Hanasaku Iroha – 14

He’s still heeeeeeeere

Aside from the big news of Kou being in the new OP (to the dismay of the Kou Haters Club) this was actually a pretty low-key episode on HanaIro. But that doesn’t mean it was boring – how could it be, with Yuina having her biggest role yet?

Our gang is on a field trip to – naturally – a hot spring ryokan. This one is at the seaside, and it’s huge, dwarfing the Kissuiso both in terms of size and automation. But then, you’d need a pretty big inn to handle a hundred or so hyper and hormonal first-year high schoolers. I enjoyed the scenes of Ohana and Nako drifting into Kissuiso mode involuntarily, straightening slippers and the like. After 5 years managing bookstores I can’t walk past a display without fixing it…

Of course, this being the seaside the opportunity isn’t missed to give us some beach fanservice. It’s not too exploitative as these things go, mostly played for humor. In fact most of the girls are refreshingly normal in the proportion department for high schoolers, especially Ohana. Minchi is the one having the rough day – besides being dumped protesting into the sea by Ohana and Yuina, she’s asked out by a boy she’s not interested in (i.e. every male in the universe except Tohru). Poor thing, that seems to happen to her a lot.

Fest it up?!

Ah, Yuina. Once I saw you in that massage chair, I was yours, and I’ve missed you. It just so happens that this inn is the home of Yuina’s fiancee’ Yosuke. He’s the head-clerk and treats the help – already reduced to part-timers by automation – like dirt. But he loves Yuina, who can blame him? Yuina is her usual irreplaceable self here, “festing it up” with Ohana (in a way Ohana never intended) and generally happy and irreverent. But she also discloses that working at an inn is not something she especially wants to do for the rest of her life, even as Madame Manager.

What this series is really doing, of course, is using the travails of characters like Yuina and Minchi to cast light on Ohana’s situation and give her a cause for introspection. It’s a light-hearted ep, but Ohana has a lot of unspoken dialogue here – moments when she’s clearly processing what’s happening around her and trying to tease out what it makes her feel about her situation with Kou and the Kissuiso. Unlike Yuina, I think we can assume Ohana does want to work at an inn. But she wants to be with Kou too, the one who “made my heart beat really fast… And then I exploded!”

In addition to the new OP mentioned above, we have a new ED too. It’s always hard to tell from first reaction, but at this point I think I prefer the originals musically, especially the OP. Animation-wise, both are pretty similar to their predecessors.

On another note: Lost in America comfortably exceeded 10,000 visits this week. This was by far the best week since I founded the site a year ago, and I want to thank everyone for your support. I’m grateful for the additional opportunity writing for Random Curiosity has afforded, and I hope to make this an even better place over the coming weeks and months. Keep the comments coming!



  1. A

    Kou-chan is still in! YES. I've always been a KouxOhana shipper (theres just something about the best friend thing), so i was delighted to see him in the OP.
    Good episode, a different pacing as compared to the previous episodes. i love Yuina's character. Our 4 protagonists are awesome~ I would love to see someone confess to Nakochi! She has no love D:

  2. i

    you have to wonder if Yuina picked the worst time to give her answer to Yosuke, as he was in a reverse chewout by the former part-timers…

    and personally, I like OP2 and hated ED2 (even when compared to the ones before)

    ps. Takaii's taking his time I presume…

  3. I've said before, but the longer Kou stays in the picture, the better chance he has. But I've also said that Mari Okada is the trollmaster, and she'll lead you falsely right up until the very end. At this point, anything is possible.

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