Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens: First Impression

Hi everybody!  Welcome to anime Thursday.  I hope you are staying warm in this winter weather.  If you have warm, beach-like weather, can I come hang out until spring?  Let me know.  I hope you enjoyed our MC Tuesday’s discussion on The Incredible Hulk.  Today, we are switching gears to the new series Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens.  The show is based on a light novel by Chiaki Kisaki, with illustrations by Hako Ichiiro.  Spoilers folks!

Every Man Needs A Hobby


Hakata is a busy little place with a lively nightlife. In Hakata lies the Banba Detective Agency.  Zenji Banba notices that someone is in his office.  As he enters the office, he sees a cute girl comfortably watching television.  Zenji wants to know the identity of the girl.  The girl proclaims that he is a hitman.  No, that is not a typo.  The girl is a boy named Xianming Ling.

In watching the beginning of the show, I thought that the schoolgirl uniform is a disguise.  I thought it is used to gain access to places that are not easily accessible to a strange man, especially in this town (I will come back to this in a second).  But, no.  This is not a disguise.  This is his hobby.  A cross-dressing hitman, this could be interesting.

Hitman Land


The show introduces us to a city that has a high concentration of hitmen. One of its newest residences is Saito.  Saito is a member of Red Rum Inc., a company of killers for hire based in Tokoyo.  Saito seems ill-suited for this type of work.  He seems like a bumbling, goofy guy who likes baseball.  But, he decides to take his chances in the Hakata branch of the company.

Hitmen are everywhere.  One guards the mayor.  A group has to cover up their boss’s son’s murders.  Another group hangs out in a bar.  With all of these killers in one location, there are bound to be various encounters.

The Baseball Connection

batting cages

The name of the episode is “Play Ball”.  In hindsight, this makes sense.  Saito likes baseball.  The show makes it a point to show detective Zenji at the batting cages.  Even the boss’s bratty, murderous son is connected to baseball.  Maybe baseball will be the focal point that will bring these strangers together.

The Opportunistic Samurai

opportunistic samurai'

Within the killer community, we have a unicorn.  Apparently, there is some guy who kills hitmen.  Everyone calls him the “opportunistic samurai”.  I think it is one of the characters we meet in this episode.  My best guess is bumbling Saito.  I think all of this “oh look at me, I’m an idiot” is just a ruse.

My Impression

I think this show has real potential.  The characters and the world are interesting.  I like that this episode takes the time to give us a little introduction to our characters, as opposed to spending entire episodes on one character (looking at you Juni Taisen).  I believe what will make the show a success is how these characters will interact in such a small environment.  Sure it’s a city.  But, it is a city saturated with hitmen.  How will the writers incorporate baseball?  Who is the “opportunistic samurai”?  What role will he or she play in the story?  I am eager to see how the story develops over the coming weeks.

So what is your first impression of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens?  Do you think it has potential?  Or, is it a pass for you?  Who do you think is the “opportunistic samurai”?  Tell me everything!

Thank you for joining me today.  I will see you this Sunday for Sunday Drama and episodes 7-9 of High School Entrance Exam.


    1. I thought the first episode did a great job of setting up the rest of the story. The “killer of killers” idea has me looking forward to the rest of the season. I have this one finishing top five for the season

      Liked by 1 person

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