Hanasaku Iroha – 5

Another excellent entry from Hanaaku Iroha – not quite as flashy or brilliant as last week’s, but a solid temporary conclusion to the Tohru mini-arc and a nice cliffhanger.

Of all the Mari Okada series out there, this one is reminding me the most of her PA Works effort True Tears at this point. There are a lot of side stories going on that end up causing the main character to reflect on their own situation in both series. And as happened in TT, we’re starting to see some potentially difficult and complicated entanglements on the horizon. Like that show, this one is all about relationships (not just romantic ones) and the conflict between personal growth and the ghosts of your past.

GAR heron is GAR

Yes, I begin the see the possibility of an Ohana/Tohru pairing – which before now seemed like a far-fetched idea to me. I see glimpses of affection on Tohru’s schoolboy taunting towards Ohana – though he tends to display that towards Minchi as well. Obviously this would complicate things terribly, as Ohana has worked so hard (and mostly in vain) to build a relationship with Minchi that goes beyond “Balut!” It would be hard to envision any scenario where she’d forgive Ohana for sharing romantic feelings with Tohru, and while there’s no direct evidence that Ohana has any reciprocal feelings (and his for her are still pure conjecture) that “I’m still not very fond of him!” becomes something of a romance flag. Oy.

Meanwhile, there’s the matter of Ko-chan. He’s unusual in that he his presence hangs over Ohana all the time, yet has had almost no screen time since the first episode. I thought it was rather unconscionable for her to wait as long as she did to return his text, though she finally did this week – somewhat non-committally if affectionately. But it was revealed that Ko-chan had fallen asleep studying guidebooks and maps to what looks suspiciously like a hot spring resort…

You go, Ko!

Some have complained that the entire Tohru/Yuina thing was a misdirection on top of a misdirection – a misunderstanding about Tohru working at Fukuya, itself a misdirection as he was just helping out for the day. But I thought the situation presented itself quite plausibly, and it did wonders to advance several aspects of the plot. It also allowed the delightful Yuina to get some screen time – this week delivering her lines in a fake Hakata accent and lounging (oddly sensually) in her grandmother’s massage chair. She’s a great side character – so different from the rest of the cast. She’s light as a feather and seemingly unconcerned with anything whatsoever except enjoying herself, and she brightens any scene she’s in. As this is a show that can get a little heavy at times, that’s a good thing.

And of course, the heron is back and he kicks Ohana’s butt again. That’s the best avian character in many a season.


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