Hanasaku Iroha – Episode #01

April 5, 2011 at 10:52 am 7 comments

– “16 years old, spring, still but a flower bud”

Background: Hanasaku Iroha is a show starting from the 2011 spring season. It’s the 10th anniversary work from P.A. Works, whose previous titles includes True Tears, CANAAN, and Angel Beats!. A story about a young girl setting her foot in the society and become mature.

Spoiler warning:

The story starts out with a slightly unexpected humourous banter between our main girl, Ohana Matsumae, and her mother. After a talk with her best male friend after school speculating her future, Ohana is faced with the sudden plot development of debtors having found their address and have to leave to grandma’s place by herself. What greets her is the traditional Japanese Taisho-era(1920s) hot spring Inn. It’s not the loving family with the open arm, instead she’s treated more like a novice worker at the place. She met up with several staff at the place, and stood her ground when the owner (the grandma) punishes her for a simple mistake that disturbed the customers. As whole she’s into a new world and a huge character development phase awaits her.


To begin with, I knew this series will have great visuals. P.A.Works did not disappoint me in this regard. The background looks so beautiful in every scene. Think Makoto Shinkai but in a TV series. I had my doubt back with Angel Beats! due to the discrepancy between the plain-looking character and the amazing backgrounds. However after the viewing of this first episode my doubts all go away. The characters had more expressions already, and the outline looks so fine and soft. P.A.Works clearly pumped in so much budget into this series and it looks awesome as a result as a whole.

The story felt like the generic J-drama style. I wouldn’t be surprised if this series being adapted into live action and accepted by the wider public. It’s just so peaceful and relaxing yet having the type of tension you can find in your everyday afternoon drama. When I say it’s like your typical drama I’m also referring to some of the cliche that often got explored in the genre. Not that I’m against it, sometimes the change of pace from the typical anime storyline is quite refreshing. Mari Okada, who did the series composition for True Tears and Hourou Musuko, seem to have brought out her A-game with directors that suits her script. This slice-of-life story might have felt to have been done before, but in a medium like this it’s still great, especially in such a high quality production.

The characters are all energetic and brimming with a strong aura. Non of them felt forced to fit into a predictable outcome. There are some typical character types, but those can be excused by allowing them to develop in the future episodes.  The seiyuu performed well. Especially the one for Ohana, Kanae Itou (who some of you might know as Saten from Railgun), had a stellar performance. Even Chiaki Omigawa, who I didn’t like in the past, sounds really nice in Minko. All of them feel having the potential to be well developed, and it will be interesting to see how the script pans it out.

As a whole Hanasaku Iroha proves to be one excellent viewing experience. If you are feeling for a visual treat and a good story and nice characters it’s a must have for this season. I can see this being well liked if given the chance.

just so smooth and beautiful


Entry filed under: Hana-Saku Iroha. Tags: , , , .

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. n1xx  |  April 5, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Your post finally made me realize why I really wanted to start watching this series. It really does have a strong ”Makoto Shinkai” feel to it. Great visuals indeed.

    In fact, the way you’re talking about the peaceful and relaxing storyline, reminds me of Mushishi. I’ll be watching this soon!

    • 2. Jeroz  |  April 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm

      the only bad thing I can see from the look of episode one is that the writer might make it too cheesy. Otherwise it has the potential of being a masterpiece.

      • 3. n1xx  |  April 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm

        Cheesy might seem overrated, but there hasn’t been much of it these last seasons, in my opinion. Maybe this will be somewhat refreshing. (:

  • 4. ImperialX  |  April 6, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    In 15 episodes you’ll be loving the ‘bitchy’ old grandma.

    • 5. n1xx  |  April 6, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      Bitchy characters are my favorites! As an example, I adore Kirino from Ore no Imouto. Considering this, I think I’ll be able to put up with grandma over here. ~ As they say, in most cases, people have their reasons for being moody.

      • 6. Jeroz  |  April 7, 2011 at 12:35 am

        From what I can tell, it’s the case of public vs private face. It’s not exactly bitchy but to be professional in front of other staff. She does not see Ohana as part of the family but instead a distant relative who is working under her, at least at the moment.
        Just that she’s not the loving grandma that we got accustomed to doesn’t mean that she’s bitchy. Remember she has an inn to run.

      • 7. n1xx  |  April 7, 2011 at 2:40 am

        Indeed. Professionals(often in the case of women) who keep some tact, in order to preserve balance in the work environment, are often wrongly referred as ‘bitches’. Though, to compare, there is a big difference between Kirino’s and the grandmother’s attitudes. A professional difference, to be exact.

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