Hanasaku Iroha 18 — The Shy Mermaid

A Nako-centric episode. The highlight is everyone becoming mermaids in Nako’s dreams.

I felt that this episode was one of the weakest of the show so far. It wasn’t bad, but at this point I just want to get all these side stories over with and get back to Ohana and the drama. It’s been four or five episodes now since much of anything has happened regarding Ohana. The Yuina and  arcs were excellent (and the Nako arc somewhat less so), but as standalone arcs, not as part of the overall story. Hanasaku Iroha lately has lacked a central thrust and overarching focus binding everything together.

My main complaint is that unlike the last couple arcs, where Yuina and Enishi were developed, we simply didn’t learn much about Nako that we didn’t already know. We knew she was shy, we knew she took care of her family, and we knew she wished she could be less shy like Ohana. It felt like the entire purpose of giving her more money was to get her to cosplay (and have Ohana complain about being poor). I don’t feel that this episode added much to her character, or the overall story.

Yuina getting passed over in favor of Nako was fairly amusing though. As were all the mermaid scenes. The grandmother as the queen…

In the end, Nako learns that shy waiters are popular too. So we’re back at square one, except now Nako has learned to accept herself. I guess. Next week is a school festival, so hopefully Ohana will get back into the picture.

9 thoughts on “Hanasaku Iroha 18 — The Shy Mermaid

  1. She should have some more pride in herself since she’s a pretty girl. Cliched, but true. It gets to me when she worries about trivial things like this.

  2. One of my favorite episodes centered around Nako. Found it silly how much she read into the situation, but seems like the roundabout way of her finding out was not a waste, lol.

  3. I don’t think this episode was that weak. I agree with one of your points – the “development” episode barely developed Nako at all. From that standpoint it was a disappointment, but I think there are some other positives worth mentioning.

    I thought the opening scene with her family was very nice; we actually got to see a different side of Nako (I didn’t realize it was the same person!) Things like that are great for character development.

    Maybe I hadn’t noticed it before, but the production value of this series is actually quite high. This isn’t anything particularly special, but I thought Nako’s mermaid-swimming-underwater dialogue was great. It matched up well with who she is – and the ending wrapped the whole thing up nicely.

    The creators did give us a little K-On!-style slice of life service in this episode. That was cool to see for a change, but it makes me question what kind of series this is turning into.

    Where *is* this series going, by the way? We finished episode 18 and we’re still developing characters from season 1. *sigh* Maybe they could have woven some plot in there…I dunno. I’m with you 100% there – they need to get back to what made this series good in the first place.

    This is an aside from the anime but as a guy, I felt kind of sorry for those four guys who tried to take Ohana and co out to the cafe. They came up with a sincere, clever approach and were chewed out by Yuina. She lost major points in my book for that!

    1. Hooray, you got the picture to work!

      We did see a different side of Nako, I suppose. I felt like I already knew she acted different around her family, but now that I think about it, they probably never actually said that and it was just my assumption.

      No idea what they’re trying to do with the latest episode, but I assume they’ll start building up for some sort of finale soon… hopefully?

      I bet those four guys weren’t too discouraged and will just move on to their next target- it’s more fun if they play hard to get anyway. 🙂

  4. I have to agree with you that these past few episodes have felt so unfocused from the original Hana-plotline. I wouldn’t feel so bothered by it if this show was a 30-40-episode long anime, but it’s not. With only 26 episodes, dilly-dallying with side stories in the high teen-episodes does seem strange. We already knew that Nako was shy and insecure about her appearance to others, and this only reaffirmed that. Her newly-gained confidence will hopefully contribute to the end story, or this will have just felt like a Nako-fanservice episode.

    1. I hope it will contribute to the ending… I’m not really sure that she gained any confidence though. I guess she gained confidence in lacking confidence? If that makes any sense.

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