure, he isn’t directly responsible for any of the deaths all series long, but he still aided Freemium in their acts of terrorism. Art’s actions precipitated a chain of events that led to the suffering and deaths of many, so why isn’t he in jail? And if you say he did eventually go to jail as evidenced by his longer hair in the epilogue, then why wasn’t he in jail longer? Everyone looks as though they’re still around the same age. Art thus plunged the entire city into chaos, and a few years (at best) is all he got? Right, right, we’re celebrating his release. The prodigal terrorist has returned home, guys. The last few weeks have been nothing but a bunch of downer episodes, but don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I disliked them! I always felt that the first season wasn’t serious enough, and at times, the second season goofed off too much too. But I thought the story nailed the tone just right in the last few episodes, and I was hoping for an epic conclusion. Instead, the magical otouto reappears to turn everything back to normal, and we’re back to being besties again! Yay!
In fact, I think the show has a penchant for letdowns. I wouldn’t say I expected Momoka, a.k.a. Saikyou, to go out with a bang, but it just feels as though she gave up too easily. Oh, well, I didn’t change along with the world, and now everything’s boring. Best just to end it now! But she’s not the biggest problem. Ultimately, Skill is what makes this episode so disappointing. It looked as though Art had achieved such a complete victory. It took him weeks and weeks to move all the chess pieces in place. Then once he did, he deleted everyone’s Minimums, and it was like the wind had just been knocked out of the good guys. So what do I want in return? I want the good guys to work just as hard to bring things back to normal. I don’t know how they’d do this, but that’s the only way you can do justice to the preceding episodes. Unfortunately, that’s not what we get. Skill shows up — from Nice’s heart, no less — and restores everyone’s Minimums and Egos. Just like that, man. Just like that. And, well, that’s it. C’mon, that’s just lame. The bad guy flips the switch, then the good guys simply flip it back. What’s the point in that? What was all that build-up for if Skill could just undo everything in seconds? I realize we only have twelve episodes to tell the story, but the ending just felt rushed.
Lerche definitely did a better job than NAZ. The animation is much better this time around, and the same can be said about the storytelling as well. Still, Hamatora as a whole is tough to recommend. You can’t really watch the second season without watching the first season, but large swathes of the first season was aimless and boring. There were so many inconsequential side stories (like the one at the bathhouse), but the worst part is, you couldn’t really skip them either. The narrative liked to squeeze in short but important plot-developing bits with Moral in every episode, so even if you wanted to skip stuff that felt like filler, you couldn’t. In the end, the first season became a chore to watch and I stopped blogging it from week to week. But again, if you didn’t watch it, then you were likely lost with the second season. Having said that, the second season wasn’t perfect either. There were still too many goofy moments interspersed with the more serious moments. Like why am I watching silly hijinks at the hospital? Or the good guys staging a play when Art is delivering a powerful speech? I know the goal there was to develop the relationship between Nice and Hajime, but I can’t help wondering, “Don’t we have better things to do?”
In a season with plenty of shows about people with special powers — and thus being ostracized from society for said powers — Tokyo Ghoul did it best by trying to focus on the personal side of the story… for the most part. It still faltered, but it succeeded where it could. Tokyo ESP, on the other hand, is pretty bad. Rinka is not a compelling protagonist, and the bad guys are pretty unconvincing. So where does Hamatora fit in? I feel like it straddles the line between the two aforementioned anime series. Hamatora did a pretty decent job developing Art’s motivations, so it beats Tokyo ESP out on that front. The ending, however, was such a letdown. It will please the people who want a happy ending to everything — minus all the of people who died from Freemium’s actions, of course — but to me, it just felt like a cop-out. We ran out of time, so let’s just trot out the magical otouto. So flashbacks dominated the early part of this episode as the narrative quickly tries to develop Skill’s backstory. But when you thrust a character on me like this, it’s hard to engage my sympathies. And it’s even harder when Skill just undoes everything Art had worked so hard to accomplish. Obviously, I don’t agree with Art, but I just think he deserved a better send off than a half-ass suicide attempt because he failed in a matter of seconds.