Hanasaku Iroha 23 — Never Give Up!

Now this is more like it! Hanasaku Iroha has been in a slump for a while now, but this episode regained some of its old charm. The thing is, this show really stands out when it focuses on the drama: the best episodes have been the ones focusing on Ohana and her family, and that one Yuina episode. When the show focuses on the every day life of the inn staff, it’s decent but ultimately forgettable.

Fish Out of Water

The strategy this episode employed to fest things up was plucking the characters out of their comfort zones, and dropping them down with people they don’t usually interact with. The main focus was on two unusual pairings: Ohana with Takako, and Ko with Ohana’s mother.

Takako dashes off to Tokyo to get back the money that her husband was stupidly tricked out of by the producer. The manager tells Ohana to go too, and talk to her mother about what she will do now that the inn is closing. The long train ride together makes for some interesting conversation.

It’s clear that Ohana and Takako do not get along all that well. They sit at opposite corners of the train compartment, and Takako begins their conversation by saying “I didn’t expecte to be babysitting a high schooler.” Ohana retaliates by calling Takako an old lady, and things only go downhill from there. But we learn each of their thoughts on becoming the manager, and things come back to Ohana’s relationship with Ko. Takako brings in a more adult perspective and makes light of Ohana’s problems, but Ohana breaks down crying. Putting Takako and Ohana together made for some interesting conversation and development.

The second unusual pairing was Ko and Ohana’s mother. This was extremely awkward, as one would imagine, and Ko looked like he was about to run away most of the time. It didn’t help that Ohana’s mom kept picking on him. But we learned more about both of the characters this way, and now Ko knows a bit more about Ohana’s life at the inn, through the movie of all things. I like how they actually brought that movie back into the story.

Random Thoughts

  • I loved the scene where Enishi went crying to Beanman about Takako leaving, and Beanman told him what it means to “be a man.”
  • Takako and Ohana’s mom are friends and are teaming up? Everyone’s screwed.
  • Takako’s self defense skills… wow.
  • With Ko and Ohana meeting up again, we should be in for a treat next week as well.
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