Monday, 4 July 2011

Hanasaku Iroha - Episode 14

You didn't seriously think that Hanasaku Iroha could make it through an entire twenty-six episode series without a beach episode, did you?  The show's second half kicks off with just such an event (with no apologies for its fan service either), although really lounging on the beach is simply a small slice of what turns out to be quite the fully fledged story arc.

The reason for the beach visit and general sense of relaxation is that it's school field trip time, an event which means that Ohana, Minko and Nako all get some much needed down-time along with their school friends.  Aside from a sense of fun and excitement, it also seems that love is in the air, as Minko finds herself confessed to (roll out the balut) and Yuina seems to be the apple of many a boy's eye.... except it seems that she has a fiancé who just happens to be working his way slowly but surely to the top at the inn at which the group are staying.

Despite this unexpected revelation, as the episode progresses it soon becomes clear that there's something of a rift between Yuina and her husband to be (if you want to know how big it is, even Ohana can spot it), while our resident Kissuiso workers are also noting plenty of major differences between how this hotel is run compared to their own workplace, and not all for the better either.  Come the end of the instalment there's drama on multiple fronts, and things look set to get decidedly interesting as this school field trip continues next week.

Even now we're into the second half of this series, I see no sign of me getting bored with it - indeed, this episode in particular provided everything that the series has achieved thus far in microcosm by having great fun with its characters and their situations (with Ohana of course at the forefront of any daftness) while also carefully building up some drama and/or emotion in the background to unleash when required.  Hanasaku Iroha carries itself no naturally at times like this that it's simplicity itself to simply sit back and allow yourself to be absorbed in the show - it's neither taxing nor trying too hard to please, making for an easy, relaxing yet nonetheless compelling slice of entertainment.  When the series started I wondered whether a twenty-six episode run was a good idea - now we're half-way through I'm thinking it's nowhere near enough; I wish this one could run and run.

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