Hey doods and peeps, welcome to another episode of the G-Views. No fancy intros here. Let’s get right to it with Hanasaku Iroha.
Genres: comedy, drama
Themes: hot springs, coming of age, Slice of Life,
Number of episodes: 26
Plot Summary: When her mother runs off with her latest boyfriend, Ohana Matsumae is sent to live with her grandmother, who she has never met nor spoken to. Her grandmother is not pleased to find Ohana on her doorstep, and sets her to work at her Taisho-era (1920s) hot springs inn. It’s not a lifestyle that Ohana would have chosen, but she decides not to be discouraged and to make the most of her difficult circumstances.
HI is my current nominee for best Slice of Life anime of 2011. The reason being that it takes a majority of the classic themes you see in many SoL shows and combines them into a well done script. Now some will argue and say that either Usagi Drop or Natsume Yuujinchou 3 deserve the award,. I can’t debate that because I haven’t finished UD yet and I’m saving NY3 for a later date. I’ll respect your opinions and leave it at that.
Returning to HI, what I like about the show as a whole is how it handles the basics of both a show about the life of working at an inn being run by an old fashioned manager who follows old school traditions while also telling a good coming of age story at the same time. As most SoL shows go the plot is mainly character driven and moves along based on their interactions with each other. A theme I noticed on the show is the collision of old versus new moralities: Or Tradition vs Modernity to be exact. Things change as time passes and for some who are used to the ways of old, it ain’t easy coping. It’s also interesting that this clash involves granny, mom and daughter (Mostly granny and mom). Each has its advantages over the other and its nice to see how they clash and give the viewer some idea of what old school traditions are still applicable now while others should be left behind to “keep up with the times” as it were.
For more info, check out this marvelous blog post by ma belle peche, Snippettee:
Moving right along to the romantic aspect…all I can say is that it feels like a cliche romantic comedy, yet handled much better than modern day Hollywood films of the same genre where they RARELY have a hit in said genre, ESPECIALLY ROMANTIC COMEDIES…but I digress. There are two main romantic quarrels and I guess they’re interesting, one more than the other until a certain Type A nearly screwed it up entirely with her rash decision making.
Comedy and fanservice: The 1st one works rather well and it doesn’t really try too hard to be funny. Good stuff, especially for episodes that are blatant fillers yet still enjoyable. To me an anime with fillers does a great job when even said fillers are amusing and don’t feel like wastes of time. Seriously sometimes shows can take a break from the drama and just let loose…as long as it’s entertaining and infrequent. HI succeeds in that dept. Fanservice, again well done. It isn’t excessive and doesn’t shove cleavage into the viewer’s faces. That’s best for ECCHIMANIA shows and the DoA series. Sure all our lovely ladies bare all (The show takes place at a Hot Springs Inn after all) but thankfully not frequent enough to make people with itches on their backs rant internet critic style…unless they’re Macho Meatheads or monks in training.
Music: The anime’s OST is fine and fits the show well and both OPs and EDs are quite nice to listen to, though I do have a minor peeve with the way the 1st OP is sung. Nothing ear shattering though.
Ohana, aka the girl of a thousand expressions: Catchphrase, “Fest it up!” As you can tell by my nickname for her, Ohana’s main draw, aside from her cute, bubbly, determined, sometimes badass…when she isn’t in drama mode (Meaning having Ko-chan issues or questioning herself). Anyway, being the protagonist and the show primarily focusing on her coming of age trials and tribulations it’s no surprise the spotlight shines on her most of the time. Ohana has also thought me one important thing: Men are secretly turned on by women who have a Spongebob Squarepants personality…which scares me. I also like her hair. It’s sort of unique to see such a hairstyle in anime. Points go to being cute, awesome and mopey in one package. Emotionally I can understand her feelings and what she goes through but romantically I’m lost.
Ko: 16-year old, Ohana’s best broski…till the end of episode 1. I must confess that I’ve been really hard on Ko for the majority of the show but does that mean I hate the guy? Nope, I was just peeved at the viewers who made such a big deal over the guy. I personally didn’t consider Ko an important character on the show at all, and the show agreed with me. For the most part Ko is primarily one of the puzzles Ohana must solve and nothing more. She must come to terms with her feelings for him and frankly that’s enough. Personality wise, Ko’s a nice guy. His patience is beyond human, his actions are realisitic and there isn’t much to complain about him…except his TERRIBLE TIMING WITH ROMANTIC CONFESSIONS! Did it pay off? Watch the show and find out. Oh and one last thing, I applaud the way the way the show resolved this puzzle: Let’s just say it didn’t end in a Hollywood cliché fashion. 10 points for simplicity!
