Hanasaku Iroha Episode 2
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.
Series Premise: Hanasaku Iroha, or Hana Saku Iroha, is a 26-episode weekly anime television series started in April 2011. The series is an original project directed by Masahiro Ando, produced to celebrate the tenth anniversary of P.A. Works. The story centers around carefree sixteen-year-old Ohana, forced to move from the city to live with her estranged grandmother in the countryside, who operates a traditional inn. Finding herself at odds with her co-workers and thrown into an entirely new world, Ohana tries to make the best of the situation.
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ep. tl;dr review: No good deed goes unpunished.
Episode Summary: Ohana tries to make the best impression by waking early to cut the weeds, but ends up being upbraided by Grandma Sui. She then gives Nako the unenviable task of teaching Ohana how to be a maid. Ohana overhears Minko being scolded in the kitchen, and decides to help her by making breakfast by the staff, which is usually Minko’s job. Ohana turns out to be an excellent cook, and Minko storms out feeling she has been upstaged. Then one of the guests, a famous author, storms in infuriated that his room was cleaned and his rough draft is missing…and all eyes turn to Ohana, who took the initiative to clean the room. Now banned from normal work, Ohana ends up helping the cook picking up supplies. As they are driving in the truck, the cook is continuously needling Ohana, until she decides to wish him dead, in the same way derisive way Minko does to Ohana, nearly causing him to crash. Horrified at herself, Ohana runs off to reflect on what she is doing. Returning back to the inn, Ohana decides to confront Minko and Nako, vows to cook them a meal they hate the next morning. Ohana happens to find the discarded written draft in the trash, starts reading, and discovers it’s an erotic novel with a character with her name.
My Impressions: I’m really liking this show, so much that after first episode I ranked it at the very top of the Spring 2011 Season. It’s not flashy, it’s not in-your-face, but there’s a subdued charm as we watch Ohana fumble badly at life.
Poor little Ohana. Would it be a terrible pun if I said the bloom is off the rose? She tries her very best to make the most out of her situation, but it seems like she can’t do anything right. Taught to always take her own initiative (because no one else will) ends her in big-time hot water not once, but twice in the same episode. This is after she’s already the “red-headed stepchild” of the small family at the inn, so to speak. Emotionally beaten and discouraged, it takes just one moment of ill thought (“Just die.”) to snap her back to reality, and she’s not giving up. Although I really don’t understand the whole idea of bonding with Minko and Nako over their least favorite food. What’s up with that?
The author is as skeevy as fuck, and a pompous asshole to boot. Although it’s not clearly defined, it seems pretty clear that the “Ohana” in the erotic novel is based on Ohana herself. Creepy! Also, while it seems like the Ohana vs. Minko relationship is in focus as the two of them are at loggerheads, does anyone else get more unfriendly vibes from Nako instead of from Minko? Nako is vanishingly shy to a fault, but it seems more like a way to avoid truly confronting Ohana and tell her how she really feels. Or, am I misreading the situation here?
One would hope that everything will turn around for Ohana, her grandmother comes to accept her, she makes lots of friends and everyone is happy, the end. But I’m sure it will hardly go so easily, Ohana has a long and bumpy road ahead of her, and we’re along for the ride.
- My earlier reviews: Episode 1 (May 26th)
- Info resources: My Anime List, Anime News Network, AniDB, and Wikipedia
- Watch full episodes online: on Crunchyroll
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “I never knew it was possible for a show to extract such a powerful emotional response from me in just the second episode. Somehow, someway, Ohana is turning into my favorite character, ever. I swear, it has to be that never give up attitude that keeps grabbing my attention. ” – Random Curiosity
- “Ohana is such a great lead, and the scenes from her childhood were fantastic. Also, I just can’t get enough Tomoe gossiping. All in all, another great episode with some nuanced development.” – Sea Slugs!
- “Hanasaku Iroha has somehow managed to charm me completely. I’m a sucker for coming-of-age stories, and who could resist following the growth and character development of a lead like Ohana? She’s so wonderfully endearing without trying too hard to be cute; no amount of moe moe blushing or contrived clumsiness or maid outfits are needed to make her my favorite character of all the Spring shows that’ve aired so far.” – Sekijitsu
- “Hana-Saku Iroha: the series with the best drama of the season. I seriously did not expect this show to already be this good this soon, and Noitamina’s Anohana is going to have some really stiff competition here. Grade: Excellent.” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
- “So far this show has been great for piling on the rage. In my opinion the best shows are the ones that give the viewer an emotional attachment, whatever emotion that happens to be. We can only hope that the rage will continue to build up and explode spectacularly…hopefully we won’t move into a happy idyllic inn life but rather continue with the anger from the adult side. And no, I don’t feel guilty for wishing that they’ll be miserable for the sake of my entertainment value. ” – Draggle’s Anime Blog
- “What I found particularly great about this episode is how Ohana’s direct way of addressing things clearly puts a lot of people around her in an uncomfortable position, and brings out some rather unique reactions amongst some of the people around her. Grade: 4.2/5.” – Emory Anime Club
- “For the moment, the show is playing out more along the lines of farce than serious drama, as Ohana is an exaggerated whirlwind of emotions. I give some credit to the writers for willing to take something of a risk earlier in this episode. Grade: B+.” – Mania.com
- “Overall, I enjoyed this episode to the fullest – great character development – Ohana really standing out as the strong character that she is. I have yet to see a bad character in this story, though I’m not fond of the grandmother or the novelist, but they are suppose to be disliked right now. I have really high hopes for this show and I hope that P.A. Works just keep doing what it’s doing.” – Daifuuku!
ROUND TWO RESULTS FOR SPRING 2011 SHOWS:
Thumbs-up for Round Two: Steins;Gate, Deadman Wonderland, Hanasaku Iroha
Thumbs-down for Round Two: None yet.
Coming up next (in this order): Dog Days, Moshidora, Ano Hi Mita no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai, Tiger and Bunny, Fireball Charming, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, A Channel, Sengoku Otome Time Paradox, Nichijou, Yondemasuyo Azazel-san, C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, X-Men, Blue Exorcist, Kaiji Season 2, Hyouge Mono, Showa Monogatari, Appleseed XIII, Fujilog