Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (means Hakata Pork Bone Ramen[s] in English) is a Japanese Light Novel series published under ASCII Media Works and written by Chiaki Kisaki with illustrations done by Hako Ichiiro. As of 2018, 8 volumes are published. The series has a manga adaptation (Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens and Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Dai 2-Shō), published by Square Enix under the Monthly G Fantasy magazine with an anime series by Satelight currently airing on AT-X, Tokyo MX, BS11, TVQ with the first episode out by January 12, the show being directed by Kenji Yasuda and written by Shogo Yasukawa. Crunchyroll is simulcasting the anime with Funimation providing a simuldub for it.
It has a crossover with Durarara!! called Durarara!! x Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens. Extra Games is a novel that has side story chapters that highlights backstories of certain characters and events.
The series takes places in Hakata, Fukuoka where it has a thriving criminal underworld, ranging from assassins, detectives, informants, torturers and other nefarious occupations. An urban legend known locally as "killer of professional killers" exists in the city known as the Niwaka Samurai, who happens to wear a niwaka mask. He is said to show up to take down an assassin, regardless if the person is doing his/her job only.
Meanwhile, detective Zenji Banba is tasked by Detective Shigematsu to investigate a case where a nightclub waiter was killed where a covert meeting was held by the city's corrupt mayor with a Triad Mountain Masternote somewhere in downtown Hakata. A crossdressing Chinesenote assassin named Lin Xianming is given the order to get rid of him. But instead of doing so, he decides to disobey orders and protect Banba from being killed.
Its unofficially being translated to English.
The series contains examples of:
- Assassin Outclassin': Rather frequently, especially in the case of characters like Lin.
- Baseball Episode: Most chapters/episodes do end up with a baseball match between the HTRs and another baseball team.
- Bodyguarding a Badass: Lin for Banba when protecting him from the assassins Zhang hired, until he learned the latter is the Niwaka Samurai.
- City of Adventure: All of Hakata, which is strange since anyone who's lived or visited the place will tell you that the city is safe like almost all of the other cities/towns in Japan. Although prefectural police surveys in real life would actually suggest the idea of the plot.
- Declaration of Protection: Lin has one to Banba, after deciding to disregard Zhang's orders to kill him.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The website 'ShadyJobs.com' (The original Japanese language version calls it 裏ジョブドットコム or Ura Jobs.com)
- Murder, Inc.: Quite literally with one of the main assassin groups in Japan named Red Rum Incorporated, which has a branch in Fukuoka and the main branch is in Tokyo (which is of course actually named 'Murder Incorporated' when you reverse 'Red Rum')
- Pay Evil unto Evil: The Avengers group often fall into this when the clients that hired them have had something particularly horrible happen to them or someone close to them, which they payback unto the mark.
- Police are Useless: Justified. The criminal underworld that operates in the Greater Hakata Area has killers/assassins/hackers/assorted criminals who can cover their tracks that good that they sometimes have to rely on those who understand them like Banba and Enokida.
- Professional Killer: A whole city filled with them in fact.
- Scenery Porn: The series is essentially action and adventure in Hakata with a good dose of ramen.
- Title Drop: The title is named after tonkotsu ramen, a known specialty in Fukuoka. It's also the name of the Hakata baseball team, named after the ramen with Banba and Lin as some of the players alongside people they know from both the police and in the underworld.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: The first volume deals with two plots. One involves Banba working with Shigematsu to investigate whether the mayor arranged for an assassin to kill a nightclub waiter and whether it has ties to organized crime. The other deals with Lin trying to get a lead on what happened to his sister and later on, who made the decision to have her killed. The plots gets resolved by the end of the first volume.
- Wham Episode:
- "Play Ball": Lin tells Banba that even though he's told to kill him, he decides to disobey his orders to do so.
- "Irregular": Lin finds out from a TV broadcast that his sister, Qiaomei, was discovered as dead by Fukuoka Prefectural Police in a hotel room.
- "Ninth Inning, Two Outs": Banba operates as the Niwaka Samurai and he, together with Jiro and Saito, broadcast a confession from Yusuke, which results in the arrest of his father and downfall as mayor. Saito gets cosmetic surgery to hide from the public due to being picked by the FPP as a person of interest, as well as to hide from trouble from Murder Inc.
- "Hit and Run": Feilang turns out to be alive and well and operates as an assassin in the Greater Beijing Area with the scar left on his face by Lin. He's given order to go to Japan.