After allegedly "losing" the draft work of the inn's esteemed writer last episode, it seems as if Ohana has managed to get herself in even more trouble after discovering said masterpiece and, more importantly, its subject matter as we reach episode two's cliffhanger.
Indeed, as this instalment begins Ohana is nowhere to be found despite her promise of cooking a "revenge breakfast" for Minko and Nako, and given last week's cliffhanger it's no surprise to find our protagonsit kidnapped at the hands of said writer. That said, Ohana is a surprisingly helpful captive, giving useful pointers to her would-be hostage taker about how she should be tied up before ending up giving him advice on his writing, seemingly unaffected by the fact that he's been writing erotic fiction about her and her mop in an effort to pay the bills.
Of course, by this point the entire building is on the hunt for Ohana, and it's only a matter of time before Jiroumaru is caught in the act, leading to him stealing the hotel's truck and escaping in what is perhaps the most orderly car chase ever recorded. This pursuit ends up (inevitably) at a cliff top, with Jiroumaru threatening and then attempting to end his life, only to be rescued by Nako before his dashed dreams as a writer are somewhat retrieved by Ohana - although it seems that winning over Minko will be a rather more difficult task.
If I hadn't been won over already by Hanasaku Iroha's first two episodes (which I was anyhow, for the record), this third instalment sealed the deal - despite its dramatic set-up, this episode was clearly configured with comedy in mind, creating a surprisingly hilarious and perfectly delivered instalment as a result. From Ohana's time as a captive through to that aforementioned car chase on beyond, this entire episode was a lesson in reserved, smartly captured comedy derived from its small touches rather than grandiose gags (Nichijou take note). On top of all that, Ohana is as brilliant a character as ever who light up every scene she appears in and sets this show apart from its spring rivals under her own steam most of the time - never mind wanting to sparkle in the future, you're doing it right now...