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The action-adventure series Michiko & Hatchin (2008) received considerable attention when it debuted in Japan because the voices of the main characters were provided by prominent film actresses Yoko Maki (The Grudge) and Suzuka Ohgo (Memoirs of a Geisha). Tough as press-on nails Michiko escapes from prison and tears off on a motorcycle to collect Hatchin, a child who may be her daughter, but who's being raised by an abusive, venal priest and his wife (!). Michiko is searching for her ex-lover, Hiroshi, who may be Hatchin's father. She careens from town to town in a country that resembles Brazil, drinking, raising hell, getting in fights, and stealing. But if Michiko is a foul-mouthed thug whose main talent is cramming her figure into microscopic shorts and a miniscule top, Hatchin is a self-righteous prig who fusses endlessly. First-time director Sayo Yamamoto leaves big chunks of the story unresolved, and the elaborate tracking shots of the racing motorcycle in the first episodes quickly give way to holds on static artwork. Yamamoto clearly blew the budget early in the production and had to patch together the later shows on what was left. Billing this haphazard series as "from the creators of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo" is stretching a point at best. Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe produced the soundtrack, which was composed by the Brazilian musician Alexandre Kassin. But Yamamoto displays none of Watanabe's skill at creating intriguing stories and sympathetic characters. The misogynistic brutality would earn Michiko & Hatchin a hard "R" rating, if not an "X," in America.
Director: Chris Bevins
Actor: Monica Rial