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.