Michiko to Hatchin – A Rewatch
Being adopted works out for many children but not for Hatchin. Hatchin gets adopted and fostered by a Christian man and his family. The family is religious in name only because there is nothing Christian in how they treat Hatchin. They treat her not as a member of the family but as a lowly servant who deserves brutalization not only by her adoptive parents but by her adoptive siblings who are the biological children of the adoptive parents. Their reason for keeping Hatchin is for extra money and the illusion of “holier than thou”. But Hatchin has a dark past, her father was a member of a murderous gang and staged his death in a tragic accident to run away from his problems. Michiko is a hot-tempered woman who was once in a relationship with Hatchin’s father and they all sport the same tattoos linking them together. Michiko was imprisoned in a high security facility and escaped as she truly believed Hatchin’s father was not dead and felt that if she found Hatchin and brought them together, she and Hatchin’s father could also be together. Michiko “rescues” Hatchin from her abusive foster family and this leads us on a wild ride through what appears to be Brazil as Michiko and Hatchin run towards Hatchin’s father and away from the authorities.
What captured me about this anime was the beauty of the landscape, the colors, and the music. Michiko to Hatchin was made by the same people who made Samurai Champloo. It seems like the creators of Samurai Champloo like the “search for father” theme. It’s never really clear what happened to Hatchin’s mother nor does the watcher knows who she is but you are aware that Hatchin looks like her father. An impressive feat of this anime which is rare in animation in general is that the characters change clothes. They are rarely seen in the same outfit and Michiko is rarely seen fully clothed which didn’t bother me that much because it wasn’t over the top. Watching the burgeoning relationship between Michiko and Hatchin was beautiful to view as you realize that both are actually quite lonely. Michiko is the “mother” figure and friend that Hatchin has never had and Hatchin matures Michiko and calms her wild ways slightly. You watch as Michiko becomes less of an untamed and ferocious young lady to a woman who loves (in a healthy way) a child and wants the best for her. Having to care and protect someone other than yourself is an experience many women and men have to encounter once they become parents. Michiko took it upon herself to become Hatchin’s parent but it was more than that, Hatchin also became a parent to Michiko. I know that may seem a bit backwards but Hatchin also cared and protected Michiko as much as Michiko did for her. It took them a while to both realize that but it happened all the same. Both Michiko and Hatchin were orphans as children and it is possible that Michiko saw herself in Hatchin and wanted to save her from her fate.
This was a mature series; definitely had moments of silliness but it had a sublime story. It was a coming of age story for not one but two characters. It explored the concepts of loss, forgiveness, and redemption. Michiko and Hana (Hatchin’s real name) weren’t the only characters that were memorable. There was Atsuko Jackson, a cop, who grew up with Michiko. Atsuko and Michiko were friends but it is kind of difficult for a cop and a criminal to be friends. Not to mention, there seemed to be some other complicated feelings involved between Atsuko and Michiko that Atsuko had to work through. Michiko appeared oblivious to it all. But Atsuko was another reason I enjoyed Michiko to Hatchin. A rarity in anime is dark-skinned characters especially Black ones. Atsuko and Michiko were both dark-skinned with Atsuko definitely appearing to be Black, blonde afro and all. Satoshi Batista was another character that was a part of the subplot and he was dark-skinned. There is an episode that focuses solely on him which is more interesting than expected. The creators appeared to be trying to stay true to the fictional backdrop of the anime which looked to be Brazil and Brazilians do come in different shades. It was nice to see an anime step outside the boundaries of status quo of moe that is overwhelming anime these days. If you haven’t watched it, I recommend it. You might enjoy it.