Hanasaku Iroha – 14

Categories: Hanasaku Iroha | July 12th, 2011 | No Comment

Beach episode! Beach episode! Beach episode!

Okay, despite the horrible cliché setting this episode turned out to be a nice change of pace. Not only for the fact that we finally could see Ohana doing something with her class (and see her class at all), but also for the fact that this episode finally shed some light on Yuina, who has been kind of neglected lately.

Placing the beach episode right at the beginning of the new season was a perfect choice by the way when you consider the Tokyo arc as the high point of the drama and last episode the first episode to calm things down again. This episode continues this cooling down, focusing on some slice of life with enough drama mixed in to spice things up a little bit.

While the first half of this episode focused on the typically funny moments of girls and boys being at the beach, I was positively surprised that Hanasaku Iroha managed to use this setting to slightly flesh out the main characters further. Compare this to other series that use such filler episodes to send their scriptwriters to a vacation.

Especially Minko got some (screenshot worthy) screentime who thanks to her Tohru crush harshly rejects one guy who openly confessed to her, and gets thrown into the water by her fellow friends. It was also funny to see how Nako and Ohana couldn’t stop being waitresses, looking around to see what needs to be done and sometimes do what needs to be done, despite being guests themselves. Nako also got a moment to shine. Or should I write to creep me out since she’s following her urge to swim even at night?

The main focus of this episode, of course, is Yuina and her way of life. While the first season made clear that she’s a rather laid back character, this episode made clear that there’s a strong character hiding behind the smiles, showing someone who doesn’t want do what many expect her to do. It was a nice twist to inverse the usual “I have a dream” to “I at least know what I don’t want to do”. I’m not sure, tough, if it was necessary to tell this her fiancée in front of everybody.

The fiancée was a big surprise for everybody, me included. Adding this to the mix Yuina left the impression of a girl with a strong character who’s not only laid back but also doesn’t seem to take anything at heart and at the same time doesn’t want to let anyone come really close to her. The moment Yuina says that she wants to be Ohana’s friend is exactly this kind of “wall” she erects. Just look at her mannerism when she says “I want to be better friends” and you’ll notice her monotonous voice and her empty look. It just doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel sincere. By her way of talking on other occasions I got the strange feeling that she doesn’t seem give anything happening around her any value.

I don’t think she does this consciously. It might have become her way of dealing with everything over the years even when she means what she says. In the case regarding Ohana, I really believe her that deep down she wants to be Ohana’s best friend but there’s still this wall surrounding her. Well, perhaps I’m simply reading too much into this and she’s just a little bit shy.

In any case, it will be interesting how this little drama will play out after the episode left us with this huge cliffhanger. I’m also interested in how the crisis at the inn will be solved, after her fiancée more or less screwed things up by not giving a shit about the part-time workers and their growing discontent. At least he should have noticed the coming storm. Talking to an old friend is something you can do after work, not during work. On the other hand I’m on his side for telling them off on some occasions. Talking on the phone in front of the guests for example is a total no go. Just imagine what Okami would’ve done with the girl if she would’ve done this at the Kissuiso. My guess is four slaps.

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