- “Listen up, Phones. The world ends with you. If you want to enjoy life, expand your world. You gotta push your horizons out as far as they'll go.”
- — Sanae Hanekoma to Neku
- “Enjoy every moment with all ya got.”
- — Sanae Hanekoma
Sanae Hanekoma is the self-described "hip café barista" of WildKat and is also the successful, multi-talented artist CAT. He is a valuable ally to Neku and his friends, acting like a guardian of the Players, and is always making sure that the game is fair and everyone follows the rules. He is also on good terms with Joshua. According to Hanekoma himself, he was born on March 3, has a blood type of A, is Pisces, a big gambler, and loves the word "windfall," and the word "natto" gets his tummy rumbling. The Japanese word for cat, ねこ (neko) is embedded in his last name, はねこま (Hanekoma), as is hane (feathers) and thus hints at his identity as Shibuya-famous artist, CAT, and to his other secrets.
Hanekoma's personality is laid back and enigmatic. He shows many talents but does not reveal why to most, except perhaps Joshua. He has a tendency to show up wherever the characters are to assist them or drop a clue about their situation. Although he gets a kick out of seeing Neku flustered, Hanekoma often gives Neku the more powerful pieces of advice that Neku reflects upon throughout the game.
Hanekoma is introduced in the first week as sort of a "rule keeper" and a guardian to the players, though he is very enigmatic at times. Though it may seem that he is the source of Neku's nickname, "Phones," the one who first called him that nickname was Beat, when these players meet at the beginning of Shiki's week in Day 2.
Hanekoma is the Game's Producer, who carries out requests for special items by the Composer, and observes the game's events in general. He wrote the Secret Reports, and is involved in many things "behind the scenes." He claims to be an "Angel" from a "Higher Plane," and some of the reports seem to note that he has powers even equal to, or perhaps greater than, the Composer's.Hanekoma taught Sho Minamimoto how to produce Taboo Noise in the hopes that Minamimoto would be able to stop the Composer from winning his own game and destroying Shibuya, anticipating that Kitaniji would not be successful. This crime led to his new status as a "Fallen Angel," though he "Happily accept(s) the stigma of Fallen Angel for this cause (of saving Shibuya)."
In Another DayEdit
In the Another Day Chapter, the Hanekoma from the main story meets Neku at the top of Pork City after Neku followed him up there and "tests" him with his noise form, Panthera Cantus (パンテーラカンタス Pantēra Kantasu, Latin for "singing panther"). This is actually just a red palette swap of Leo Cantus on the bottom screen, and a blue palette swap of Tigris Cantus on the top screen. Before the battle, though, he notes that a noise symbol is still visible in this world. After Neku's victory, Hanekoma says that the day he might need Neku's help may come sooner than he expects (although whether he is referring to the Neku of the AD world or the main game is not made clear, nor is the nature of the help he might need).
In the Another Day chapter, as well, the Hanekoma of the parallel universe seems to be searching for the real Hanekoma. Once Hanekoma is seen approaching Pork City, WildKat closes. However, if approached after talking to Rhyme in the Tin Pin storyline, he can be found there, where he'll mention a set of Secret Reports. Whether this is his own or the real Hanekoma's reports are unknown, but he mentions to never read it.
The full extent of Hanekoma's abilities as an angel are not made clear. The game reveals that he may freely travel between realities (and that all angels possess this power). He seems to be highly resistant to damage, evidenced by the scene following the Panthera Cantus battle; Neku is out of breath from the intensity of the battle, while Hanekoma seems unfazed. Hanekoma may also freely move between the RG, UG, and Higher Planes, but must tune his frequency accordingly. He possesses knowledge of Taboo Noise sigil refineries and is skilled enough to fine tune them. He also seems to be able to collect the scattered imagination of a player following their erasure and bind it to a pin; he can produce many different kinds of inventions but may only do so if they are commissioned by the Composer (as was the case with the phone revisions).
A key point that the game makes is that the Producer may not interfere with the outcome of a game. Hanekoma violated this rule several times:
- By gathering Rhyme's imagination into a pin, he (unknowingly) gave Beat and Neku a powerful weapon to use against Konishi in their battle against her. This action also allowed Beat to form a new pact before his seven minute time limit was up, preventing him from being erased and thus changing the winning player count at the end of Week 1.
- Hanekoma provided Sho the knowledge necessary to construct a Taboo Noise refinery sigil. Taboo Noise are not supposed to be part of the game, as they indiscriminately attack Players and Reapers (which should be prevented by the pacts for Players and the fact that Reapers have power over the Noise). For this, Hanekoma was branded a Fallen Angel.
- Hanekoma corrected an error in Sho's Taboo Noise sigil, allowing Sho to be reborn in Week 3 following his erasure at the end of Week 2.
- Hanekoma provided Neku and Beat a keypin that would give them access to the Shibuya River towards the end of Week 3. Ultimately, though, it was never used since Sho destroyed the barrier to reach the River himself.
Hanekoma shows good feelings towards all of the Players. It can first be seen when Hanekoma gives Neku and Shiki the Harmonizer Pin. When Rhyme is erased, Hanekoma takes Beat into the café and keeps him safe from being erased, only by gathering Rhyme's soul and binding it into a pin.
During Week 2, the Player begins to see a relationship between Joshua and Mr. H. Hanekoma even says that Joshua would come to Hanekoma's cafe and talk to him about the UG. Throughout the course of the week, Hanekoma talks to Neku about Joshua, and Neku comes to realize a bond between the two, while obtaining one with Joshua.
In Week 3, Hanekoma stays relatively out of this week. Nearing the end of the story, Neku has to face the Composer, thinking that it is Hanekoma, though Neku cannot come to face that. While shouting in the Room of Reckoning, Neku shouts for the Composer to fight him, then wonders why Mr. H. doesn't appear. Kitaniji then asks who Mr. H. is, showing that he does not know who Hanekoma is.
The game states that only the Producer and the Conductor directly communicate with the Composer normally. As such, Mr. H knows Joshua quite well. He seems to be friendly towards Joshua, but the extent of this friendship isn't infinite; when Joshua challenges Kitaniji to a game for the fate of Shibuya, intent on erasing it, Mr. H begins developing a plan to prevent Joshua from doing so by giving Sho knowledge of Taboo Noise (in the hope that if all else fails, Sho will kill Joshua). It is never made clear if Joshua found out about this betrayal.
In Another Day, Neku and Hanekoma are both good friends. As Neku says,"He's the only man that I respect." The main storyline Hanekoma knows Neku and "tests his abilities" by using Panthera Cantus. When Neku wins, Hanekoma tells him that the day Neku will help him will be sooner than they think. The Hanekoma from the Tin Pin world is a stranger to all, except for Neku. When found at WildKat, he tells Neku that if he finds any Secret Reports, to never read them. With Hanekoma trusting Neku with such a task, shows a great bond between the two.
The kanji for Hane-koma Sa-nae literally translate to: Feathers, lion-dog, fast, sapling. The syllables contain "neko," the Japanese word for "cat."
- One possible reason for his noise form and its name is that tigers and lions are both part of the Panthera Genus, and also could be the reason why its name is Panthera Cantus, though this is debatable.
- It is believed CAT might also be influenced by the real-life graffiti artist Banksy as that their art is famous, but they try to keep their identity a secret.
|Neku • Beat • Joshua • Rhyme • Shiki • Sota and Nao|