Hanasaku Iroha – 16

What an odd series this is. It just can’t seem to settle on what it wants to be about, and there’s no telling from week to week whether you’re going to get something serious, quirky or downright slapstick. That unpredictability could be a good thing, but unfortunately the quality fluctuates just as much as the tone, and the last few episodes have been rather mediocre.

Sometimes I think this is really a series about Kissuiso rather than about Ohana, and this is one of those weeks. The plot contrived for this arc is that Yunosagi is struggling with a loss of visitors, Kissuiso especially, and Enishi and Takao have somehow lured a studio into shooting a movie there. Somehow, Enishi gets his mother to agree and the producer visits and starts pre-production. The director naturally wants all the staff to be in the movie because, well… because. And Enishi swings it so Jiromaru gets to write a scene for the mpvie about Yunosagi and the Bonbori Festival.

The good news is that Enishi at last gets a chance to be involved in the plot other than as comic relief or a punching bag for his mother and sister. He does show up as fairly competent and resourceful here by his standards, even standing up to the other ryokan owners as they try and horn in on the deal. The bad news is, this also means a return to prominence for Takako and Jiromaru, and both of them are only very slightly less annoying than before. Takako, especially, grates during every scene she’s in.

There’s certainly an odd family dynamic going on here. Enishi seems to have both a quasi-siscon fixation on and a gut-level fear of Satsuki. He’s also got a huge inferiority complex about his own abilities, which is no doubt exacerbated by the way his mother and sister treat him. It’s a chicken and egg scenario – I don’t really know whether they treat him like an idiot because he is one, or he acts like one because they’ve treated him that way since he was tiny. Either way, it’s unhealthy – and seems to be the reason he seeks validation from Takako, whom it’s revealed he went to college with. It’s also revealed that he was a filmmaker in college, though (not surprisingly) a very poor one.

None of this is really all that compelling, nor are the scenes of Ohana, Nako and Tomoe fangirling over the sound technicians and cleaning the pool. Sometimes I feel HanaIro, rather than doing the heavy lifting of building something up, just flat-out tells the audience “this is what you’re supposed to feel now”. The scenes of the movie crew at the inn are supposed to be funny because of their incongruity; we’re supposed to be quietly wistful about the girls being young and carefree and beautiful playing in the sun as water sprays over them. But it all just sort of falls flat.

Next week, I suppose, we’re going to get another slapstick episode where all kinds of wacky things happen during the film production and the staff ham it up as actors. Danger here – slapstick is not HanaIro’s best mode. The wildcard, though, it the WTF phone call that comes in as Enishi is telling Takakao how super keen his sister is, cutting to Ohana laughing as Minko sprays water over her in slow-motion. Those kinds of phone calls never mean good news, and my initial thought was that it was bad news about Satsuki. Sure doesn’t look like that from the preview though, so who knows what Okada-san is up to here. I’m certainly far too vested in this series and in love with the ghost of just how great it can be at its best to give up now.



  1. l

    I'm going to be very honest with my comment. AND there are few of them here.

    1) First off, I think this movie is a scam. A golden egg just fall out from the sky seem to good to be true. That phone ringing seem to confirm it but the preview next episode seem to reject my idea. Some how i just can't shake off that feeling.

    2) Wow, my guess that all supporting character have their own arc is coming true with every episode. Then again can't say i'm the only one thinking that.

    3) You know i like how Enishi talked about his past and stuff. But is it possible for them not to pan Enishi while Ohana, Minchi and Nakochi are having water fight while all of them wearing white T-shirt. The very idea that i'm missing out such a delicious fan service is depressing. Half the time i can't even concentrate on Enishi word and most of my attention is the girl at the far off view.

    I know I know, I'm a pervert and this show is not suppose to do fan service. But they really do a great deal of teasing here especially when I'm not even expecting it.

  2. t

    Never since Panty and Stocking have I had such a complete different opinion from yours (then again P&S wasn't that long ago lol)

    Basicly I came out of this episode the same way I come out of Ikoku meiro no croisée,and a lot of comments you make about it apply to what I feel about Hanasaku Iroha,most notably how the Kissuiso just feels alive,it's really as if I was right there with these girls cleaning the pool.
    I really am feeling everything I'm supposed to feel.

    I don't expect the show to go anywhere plotwise anytime soon,right now everybody's standing still and has no reason to move,ko and Ohana's mom are in tokyo and the plot won't move unless they do,and right now they have no reason to.
    The only thing possible would be a Ohana x minchi x Toruu love triangle but it doesn't look as if the show is interested in doing that.

    I expect the climax to come at the bombori festival,they keep hyping it up and it's a big occasion that could get the characters moving,the building up to the climax could be done during the preparation of the festival.

    Until the I just expect to have a few crazy adventures,learn a bit about the characters so that when the plot kicks off again we know why they'll act the way they do

  3. @totoum: Yeah, it's funny how perceptions differ, isn't it? I'm just not feeling HanaIro right now. I thought the Yuina Arc was so-so and I fundamentally disliked the message it was sending, and this movie arc just seems silly. Those slice of life moments can be wonderful if they work for you – but the ones this week did nothing for me whatsoever.

    I can't remember a show I've had such conflicting feelings about. If I didn't love it so much when it was good, I wouldn't take it so personally when it (in my eyes, anyway) goes off the rails. It really like some of the laziest writing Okada has ever done for me – like she has a good overall concept in mind but just doesn't want to do the heavy lifting to get the story where it needs to go.

  4. d

    @Enzo: just nitpicking: tag should be anime not nime

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