A Viewer’s Guide to RobiHachi: Episode 5
This episode guide may include plot and/or character reveals.
Japanese Title: 地獄の沙汰もドン次第
English Title: The Don Opens All Doors
Characters: Yang, Allo, Gras, Robi Yarge, Hatchi Kita, Ikku/JPS-19, Checkpoint Official*, Coffee Shop Manager*, Kapako*, The Don*
* Indicates the first appearance in the series.
Summary: After finishing a marathon race on the planet of Tottska, Yang spots Robby in a news story about the capture of a rare Odwarlan oarfish.
When Robby, Hatchi, and Ikku arrive at the Haccone Checkpoint, a checkpoint official explains they need travel permits to continue. They visit the planet Haccone, famous for its hot-spring spas, in search of travel permits. Hatchi overhears that travel permits can be acquired from a mysterious underworld boss nicknamed the Don.
After Robby, Hatchi, and Ikku witness aliens fleeing in terror from the Don’s mansion, they retreat to a coffee shop. The easily distracted Robby goes sightseeing with three female aliens. Hatchi and Ikku discover the coffee shop manager’s daughter Kapako actually knows the Don. Hatchi and Ikku bump into Robby and the alien girls at the ticket counter where Kapako works. The alien girls ditch Robby and drag the cuter, younger Hatchi off for more sightseeing. Kapako approaches the sulking Robby and agrees to meet him at a spa after work.
At the spa, Kapako explains to Robby that the Don built Haccone’s spas as a reminder of his visit to Earth. Hatchi arrives and begs Kapako to help them get travel permits. Kapako hesitantly agrees to help them meet with the Don and warns them that he possesses an irresistible power.
The threesome returns to the Don’s mansion and Hatchi asks a shadowy figure behind a screen for travel permits. A gentle voice readily agrees and the screen lifts to reveal a large pink wombat soaking in a hot tub. Robby and Hatchi are overwhelmed by powerful waves of love.
At the Haccone Checkpoint, Robby is shocked and angered to learn that permits are not required for travelers making a religious pilgrimage to the Great Temple of Iskander.
See “Getting Started” for background information on the anime, which is based on an Edo Period fiction series called Tōkaidōchū Hizakurige.
The episode title is a parody of the proverb, “Money is the key that opens all doors.”
The planet Tottsuka is a parody of Totsuka, a large post-station on the Tōkaidō Road. The scene of Yang running a marathon on planet Tottsuka is a parody of Stage 2 (Tsurumi to Totsuka, 23.2 km), in the famous Hakone Ekiden, a long-distance relay race for university running clubs. The anime Run with the Wind is about a newly formed university club qualifying to compete in the Hakone Ekiden.
The Haccone Checkpoint is a parody of the historic Hakone Checkpoint, a major security barrier during the Edo Period. Travelers were required to show a travel pass, typically a signed paper document. The wooden tablets used in RobiHachi appear to be an invention taken from jidaigeki (historical period) films and TV dramas.
Planet Haccone is a parody of the Hakone post-station, a picturesque spa town that sits on the shore of Lake Ashinoko near the base of Mt. Fuji. Haccone’s Lake Udenoko is a parody of Lake Ashinoko. Udenoko means “arm lake” and ashinoko means “leg lake.”
Haccone’s streets are depicted very much like a Japanese hot-springs spa town, with shops offering local food and guests wearing traditional clothing.
The Haccone spa symbol, three vertical lines above a horizontal crescent, is a parody of the symbol (♨) used throughout Japan to indicate a public bath or hot-springs spa.
The Haccone residents and checkpoint officials are kappa, a small demon that lives in rivers and streams.
Robby admires a pretty alien woman’s neck. The exposed nape of a woman’s neck in traditional Japanese dress is considered sexy, akin to showing breast cleavage in a low-cut western dress.
TripSunvisor is a parody of the online travel website TripAdvisor that provides ratings and reviews for accommodations, dining, airlines, resorts, sights, attractions, tours, etc.
Despite Robby’s eager anticipation, mixed bathing is rarely seen in contemporary Japan. Although mixed bathing was the rule for centuries, following the Edo Period, separate bathing areas for men and women were deemed more civilized and most facilities have kept up the practice to this day.
The nicknames “The Don” and “Haccone Godfather” are parodies of Don Vito Corleone, the main character from the movie The Godfather. Don Corleone is the patriarchal head of the Mafia, an organized crime syndicate based in Italy.
“Schindler of Haccone” is a reference to Oskar Schindler, who helped thousands of Jewish prisoners escape execution during WWII by having them work in his factories. Curiously, the anime does not mention Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, who issued thousands of official visas to Jewish refugees, enabling them to leave Europe.
The Black Card is a parody of the luxury credit card issued by Mastercard. Mito Kōmon is the titular character of a jidaigeki (historical period) TV series about a lord who travels in disguise, mingling with and helping the lower classes. He utters his signature line, “Can you not see this crest?” while displaying a lacquered pill case personalized with his distinctive family crest.
In Japanese, peach-colored refers to the bright pink blossoms, rather than the light orange or yellow fruit.
Black eggs are predominantly featured throughout Haccone as furniture, statues, souvenir food, and security guards. These are parodies of Hakone’s regional specialty food called kurotamago (black eggs) that are boiled in sulfur-rich hot-spring water until the shells turn black.
Black eggs appear in another anime directed by Shinji Takamatsu, Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! One of the main characters lives with his older brother at a public bathhouse called Kurotamayu (Black Orb Bath). The bathhouse logo is a black egg soaking in a hot spring. The older brother, btw, is voiced by Tomokazu Sugita (Yang).
This episode mentions specialty food items local to the real Hakone:
- Hot spring coffee and hot spring shave ice are prepared using water from a hot spring.
- Hot spring manjū are sweet pastries cooked using the natural steam or heat produced by a hot spring.
- Yubadon is a dish made of soymilk curds (yuba) poached in soup stock and poured over rice.
In the real Hakone, pirate ships offer sightseeing cruises around Lake Ashinoko.