A thoughtful response to current anime.

Hanasaku Iroha – Episode 25

Last episode the staff of Kissui Inn was getting rebellious and refusing to wind down their operations in advance of closing.  It’s a gutsy move, but I wonder what will come of it.  The landlady has stated her intention to close after the Bonbori Festival and she’s the sort of stubborn person who would refuse to back down on that intention, but what is she gonna do when customers come that Enishi has booked for after the festival?  She also has a strong sense of responsibility, to serving the customers’ needs first and foremost.  She is, in her own way, heroic, and perhaps her attempt to shut down the inn is an attempt to give up the hero’s burden before it kills her.  She has been having health problems lately. I had interpreted them as just her getting old, but perhaps it’s also her heroic self-destruction.  Perhaps Enishi’s refusal to do as she says will literally cause her death in episode 25 of Hanasaku Iroha.

…thirty minutes pass…

They should put this on the brochure: "three generations of service"

This is the sort of episode I don’t like in series-ending arcs, when they’re cashing out their buildups too fast and everybody is learning lessons all over the place.  You gotta pace yourself throughout the show, learn lessons at the same rate you discover lessons you need to learn.  At the end of the show there should still be a few unlearned lessons – it’s dishonest to wrap everything up in a tidy little bow on your way out.  Life never gets wrapped up.

Something Ohana said in the course of learning her lessons really struck me, though.  She said the people were trying hard, but they weren’t bonboruing.  I think she turned out to be right – she wasn’t saying that people weren’t trying hard enough.  Rather, bonboruing is qualitatively different from just making a strenuous effort.  The problem the staff of the Kissui Inn had was that they were motivated to such passionate, furious effort because they hated the thought of losing, and they were battling against the possibility of that loss.  In order to bonboru, your passionate efforts have to come about because you love winning, and that love spurs you to strive for ever greater heights.  Love is more powerful than hate, at least when it comes to creating things and providing services for the benefit of people, and it has the valuable side effect that your brain isn’t stuck in “hate” mode when your comrades aren’t working as fast as you want or your sister shows up unexpectedly.

I enjoyed Yuina’s presence in this episode as an uninvolved interloper.  When everybody else was freaking out about all the work they had to do, she was still affecting regional accents and playfully flirting with Ohana.  A nice contrast, to remind us that while Kissui Inn may be vitally important to the staff of Kissui Inn, the rest of the world goes on almost entirely unaffected.  There was something similar in the customers who were complaining about the buffet-style meals.  They don’t know that you’re busy, or that your waitress twisted her ankle, or that there is an ongoing slow-burn Communist revolution going on among your staff.  Customers want goods and services, and they want them how they want them.  All your excuses do not mean a thing to them.


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