by K. Hopson
I don’t know how I forgot about this anime, but it’s loaded with brown characters. More than just two shades of brown character! Interesting, well-drawn brown characters, even! I think the whole reason I even liked it to begin with was because I appreciated the whole multicultural element. But then I wasn’t entirely surprised when I found out that a couple of key figures from hip-hop themed Samurai Champloo had a hand in this show.
Michiko to Hatchin is set in…some Latin American country and follows the lives of young orphan Hatchin and the somewhat stereotypical, sexy fugitive Michiko after she escapes from prison and abducts the girl, hoping to use her to find Hatchin’s father, who is her former lover. It’s episodic and full of crime organizations, money, and brutal murders. The conflict between Michiko and Hatchin’s personalities adds comedy to an otherwise dark story because Hatchin is eerily pragmatic for such a young person, and Michiko is hilariously impractical. Although in anime, being really impractical for the sake of love/friendship/some other type emotional bond is interpreted as being “pure of heart.” Or whatever.
I’m a big fan of Atsuko, one of the antagonists, and her giant, naturally-blonde Afro. She’s just one of many gorgeous characters to cosplay from this series.
So, about Michiko being stereotypical. Even though I really enjoyed her character, I have to admit that she is borderline offensive with her over-the-top sexiness, attitude, and anger issues, every bit the “Spicy Latina”. She creates trouble for her own self by getting into fights with almost everyone they meet along the way. And even though she’s on the lam, she still wears these flashy boob-hoisting tube tops and ultra-mini skirts. Apparently being a fugitive is not enough of an emergency to lay low. Or maybe it’s because it’s super-hot wherever this series is set? (Side note: Brazen choices didn’t stop her outfits from being cute as hell. I spent a portion of my real-life trying to duplicate some of Michiko’s more modest outfits.)
There are also a few instances of black characters being drawn with that blackface-type profile. (i.e. bright pink lips in a dark face) This is mostly the background characters. I find that a lot of anime has people of color drawn this way, so I’m not sure if it’s just that they don’t really have a lot of experience drawing characters with more melanin, or they just got lazy since they weren’t main characters. Either way, it doesn’t take away from the series. Or maybe I’m just biased.