Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Episode 5 Review

Originally published on The Fandom Post.

What They Say:
“Tryouts”

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Now that the introductory arc is over, Ramens wastes no time starting a new arc. Like the previous arc, it throws a lot of seemingly separate plotlines out there that will no doubt converge by the end. For the sake of coherency, I’ll just list all of them here. There’s the new hitman in town looking to make a name for himself by taking out the Niwaka Samurai, the city festival that Banba always participates in, the torturers trying to draw new business by making a website, and Murder Inc. starting to send men to take out Saito for leaving the company. This could easily turn into an incoherent mess or a boring exposition dump, but Ramens executes all of this setup with the same smoothness as before. These kind of stories require a deft hand to know when to switch from one storyline to another, something that Ramens does well. It always stays with one scene or plotline long enough so we know what’s going on, while also making sure to keep everything moving at a decent pace.

A big part of what makes this episode work is how well it mixes the setup with humor. Seeing Lin be terrible at baseball is a great situation for a character who’s main role has been to play the straight man up till now. One of the best scenes in the episode is Banba trying to foist all of his work on Lin while he’s at the festival using the old “I bet you’re just not tough enough” line, only to have Lin pretend to fall for it and then call him an idiot for trying it. Banba is usually the one jerking Lin around, so it’s amusing to see Lin dish it out just as well. There’s also an amusing scene of the torturers having Misaki make a website for them while also talking about how she’s going to play a princess in the school play, made doubly so by the fact that the site is titled “we do torture”.

On a similar note, this episode continues the trend of hinting at a romance between Banba and Lin that may or may not just be bait. The two of them already bicker like a married couple, and there’s even a scene of Lin falling into Banba’s lap when a train jerks suddenly. It’s impossible to tell if this is going anywhere, but I don’t mind either way. It would be neat to see a central gay relationship in an anime that isn’t strictly BL, but the hints here and there are restrained enough not to detract from the meat of the show. If it goes somewhere, neat, if not, no harm done.

We’re also treated to more of Enokida being a wild card. He’s the kind of guy who would sell you out to a hitman in a heartbeat and then call ahead to tell you he just sold you out, which is exactly what he does to Saito. His involvement adds another layer of unpredictability since now Murder Inc. knows where Saito is and is sending assassins after him. Now that Murder Inc. is playing a more active role in the plot, maybe we’ll finally learn what the deal is with the shadowy organization, especially since Lin ends up killing the hitman to save Saito. The fight between them continues the trend of quick but clever battles, making especially good use of Lin’s knife pistol. Having it set on a moving train is nothing particularly original, but the way Lin takes advantage of that to win adds a little more cleverness to the fight.

While all that’s going on, we’re also introduced to Saruwatari, a hitman who just left Murder Inc. to try and make a name for himself. His personality is mostly identical to Lin-confident, serious, and hotheaded-but the fact that he’s going to target the Niwaka Samurai makes him yet another wild card in the deck. He’s also the butt of a lot of amusing gags as his old friend turned “hitman consultant” tries to set him up as a ninja themed hitman. It’s essentially the same dynamic as Lin and Banba, but amusing none the less.

In Summary:
Now that Ramens is moving on to a new arc, it’s wasting no time throwing new variables into the mix. Between Saruwatari’s involvement and Murder Inc’s assassination attempts, this arc has a lot of moving parts, but seems none the weaker for it. Now that the stage is set, it’s time for the fun to begin.

Grade: B+

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

One thought on “Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Episode 5 Review

  1. This one is definitely doing a good job of keeping the audience interested and a lot of that is because of some great writing as it introduces these plot threads and continues to build on the character relationships. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

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