Michiko and Hatchin is Japan’s answer to Thelma and Louise with a couple of key differences; it’s set in South America and features a smoking hot mother and her ten year-old daughter. This series is an entertaining romp packed with gun fights, police chases, an unconventional mother-and-daughter relationship and motorbikes. It might take a few episodes to accept that Michiko is meant to be a mother and not an 18-year-old supermodel, though.
The show opens with a prison break. After numerous attempts, Michiko breaks out of prison and races down the open highway to find her daughter, Hana, who lives an Orphan Annie-esque existence under the guardianship of a corrupt priest who is only interested in the adoption money she brings in. At breakfast, Michiko crashes through the window on her bike, breaking the table in the process, and ‘kidnaps’ Hanna, sparking a national police hunt. Michiko’s objective is to hunt down Hiroshi, the man (and fellow criminal) she loved and Hana’s father. Hana, dubbed ‘Hatchin’, tries to convince Michiko she is not her daughter but, with nowhere else to go, accompanies her on her mission.
My favourite thing about this series is Michiko herself because she’s just so damn cool but also has her faults, repeatedly risking Hatchin’s safety in her reckless pursuit of Hiroshi, who everyone else has given up for dead. You’ll probably be forgiven for not believing she’s the mother of a 10-year-old or spent a decade in prison, because she definitely doesn’t look like it. Hatchin, on the other hand, is repeatedly mistaken for a boy and constantly tries to right her mother’s wrong, working to repay what Michiko stole on one occasion. Arguments regularly break out between the two and someone usually storms out but they always end up being drawn back together.
Michiko and Hatchin is one of only a few anime that I know of that is set in South America. It’s got a kicking soundtrack and gets stuck in the criminal underworld and police corruption. As the criminal duo hop from one town to the other, they encounter drug lords, forgery and even other criminals who want their own revenge on Satoshi, if he really is still alive. No one is simply ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in this series; everyone has their problems and there’s no shortage of murders, but help is often found in the most unlikely places. The show does have its silly moments, including Michiko posing as a matador, but there’s no shortage of touching scenes either.
I couldn’t help drawing comparisons to Orange is the New Black while watching this series as both are about loveable criminals. It’s strong from start to finish and ends in a way you wouldn’t expect. If your anime shelf lacks a good old-fashioned police chase, you can buy volume 1 and volume 2 from MVM Entertainment now.
Score: a hilarious 8/10!