We had been looking forward to the premiere of Hypnosis Mic: Division Rap Battle - Rhyme Anima and we were not let down. In the future, leadership positions are reserved strictly for women, weapons have been outlawed, and the only way to fight is through singing using the Hypnosis Mics!
The legendary group Dirty Dawg has been split into different divisions, each representing a different district of Japan. Known as Hypmic by the devoted fans of this popular franchise, Hypnosis Mic is jam-packed with mighty rhymes, handsome rappers, awesome CGI and a thickening plot. Here are Honey’s Anime thoughts on the first five episodes of this new series.
Bishounen - Never Too Many!
Not one, not two, but twelve guys who are hot, talented singers, spread in four teams. Each group’s style represents a specific district, and each member embodies a bishounen archetype.
In Ikebukuro’s Buster Bros!!! we swoon over the Yamada Brothers. Ichirou is the leader and he saves the day with his perfect rhymes and bombastic tunes, while his younger brothers compete for his attention.
Shinjuku’s Matenrou have the long-haired genius doctor Jinguji Jagurai as their leader. He raps with operatic vocals (yes, it’s possible!), while his mates, Hifumi Izanami and Doppo Kannonzaka, serve more as comic relief. Hifumi is the handsome, blond host who, when not wearing his work clothes, is quite terrified of the ladies, while Doppo is an overworked salaryman.
Yokohama’s Mad Trigger Crew are Samatoki Aohitsugi, the tough yakuza leader, who has teamed up with unlikely companions Jyouto Iruma, a cunning and ambitious policeman, and Riou Mason Busujima, a veteran with questionable culinary skills. The tension between Hifumi and Jyouto does not go unnoticed, creating swoon-worthy chemistry over this pairing.
Representing hip Sibuya, we have Fling Posse with adorable Ramuda Amemura, who appears childlike but is tough as nails, and his two mates, bad boy gambler Dice Arisugawa, and mischievous Gentarou Yumeno.
Tunes to Die For
Hypnosis Mic is a media project, with several songs performed by seiyuu (voice actors). Divisions battle each other to move to the next phase. This is why there is an existing fanbase and several songs and games were released before the show.
In the first episodes, we get introduced to each group and their trademark sound.
For example, Ramuda is the oshare (fashionable) kid and his group has a playful pop sound. In the fifth episode, which is Halloween themed, Fling Posse sing Shibuya Ghost Night, a catchy tune with “Shibuya’s Ghostbusters” giving it their all. Also, the opening song is Rhyme Anima, sung by Division All Stars, the best of the best on Hypmic, which got stuck in our heads.
Rhyme Anime by Division All Stars
We are impressed by the use of CG animation in Hypnosis Mic. All live performances are in CGI - the transition between scenes is smooth and the visuals are stunning. The animation is influenced by online culture, with backgrounds that look like Instagram filters. The lyrics pop up like graffiti and look like next-generation karaoke text. You can rap along if you dare!
Each character has their color palette and their trademark stage. One of the most memorable is Doppo’s stage, which is nothing else than an office space with data running down a giant screen. Even Doppo’s Hypnosis Mic turns into a cell phone - he’s a powerful singer when he’s not trying to choke himself after yet another overtime...
We Got Plot
It’s not all fun and games in the universe of Hypnosis Mic. Mysterious leaders? Check. A dark past? Check. What happened at the coup? Why did the powerful Dirty Dawg group have to split up? And what does the future hold for the rappers? All these questions are introduced in the very first episodes.
There are subplots in each episode, with a case they have to solve, and in this way, we get introduced to the groups, their hits, special skills, and dynamics. The mysteries are usually related to criminal activity, representative of each area. And of course, there is the overall mystery of the new government’s secret plans for the rap division battles.
Hypnosis Mic surprised us: It’s an anime that will get you standing up, tapping to the tunes, and singing along. Hypmic has been accused of being just a fanservice show but the attention to detail, the memorable characters, and the pure fun element are qualities that justify its popularity.
This season, Ikebukuro West Gate Park deals with similar themes, solving crimes in an urban setting, but Hypnosis Mic does it in its own unique way. No matter if you’re getting robbed or want to tell off your nasty co-worker, in this universe, you fight through rapping! That’s so fun and so out of the ordinary. Let’s see what the rest of the season holds!
Which division group is your favorite? Are you a Ramuda stan or a Hifumi x Jyouto shipper? Let us know in the comments below!