Anime of Tomorrow
Hanasaku Iroha (review)
Final impression – entertainingly forgettable (6/10)
Spring 2011 to summer 2011 (26 episodes) (title literal translation – Blooming Fundamentals)
When Tokyo girl Ohana’s single mother decides to elope with her boyfriend, she leaves Ohana in the care of her grandmother who runs a hot spring hotel in the sleepy town of Yunosagi. The culture shock is immediate as Ohana is put to work right away, cleaning rooms and waiting on guests. She’s assigned to be trained by the introverted Nako—a waitress who does her job well, but struggles to be as cheerful as Ohana. Then there’s Minko, Ohana’s easily irritated roommate, who aspires to become a chef. Her glass-half-empty mentality continually butts heads with Ohana’s glass-half-full optimism. But overlooking the whole operation is Ohana’s grandmother, the hotel’s manager. Unless they can meet each other halfway, her strict adherence to maintaining tradition is going to lead everyone to a battle between generations.
I never found myself getting caught up in the pace of Hanasaku Iroha. It was always slow and disengaging. It certainly has its moments, but they don’t happen often enough to keep me entertained except for a few short bursts. Many of the characters are so wishy-washy as to be barely likeable. How am I supposed to pick a side when the characters themselves don’t even have a clear motive? While Ohana is always “festing it up” and she’s everyone’s heroine, in reality she’s more like a support character in the cheerleading section rather than a main character I can like or even relate to. The emotions it evokes really start to lose their charge after the first episode’s punch wears off. The story would have been paced much better in a 13 episode series. It’s all severely lacking any meaningful impact.