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Hanasaku Iroha – 26 (END)

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「花咲くいろは」 (Hanasaku Iroha)
“To Bloom One Day”

I’ll just say it now — it wasn’t the type of tear-jerking scene that I had expected but I was shedding some tears by the end of the episode.

By bringing together all the different pieces that were scattered from before the anime even started, this final episode finally took the opportunity to meld them back together into something that brought along a sense of closure. From multiple generations of Mother and Daughter fixing their broken bonds to the most immature people recognizing how feeble they are (and how to fix it), the sense of closure was there.

The message that I came across, as much as I didn’t want to, seemed to be that life isn’t as happy as one would like it to be. Ever since Sui decided to close Kissuiso, I clung on to that bit of hope that something would be able to change her mind or someone would be able to override her. As much as that contradicts what Sui has been trying to convey this entire time, which is the fact that she doesn’t want others trapped in the dream she created with her late husband, I’ll admit that I wasn’t on the ball with the direction of this final episode until the last few minutes.

Had the clips of everyone’s life after leaving Kissuiso not played, I’d probably be full of rage. But once I saw everyone applying their true talents toward the things that they themselves wanted to do, Sui’s true intentions rang clear like a bell. I can’t imagine the amount of guilt Sui felt when she realized that Kissuiso wasn’t building dreams, but rather destroying them in order to pursue her own. It may be true that one’s dreams may change or that one might not have a dream to follow, but seeing how well everyone’s adapted after leaving Kissuiso, I can honestly believe that Sui’s decision was the best for everyone.

That said, I’m still a little upset about this bittersweet ending. Instead of giving us our cake, it’s more like someone gave us half a cake and no utensils to eat it — it’s a nice gesture to give us some leftover cake but it still pisses me off that I can’t fully enjoy it. However, it still didn’t stop the tears from building as I watched from Sui give up everything she put her life toward. In a beautifully drawn out way, it was brilliant how they flashed the before and after of every room within Kissiuiso. Combined with the beautiful soundtrack playing in the back, I was fighting the urge to let those tears fall.

 

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Final Impressions:

It’s been a long time since the first episode, and I must say that things have come very far since then. Not only did an arrogant and headstrong Ohana managed to turn into a loveable and headstrong Ohana but the story has had more twists and turns then I’d expected. Honestly, I had no idea where this series was headed when it started (it’s also an original piece from P.A. Works) but I liked how things stayed true to the very end.

On the way to that end, there may have been a few lackluster episodes that might have lost a few watchers along the way but I think the series as a whole stands out as something that’s interesting and a little different. There wasn’t a happy ending where problems from the past are instantly solved. There wasn’t a happily ever after for the couple that have been waiting till the last episode to express their love for each other. There wasn’t even a flash-forward to the future where we could get a glimpse what everyone ended up doing with their lives.

But there was a story that modeled how the real world works — a world where the impossible doesn’t happen and disappointment is the norm. As much as I wanted Ohana, Enishi, or even Satsuki to inherit the Kissuiso from Sui; it wouldn’t have made much sense from a business or ethical perspective. The best choice was for the place to close its doors to open everyone else’s doors to the future — and that’s exactly what happened.

However, all this disappointment would not have been possible had I not cared for the characters or the story they were placed into. Ohana is a great character, but without people like Minko and Nako to balance her out I’m sure she would have gotten old quickly. Minko and that hate we all had for her slowly turned into love as that façade she attempted to put up went away. I’m sure as soon as she opened herself up a little bit most of you were leaping on the Minko bandwagon. Nako on the other hand was the quiet girl who would instill some sense into Ohana when things were getting hectic, proving just how deep she is inside. It also didn’t hurt that Omigawa Chika and Toyosaki Aki were voicing the two, respectively.

And that doesn’t mean that everyone else wasn’t just as important. Every person played a part and instilled something different into Ohana. From Sui to Takako all the way down to “Beanman” and Tohru, each person had a lesson that helped mold Ohana into a better person.

Since day one, I’ve wanted to find some sort of meaning from this show. As the Divine’s preview beautifully stated, this is a show that is focused on self-discovery. And the hardest thing in the world is probably trying to figure out just what and who you are. The one thing I’m taking away from this show is that even though life is generally crappy and will deal you some pretty crappy cards, it shouldn’t stop you from living it up while you figure out just who you are.

On the patented Takaii Meter-Of-Recommendations, I’d have no reservations about telling people to watch Hanasaku Iroha. It wasn’t a grand-slam, but it was more than entertaining. With a stellar cast, interesting story, and a great team behind it; I think that anyone can enjoy this show.

September 26, 2011 at 2:11 am
58 comments »
  • September 26, 2011 at 2:15 amCroos

    Right on takaii. It wasn’t a grad-slam but it was entertaining.

