Hanasaku Iroha is so Confused

Ohana is like the female version of the indecisive lead in a harem show. Hardly thinks things through and things go her way due to incredibly good luck and who more than one would hate with a burning passion if this show was about a guy instead. The thing is that Hanasaku Iroha is a promising story with confused plot and a majorly confused main character. Very very confused main character.

Iroha got elements that conflict with one another like how comedy and drama are presented for example. There’s shows that work best when there are elements of comedy involved giving it a bitter sweet approach. Working! could’ve take it easy on the drama aspects that focused on a very strong girl having men phobia and focus only the comedy. There’s also shows where the romance aspects kill the show like Bakuman did whose immense cheesiness forced many to drop the show like it was hot volcanic rock. Hanasaku Iroha was thought to be the best show of the season because it displayed a level of maturity with promises of a title that would separate itself from otaku pandering and bring something serious to the table. People thought that it was a serious business show. Ohana, the energetic girl, is sent her away to live (rather work for) with her grandma who turns out to be a real villain who one would think she always carries a wooden ruler to hit people. The drama. The tension!

Ohana has to work hard to prove herself useful to not be kicked out of her new place and in the process gain the respect of her strict grandma. The logical assumption based on the first episode is that there’d be more of that, then again one is reminded that the first episode isn’t always what the story will be about but only the beginning of what’s to come. From there the story takes a more conventional route and the tension from the first episode is gone. The inn isn’t a hostile environment rather it is a place that will toughen her up and possibly help her find who she is as a person. There is however something off about the direction the story takes. It has shifted to heavier comedy approach with random bits of drama. Ohana does this, Ohana does that. Ohana makes friends. Ohana makes enemies who become her friends. Ohana acts rashly. Ohana is confused. Ohana acts rashly again. Ohana is confused AGAIN. Where’s the tension from the first episode?

Madam Manager: “Ohana. Why don’t I slap you a few more times so we can create some drama.”

Ohana: “Madam Manager, but I’m doing OK!”

Madam Manager: “Silence! This show has become too easygoing for mature folks. The slapping must be brought back!”

To compensate for the easy going approach it has taken Hanasaku Iroha every now and then throws some drama to get back on track to what it used to be. As much as I enjoy the show some of these elements they fail terribly because they drama just isn’t there and becomes forced as a result.


Ohana discovers the World

Ohana struggles to do her job at first. She has never worked in a family inn before and everything is new to her. First she fails miserably then she gets the hangs of it and gets scolded less and less. Because she gets better, everything begins to work out better. Good. Ohana could leave the inn right now whereas she couldn’t before because her mom (apparently) forgot her job as a parent and sent her to her (evil) grandma that she herself could not stand while she was growing up. Now with everything solved she could possibly move back with her and continue the life she used to have. The problem that was created in the first episode – rather dumb one that her mom simply *sends* her away because she couldn’t have her come with her – now has a solution. The reason why Ohana would keep working for the inn is because she has grown fond of the people and to run away from her problems back at home. You know it’s true, Ohana.

Ohana vs. Madam Manager (aka evil grandma)

Madam Manager is portrayed as the super strict manager that at first doesn’t want anything to do with Ohana. Then as the story progresses she softens up becoming a more understandable character. Her harsh actions have a reason and the reason is that she cares for all the customers. Her entire role as a caring manager has been explained. Here the tension from the first episode created by the strict evil grandma is completely dispelled. The drama from this end is already over because she has understood Ohana and Ohana has understood her. Problem solved. I’d have save the solution to this problem for much later to secure there’d be a constant level of tension in the show. Well, Iroha thought otherwise.

