From Left, Hachi and Robby.

RobiHachi: Anime Review

RobiHachi is a very different show than most of the anime series I’ve seen – particularly those about travel. Most anime series that are about travel and tourism that I’ve seen tend to be chill slice of life comedies, like Laid Back Camp. RobiHachi, on the other hand, is a very silly, wacky, over-the-top comedy – though one with some thematic elements in common with those other series.

Next Sunday A.D.

RobiHachi is set in the far future where Humanity has had contact with aliens for centuries, and interstellar travel is so cheap, easy, and safe that space tourism is commonplace. Our protagonists are Robby, a sad sack who bounces from one hustle to another, and is currently living in a starship he inherited from his dad, and is squatting in that ship on a skyscraper’s roof; and Hatchi, a young man tasked with collecting Robby’s not inconsiderable debt.

Robby, thinking quickly after Hatchi comes to collect, persuades Hatchi to come with him to Iscandar, as Robby has an idea to get a fortune there. Meanwhile, Robby & Hatchi to come with him to Iscandar, as Robby has an idea on how he can get a fortune there. Meanwhile, Robby & Hatchi are chased down by a trio of loan sharks who are after Robby’s butt (in multiple senses of the word – which is a problem and I’ll get into that).

The Real Jokes are the Friends We Made Along The Way

All of that said, the hustle to pay off the debt is not the focus of the show’s plot. This is a series that is very much about the journey, not the destination. The show reminds me a lot about the bord game Tokaido, both in the sense that the show mentions that there are 53 stations on the route from Earth to Iscandar, and in the sense that the show and the game are about the experiences you have on the trip being what’s important.

The animation of the show is okay. This is a show that presents itself in a sitcom-esque manner, so it doesn’t put a lot of attention into using lighting to set the mood. That said, there are recurring jokes in the series related to an in-universe anime series and the show does shift animation styles when that earlier series comes up – and those bits are generally done well. I’m not going to get more into that, as I don’t want to spoil some of the jokes.

Really, RobiHachi? Really?

Where things get rough is with Yang, the leader of the loan sharks. He is in… I guess I’d say unrequited lust with Robby, which is played for laughs. That’s kind of a problem, in two respects. First, it lines up with a distressingly common stereotype of gay men that shows them being ruled by their libidos, with the added implication that gay men just want to fuck any and all men, whether they’re straight or not. Thankfully, he’s also not written as a pedophile (looking at you, Outlaw Star). The other problem is that Robby’s reactions to being cat-called by Yang are, basically, gay panic humor.

Now, there are a lot of other jokes outside of this that absolutely land, and it’s also very clear that the show-runners are writing this show and the character relationship between Robby and Hatchi as something they think that would possibly fuel a fair amount of doujinshi at Comiket.

However, the issues with the show are enough, that I while I stuck with it as it was airing, I don’t feel like it’s a big enough deal to put in my collection, and if it gets a physical disk release, I’m probably not going to pick it up.

RobiHachi is currently licensed for streaming by Funimation. It hasn’t been licensed for a DVD or Blu-Ray release, and there isn’t a manga (or any real merch) for the show as yet.