Hanasaku Iroha means “the basics of blooming a flower”, which seems like a little bit of an awkward expression, so I’m betting Iroha is someone’s name. Iroha is a name, right? Wasn’t it like the ninja chick from Sumomo mo Momo mo? I mean I guess they were all ninja chicks. I mean the chick who comes to kill the dude but then falls in love with him, BTW spoilers and also I sort of doubt that uniquely identifies a particular ninja chick. Harem comedy is a hell of a genre, folks. Anyway, HSI has been getting a lot of buzz around the internet, so let’s get started on episode 1.
…thirty minutes pass…
The cabbage chopping scene is the true test of an animation studio's abilities. This one was pretty good.
So it turns out her name is “Ohana”. That’s not the word in the title I would have expected to be a pun, given that “hanasaku” is a lot more common than “iroha”. Although maybe that’s not the point. I eagerly await the results of datamining my newly-created pun corpus.
Ohana is adorable. She has had to leave her life in the city because her mom foisted her off on her grandmother, who runs an inn in the country, resents Ohana’s mother (who I guess is kind of a wayward child) and expects Ohana to work for her keep. She is a soft city girl who is not prepared for the harsh realities of working at an inn! But she faces the challenges before her with optimism and feigned cheer. Keep fighting the good fight, Ohana! Everything will be okay if you approach it with earnestness. The world is not such a bad place, have you ever read One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich? People take it as a harsh statement against the Soviet gulags, which of course it is, but I read something more into it. I read it as saying, look at this guy. He’s in a Soviet gulag, being repressed and mistreated like this. And yet, he’s still alive. He still finds things beautiful, he still has hopes and desires and goals and intentions. There is still meaning to his life. And by all accounts working at an inn is not as bad as a Soviet forced labor camp, even if the landlady is sort of mean. So cheer up! Your life isn’t literally over, and you would be surprised what you can get used to, or even come to appreciate in some ways.
She doesn’t need cheering up, though, really. That’s what’s adorable about her. (Also her hairstyle, and work clothes.) Yeah, this is unpleasant, this isn’t how she’d hoped things would be, but she is going to make the best of it and see where this story takes her. And so will we because this show owns, 6/7 for Spring.