A thoughtful response to current anime.

Hanasaku Iroha – Episode 10

I know Hanasaku Iroha is being continued past this season, and that’s great. I’ll take as much Ohana as they can throw at me.  This show doesn’t have a problem with filler, either: it’s the sort of slice-of-life show that’s at its best when nothing happens.  They can go to a summer festival: there’s an episode.  They can have Christmas at the inn: there’s an episode.  They can go cherry-blossom-viewing: there’s an episode.  They can do something stereotypically autumnal: you guessed it, an episode.  You know what else is an episode?  Episode 10 of Hanasaku Iroha, which we will now watch.

…thirty minutes pass…

Seriously! If I'm trying to get some rest, the last thing I need is for you to turn on the damn noisebox. Ugh.

A very different episode from the ones so far, more experimental in style, slower in pace, more of a pure slice of life without the usual drama and comedy mixed in.  I couldn’t fault a fan of the usual Hanasaku Iroha for not liking it, but I loved it.  It was slow, but it didn’t feel boring.  It was slow because that’s what it’s like, when you’re sick.  The world is slow, and dreamy, and it all just falls away from you.   This episode’s pacing was perfect to capture that feel.

This episode was really heartwarming.  Ohana is really loved by all the people at Kissui inn, even if her fever-addled brain can’t recognize it.  I teared up a little when she started crying about how she was unnecessary, because when we most need the support and love of our companions, that’s the time when we’re least able to recognize it.  It was a very warm feeling, from all the people of the inn, even Jiromaru in his own peculiar way.  At least he shut off the damn TV.

This episode was maybe personally meaningful to me because last October I caught a bad fever and had to miss several days of classes.  It was a really cold feeling, in contrast to the warmth of this episode, because I’d recently moved across the country, away from my support network, and hadn’t really constructed a new one.  There wasn’t anybody to worry about me, or come visit me, or make me rice pudding.  I didn’t realize it at the time (like Ohana, I mostly wanted to get back to work), but watching this episode made me think of it immediately and how enviable Ohana is.  Well, I’m sure we’ve all been sick and alone in a strange city before, we can all recognize how great Ohana has it.

They teased us a little with more Tohru x Ohana.  Any other episode, I would have been pumping my fist seeing Minchi get all jealous of Tohru showing care for Ohana.  But this episode wasn’t really about romance.  It was about something more fundamental, the urge to know that you’re safe even if you aren’t always able to function at top performance.  It was very well done in that regard, I felt, and with this episode I’m going to say Hanasaku Iroha is better than Honey and Clover, that it’s the best coming of age show I’ve seen.


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