Hanasaku Iroha 14

Click here to read more reviews of Hanasaku, including the first thirteen episodes.

“What’s the point of him yelling?”Exactly, Minchi; Exactly. On their high school summer getaway to the beach, Ohana, Minchi, Nako and Yuina are suddenly thrown into the bizarro world, inn-wise. Rather than serving customers, they are the customers, and must act as such. But while the head clerk and ‘heri’ of the Fukuya Inn, a certain Yosuke, may be Yuina’s fiancee, he isn’t the most pleasant guy to work with.

I’m going to be the bitches’ advocate here and say the part-time workers can’t possibly see what’s going on in any other light than Yosuke lumping work on them and treating them like crap while he woos his girlfriend. Or can they? Hard to say, but I doubt it would be an issue if they weren’t part-time to begin with, but rather girls like Ohana, Nako, and Minchi, who work full-time and are passionate about their work at the inn, and about improving themselves. It’s more than just a job for them, because they have time to make it so. If it’s just a part-time job, it’s harder to, well, care.

Even if Fukuya Inn is big and booming and can accomodate high school classes, and Yosuke hasn’t even heard of Kissuiso, it’s state-of-the-art technology and business practices have their cost. But even more pressing to Yosuke is getting an answer from Yuina regarding her future. It turns out she doesn’t consider running an inn to be part of the future she wants. This is harsh, but it’s also her life and her decision to make. Her answer also comes at a particularly knife-twisting moment when Yosuke’s underlings stage a mass quitting, undermining his leadership in the eyes of his superiors.

This wasn’t the idle beach episode I was somewhat dreading (and it’s good that so many anime recently have turned off that desperately-beaten path), but actually contained some development. Despite her enviable position as heiress to her family’s inn, Yuina apparently wants something else in life. Meanwhile, Ohana, who still tears up whenever she remembers Ko’s last words to her, nevertheless resolves to not let such things disrupt her life or drag her down. That’s probably a good attitude. Rating: 3.5

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Hanasaku Iroha 5

It’s all that damn erotica authors fault…

Ah, a misunderstanding episode. While this series has definitely slowed down since the first two eps, it remains one of my favorites this spring. For some reason, this episode reminded me of an episode of Frasier, one in which a little misunderstanding is blown way out of proportion and everyone emotionally commits to an assumption that turns out to be false. Yeah, a lot of Fraiser episodes (and those of many many other shows) are like that, but for some reason Frasier came to mind first. Dunno why.

At any rate, Ohana is, as always, trying to get into Minko’s good graces, this time by going after Tohru, who the author deduces has defected to rival Fukuya. Combined with Minko and Ohana seeing the Fukuya heiress on a motorbike with him, Minko is devastated. She isn’t kidding anyone with her tough, dealing-with-it face, including Ohana. Of couse, as it turns out, Tohru only filled in for one night at Fukuya, and far from dating Fukuya, she just wanted a ride.

It’s a well-written and acted episode to me, because all of the factual omissions that lead to the understanding are very organic and fit nicely with the individual characters involved: the author’s tendency to jump to conclusions, Minko’s infatuation with Tohru, and Ren’s tight-lippedness. All of the facts they have seem to point to him leaving, and they have no reason to question for how long he’ll be gone, or whether he’ll come back. Those who know what’s really going on stay quiet too, because they have better things to do. While I knew the twist was coming from a mile away, it was still well-played and an entertaining watch. Rating: 3.5