By Deanna Nguyen
Anime is no stranger to hip-hop influence and vice versa. You don’t have to look far to find series like Samurai Champloo or Megalobox or hip-hop artists like Open Mike Eagle and Jaden Smith to see the connection.
But what if the act of hip-hop and rap was the core concept of an anime? Say hello to HYPNOSISMIC -Division Rap Battle- Rhyme Anima.
A multimedia project from King Records, and based on Japanese hip-hop and rap music, HYPNOSISMIC made an impactful debut in Japan in 2017 and quickly evolved into a franchise packed with adaptations, from audio dramas and stage plays to a mobile rhythm game and now…an anime!
But the appeal isn’t just about the full fan experience these types of projects offer, but the true interaction. Pack in a huge cast of attractive characters and you’ve got a formula that caters to idol and seiyuu devotees all around the world.
Whether you’re already a fan or you have no idea what’s going on in HYPNOSISMIC -Division Rap Battle- Rhyme Anima, we’ve got you covered. Grab your mics, because we’re entering the Hypnosis Mic!
The story of HYPNOSISMIC -Division Rap Battle- Rhyme Anima
Before the H Age, the Japanese government was overthrown in a coup led by the Party of Words. This matriarchal group banned firearms and ordered a mass production of hypnosis mics, which became the only weapon that men could use to settle conflicts and reclaim their “Divisions” through rap battles.
The mics affect people’s psyche, influencing their thought processes if the user’s lyrics are powerful enough. And so begins the H Age…
Chuohku, the Party of Words’ Division, is at the center of Japan, but has a wall built around its borders so the other Divisions can only battle each other. Men aren’t allowed in the Chuohku Division either.
Currently, there are four divisions, each with its own representative teams. Each team consists of three members, one of which is the leader. As the Party of Words monitors the teams’ battles, their rule over society leads to bigger plans for the Divisions.
Meet the Divisions
Ikebukuro Division: Buster Bros!!!
Buster Bros!!! consists of the Yamada brothers: leader Ichiro (MC Big Brother), Jiro (MC Middle Brother) and Saburo (MC Little Brother). Their close relationship with each other is built on trust and admiration, with some jealousy between the younger siblings, but that’s what makes their team all the more formidable in a rap battle.
Aside from the brothers’ distinctive heterochromatic eyes, their witty lines leave a lasting impression.
Fun fact: If Ichiro’s rapping sound familiar to you, it’s because his VA, Subaru Kimura, was one of the rappers in Devilman Crybaby.
Yokohama Division: MAD TRIGGER CREW
A yakuza, police officer and navy veteran—all together, they make up MAD TRIGGER CREW. While an odd mix, the team is one you don’t mess with in and outside a rap battle due to their background.
The leader, Samatoki Aohitsugi (Mr.Hc), is second-in-command of the Katen-gumi yakuza clan. Jyuto Iruma (45 Rabbit) works for the police department. Lastly, navy veteran Rio Mason Busujima (Crazy M) has deep-seated survival instincts. All three stand for justice and channel their fighting spirit through their imposing lyrics.
Shibuya Division: Fling Posse
A more eclectic team that reflects the Division it represents, Fling Posse is led by Ramuda Amemura (easy R), a fashion designer who seems friendly but actually has a darker side.
He is joined by novelist Gentaro Yumeno (Phantom) and gambling addict Dice Arisugawa (Dead or Alive). With Ramuda’s popularity among women, Gentaro’s eloquent words and Dice’s go-big-or-go-home persona, Fling Posse combines each member’s strengths to become an unstoppable force in battle.
Shinjuku Division: Matenro
Matenro’s members include Jakurai Jinguji (ill-DOC), the leader and a doctor Hifumi Izanami (GIGOLO), a host working in Kabukicho, and Doppo Kannonzaka (DOPPO), a burnt-out office worker.
Jakurai is one of the older characters in the franchise, lending his deep voice to resounding intellectual prose in rap battles. Adding Hifumi’s charm and Doppo’s hysteric outbursts, Matenro is a team that overcomes any obstacle in their path whether it’s an opponent or the sins that their Division breeds.
Why you should be watching
HYPNOSISMIC is the kind of show that you sit back and enjoy, rather than get caught up in the outlandish story elements. That said, a women-led society, whose solution to violence and conflict is enchanted microphones, sounds very appealing.
If you have no knowledge of the show and are looking for reasons why you should be watching, here are just a few:
Um, the music
You don’t have to love hip-hop music to appreciate the effort that goes into the music. The VAs, who reprised their roles for the anime, have proven that they can deliver an amazing performance despite most of them having little to no experience with rap.
You can listen to the entire HYPNOSISMIC (the project, not the anime) discography on Spotify, including the rap battles. If you prefer music videos, their YouTube channel is chock-full of them, with fun and colorful visuals to complement the songs.
Twelve characters might seem like a lot to handle, but as you learn more about each Division, you can’t help but feel attached. They have an edge to them that you don’t normally find in other shows with a large cast of pretty male characters, and beneath their hip-hop/rap personas, they all have a strong sense of justice.
Their interactions can be fun to hear and watch, some heartwarming and others more comical. Most important of all, you have 12 characters to choose from to be your favorite. Spoiler: Two more Divisions will come later, bumping up that number to 18. Choose wisely (or don’t—one for all!).
SO. MUCH. CONTENT.
Because HYPNOSISMIC is a multimedia franchise, you have access to so much content outside of the anime. The amount of interaction between the project and the fans is a lot, too, as they schedule rap battles and implement a voting system to decide who wins.
You can find and buy a ton of merchandise, from acrylic standees to keychains, as well as the manga, which sometimes comes with a physical CD. A rhythm mobile game, which doesn’t have an English release yet, is one of the newer additions to the growing project.
There are plenty of avenues to venture in if you’re looking for more content. Even when the show ends, HYPNOSISMIC will continue to release new music for newcomers and longtime fans to enjoy!
Are you in? Start your watch right now on Funimation. And yes, please @ us when you have a favorite Division.