A thoughtful response to current anime.

Hanasaku Iroha – Episode 2

I don’t really know what to expect from this show in the future.  Is it going to be a show where Ohana shows courage in the face of adversity and her unreasonably cruel grandmother?  Is it going to be a show where everything sucks forever and she just keeps being tormented by her unreasonably cruel grandmother?  Is it going to be a show where she teaches her unreasonably cruel grandmother an important lesson about love and melts her unreasonably cruel heart?  Is it going to be a show where her unreasonably cruel grandmother turns out to be reasonably cruel and she learns an important lesson about how hard the real world is and how you have to be tough to survive?  Is it going to be a show where her unreasonably cruel grandmother is just background and from episode 2 on it is a standard-issue school life comedy?  I think the first episode was good enough that I’d be okay with any of those options, but I’m hoping for the last as we go into episode 2 of Hanasaku Iroha.

…thirty minutes pass…

You tell 'em, Ohana! If you are reading this, please don't die.

This show is amazing, that’s all I have to say.  Well, I can probably say a little more.  Like how about, every single thing Ohana does is so adorable it makes me want to cry.  She tries hard, she is self reliant, she is earnest, she is introspective, she doesn’t understand things without being told them, she resents not understanding things, she doesn’t like being yelled at, she wishes she had more friends, she wears flower-shaped hair decorations, she generally responds melodramatically to the events in her life.  Good luck, Ohana!  I am rooting for you!  I was worried her hostess outfit would not be as cute as her manual labor tracksuit, because what could be, but I was pleasantly surprised.

It seems like we are going with option 4, the grandmother is harsh because that is the kindest thing to be toward a melodramatic, earnest, introspective young girl.  They made a point of badmouthing her mother in this episode, presumably as a way to set up a contrast with her grandmother.  Well, it’s a fair point.  How much stern scolding and mild child abuse does it take to make up for the difference between skipping town with your boyfriend and abandoning your daughter versus taking in your granddaughter whom you have never met even though you have your hands full trying to run a business?  Maybe more than her grandmother has engaged in.

I’ve talked a lot about how adorable Ohana is, which is fair, because she is adorable, but the other characters in the show deserve mention too.  Particularly I am thinking of Ohana’s roommate, Minko, who is similar to Ohana in many ways.  She too tries hard, she too is self-reliant, but she’s not earnest, she’s not melodramatic, and she doesn’t wear flower-shaped hair decorations.  I will watch how they set up a contrast between the two with interest.

This is the show of the season Spring 2011, I’m calling it right now.  Might be too early to call it show of the year, especially with Madoka having also happened this year, but it’s certainly in the running.


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