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Weskalia's Hanasaku Iroha Tv Review

Hanasaku Iroha Hanasaku Iroha Screenshot Welcome to Kissuiso! Hanasaku Iroha Screenshot What a great grandmother she is! Hanasaku Iroha Screenshot They're hot, aren't they? Hanasaku Iroha Screenshot This girl, gotta love her expressions, no matter what they are.

Hanasaku Iroha tv Review

Story & Characters

Just as P.A. Works' three previous anime series were based on published materials, it's about time for this recently popular studio to have its own original project as the tenth anniversary work.

Life with her irresponsible mother has never been comfortable for Ohana as she had lived a fairly carefree lifestyle based on her mother's harsh lesson: never rely on anyone. Until her mother's no-good boyfriend racks up some heavy debt and decides to flee, with her mother in tow. Ohana is send to the countryside to live with her grandmother, who owns a traditional ryokan known as Kissuiso. Though excited at first, she soon knows that her grandmother is a strict old hag rules with an iron-fisted discipline and has no intention of treating the offspring of her disinherited daughter as her own blood, and promptly puts Ohana to work. Which is a problem as the fellow workers seemingly ignore. Not what Ohana has in mind. She's a strong girl and these circumstances won't be able to keep her down for long.

Hanasaku Iroha is a picturesque coming-of-age tale in a Japanese ryokan, complete with soft emotions and hard lessons but missing anyone to really identify with. While the description seems bland, this is actually a wonderful story which simply and frankly follows Ohana as she deals with the most difficult transition of her young life.

That may sound bright, but the situation is grimmer than it looks. As mentioned above, the co-workers don't just ignore but they completely don't care which seems to be tolerant as the cast is composed with jerks: Minko is easily offended, Nako is a timid waitress, Tohru is a total douche, Tomoe the drama queen and Ohana's grandmother is special kind of monster, a fastidious old hag with a heart of gold and great kindness under that unpleasant facade. Their mistreatment towards Ohana is very unfair, but thankfully, just as it couldn't get any worse, things changed. The staff begins showing both their better sides and the reasons for their actions.

It's a great moment, Hanasaku Iroha's prior introduction of the main cast could have ruined the show, then they begin to expand and become more realistic instead. Just like a group of ordinary people, we don't like them at first, then the more we get to know them, the better we understand. Minko is revealed to be more awkward than just prickly, Nako isn't aggressive, just painfully, genuinely shy, Ohana's mother is frostly and unpleasant to many, but also very caring towards people she cares for (and the generation strife in her family is pretty petty as well). When you compare them to the jerks they once were, one could not help agreeing Tohru when he remarks how much Ohana has influenced or perhaps changed their lives.

After all, the majority of the series' charm goes to Ohana. Earnest heroines who tackle through various jobs is a dime in anime, but no, it's Ohana who gives this series a boost in the right direction. Her struggle is to find a place to fit in and it shows her thought processes as she puzzles to make that happen and faces the problem head-on rather than continuing to play the victim. Eventually, she grows to love Kissuiso, works harder and more passive than anyone. It might sound corny as heck, but Ohana's earnest desire to grow quickly establishes itself as the emotional heart of the series. That it transforms her into one of the sunniest, strongest young heroines out there is pure gravy.

The Ohana drama seems to lapse into abandonment since this desire leads her to question her usefulness and confront her feeling toward ex-boyfriend Ko, and ultimately, her mother. A more difficult struggle to realize Kissuiso's place in her life, or more complicated romance between Ko and the smitten Tohru take the central role. The love triangle between Ohana, Minko and Tohru add a little dread, while Minko's feeling is an obvious romance, Ohana's towards the other two (or basically everyone else), rather than a romantic one, is the familiar bond. With each passing episodes, the characters are more fleshed out, their personalities more nuanced and endearing, and their makeshift family unit stronger.

