Sunday, 24 April 2011

Hanasaku Iroha - Episode 4

Last week's instalment of Hanasaku Iroha caused a split between those viewing the series which surprised me a little - some loved it (i.e. myself) while others hated the change in tone and the way it dished out some fan service no matter how playfully and in the name of humour.

Moving on to episode four however, it's Ohana's first day at her new school - a new beginning which looks like it's going to be tough going until she mentions the magic word "Tokyo" in her introduction, which sees her suddenly turn from an annoying newcomer into some kind of cool princess of fashion.  Perhaps more surprising is the may that Minko is viewed within the school, as despite that scathing tongue of hers she seems to have more than her fair share of admirers and guys lining up to confess to her - all for naught I should mention, as her interest lies well and truly elsewhere.

Away from such things, we see Ohana and Nako finally getting on much better in the wake of episode three's incident, with the latter revealing quite a few things about herself and her motivations, as well as some other pressing matters such as the rather comical tale of how Minko got her nickname.  Speaking of Minko however, Ohana's lack of tact and outright dumbness when it comes to certain things still isn't helping her relationship on that front, as she makes a pig's ear of trying to engage Minchi in conversation by slagging off Tohru before belatedly (very belatedly) figuring out her feelings.

Although it didn't quite have the all-out, madcap comic focus of the previous instalment, this was still an entertaining and amusing episode of Hanasaku Iroha as it continues to grow its characters in their increasingly slice of life style setting while also throwing the odd chunk of drama into the mix to keep things interesting.  It's really Ohana's character itself that carries this blend along almost perfectly - she makes for great comic relief as well as serving as the voice of the viewer when it comes to stating the obvious (usually out loud) or engaging in her frequent doses of wide-eyed wonder, while also having a few hefty slices of drama to worry about herself.  Even if the animation quality did drop off slightly for this episode (albeit mostly in its early stages), the series as a whole still has plenty in its arsenal to keep me hooked.

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