While Kissuiso worries simply about how to attract customers to their inn at all, local rival establishment Yunosagi has some far more preferable problems to concern themselves with - namely, the upcoming visit of journalists from a hot springs magazine to review and rate the hotel.
Then again, maybe Kissuiso's staff do have to worry about such things after all, with the inn suddenly finding itself subject to a massive influx of bookings. It couldn't come at a worse time either, with Nako and Tohru both taking days off quickly followed by Ohana's grandmother falling ill, depriving them of both her guiding hand and willingness to work. In her absence, Enishi calls upon management consultant Takako to lend her brains to proceedings - a decision which leads to her deciding that Kissuiso must also be subject to some "mystery guests" looking to review the inn, and thus deciding that those individuals need to be weeded out and given preferential treatment.
With the pressure on and the heat turning up uncomfortably in the kitchen, Ohana finally shows what she's made of for once - thanks to some comments about an account book from her grandmother she realises how much pride the manager places in looking after all of her customers equally, and thus decides that the only way to get through this busy period is for everyone to roll up their sleeves, get on with the task at hand and give everyone the same treatment. With Nako dragged in from her day off, Ohana heads off to find the uncontactable Tohru... a potential problem from her further down the line with Ko arriving at the station to pay her an unexpected visit.
As another week goes by, so it serves up another broadly entertaining episode of Hanasaku Iroha - okay, it doesn't hold the top-notch comedy of last week's episode or the outright drama of that first instalment, but it still works hard to pace itself well, serves up some drama and tension with over-blowing things and still manages to throw in a fair few amusing moments to create a fun viewing blend overall. What's more, this episode could just mark an important moment in the growth of Ohana, as she breaks out and does her own thing without sounding idiotic or causing chaos - indeed, it's almost as if she's channelling her grandmother at times as she faces down Takako. Character growth is perhaps the one missing element from Hanasaku Iroha thus far; if it's managed to add that to its arsenal then it could become an even more worthy series as it strides towards its half-way point.