Review: Robihachi Complete Series (Blu-Ray)

Looking to become filthy rich and live out the rest of his days in ease, Robby Yaji borrows a bunch of cash to invest in a get-rich-quick scheme that can’t possibly go wrong. When the investment inevitably goes wrong, debt collector Hatchi Kita shows up at Robby’s door to collect on behalf of loan shark Yang, and Robby flees the planet. In a last ditch effort to make it big, Robby and his rabbit robot Ikku plan to flee to the legendary planet of Isekandar to make all of Robby’s dreams come true – but they quickly discover that Hatchi has stowed away on his ship, and intends to come along for the ride as well.

Robihachi is an original anime series of the buddy comedy variety that follows Robby, Hatchi and Ikku as they travel through space, exploring a variety of planets and meeting a range of characters as they head to Isekandar. The show has a classic eclectic road trip structure, with a different adventure and strange situation for the boys to experience each episode, following them in their low stakes adventure as they visit theme parks, take part in a local tournament, and pay off their debts through part-time jobs while travelling through space. To top it all off, the show even contains mecha elements, featuring the mech suit Hizakuriger piloted by Robby and Hatchi sporadically when it suits the plot of the show. Despite the addition of a mech suit, Robihachi is not really a mecha anime – this is just another element that contributes to the show’s sporadic form of humour and storytelling. This approach works in the show’s favour as each of Robihachi‘s 12 episodes are fast-paced and fun, and once you get a feel for the kind of story it wants to tell it’s easy to roll with it and just sit back and enjoy whatever the show throws your way.

The humour in Robihachi mostly derives from an abundance of verbal quips and jabs between characters, and outlandish situational comedy involving scenarios such as Robby participating in a giant worm race while being berated by Yang or Hatchi being kidnapped by Martians to film a tourism ad. Although the comedy is a big focus of Robihachi and the stakes are relatively low, the story is pushed along by Yang and his crew who pursue Robby and Hatchi throughout the show, but the series is able to balance this without losing its sense of casual and silly fun and very soon Yang becomes less of a threat and more of an eccentric stalker. Robihachi also has enough character drama to keep things from stagnating, and each of the main cast gets their time in the spotlight. Robi and Hatchi and their relationship have subtle but fun arcs as the series progresses and they grow and their relationship with each other changes, and the show even makes time to highlight Yang and how he and his crew came together. Although the show’s version of drama can sometimes border on parody, Robihachi has a sincerity that means these moments work on both a comedic and story-driven level, and the show is able to balance both in such a way that makes the finale of the series really satisfying despite the zaniness of the situation.

The English dub for Robihachi is one of the best comedy dubs I have had the pleasure of experiencing, and I honestly enjoyed the show much more in English than the original Japanese. While the Japanese recording is still fun, the witty barbs and jokes in English are much more enjoyable and the energy of the voice actors is simply infectious. The English dub also has a perfect Mean Girls reference that has me in stitches for several minutes. This is the most fun I’ve had with an anime  in a long time, and it is clear that even the people working on Robihachi really enjoyed it – the single episode commentary available in the Blu-Ray extras is basically just the English voice actors excitedly talking about how fun the show is and how much they like it, and is one of the first commentaries I’ve listened to where the voice actors have actually watched the show the whole way through.

Robihachi is a fun buddy comedy road trip in space, using its premise to the fullest with a variety of characters and situations to expertly show off its brand of eclectic comedy and fun. It’s hard not to be infected by the sheer amount of energy and passion in the show, and if you’re looking for something fun and simple but effective, you can’t go wrong with Robihachi.

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A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.