Hansaku Iroha – 18

For me, this episode of HanaIro is a kind of “look on the bright side” situation. Yes, it was yet another complete waste of time that did nothing to advance the overall story (if that even still exists). But much to own own surprise, I rather enjoyed it. Unlike the last few waste of time eps, this one was entertaining and didn’t make me want to strangle everyone associated with the production.

I’m not a huge fan of Nakochi as a character, though I don’t actively dislike her as with Takako and Jiromaru. It’s more indifference, but if this ep accomplished anything of slight important it was making her character a little more interesting. I enjoyed her interactions with her family – I was instantly reminded of watching Kuroneko from Ore no Imouto interact with her sibs, behaving so totally differently than she did with her friends and fellow students (though this change was somewhat in the opposite direction personality-wise). The banter with her younger brother, the reading to her sister, the bickering between her parents over child-rearing – it was amusing and had a nice, mellow vibe.

I like that more forceful Nakochi – and I liked the way she kept unintentionally ripping on Ohana (by speaking the truth, frankly) and then trying to recover by adding “In a good way!” as if that mattered a whit. I also liked seeing her trying to forge a path of self-discovery, because I used to think that’s what this series was about and if we’re not going to see that with Ohana, at least let’s see it with Nako. But as so often lately, I’m finding myself uncomfortable about what message HanaIro is trying to send. While I appreciate the frankness of Madame Manager’s conversation about giving Nako the raise, it almost felt as if we were being told that it was just fine for Nako to be shy, timid and lacking self-confidence. For me, I think she was absolutely right in wanting to change – perhaps not through sexy dresses and bangles, but change nonetheless. She’s tired of being afraid – is there anything wrong with that?

Also a plus: Yuina was the Yuina I love again. It was hilarious watching her cringe at the massive uncoolness of all her friends as they had their girls day out in the city. Each of them revealed their true selves in their choices – 3 for 10,000 yen shirts, tilefish, lame popular songs. And Yuina sat back and judged them all. Love it. That sequence felt as honest and relevant as anything the series has done in the last month, because it actually revealed something about each of the four girls.

I don’t take much long-term optimism from this – it was another stand-alone storyline that just happened to be executed better than the last few have. There’s still no indication that this show has any real idea of where it want to go and what it wants to be long-term, and that’s what’s going to tell the tale of whether it can recapture some of the weight and brilliance it occasionally flashed in its first cour.



  1. L

    Nice to see popout images, because clicking on a pic and having the whole page reload is a nightmare (I have a script that turns pages black with white text, but that resets with a page refresh).

    I thought this episode was fine, actually. You're being too harsh, or were you trying to compare this show's drama to something like Anohana's drama? That's unfair, because despite having some brilliant drama earlier, HanaIro is also a slice-of-life, and that's evident in recent episodes compared to the earlier, dramatic episodes.

    But I agree that Nako's internal struggle finally means the show will start to rev up the drama. Here's hoping for some intense episodes in the next month or two!

  2. LOL, yes! Someone noticed the popout images. Everything with Blogger is a hack, and I finally found a hack for that. Now I just need to figure out how to make the popouts closeable by clicking on them.

    I didn't think I was harsh on this ep, was I? "I rather enjoyed it." "It was amusing and had a nice, mellow vibe."

  3. i

    I think you had the wrong idea, as Madam Manager was giving her a raise for her thoughtfulness to customers (against her son's general objections).

    Personally, I think a more selfish Nako (that actually wants to use the money) might not help the show…and laughing @ the fact that the Kissuiso teens are "workaholics"…

  4. t

    Me 5 minutes into this episode:"I'm betting Okada's writing this episode herself,this episode is full of Okada's trademark monologues"

    So for you,I think it's reassuring in that it confirms that you like the episodes more when Okada does them herself.And I figure she'll handle the finale.
    As for the "message" of this episode,I don't think you should put words in Madam Manager's mouth.She didn't say Nako should remain shy.She said that despite being shy she could still do a good job,that's not the same thing at all.

    Finally,I still stand by my forecast from a few weeks ago:You're not going to see anything advence plot wise for a while because Ko and Ohana's mom are in Tokyo and have no reason to move,they're the only ones who can make the plot move.There's a number of scenarios I have in mind I won't go into all of them but I still expect the climax of the series to Occur during the Bonbori festival so whenever that starts getting mentioned you'll know the plot will take off again.

  5. Yeah, at the time I wrote this I wasn't sure if Okada had written the ep. I'm not surprised to hear she did – it was certainly a step up from the last month.

  6. l

    Although this was a side episode, at least it was a character we all love(Nakochi). Some more we ar getting more perspective regarding to each girl personality (e.g ohana with her bad mouth, never thought it that way)

    Regardless of what other people think, me think this episode is nicely done and I would perfer to at least more of these sort of episode before we move on to main plot.

    But I guess this mean the idea of love square between minchi, toru, ko and ohana is thrown out the window. Now that totoum mention it, where is the bonbori festival?

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