Hanasaku Iroha – 18
「人魚姫と貝殻ブラ」 (Ningyo Hime to Kaigara Bura)
“The Mermaid Princess and a Shell Bra”
Nako finally gets an episode focused on her, but it was not even remotely close to what I was expecting. But before any of that, the more I think about it, I should be much more amazed with how well Toyosaki Aki manages to voice such a wide range of different characters. While I’m not a huge fan of hers, I don’t know if it was my imagination but I could of swore I heard a little bit of Yui’s voice leak out while Nako was playing with her younger sister. Voice acting aside, I was a little disappointed with how P.A. Works handled this episode.
After getting a peek into Nako’s home life, it’s clear that she’s fully capable of expressing what’s on her mind and can step up to the plate when the time calls for it. I’m not sure where this excessive shyness suddenly came from since I thought she was doing perfectly well for the past 18 episodes. It was like she was looking for all the wrong things to have some sort of connection! Plus, I personally thought it was getting quite annoying every time she appended “in a good way” to all of her excessively rude sentences. It was almost like her sudden change of appearance was changing her into one of those, for lack of better words, bitchy girls.
Luckily, even though I’d wished Nako’s arc would have lasted two episodes like Enishi’s, the ending managed to bring things back from the brink of complete disappointment. Throwing in some pretty funny moments with Ren-san’s hillarious jacket and glasses and Nako ridiculously bubbly attitude, it was a little surprising for Okami to resolve things so quickly. Listening to her explain to Nako that she received a raise not for being like everyone else, but rather for taking the time to notice the small things while always giving the customer a happy experience felt like the only thing this episode that made sense.
But after a whole episode of Nako taking everyone’s advice too seriously and making herself seem pretty lame, I can’t help but feel that if this arc was stretched a little bit longer that maybe it could have been changed up a bit and made even better. It still baffles me how Ohana didn’t chime in sometime throughout the episode to somehow get Nako to change the way she was approaching things! Of course, it was still nice getting an episode full of Nako wearing something other than her waitress outfit or her sailor fuku. And after seeing how well rounded she actually is, it’s a lot easier to like her character — if you weren’t impressed with how well she manages to handle caring for her entire family, working at Kissuiso, and going to school I’d like to see you do the same thing. Anyways, after a few weeks of rather bland episodes, I hope that the culture festival manages to bonbori things up next week!
P.S. This is one of the prettiest things I’ve seen in an anime in a while.