I have something I have to admit – I’ve never really enjoyed watching music themed anime. There’s nothing wrong with them, I’m just not the biggest fan of them. On the other hand otome and general mobile game anime adaptations can be a major hit or miss. So all the cards were against me on enjoying Hypnosis Mic: Division Rap Battle – Rhyme Anima, and against all odds, after watching three episodes I’m obsessed. And, being honest, I was hooked right from episode one.
To give a very brief overview to the show – the anime is the latest addition to a multimedia project by Kings Record which also includes music, manga and a rhythm game mobile app. The whole project is set in a modern day Tokyo which has been taken over by ‘The Party of Words’ -a matriarchal group which have destroyed all traditional weapons. Instead people must fight with ‘hypnosis mics’, using their words as their weapons. The series follows four rap groups in their daily lives and preparations for the division rap battles.
I know one part of anime that I’m extremely picky about is the cast. In fact, one of my biggest and recurring complaints about anime series are big casts with zero personality between them. With about fifteen characters Hypnosis Mic somehow completely sidesteps this problem. Truth be told, I can’t name every character and I’m only grasping the rap groups names but I can give a brief summary about each memorable character. So much effort is put into really fleshing out each character and group – from their character designs right down to their mics. For example, you might notice the Buster Bros group mics all feature a knuckle duster grip and Jakurai Jinguji (a doctor) has his mic attached to a caduceus staff. And even though each character has such limited screen time in just the first three episodes, I already have favourites!
Of course you can’t talk about a music series without mentioning, well, the music. The rap songs in this anime are absolute fire! Each time a team breaks out into song, I’m tapping my foot and nodding my head along. Perhaps one of my favourite scenes is in the first half of episode two when Buster Bros are facing off against another group. Ichiro begins singing as he’s walking through Ikebukuro his face and voice live-streamed on a TV. The whole segment was so much fun. Also gotta give major props to the translators who have done an amazing job translating the lyrics.
Animation wise, there’s a lot to love with Hypnosis Mic. The series features a mixture of 2D and CG animation in its rap battle scenes which really ads a dynamic flair to the song segments. Once again, design really comes into play with the rap battles – different styles are used for different groups and their songs. I do tend to treat the story behind each episode as a bit secondary as I watch the series mainly cause I love the rap battles/ songs. Story-wise so far, no matter has been happening except random events. I do hope in the next future episodes we build up to something more.
But in saying that, this is an anime you definitely should not take too seriously. And if you do, you’re definitely not going to enjoy it. There’s truly random scenes such as someone wearing a suit of mics threatening to blow up a cafe and members of a group discovering a dead body in their apartment. The series can be like a complete rollercoaster, and you never really know what’s happening next. Although I guess that’s half the fun – waiting to see what insanity is next!
Overall, I’ve kinda become obsessed with Hypnosis Mic. The only reason this series isn’t part of my weekly reviews is that while the episodes are enjoyable there’s not much to discuss. But, and just between you and me, I actually look forward to the new episodes of this series more than the ones I’m reviewing. If you’re on the fence about plunging into the series, I would 100% recommend you give the first episode a shot. It might just blow your mind.
If you’re watching the series, let me know who your favourite character is in the comments!