Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Episode 12 Review

What They Say:
“Walk-Off Home Run”

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Now that all the pieces are in place and the stakes are set, Ramens gets right down to its finale. Lin and Fei Lan’s fight is cut short when Lin escapes out the window and gets away, although he also demonstrates why it’s a bad idea to fight in heels. Lin’s eventual reunion with Banba comes courtesy of Enokida’s tracking device, but they’re quickly captured and only clear the air after Fei Lan puts them in a cage together.

For all his casual obliviousness, Banba is also surprisingly empathetic. He instantly understands what drove Lin to leave after hearing the full story, and doesn’t seem angry or hurt in the slightest. The way he encourages Lin to start trusting again is both heartwarming and perfectly in character for Banba. We still don’t know what his story is, but the way he takes things as they come and tries to enjoy life makes him exactly the kind of friend Lin needs. True to the anime’s baseball motif, Banba couches a lot of his advice in surprisingly fitting baseball metaphors. Ramens’ baseball motifs haven’t always fit perfectly, but they’re spot-on here. The way all of Lin and Banba’s friends play their own part in the rescue flows well and resembles a baseball game with everyone simultaneously working together for the team as a whole while also filling their own positions.

Fei Lan’s plan to force Lin and Banba to fight each other to escape is fairly predictable but is still a solid capstone on Lin’s arc. Banba obviously decides to fight back against Fei Lan and his men, once again using baseball signs and principles to pull it off. Lin’s career as a hitman began with him being betrayed in the same situation, so having him relive it with a friend who stands by him brings things full circle.

From there, it’s action straight through as Lin, Banba, and their friends fight their way through the Kakyu Association’s goons to escape. The surprising standout here is Gen, who turns out to be a former hitman known as Jiji. The way he laughs maniacally while mowing down thugs with a machine gun is just pure fun. Beyond encouraging Lin and a brief conversation with Sarucchi, Banba doesn’t get much to do, leaving the spotlight on Lin and Fei Lan. Rather than a big duel, their final battle is a quick and dirty knife fight that fits with their career of choice. The animation here is surprisingly solid, and the clever editing we’ve seen before is more than enough to compensate when it drops a little. Fei Lan’s dying words about how he was always jealous of Lin don’t make a lot of sense given how little we know about his past and true character, so his death isn’t quite as emotional as Ramens seems to want it to be.

Fei Lan’s character may have been somewhat underwhelming, but Lin’s reunion with Banba afterward is anything but. The two of them have always had strong chemistry as leads, and it’s nice to see them acknowledge that with a simple “welcome back.” Of course, the anime could only end one way: with Banba hitting a home run in a baseball game. There’s nothing particularly deep about it, but this ending fits Ramens’ sense of fun and love of baseball perfectly.

In Summary:
While it’s not a perfect finale-Fei Lan’s character remains consistently underwhelming and side characters like Sarucchi and Saito don’t have any real purpose-Ramens’ conclusion is a fitting one for the show. It ties up all the major character arcs in a satisfying way, all while maintaining the same sense of fun we’ve come to know. Ramens isn’t a mind-blowing masterpiece or anything like that, but it’s an enjoyable romp that I’d happily recommend to anyone looking for some easy fun. To put it in baseball terms, Ramens didn’t hit a home run, but it still won the game.

Grade: B+

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

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