Supporting characters’ lives

Case in point, there’s not enough material to be interested in them, at least not for a long time. Sure, they’re nice to Ohana and they do their job perfectly, that’s about it. So Ren, the old chef, cracks under pressure. So old Tomoe is old and has to marry soon. So Tohru has the hots for Ohana. God knows why, btw, but he does. They are characters in a Hanasaku Iroha that play their part in their story, but when thinking on it, the show the story is still about Ohana and not about them. Most of them aren’t what it’d be called predominant characters for the final outcome of the story. It seems that every time they are involved it is for comedy or slice of life fodder more than anything. I’m ok with this as long as they don’t plan on making an episode dedicated to all of them and expect to keep the same momentum from the first episode… Well, too late. The only ones Hanasaku Iroha is missing it’s the chef’s and the beanman’s backstory along to an episode dedicated to one of the ero writer’s fantasies.

because every show needs one

Her mom

Classic anime parenting right here. Ohana’s mom is responsible for Ohana working at the inn and basically triggering the events in the story. If she hasn’t sent her there she wouldn’t be working there and she wouldn’t have met any of the characters she is friends with now. She has had a *very* strong effect on Ohana’s life due to her insensitivity. Ohana’s mom is one of the biggest drama elements in the show that was never developed because she only made her appearance in the first episode then in the latest ep (11). Well good job, Iroha because the latest episode showed more of that. Plenty overused trope by Hanasaku Iroha though because her mom as it stands has no depth to her character. The effect would’ve been stronger if her character was explained better. As far as story is concerned it is explained by: Bad parenting leads to further development in the story.

P.S. Real Professional Writing. 

this plot is going somewhere

Unrequited Love

Protip: In anime you see a character that for no reason starts bullying a girl he’s probably interested in her. Bigger hint if there must be more than one love interest regardless whether the main character knows this or not, even if it goes nowhere.

If Iroha successes at being a relaxing show which does a better job at that than the drama part, it does a poor job at creating drama that isn’t there. Unrequited Love between Tohru and Ohana? I’ll be blunt – this is plain dumb. It’s dumb because it will go nowhere. It’s dumb because Ohana isn’t interested in him. There’s been hints since the first episode that Tohru was becoming interested in Ohana, but actually using it to create some drama is as bad as Fractale creating drama. Why is it dumb? It’s stupid because we know it’s going nowhere. Ohana isn’t interested in him. She has not shown love interest in anyone. She’s at best confused (again) at what she should feel for anyone including that poor guy Kou. Where does that leave this unrequited love? Nowhere. It isn’t going anywhere because she hasn’t even thought anything of him at all. This is something that isn’t going to happen unless the writers of this story create some abrupt relationship between Ohana and the Tohru that would be more awkward than realistic. Where would that leave Minko anyhow? It’ll destroy their friendship without a doubt. On a separate note. How old is this guy again? Drop this, Iroha. No one is buying this. This mini plot is going nowhere.

Ohana is so damn rude

Kou

Unlike unrequited love between Tohru and Ohana, Kou and Ohana’s awkward boyfriend and girlfriend hypothetical relationship works better. This I relatively like better because it serves its purpose more than the rest of the forced moments in Iroha as it shows how confused Ohana is. Ohana isn’t sure of many things and she doesn’t know what to think of him so she never gives him an answer when he confesses. There hasn’t been many hints that she IS interested in him, so for all we know she could still think of him as a good friend and nothing more. Ohana is a bunch of contradictions thrown together never being sure what to think of anything. Ohana’s indecisiveness is focused on how she can’t answer question because she isn’t sure of the answer herself. It isn’t clear how this one will work out.  Ohana might eventually realize she only likes him as a friend and end of story (ouch!) – Kou will have to move on. This seems like it will be the big event of the show if it isn’t solved in the next couple eps (take a guess) If you ask me the show will be hanging onto this one for a while because Ohana has no idea what she wants. Again. Ohana has no idea what she wants. I think I’ve repeated that enough times.

Herself

The biggest conflict in the story is Ohana herself. She is indecisive as hell. She acts rashly never really thinking on her actions. The episode where she goes to the city searching for
Tohru with hardly any directions and with no clue whatsoever shows that she has good intentions but never thinks things through and because of great luck and the good will of others things work out in her favor. Ohana works herself too hard and gets a cold as a result. Ohana always act without thinking. Good intentions bad results because she causes trouble for others even when her heart is in the right place. Ohana doesn’t know what to feel for Kou either. She realized that she was being horrible to Kou for not giving him an answer when the topic came up, yet she runs away AGAIN. If she felt anything she’d know by now.Her feelings are as indecisive as her personality. She isn’t sure of anything. Balut Ohana is not sure of anything. Ohana is so damn confused.

