Sunday, 11 September 2011

Hanasaku Iroha - Episode 24

While the probable closure of Kissuiso rumbles on in the background, Ohana's trip home to Tokyo brings her an unexpected opportunity to deal with another of the problems in her young life - exactly what to do about Ko.

Then again, when confronted with her supposed one-sided crush, pretty much all Ohana can do is burst into tears before finally regaining her composure enough to stop him monologuing so that she can tell him exactly how she feels.... well, sort of, in that typical roundabout Ohana way.  Still, even if Ohana perhaps doesn't quite realise it, it seems that she got her feelings through to Ko a little better than she might think.

Upon her return however, it seems that Kissuiso has had a sudden boost in its popularity as the staff are rushed off their feet - but why?  Well, it seems like a certain someone has written a certain magazine article singing the establishment's praises and causing a flurry of bookings.  Even this isn't enough to change the manager's mind however, as she continues to insist that Kissuiso will be closed after the festival despite the protests of her entire staff.  As the episode progresses we begin to get a handle on the reason for this decision - a mixture of realisation that the dreams held by Sui and her husband have effectively melted away to nothing, coupled with a worry that the burden of their love for Kissuiso will cause undue harm to Enishi and those under him were he to take up the reigns.  Regardless of what she thinks however, it seems that those in her charge have no desire to go down without a fight...

Given how much potential its opening episodes had in this regard, it's been surprising that Hanasaku Irohahas often struggled the most when it's come to delivering drama over straight-up comedy and more frivolous storylines.  This continues to be the case here, as this week's major talking points all end up feeling a little muddled and indistinct from an emotional point of view, which does little to garner any feelings from the viewer about what we're seeing.  Admittedly, it isn't a complete disaster in this regard, as both Ohana and Sui's vulnerable sides are depicted pretty well, but there's still something indefinable "missing" here that would turn this current arc into something much more powerful.  Not that this was a bad episode (Hanasaku Iroha has delivered barely any of those), it just falls a little short of its potential - a shame, especially as we're entering the show's final straight.

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