  • September 26, 2011 at 2:32 amx

    Agree with you all the way again Takaii. There were moments where I gave up on this one, but I picked it up again and enjoyed it overall.

  • September 26, 2011 at 2:47 amTJsama

    I still would have preferred Ohana inheriting Kissuiso tho.

    • September 26, 2011 at 3:58 amSaya

      Well the thing is with this ending they still made that a possibility with Enishi wanting to reopen the inn in the future and Ohana inheriting the log book. I think want the ending did well was that you could really make it out however you want it to be, whether you think everyone will go on their separate paths or if they’ll eventually reunite. Even with Minko and Tohru, although they don’t officially end up together I think the last few episodes including this one were trying (perhaps too hard) to hint that it’s not entirely impossible for them to become closer in the future…you know if that’s what you want.

    • September 26, 2011 at 6:41 amSerapita

      Yeah, I was hoping for that ending when Sui said she’s giving up/lost to them. Well, this one is okay with me too though.

  • September 26, 2011 at 2:53 amClick

    It’s been a fun ride :3. While I think that a few episodes were a bit lackluster, they never came close to bad or even dull. However, I really wished to see the Minchi & Tohru relationship get resolved. Also, I really agree with you about the distinction between reality and the impossible here, and I really cared for most of the characters (bar well, Taro, but he’s hilarious). And while I wouldn’t say that it’s a competitor for best in it’s year, a year filled with heavy weights and monsters, it can surely be counted as one of the highlights.

    I ALREADY MISS THE EYE CANDY!!! T_T

  • September 26, 2011 at 2:59 amRuby

    Just curious. I didn’t follow this series but I was always curious as to how the relationship turned out between Minko and the guy she had a crush on? Can anyone tell me what happened to them because looking at the screen-cap nothing besides the fact, they are always featuring together LOL

    • September 26, 2011 at 6:39 amx

      Well this is as close as they get at the end of the anime. The rest is up to your imagination.

  • September 26, 2011 at 3:50 amSkins Thunderbomb

    I am going to miss this show. I enjoyed it greatly, along with Utapri. :3

  • September 26, 2011 at 4:17 amricz

    This anime lacks Ohana X ko scene !! :p

    Oh well overall I enjoy this anime the artwork is really nice

    Story is not bad but I know they can do better

    • September 26, 2011 at 4:37 amTorrigan

      Couldnt agree more i rageddd at the lack of a Ko and Ohana scene there wasnt even one at the end!!

    • September 26, 2011 at 4:50 amSaya

      Also agree ): I know they’re not the focus but they were my main reason to stick with the show. I want to know what he was going to ask before Ohana and Author dude interrupted him. :\ Does anyone have any idea what he was going to say?

    • September 26, 2011 at 4:51 ammaguru07

      *thumbs up* yup! Needs more OhanaxKo! since inviting him to the festival is the highlight given in the past episode (episode 24?).

    • September 26, 2011 at 5:32 amSkins Thunderbomb

      I’m hoping for an OVA myself.

    • September 26, 2011 at 7:17 ampaulrenzo

      Wait a minute…I thought people hated this guy

    • September 26, 2011 at 7:23 amricz

      actually I thought that the last two episode will focus on Ohana X Ko

      But I guess I’m wrong :(

      Well at least Ohana finally confessed to ko

  • September 26, 2011 at 4:39 amReika

    Definitely going to miss the show.
    Actually started tearing up towards the end as well.
    And also, Takaii, isn’t it “Mameji” rather than “Mamaji”?
    I could be wrong though.

    • September 26, 2011 at 10:52 amTakaii

      I think I have a typo in there.
      Nice Catch. Haha

  • September 26, 2011 at 5:05 amGorillafunk

    HanaIro has always shown beautiful scenery that viewers can indulge on. It’s been a great ride now its time to fest it up! (lol too soon?)

  • September 26, 2011 at 5:07 amfragb85

    Hard to believe this show is over. I found the ending quite satisfactory, even with the bittersweet tone it had. KoxOhana FINALLY became official despite feeling a little weak. The Love Yaksioba was funny though. The best part was Sui’s walk into memory lane, real tearjerking stuff there. Seeing everyone move on was nice, though it would have been perfect if they had a timeskip or something of that effect.

    As for the show, it was a decent watch. What hurt the series was the second half which was largely hit-or-miss. I didn’t really like the awful love triangle either, especially since this subplot ruined Minko’s character development. Loved the setting though, as it provided beautiful visuals especially in the Bonbori festival. Ohana was a very quirky and likable character.

    Overall its worth seeing once at least.

