A thoughtful response to current anime.

Hanasaku Iroha – Episode 26

This is it, the last episode of Hanasaku Iroha.  It seems like in the last episode they managed to persuade the landlady not to shut down Kissui Inn after the Bonbori Festival, but if the show ends anyway, there’s not a big difference to us, the viewing audience.  I guess it’s the difference between a happy ending and a sad ending, but if Ohana gets together with Kou-chan after the Bonbori Festival, it’ll be a sad ending anyway.  Well, maybe it will be good for her to learn how romance works in a low-pressure environment.  Kou-chan may not be interesting or appealing in any way, but at least he’s not dangerous.  There will be plenty of time for dating people with personalities later.  Ok, I’m at peace with it, we can go ahead with episode 26, the final episode of Hanasaku Iroha.

…thirty minutes pass…

Yeah - kind of a dope! Haha, owned.

So they closed down Kissui Inn anyway?  Then for what reason did we go through all that hardship last episode?  To a certain extent, working hard is its own reward, I guess.  That’s what it means to bonboru.  That’s why the people of Kissui Inn are okay, even if Kissui Inn closes down, because even if they go somewhere else, they still have the spirit of passionate striving toward their dreams.  They’ll be able to cook, or waitress, or write dirty novels, or whatever, on their own, because by now Kissui Inn has become an indelible part of their souls.

It’s still kind of funny that all their hard effort didn’t change anything, though.  That’s sort of a recurring theme in this show – you can try hard and make great successes, but you can’t change the underlying reality.  Back in the early episodes, Ohana had the waitresses dress in old-style garments, and everybody thought it was neat, but it didn’t change things.  Ohana left Kou-chan behind in Tokyo, then broke up with him over the phone, but she couldn’t escape the underlying reality of the bond between the two of them.  Nako came to Kissui Inn to change herself, but instead she ended up with a greater appreciation for the underlying reality of her personality.  And all of Enishi and Takako’s grandiose schemes for stopping the decline of Kissui Inn only ended up adding to it, further reinforcing the underlying reality.  That’s realistic, in some ways.  We have less control over events than we think, most of the things we do don’t really matter.  The most you can do is put on a brave face and do your best in the hopes that maybe what you’re doing will be the tipping point that alters the course of reality.  And then even if you didn’t save Kissui Inn, if you gave an honest passionate effort, if you bonboru’d, you don’t have to feel ashamed.

I think Ohana got the worst of the ending.  Everybody else seems to be going on to new opportunities, pursuing their dreams.  Even Enishi, the laughable failure, is studying up on inn administration so that someday he might be worthy to reopen Kissui Inn.  But Ohana is going back to Tokyo, back to live with her mother who abandoned her, back to Kou-chan who will never challenge her or push her to become better, back to the dishonest hypocritical life of the citydweller.  She doesn’t know her dream yet, except that she wants to be like the landlady, and she won’t become like the landlady in Tokyo.  Everybody else is doing what they want, or at least progressing in that direction, but for Ohana, the fleeting dream of purpose has come to an end.  And that’s sad.


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