Hanasaku Iroha – 25

[HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 25 [720p].mkv_snapshot_01.47_[2011.09.18_14.09.39] [HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 25 [720p].mkv_snapshot_02.57_[2011.09.18_14.10.49] [HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 25 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.52_[2011.09.18_14.13.44]
[HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 25 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.33_[2011.09.18_14.17.26] [HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 25 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.19_[2011.09.18_14.18.11] [HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 25 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.45_[2011.09.18_14.18.47]

I guess it just wouldn’t be HanaIro if it didn’t take one (hopefully) last turn at pissing me off, which it did with a generally meh-diocre penultimate episode.

Lest I give you the impression I thought this was a total disaster, I didn’t.  As it so often has, the show almost salvaged the episode by a very strong final few moments, and I thought the scenes between Sui, Satsuki and Ohana were excellent.  But in general the drama was overwrought and had an artificial quality to it, and I’d dared to hope that after two very strong episodes, we might see the series finish with an unprecedented run of four winners in a row.  Alas, it was not to be.

One bone of contention, for starters, and it’s nothing new: Okada’s insistence on continually emasculating her male characters.  This has been tiresome for a while, but to fall back on it again here so close to the end is really infuriating.  Yes, we all know Enishi is a hapless and only semi-competent manager.  Was it really necessary to rub our faces in it by having him humiliated so forcefully yet again?  To be slapped in front of his staff by his idiot wife when he finally shows the spine to stand up to his domineering sister and mother?  The message from Okada seems to be, “Know your place in my world, Boy.  This is what happens if you try and overreach yourself.”  In hindsight maybe this is why Tohru was such an appealing character for so many, because he’s that rare Okada male that isn’t made to look like a spineless jellyish and usually made to cross-dress. 

I just didn’t feel the dramatic tension here.  The staff’s hostility towards Ohana felt very much out of proportion and manufactured.  So she dared to be Sui’s granddaughter – does that make her to blame for Sui’s decision to shut down Kissuiso?  The whole “siding with Okami” conflict seemed to be have been manufactured out of left field so the episode could have something to angst about, when in reality the previous two episodes had set up more than enough real drama that the episode could have focused on.  How about a real dialogue about whether Sui’s decision was selfish or selfless?  How about some allusion to the situation with Kou, still – incredibly – being strung out and ignored even in the 25th episode?  How about some real interior thought from Ohana about just what she wants to do with her future?

As mentioned, I did like the story a lot better once Satsuki showed up (as usual).  Sui was generally the best part of this episode, showing us some rare playfulness and her indomitable spirit, so once the two of them were together with Ohana the ep really shone.  It’s an odd thing about HanaIro, that it so often finds moments of grace very late in mediocre episodes, but it certainly does.  It was undeniably poignant to see the three generations working together side by side in the place the oldest of them had built from nothing and that the daughter had abandoned to its fate.  If this had been the focus of the episode the show would have been much better served.

Now that we’re finally at the end, things look mighty precarious to me for a show that’s frequently showed terrible judgment about where and how to focus its energies.  We could be looking at an overly sentimental sea of forced tears, as there are definite death flags for Sui.  I’d hate to see the series pander with that kind of cheap stunt in the end, just to take an easy out for an ending.  There’s a chance of total anti-climax with the KoHana situation, which was almost totally ignored this week.  If that’s left hanging and totally open-ended, I for one will be thoroughly ticked off.  And it could be an anti-climax generally if no real decisions are made for the future of the inn, and it’s just a “Let’s pick our plucky selves up and face another day!” end.  Some hard decisions need to made if this ending is going to work – will Ohana and Kou give it a shot?  Will the inn stay open, and if so – in whose hands?  If these kinds of things are ignored for the usual stunts and nonsense the series has fallen back on far too often, that will be the capper on a series that will be notable, more than anything, for unfulfilled potential and missed opportunities.

[HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 25 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.27_[2011.09.18_14.25.30] [HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 25 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.04_[2011.09.18_14.28.07] [HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 25 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.34_[2011.09.18_14.28.36]
[HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 25 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.24_[2011.09.18_14.29.26] [HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 25 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.26_[2011.09.18_14.29.29] [HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 25 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.39_[2011.09.18_14.30.42]


  1. a

    As usual, I really enjoyed this episode, although didn't like the tension that occurred as the inn operated not like it is used to. You were right that there were some forced moments and a few things lacking but Hanasaku Iroha still is really enjoyable to me – especially in that moment when all three generations of Shijima women were working side by side. I never expected to see Ohana's mother like this – especially when it wasn't a major plot point.

  2. A

    I agree the best part was seeing mom, daughter, and GD together. I know the last episode is next week but to me Hanasaku Iroha will be just another mediocre slice-of-life with pretty visuals. If this was my fist encounter with this type of show I probably would think it was the best show ever but it isnt. Maybe Mari Okada should stick with the 13 episode format.

  3. U

    This episode was very entertaining to watch. Time passed quickly while watching it, and i felt that it was a worth choice for me to end my sunday. Critically speaking, however, i respect Hanasaku Iroha less ans less each week.

    In the beginning of the series, each character's behavior was coherent and understandable. Not only they were interesting, but every new episode presented a new situation on which a little more about them was revealed.

    However, as more time passed, it seems that the anime became stuck in a confort zone. It began to play safe and lose its ambition. The show, once fresh and exciting, became stale, and the flaws started to show.

    Instead of trying to make up for them, it seems that the creators decided to ignore the problems. The narrative became very narcissistic, as it rehashes the formula with little to none new ideas added to it. It takes for granted that the audience will love the show until the end.

    The result is that Ohana became too helpless and whiny, Minko would be better as a secondary character, Nako ended up shining here and there just to say that she exists, Sui lost much of her impact and the male characters ended up merely as fetiches created by the writer's bitter mind.

    Again, it was a very enjoyable episode. Not a 9/10 or 10/10 episode it could be if it never declined from the beginning of the series, but more like a 7/10 enjoyment. Takako said that Enishi should not be driven by his emotions. Ironically, i want to tell the same to Okada.

  4. Thanks, Ulisses – nice post.

    Anon and Andall, I think the fact that HanaIro can still be mostly enjoyable despite these glaring flaws only plays up just what a waste it is that it hasn't been better. This is a show that really could have been something great.

  5. i

    @ Ulisses: I can see where you're coming from, being stuck writing scenarios @ the same location for multiple episodes… no wonder the "trips" to Tokyo (or anywhere outside the little town) seems refreshing for the majority

    I can see Sui changing her mind for the finale…

    Why? She overheard Nako's reasoning to Ohana about how She adopted Sui's dream for her own…(and the fact that Satsuki showed herself again to "cover the festival for the magazine" =D )

    Still, WHY has Yuina forced herself into Kissuiso's staff room again?

  6. d

    With the whole fate of the inn in question, I always wonder why don't the employees of the inn just buy the inn? Maybe business is different in Japan but that solution to the problem have always whisper itself to me whenever the whole tension between the staff and Sui was brought up.

  7. a

    I actually thought this episode was pretty good. Firstly, this episode alongside the last few have focused on what I think is important – Kissuiou. No more side character attention (can't afford that since we are on the penultimate episode lol), and emansculation of male characters were kept to a limit (bar Takako's slap).

    Hopefully the last ep will tie up everything including the whole romance issue between Ohana and Ko.

  8. I'll go along with "pretty good". I was hoping for better…

    darkoadiac, I think it may be a question of money. Even if it isn't that successfully, an inn that size is still going to command serious cash. Whoi among that staff is likely to have it? Not to mention – if Sui doesn't want to sell to them (which I admit would be hard-core obstinate) she can't be forced to.

  9. s

    Great episode!

    preparation Bonbobori festival with Yuina 😀

    Minchi really annoying this episode!

    my favorite scene when the three generations of Shijima women working alongside each other

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