Sunday, 18 September 2011

Hanasaku Iroha - Episode 25

It seems as if nothing will reverse Sui's decision to close Kissuiso as soon as the festival over, but that doesn't stop the remainder of Kissuiso's staff from trying their hardest to make their own point as said Bonbori festival draws ever closer.

While the staff ignore their manager's decision to stop taking reservations as they continue to pile additional customers on to their workload, Ohana seems to be the only one wavering at this decision - although she doesn't want to close Kissuiso either, she seems to have come to understand that there's more to the inn than simply making profit and crunching the numbers.  Although this leaves her isolated even from her friends, as the episode progresses it seems as though Ohana might just be right, as the stresses and strains of overwork begin to fracture the bonds between staff members under the pressure of the situation.

This pressure only looks to be ramped up further as a freak accident leaves Tomoe with a sprained ankle to put yet more pressure on Kissuiso's already over-stretched resources - with no prospect of union help, aid eventually comes from an unlikely source, with Sui herself offering herself up to work as a waitress while a surprise visit from Ohana's mother Satsuki also sees her taking up a temporary role on the staff.  These new additions to staff on the ground turns a would-be disaster into a success, and Sui in particular even seems to rediscover a little lost love for her own inn by working directly in contact with the guests, but as the festival itself begins the future of Kissuiso and its staff remains very much up in the air.

Although Hanasaku Irohahas struggled a little with its dramatic content during the second half of the series in particular, something just seemed to click in this particular episode when it came to delivering an understanding of its various characters and their motivations.  This is doubtless a mixture of the way we've followed these individuals for so many weeks now coupled with the exposition of Sui's own take on Kissuiso in the previous episode, but regardless its emotional core nonetheless felt far more solid and easy to grasp here, in turn making for a more enjoyable viewing experience despite some of its more unlikely turn.  Of course, all of this still leaves us in the dark as to what the final episode is going to deliver, and it might well be the finale next week which really decides how (or even if) this series is remembered in the future.

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