Hanasaku Iroha 花咲くいろは

Ohana, a Tokyo high school girl, who had been living alone with her single mom has no choice but to relocate to her grandmother’s inn when her mom decides to leaves with her boyfriend. There, she experiences working as a waitress, and finds a place for herself at Kissui Inn.

This anime managed to impress me a lot, more than I expected as someone looking for an anime similar to Working!! that had a workplace feeling to it.

Kissui Inn is a traditional Japanese Inn located in the countryside where the Bobouri Festival takes place. Here is where nearly everything of this anime takes place: we see Ohana working hard and learning her new job as a waitress at this inn, we see Ohana building relationships with fellow coworkers, trying her best to get along with them, and we see the other characters’ stories as well.

Tomoe, the single waitress in her late 20s, who took up the job to look for her match at first. She gets ahold of gossip quickly.

Nakocchi, the shy socially awkward girl in Ohana’s neighbouring class. She’s good at swimming and describes it hard to breathe on land, due to her nervousness at holding conversations especially with strangers. Took up the job to change herself.

Minchi, the sharp-tongued chef assistant in Ohana’s class. She has a great admiration and crush for Tooru, a chef at the inn, and used to have a habit of shouting ‘die’ but has changed to ‘hobiron!’.

Kou-chan, Ohana’s Tokyo best/(only?) friend, who confessed on the same night that Ohana left for the inn.

The landlady, Ohana’s grandmother, who is very strict and rigid about managing the inn and a very strong work ethic.

And last but not least, Ohana, a whirlwind of energy. Sweeping in and catching the people of Kissui Inn before they know it.

Ohana is really a unique personality. She acts before she thinks in the way that she decides is best. Even though she herself admits that she has a hard time reading the atmosphere, her outspoken and frank mannerisms are really impressive. I have to admit, I have grown fond of this character, and way of tackling problems, even as odd as it may be seem, but to tackle headfront without hesistation, to shout and scream with all your might. It might not be that bad after all.

As the series progresses, I couldn’t help but feel emotionally involved in the characters and the problems they faced. Granted, I would admit that this only happened after a couple of episode in, but rewatching it again, I see a lot that I missed out. Kou-chan’s corn soup analogy, and the way Ohana can’t read the atmosphere is painfully laughable at times.

We do see character development. Ohana feels more mature towards the end having had an whole lot of experience working at the inn. No longer will she talk on and on like an airy-headed Yuina about herself, she might actually catch on quicker such as when Minko implies but not directly say that Tooru might like her.

But what is remarkable and does not change is Ohana’s straightforwardness in handling conflicts. She forces her mum to eat brocolli. She makes food that Minko doesn’t like. She resists. She asserts. Perhaps saying it all out and screaming out all that you disagree with is a lot better than leaving it all unsaid.

Watching all the way to episode 26, we can see that the characters develop as much of an attachment to Kissui Inn as we do. Kissui Inn has become a place where people come together to work hard and happily. It is not without it’s fair share of conflict, Minko can be especially antagonistic.

But what I’ve come to notice about myself is that, I especially love it when characters give their all. Ohana is ‘strong’. Doing what she thinks is best for the inn by going all the way to Tokyo to find Tooru, gathering courage to confess to Kou-chan, moving forward and deciding to become like her grandmother Sui: fixing her mind on her dream.

This is a beautiful anime. Personally, comparable to the likes of Shigatsu, although not as tear-jerking, but more of an inspiring tale.

When Ohana nearly gave up crushing for Kou-chan, yet she decides to continue her one-sided love. I think this kind of feeling is what we really need more in our lives. We need to bonboru more.

It is to my surprise that, I have nominated a favourite character to be the main character! Usually, I try to refrain from having a favourite character who is the protagonist at the same time, but Ohana is simply too amazing a personality. Appearance-wise, is really cute too. I really enjoyed this show, and I think this wouldn’t have been possible had not Ohana been part of it. She makes all the conflicts in brighten up, loud, and we hear all her thoughts and deliberations. She carries us through this anime journey and grows through it with bravado. I hope that I meet someone like that someday, as unlikely as that may be.

My frequent readers would notice that I have a soft spot for cute tier boys, so Kou-chan would be next! Playing the supportive role really well, he has this ‘always be by your side’ and ‘gazing at you with kind eyes’ kind of feeling! Despite rarely appearing in the anime, it is clear from episode 1 that he has always taken Ohana’s lack of consideration for him in his stride. The conversations they had seem to have Ohana as central attention, when Ohana appeared excited about moving and did not seem to have any relunctance to be leaving Kou-chan at all. Even when Ohana receives a phone call from him after a long while, her first thoughts were about her own problems, rather than wonder why he called her. While perhaps this may be natural of human nature, I personally felt it was a little self-centered. Kou-chan still bears with it, I think that proves that Kou-chan is good boyfriend material!

If there was a character I did not like, that would be Yuina-chan. Her princess-like rich girl ‘I’m above you all’ trope, and her light drawl made me feel a little irritated. Nonetheless, I notice that she skipped driving with her chauffeur home to taking the train ride with the Kissui Inn girls, and I’ll give her bonus points for that. It shows she values her friendship with them and wants to spend more time with them.

That reminds me that I also could not come to like Takako, the business consultant who spouts random English phrases. To me, that reminded me of Persona 5 english for some reason, and when she says English with such flair and theatry it gets a little on my nerves, haha. Perhaps it’s a little like using phrases of a another language that you are unfamiliar with to pretend that you know it. イライラするわ… oh wait that’s me too. 😉


Images

  1. (Cover) https://www.zerochan.net/1445658
  2. https://elizabelle02.tumblr.com/post/123172522576/imagen-v%C3%ADa-we-heart-it
  3. Pardon the black borders in my screenshots

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