Satsuki: 38-year old mama of Ohana. The main question concerning her is: Is she a MILF? Hmm…what do you all think?. Her looks, most definitely. Personally I’m not turned on by her charms that much (Though I am fully aware of her supreme cougar powers) but I do know other fellow bloggers who have been smitten by her devilishly clever personality. At first I didn’t think much of Satsuki and labelled her as a crappy mom but of course like any good show, we learn more about her and the relationship with Super Granny and her broski.
Sui: 63-year old Super Granny. She reminds me of the grandma from Summer Wars, only crankier. She’s old school all the way, leading her employees to work based on traditions of old. She plays quite an important role that I can’t really convey in this review but over the course of the show she too gets an attitude adjustment just like Satsuki.
Minko: Catchphrases, “Die” and “Balut”, always directed at Ohana. 16-year-old apprentice chef and resident at Kissuisō. The show’s resident tsundere and she does a great job at it as well ranging from mildly amusing to annoying but not annoying enough to loathe her. At least she her more personality than 95% of the cast on “Kore Wa Zombie Desu-ka?! Her social issues, aspirations, both when she’s “smiling” and suffering make for good quality television.
Tohru: 23-year-old junior chef working at Kissuisō. He is very outspoken and easily frustrated. He strictly mentors and supervises Minko’s training. Hmm…I have even less to say about this guy than Claude Claudelle from Ikoku Meiro so I won’t say anything and leave his judgment up to the viewers. Needless to say he was the least interesting character on the show imo.
Tomoe: 28-year-old head waitress working at Kissuisō. She enjoys hearing gossip about other employees and customers lodging at the inn. If she were secretly Ohana’s aunt I wouldn’t be surprised. She’s hot, awesome, hilarious and a really nice dresser. No complaints here. Half-closed eyes.
Nako: 16-year-old cleaning maid and waitress working part-time at Kissuisō. It should be no surprise to anyone that this bodacious beauty is my favorite character on the show. Not only is she voiced by Aki Toyosaki (ROCK ON!) but she’s basically my dream girl. Sorry Spongebob type girl seekers, Ohana’s cute and all but not my type. Let me explain:
1: She has a realistic body that fits the life she’s living and her dedication to kick ass while working on her self esteem issues. No, it’s not just because of her bust. I find Nadie from El Cazador drop dead gorgeous and she ‘s as flat as Ellis. No it’s her hair, body, visage, half opened eyes and did I already mention her personality?
2: She has a semi-visible six pack… teehee. Suck on that Kelly Kelly you overrated Barbie Doll. No matter how much you improve over time YOU WILL NEVER BE THE NEXT TRISH STRATUS! Oops, my apologies. Back on topic.
3: Basically the kind of person she is is very admirable. All you need to know in order to find out why my love for Nako increased by 10000 after the 1st half of the show, watch the now famous episode 18. I’d better stop before people think I’m jumping on a bandwagon again.
Yuina: The 16-year-old daughter and heiress to the Fukuya Inn, the rival inn of Kissui. She is in the same high school as Ohana, Minko, and Nako. She is the other “princess” in school due to her beauty and her eccentric accents which often change. 2nd favorite: Main reason: Ojou-sama type. she’s bratty and spoiled but that’s just part of what makes her charming. She’s even bubblier than Ohana. She always wants to have fun and make everyone around her chill out and enjoy life, especially Minko. Of curse she’s weird and sometimes ignorant but that’s how she’s supposed to be. Oh and of course she’s a fashion diva with a groovy hairstyle. Personally during the two part episode which focused on her getting a reality check, I was worried that she would become…normal…ugh, but thankfully that is not the case (Sorry for the mini spoiler) as she’s right back to being her kickass self in the very next episode. HUZZAH!
Takako: A 30-year-old business consultant advisor for Kissuisō. She attended the same university as Enishi. She often has erratic plans to improve the inn and tends to spout out random English sayings, which the seiyuu pronounces quite admirably I must say. It’s not as Engrish as the “3 Stooges” from Squid Girl.
Taro: 31-year-old novelist who frequently lodges at Kissuisō. He writes erotic novels using the Kissuisō’s staff as character references. Mostly the comedy relief of the show. His greatest moment was of course in his debut.
Sorry to talk about the characters but as stated earlier, they’re the driving force of the series.
In conclusion: A must watch for SoL fans and any animeniac looking for something better than a cliched Hollywood comedy. Easily recommended to Western beginners who wonder if there are any other anime besides the Otaku triforce of Doom or DB Kai.