Hakumei to Mikochi – Episode 12 [Final Impression]
The final episode of Hakumei to Mikochi opens with a flashback showing an event a couple of years prior to the beginning of the show. Hakumei and the caravan, lead by the giant maternal wolf Ryokubirou, have arrived at Makinata. Ryokubirou tells Hakumei that this is where they’re leaving her because she needs a place to call home, and Hakumei becomes upset at having to part with her friends. After all, when Hakumei was homeless and had collapsed in the street, the caravan took her in and let her travel with them. It’s natural to not want to leave people you’ve formed a close bond with. But why doesn’t the caravan stay with Hakumei in Makinata? The city has a size restriction, and Ryokubirou is far too large to fit through the outside border wall, let alone the inner city itself.
In the present, Hakumei and Mikochi are traveling to a place called Koyou Oiwa. From there Hakumei hopes that they will be able to see the caravan passing through on a trade route and she can tell them that she’s doing fine. But first they will have to cross a giant suspension bridge, then take an overnight gondola to their final destination.
The first stage of the journey is to travel a rarely-used, rough-looking route called the Honichi Main Road. There they find a gruff raccoon, who tells them that for 500 units of currency he will take them to the suspension bridge. Along the way Mikochi asks Hakumei some questions about her past and the caravan, and the raccoon clues in that the girls are on a deadline.
When the trio arrives at the bridge they are disappointed to see that the bridge is out of order. The raccoon reluctantly decides to take the girls to the other side of the bridge using an alternate route – basically to travel down the bottom of the ravine to the river, cross it using stepping stones, and come back up the other side of the rocky ravine.
All goes according to plan until they come across a giant boulder blocking the stepping stones. But never fear, Hakumei is here to save the day! She pulls out one of her homemade blocks of dynamite and it clears the boulder with no trouble. By the time the raccoon is able to get them to the other side of the ravine, the sun has started to set and the gondola will be closing for the day shortly.
Seeing that the girls won’t make it to the gondola in time even if they run on their tiny little feet, the raccoon picks them up in his mouth and runs to the top of the hill. He throws them into a gondola just in time – safe!
The gondola is operated by what look like snow monkeys, and they pull the girls across to the other side of the valley. Further flashbacks during this scene elaborate on Hakumei’s parting with the caravan, and Ryokubirou’s words to Hakumei saying that if she ever wants to travel again, she’s welcome to go with them. Back in the gondola the girls share a peanut as the sun sets, and they eventually fall asleep.
They are jarred awake when they reach their destination. The girls reach the vantage point and start a fire. They figure they have a couple of hours until they see the caravan… so imagine Hakumei’s shock when she pulls out her telescope and realizes that the caravan has already passed by! They’d been looking at the wrong side of the trade route all along, and the caravan had slipped by under their noses just as the sun was rising.
Hakumei tries to yell to them that she’s doing alright, but they of course can’t hear her. Hakumei seems content with just seeing the retreating caravan, but Mikochi is not. She remembers that Hakumei has one more block of dynamite in her bag, so together they ask one of the gondola monkeys to help. The monkey ties the dynamite to a large rock, lights the fuse and throws it into the air. Well, she tries to anyways; the monkey accidently throws it partway down the cliff, where it goes off and causes the caravan to think they’re being attacked.
However one member of the caravan pulls out their own telescope and diffuses the situation. Everyone laughs when they realize the loud bang was just Hakumei trying to get their attention. Ryokubirou smiles as she sees Hakumei waving. The two friends are finally able to see each other and Hakumei is finally ready to return home, having achieved her goal of seeing her old friend once again.
Back in Makinata the festival has already started. Everyone is celebrating together, sharing food and drinks and enjoying Konju’s music. This scene was really special because it was interspersed with themed title pages in the credit, one for each group of friends Hakumei and Mikochi made. For example we see Hakumei’s bosses talking together by the water fountain, and then we see a page of credits with a chisel, waterstone and bucket of water. It was neat seeing all of the friends Hakumei and Mikochi made over the course of the season all in one place, as it caused me to remember all of the adventures I watched the girls have. :)
Story: The only major complaint I have about Hakumei to Mikochi [H&M] is that the series is episodic; there is no real overall plot. Some events and episodes tie in to each other at later points in the season, but aside from that the episodes have no connection to each other. This wasn’t an issue during the episodes I enjoyed, but if I was watching an episode that had characters I didn’t like, or events I didn’t find entertaining, then I struggled to blog it adequately.
I feel like the show’s tagline really sums up H&M: “a tiny little life in the woods.” That is essentially what this title is about. Two tiny people living in a tiny world in the middle of nature. What you see is what you get, complete with many neat adventures along the way.
Characters: I feel like H&M‘s cast of characters is where the show really shines. Hakumei and Mikochi have two very different personalities but they complement each other in their own ways. They are able to stay very good friends and housemates despite having their differences. Throughout the season the girls also meet a variety of eccentric yet memorable characters (like Sen who animates skeletons, and Koharu the idealistic beetle), and sometimes even the lesser known characters can be interesting too (such as Konju learning how to have friends, or help out others).
Music & Animation: The music was alright, though nothing I’d write home about. Both the opening and closing themes (“urau” by Chima and “Harvest Moon Night” by Hakumei and Mikochi’s seiyuus, respectively) really suited H&M, and I’d say the closing theme was definitely my favourite between the two.
The animation… it is gorgeous. 0 There’s a reason why I used the “animation whore” tag throughout the season – this show is so pretty to look at! There’s limited CGI, and what is used is used properly. Nothing looks weird or out of place. Many scenes in H&M look like they could’ve been painted with watercolors or some other fancy animation technique. …I don’t know how to describe it. ^^;; I just know that this show has high-quality animation and it shows. A lot of time, money and effort went into making H&M look good and I’d call the show a success in that category.
Overall Thoughts: Hakumei to Mikochi is a cute, fun, and beautiful show to watch. If you like seeing people go on fun adventures, meet interesting people and learn about each other, then this is the show for you. I don’t know if I’d blog a second season, but I much enjoyed covering this one.
Final Score: 8.5/10