Sunday, 12 June 2011

Hanasaku Iroha - Episode 11

It's the moment of truth for Kissuiso as episode eleven of Hanasaku Iroha begins - exactly how did they fare in the review of their establishment as it's finally published in the magazine in question?  The answer is that they scored a whopping five stars.  Out of ten.  Oh.

Needless to say, Kissuiso's staff are rather unhappy at this scoring, in particular the way the hotel was referred to as being beyond retro and with criticism of their bland food.  Still, it seems that they weren't the only inn to suffer, with all of the other hotels in the area also receiving low scores and largely critical reviews.  While most of the staff and establishments look to just "suck it up" and learn from the experience, Ohana simply won't accept what she sees as unjust criticism, and heads off on a "holiday" to confront the writer of the review directly.

Upon arriving in Tokyo however, it soon becomes clear that the writer of the article is none other than her own mother, writting without even visiting Kissuiso.  Of course, this makes Ohana even more furious, as she confronts her errant parent and demands that she re-write the review after actually visiting Kissuiso properly; something that her mother refuses to do even in the face of a one-girl sit-down protest outside her offices.  If this isn't bad enough for Ohana, her decision to catch up with Ko also backfires as she visits him at his new job at a book store only to see him being clung to by a girl he works with who is interested in him - although it seems to be a case of unrequited love, Ohana's confused emotions meld into a big, fat mess - a good job then that Minko and Tohru just happen to be on-hand to pick up the pieces.

I remember writing a fair few weeks back about how Ohana in particular somehow manages to perfectly straddle the line between a slightly ditzy, spontaneous and offbeat girl while still somehow also succeeding as an utterly believable portrayal of a teenager, and for me this episode shows off that ability fully.  This instalment of Hanasaku Iroha succeeds in throwing all of Ohana's confused feelings about love, work, parenthood and life in general into a big, tumultuous melting pot, leaving the poor girl in tears that she can neither comprehend nor explain.  If that isn't being a teenager at times to a tee, I don't know what is, and its arch and excellent portrayal that shifts from the hilarious to the surprisingly moving proves to be another notable feather in this great show's proverbial cap.

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