Rating: 8

Art

A surprisingly high level of achievement in animation like this doesn't hurt, but this series was handled by P.A.Works, who brought last year's Angel Beats!, so it comes in fine degree. If the whatever pressure Hanasaku Iroha can bring then they'll be quickly overwhelmed its beautifully-crafted environment. There's no sci-fi, no display of high technical landscape or such, just the boundary of a peaceful country the ryokan occupies. Kissuiso is detailed, but also the glittering Tokyo metropolis, train, bus and the series' atmosphere, built of dusky light and quietly shifting seasons and hauntingly empty interiors, is undeniably beautiful.

Artists such as Mel Kishida give the series a triumph design without being subdued to moeness. Still, Ohana hogs most of the series' cuteness, enough to destroy most platoons of moe clones. There are time it tends to enter the realm of fanservice, but rather than those quirky boobies anime, they're just a small considerable amount such as when Ohana and Nako are asked to cosplay (which is a good way to lure in male audience).

Rating: 9

Sound

P.A.Works always offers nice-looking animation and they always find their asset in the theme songs. And with the environment it has, indeed, Hanasaku Iroha's score is plain simple. The theme songs are gentle, and best when simple or sensitive. They don't stand out much but can quickly grow a number on you.

On another plus side, Hanasaku Iroha's cast also impresses. Gotta give credits to the right performers for the right roles. The lead roles are handled with newly popular voice actresses, each gives their characters a cutesy accent, not that you can't blame them for it, but they actually work just fine. After all, if Ohana and her companions don't just make an impression in both designs and personalities, their voices will.

Rating: 7

Presentation

Hanasaku Iroha is a lovely series with lovely animation, lovely art, lovely music score and works in a lovely sentiment. It is simply a sweet, straight-up youth drama about a girl trying to make her way in a new and hostile environment armed only with her determination to change for the better. The story can be criticized as simple, though some plot twists, character developments and amazing storytelling will certainly give an interesting impeccability. It may not have the "wow" factor for a slice-of-life story, but in a way, the solid entry and execution make Hanasaku Iroha a touching story of growing up and establishes itself as one of the best series without any struggle. With a sweet smile, of course.
____________________________________________________________________________________________
Story: 8
Characters: 9
Art: 9
Animation: 10
Voice: 9
Music: 7
Overall: 8.5

Good:
+As sweet a coming-of-age tale as you could want.
+A resolve, well-balanced mix of life-drama, familiar bond .
+Ohana is cuter than a flower in full bloom.
Bad:
+The script is too didactic for its sweet nature and occasionally lapses into eccentric drama.

Rating: 9

Final Verdict

8.33 (good)

Reviewed by Weskalia, Sep 12, 2011

Comments

  1. MisaSasekage Moderator Sep 12, 2011

    Personally I like Hanasaku Iroha a lot, the character design is nice, and while it can be a bit dramatic at times it presents you with a solid, touching story. Ohana's attitude when dealing with certain situations remind me of myself a bit^^ A lot of the music is nice. And the character design I like. Nice review Weskalia^^

  2. angelxxuan Banned Member Sep 12, 2011

    minus a few grammar errors, good review :) I've seen this anime and I have to admit it's rather good, the story and plot was quite interesting to state the least. it was very heart warming, and possibly one of the few slice of life/romance anime that I've actually liked. can't wait to read your next review :)

  3. CyanideBlizzard Retired Moderator Sep 13, 2011

    I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised with Hanasaku Iroha. I wasn't too sure what to make of it after the first episode, but the show really grew on me. It's one I really, really need to revisit because I've never gotten the chance to finish it, but I plan on doing so after reading this review.

    My only suggestion might be to elaborate more on a description, like for "Tohru is a douche." While we can all generally fill in the blank with a sentence like that, perhaps a bit more information as to what makes this character one would help for those that know nothing about the series. Other than that, it's yet another solid review by you! Of course I wouldn't expect anything less.

    I have to say, it was really nice to see a review on this series! Thank you for sharing it with us, Wes!

  4. AirJack Oct 08, 2011

    Pretty sure the music should be a 8 or higher, I thought it match the show very well.
    The art is amazing and very well detail.

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