Review: Hanasaku Iroha

Hana-Saku Iroha

Alex: Hanasaku Iroha is one of those funny anime which is going to be really hard to review, simply because it’s got a very very very strong start, a mediocre middle with some really average episodes, and a finale thats not nearly as good as it could have been. The drama in some of the episodes turns out really well, but the series decides to dip into Slice-Of-Life episode, even though they’re slightly bleh and don’t contribute anything to the series. It’s almost like this series should have set itself to an odd number of episodes, like 20. Or 18.

So, i’ll do this review in a slightly different manner. I’ll do two paragraphs on the positive, and two paragraphs on the negative. I don’t normally do this, but this seems like the best way to do it.

So, positive. Hanasaku Iroha has a very likeable female lead. Ohana, the female lead, has a saying that she wants to fest it up, and that’s what she does for the majority of the anime. She fests up the screen, making it interesting and lively to watch. And her love interest, Ko, is handled really really well. The love in the franchise isn’t stupid or overdone, it’s done to the point where it actually feels like a real love interest, instead of one of those cheesy anime romances and the like. It feels like real people with a real crush, and that’s something which is worth giving an award to, even if the rest sucks.

Luckily, the rest doesn’t exactly suck. Like I touched on above, the drama in the series is really good, even though it delves too much into angst and slice-of-life towards the middle to remain enjoyable. The drama revolves around a 17 year old’s working life, and the mess that her family is in. She lived with her renegade mother, who ditches her in the middle of the night to escape with boyfriend, leaving her to go to her strict grandmother who runs a hot spring Inn, teaching Ohana’s uncle how to run the business. The characters and the drama all revolves around the inns and outs of running a Hot Spring Inn, and it’s pretty damn realistic.

So, the negatives about the series. It dips halfway, like it’s run out of ideas to fill its episodes up, so it’s got to just make up some filler episodes to pad the series out. To be frank, the slice-of-life is dull and boring, and mediocre at the best of times. Working isn’t as easy as the series makes it out to be, so when it does one of those episodes you’re just like “eh…this feels out of place”

Yeah, it’s slow paced. Slow paced to a fault, since it pads all the episodes out to make the series even longer, to a fault where you just want to pull your hair out and scream at the episodes.

But, if you’re looking for a good, realistic anime, you can’t really go very wrong with this series. It’s just a shame that the middle episodes left such a negative taste in my mouth, because it could have scored much higher.

    

    

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Hanasaku Iroha Episode 26

Bloom

Alex: And, it ends on what the series is great at. Emotional drama about life and moving on, coupled with realistic love.  I loved the realism in here, especially focusing around Ko and the confession. It was a real confession, not a cheesy anime one.

And Grandma stole my heart. She appeared really strict and evil, but she’s just a caring woman :L It would be nice if an OVA come out somewhere down the line to tie the ends up, rather than just saying “See you later”. But hey. Review up soon.

Hanasaku Iroha Episode 25

The Kissuiso I Love

Alex: Apologies for the lateness of all our recent posts, writing all these reviews gets draining xP But anyway,  That slap needed to happen. But much sooner.

Hanasaku finally pulls of another remarkable episode. In one single sitting, the staff of the inn go to war with each other, Ohana resolves her family problems, Enishi destroys the Kissuiso and everyone fixes everything that went wrong. To pack that all into 20 minutes and not feel rushed is…well, pretty remarkable.

It’s something the show has always been aware of, and it’s always known it can pack a punch when it needs to…it just didn’t feel like it in some of the lackluster previous episodes?

Hanasaku Iroha Episode 24

Sui Shijima, The Final Boss

Alex: Well, this episode was slightly more pleasing than the others. It’s taken the series a long time, but we FINALLY get to see more of the grandmother, and we actually get to see her laugh. It’s pushing things towards an interesting finale, with Enishi and Ohana’s mom working together to stop Madam Manager from closing the inn, but it’s not enough to stop the bitter taste i’ve got from those horrible filler episodes.

Also, the romance in the series is very good. I loved the scene with Ko at the start.

Hanasaku Iroha Episode 23

Compensation for the Dream

Alex: I really, really, really have nothing new to say about this episode or this show, as a matter of fact. When they try, the show’s a good romance coupled with strong drama. When they don’t try, it’s a waste of my life. This was a “trying” episode as they bring all the main characters back into the picture, and a few loose threads which they just dropped halfway through. I’m still not gonna get my hopes up, though..>_>

Hanasaku Iroha Episode 22

A Determined One Sided Crush

Alex: Why do I feel like i’ve been here and done this before..? Ohana and Minchi fight, make up, everything goes perfectly at the wedding and then Madam Manager drops the bombshell at the end of the episode. It’s taken its sweet time, but things FINALLY start moving rather than chugging at a pleasant yet dry pace.

Hanasaku Iroha Episode 21

Rebirth of Die

Alex: BAM. Enishi and Takako are getting married after being out the spotlight for a few episodes.Nice touch, I suppose.

But uh…. The love triangle suddenly lept into action, smashing Minko’s feelings against the rocks at the beach as Tohru might as well have said how he loves Ohana right in front of her. There are just some things you don’t do as a guy…and one is to talk so fondly about other girls in private with someone who’s got an obvious crush on you.

The biggest what the hell moment was the cliffhanger, though. Madam Manager sits and comforts Takako and asks her to get married, only to say that she won’t get the inn. Is she planning to disband it, or to give it to Ohana’s mother..? I’m glad that we finally have some development on her side.

As Hanasaku Iroha finally moves back into the territory that made it enjoyable, I can’t help but wonder how things are going to shape out here…