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5 thoughts on “Hanasaku Iroha is so Confused

  1. I don’t feel any pity for her really, she’s flakey to the extent where it’s off-putting and she obviously hasn’t given Ko a proper answer, or any answer for that matter. I’m getting fed up with her as it is just because of her stubbornness and actions. She doesn’t think, at all, and when she does, she gets over-emotional.

    I get that they’re trying to play the whole, maturing-process schtick, but it doesn’t work when said character is just so annoying.

    • Iroha is easier to enjoy as an easy-going show, which is the angle they’re been going for most episodes. The drama aspects at times feels awkward because the more serious parts of the story are deeply connected to Ohana’s character and her story. Ohana being such indecisive character that she is it becomes difficult to understand her motives and logic are when she doesn’t understand them herself, creating this half-baked, flaky character that has no idea what she wants.

  2. I’m feeling sorrier for Kou who Ohana hasn’t given him an answer since the show started.

  3. I think the point of this show so far has been to establish that Ohana isn’t a kid who’s easy to like, and drill it into the ground. In order to keep her even slightly likable they made everyone else even less likable or flaky to over-compensate. I think you hit the nail on the head, in that she’s the female equivalent of an indecisive male lead – in fact, that’s probably what has been bothering me so damn much about the show.

    So yeah, whether these weird swings from typical anime fluff to drama work will come down to what happens later on. So far it’s been the typical PA Works “looks great, feels off every other way” production I’ve come to expect, just slightly less eye-rolling because it hasn’t screwed too many pooches yet like True Tears or Angel Beats.

  4. I’m usually not pleased when they drive the drama bombs in the show because they end up annoying me (except in the first episode). I watch HanaIro because of the silly, comedic atmosphere most of the episodes had. For my drama, I watch AnoHana.

    I love how you nailed Ohana’s character perfectly as the female version of your typical harem lead. It angers me because we’re at episode 11 or something and Ohana hasn’t decided on anything at all. It seems like she’s waiting for Kou to tell her “Screw that, I’m going home” and give up on her. Meaning, making HIM take HER decision. Hence, she always leaves him on the limbo zone, and even has the nerve to call on Kou, when she’s done even worse things. Then again, I’m believing Kou is a bit of a masochist, because he’s endured all this crap and is still waiting or something. And given that he won’t tell her to stop the BS and that he’s done with it, it’ll just prolong the drama.

    It only took 11 episodes to bring a character who finally confronted her directly and called on her BS. (I did sense some Yandere vibes too, though I might have imagined that) Glasses-girl is the only one who simply tells her to make a decision and either confess or simply stop wasting Kou’s time. While she did it in part because of her own situation, it’s probably the most effective one. Tohru, while trying to solve the dilemma, does it so vaguely that it requires someone who is quick on picking things. Seriously, Tohru is quick at picking up things, but terrible when using his brain to plan things. He deduced Ohana isn’t the type to focus on other things. She is always missing the big picture. She never thinks on others when acting, and when she realizes the things she does, she does nothing. Why did he expect that bringing Kou would make her confront her feelings and solve the issue? She didn’t even get the hint in the first place.

    My issue with this is that HanaIro is getting the equivalent of 2 seasons’ air time. Considering they’ve dragged on too far with this love business, I’m wondering what the hell they want to do with the missing episodes. I’m somehow hoping for crazy antics or something that doesn’t involve Kou, because I believe it’ll be resolved clumsily in either “Well, I just suddenly realized my feelings for you. Sorry for treating you like dirt and being a coward for the last months.” or “I don’t like you. I guess that’s it. Sorry you waited for nothing. If you hurry up, you can get together with the Megane-chick.”

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