Sunday, 10 April 2011

Hanasaku Iroha - Episode 2

Ignoring the fact that it looked downright gorgeous (actually, let's not ignore that, as its visual beauty is part of its charm), the first episode of Hanasaku Iroha really marked itself out as something to watch, although with a twenty-six episode run it certainly seems ambitious in terms of how much content it has to deliver.

Anyhow, after seemingly making mistake upon mistake at the start of her grandmother's employ, Ohana really puts her back into her work as her mindset changes from one of surprise at her circumstances to a grim determination to impress those around her.  Thus, we see her waking up before even Minko, cooking the staff breakfast when the aforementioned individual's screw-up prevents their meal from being prepared and doing her best to use her initiative when she's assigned cleaning duties alongside the timid Nako - a decision which leads to her seemingly losing the "masterpiece" of a supposedly well-known author staying within the hotel.

Essentially, this episode is all about getting inside of Ohana's head - we see her parental troubles which has led to her refusing to trust anyone clashing with her need for someone to help her out and show her the ropes in her new role, while the particulars of her personality has left her unable to make any friends whatsoever.  Ohana's solution to this is, effectively, to soldier on regardless - acknowledging her faults to Minko and Nako but still bludgeoning on with her way of doing things in the hopes of winning them over.  Will it succeed?  Only time will tell, but for now Ohana has something altogether more pressing to worry about....

As per its opening episode, Hanasaku Iroha is a deft blend of comedy (mostly revolving around Ohana's disastrous yet exuberant attempts to help out), slice of life happenings and a touch of drama - it probably has no right to work as well as it does, yet thus far it has proven to be utterly compelling.  Ohana herself largely powers the show on her own energetic determination - she's a bit of an idiot and a sociopath, but you can't help but love and admire the way she blusters through whatever is throw in front of her while trying her darndest to "do the right thing" even when its misguided.  With supporting characters looking increasingly likely to come to the fore as the series grows and progresses, I get the feeling this series can get even better further down the line provided it doesn't run out of steam.  For now though, this is definitely set up to be my favourite show of the spring season as it stands.

No comments: