Dawww. What a great finale.
The First Five Minutes
The first five minutes of this episode were simply beautiful. I would have been perfectly happy if the show ended at the point where they showed the episode title. What was it about this intro that made it so engrossing, and the most memorable segment of Hansaku Iroha to date?
The first reason it stands out is because of the festival atmosphere. The chanting in the background and the light of the lanterns bring the viewer into a mystic reverie.
It uses this reverie to lead the viewer on a trip of fleeting whimsy. Ohana’s mother jokes around with her grandmother, asking her to buy a candy apple, and reading other people’s wishes aloud. Minko fights over letting Yuina and Nako read her wish, while Ohana and Ko have an awkward encounter at the yakisoba stand.
This trip of transience culminates in both a realization of change and a restored union with the past. Ohana and Ko become a couple, as Ohana looks back on her own past. Sui finds solace in how much she has come to mean to her granddaughter, while looking coming to terms with her past and present as well. So what I’m trying to say is that the show uses these small, whimsical, and humorous events to showcase the monumental transformations the characters have undergone.
I loved the confession scene. In your typical confession scene, the girl and boy will confront each other from a long distance, completely alone in their own little world. “I… I… I love you!” one of them shouts. The other returns the confession, they run towards each other and embrace.
Hanasaku Iroha has had a lot of fun playing with this trope. In Tokyo, we had the scene where Ko and Ohana were on opposite sides of the bridge. Prime confession material, here. It even ends the episode on the bridge as a cliffhanger. But nope, no confession.
Then in this episode, Ohana and Ko confront each on the sidewalk. The passerby blur, and Ohana and Ko are all alone. “I… I… I like… like… yakisoba!” Foiled again.
Ko and Ohana head to the yakisoba stand. Ohana has her face down, ashamed at her failure. “I… I have to tell him!” she thinks to herself. Ohana and Ko make small talk as they wait for their yakisoba.
“Yeah, I like the yakisoba at night stands better too” says Ko, finishing her sentence.
“It’s Ko-chan!” Ko blushes and turns to face Ohana. “I like Ko-chan! I love you!”
The passerby continue walking past, indifferent to this earth-shattering development. The yakisoba vendor hands them their order. It’s shaped like a heart. Ko and Ohana turn bright red.
This confession was just so fresh. It took your expectations, threw them out the window, and the scene was all the better for it. It was beyond awkward, as most confessions tend to be, and it was visibly difficult for Ohana.
There was a lot more to this episode, but as far as I’m concerned the show should have ended with the grandmother’s musings as she looked into the night sky. That’s not to say the rest of the episode was bad: it was fabulous too. It was just unnecessary. Ohana has made her decision, as has her grandmother. The rest is just details.
With that said, the sequence where the grandmother tours the Kissuiso for the final time, only to find Ohana hasn’t quite left yet, was also breathtaking.
One final thought: Tomoe and Ren look like a couple at the festival.