Anime

Hypnosis Mic: Division Rap Battle Anime First Impressions (Episodes 1 – 3)

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. 

Screen Shot 2020-10-17 at 4.17.35 pm

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. 

HYPNOSISMIC episode 1

Hypnosis Mic Matenro

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!

Hypnosis Mic explosion

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!

8 thoughts on “ Hypnosis Mic: Division Rap Battle Anime First Impressions (Episodes 1 – 3)

  1. My favourite character was Doppo before the anime series. After I watched the first episode, I just knew that Ramuda’s my favourite because he’s a lot cuter and bubblier than I originally thought! Doppo is number two now, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m like you I’m also not the biggest fan of this kind of anime, but of course now you have written a review that is so enthusiastic and convincing that I just have no other choice but to check this one out! Even though I’m not a fan of rap music either, but this truly does sound like it could be a lot of fun! Great post😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ☺️☺️! I hope you have as much fun with the series as I did. I’m not the biggest rap fan either, but I’ve actually started listening to some of the songs while I’m at work, they’re just so catchy!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I admit I don’t really go for the music anime either, but there’s something else that drags me into one every so often…often bishonen character designs. This time, it was a seiyuu (Yuusuke Shirai, who voices Ramuda and Nikaidou in Idolish7) who brought me into this, although I’m a Jakurai fan.

    I’ve been in HypMic hell for the good part of a year, thanks to COVID. That said, I admit I don’t quite know who to credit as the series “creators”, since King Records and Evil Line Records both distribute the music, while Yuichiro Momose is credited with the story/original scenario in some cases and various mangaka are allowed free reign with what the characters do.

    According to the synopsis found in all the media, World War III happened and then the Party took over, so it’s not quite “modern” in the sense we know it. That’s what that business about an “H era” is.

    HypMic doesn’t have the most thought-out story ever, but a few episodes down the track (after Mad Trigger Crew and Fling Posse), we should be getting into a proper plot. Iris, Rex and Tom are anime-exclusive, so even I don’t know what they’re going to do…

    The translation of the songs isn’t the most faithful if speaking from a literal sense, but that’s because it /can’t/ be – carrying both meaning, stuff from the visuals (e.g. for the “hamster” moment in episode 1 from Samatoki, the subtitler is basically obligated to throw the word “hamster” into the translation because there is a hamster on the screen) and rhyming schemes (where applicable) over from another language (especially Japanese, where it’s much easier to rhyme than it is in English) is really difficult. As someone who’s been studying Japanese for years in the hopes of maybe being a translator one day, getting entire sets of lyrics handed to me is…both a dream and a nightmare, because I like to analyse how much the translations differ but I also know translation – particularly song translation – is a real pain in the butt.

    That’s why I actually have the /opposite/ problem with discussion – I have /too/ much to discuss about HypMic that people are probably sick of me talking about it already, but I don’t have enough to discuss with my other seasonals because I’m mostly anime original for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your detailed comment! I’m really glad I got to learn more about the franchise from such a big fan of it. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the stories goes, to be honest I’m not a big fan of Iris, Rex and Tom – I think I got a bit irked in episode 2 when Rex pushes the other photographers away so Tom could get that perfect shot. Just made me roll my eyes haha. But definitely keen to see how the story plays out with all of them!
      Ahh ok that makes sense regarding the H era. The world setting in episode one was a bit brief so I took the series as modern in the sense that it has modern features.

      Oh that’s really interesting to hear about the translations. I can imagine what a massive undertaking it is. Being a translator would be amazing, would you want to work in any specific translating area?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. To be honest, I saw it in 2017 and was like, “Oh okay. This is cool.” It showed up again in 2019 when I went to Japan and I was like, “Should I be interested in this…?” I encountered it a 3rd time at the start of 2020 and, due to COVID…3rd time’s the charm.

        The problem is HypMic is a merch-driven series – even if I had all the enthusiasm in the world to sink hours into showing appreciation for it (which I do), money is what creates outcomes in this series – you vote for your favourite division by buying merch and obtaining a card which you use to vote online. I’ve only got two pieces of HypMic merch, both of which weren’t bought during the battle season, so if you think I’m a big fan, you should see all the people who’ve spent more money than me…

        The series as it stands right now hasn’t gone into much about WWIII. They do briefly depict war scenes when setting the scene in the manga and the war does figure into Riou’s backstory (and Jakurai’s as well, although they’re awfully hush-hush about details on that front) as well as the separation into divisions…but that interpretation of the word “modern” does make sense.

        There’s an entire team of translators working on the Funimation version of the raps – there’s no way a single person could beat that much work…

        Obviously, anime/manga translation is the ultimate dream (I don’t think I have the skillset needed to patch games or add subs to anime, though), but I also wouldn’t mind literary or computer-related translation (e.g. computer manuals) either (although those require more specialised knowledge).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh damnn, I can just imagine how much fans buy. I’m sure I’ve seen some shrines and mega itabags online, and that’s probably just scratching the surface!

        Ahh that would be incredible. All the best with it ☺️

        Like

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