  • September 26, 2011 at 6:45 amSerapita

    And this episode tells me why this show is called ‘Hanasaku Iroha’. Even though it’s not the ending I had in mind, this one seems more fitting (I was hoping for Ohana to inherit the Inn). It’s been awhile since I enjoy every minutes of a single show. (Except for this season, which has a lot of series I was enjoying every minute of it). I’m sure I’m going to miss it a lot. Oh well, let’s hope for the next season’s shows to be up on par with this season!

  • September 26, 2011 at 7:52 amKumakaori

    A drama through and through, amazing series. I look forward to putting some disposable income towards this when it hits the US.

    26 episodes of amazing. Nothing too spectacular, mind you. It was just life through and through, but P.A.Works made it wonderfully enjoyable to spend half a year with all the characters involved ^_^.

  • September 26, 2011 at 8:08 amSnuckerpooks

    Not sure if anyone caught this, but when Ohana and Ko were in ‘The Weirdos’ room, the second camera angle showed a poster. It is a Bonbori festival poster from the past. How is it from the past? Here is the present: STARRING OHANA!!

    http://www.yuwaku.gr.jp/bonbori/index-b.html

  • September 26, 2011 at 8:18 amSyaoran Li

    Crappy series is a crappy series, it doesn’t matter how you wanted to be good.

    • September 26, 2011 at 9:24 amvladrin

      Was this comment on the first episode, I would have understood that you are mainly trolling. But on 26th!?

  • September 26, 2011 at 8:35 amMrRei

    I feel like I need to see them reopen. An extended epilogue about that would have been great. :)

  • September 26, 2011 at 9:18 amW0rldTRav3l3r

    There has been a manga before the anime of Hanasaku Iroha which hasn’t finished yet and is available in two versions so the related Wikipedia article says. So do you guys think (especially the ones who have read the mangas) there is a chance for a second season?

  • September 26, 2011 at 9:44 amKinny Riddle

    While hardly epic, it was a breathtaking enough for a final episode, in that the sense of closure and bittersweet end is upon us. It was a great journey of six months to watch Ohana develop into an absolutely adorable yet mature girl, one capable of being a successor of her grandmother – not necessarily as manager of Kissuisou, but as a woman in her spirit.

    That said, there are hints Ohana may come back to Yunosagi to open her own inn one day, ideally bringing Ko with her.

  • September 26, 2011 at 9:53 amKinny Riddle

    If there is any scene that conveys the amazing growth of our protagonist, it would be Ohana wiping the wooden floors.

    In the first episode, she did so after her baptism of fire on life in Kissuisou (being “disciplined” by Okami), wondering what has she done to deserve this (being forced to come here due to Satsuki’s eloping).

    Now, she did so out of a sense of missing the life at Kissuisou, which she has come to love, not wanting to say goodbye to it so soon.

    A simple contrast between these two scenes and we find ourselves coming full circle.

    • September 27, 2011 at 8:15 amdeafvader

      Like this comment.
      +1

  • September 26, 2011 at 10:37 amFoofiebeast

    “Minko and that hate we all had for her”??

    Speak for yourself! I was a Minko fan from day 1, my borderline weird comments will support that.

    I have to say I’m disappointed with this finale, but the show was definitely still a good watch. It was nice to see some of their immediate future, but given that there won’t be a second season or an ova, a cliche far in the future ending might have been nice.

    Also I still think Sui should have died. Maybe it would have been too expected, but multiple times in the show she was shown to have health issues, it seems strange that they didn’t really follow that up at all.

    • September 26, 2011 at 10:43 amAni_BEE

      Sui it too stronge willed to die. It’s the joys of getting old and the fact she will continue to work speaks to her headstrong character, were do you think Ohana gets it from.

      This has been one of the better slice of Life anime’s that doesn’t revolve completely around just high school dramas or harems. ^_^

    • September 26, 2011 at 10:55 amTakaii

      Are you saying that if you own grandparents showed signs of age, you’d want them to die?

      Human beings are pretty resilient.

      • September 26, 2011 at 11:55 amFoofiebeast

        Strange extrapolation you made, but depending on the situation yes. The last 2 years of my grandfathers death were horrific to watch.

        However I was thinking more in terms of show continuity (although Ani_BEE raises a good point). Also for a show that was largely based on inconsequential or irresponsible drama, it might have been interesting to see something like Sui’s death, maybe 2-3 episodes before the end of the show.

        Of course when she says to Ohana she will be waiting for her, obviously I think they both understand the Sui will clearly not be around quite THAT long, so I did appreciate that implied moment.

  • September 26, 2011 at 10:42 amWhee

    Great series, great review.
    This was truly an amazing work of art.

  • September 26, 2011 at 11:08 amDivine

    I don’t know if “arrogant” is the right word to describe Ohana. “Insistent” might be more appropriate.

    Anyway, this finale left a fair bit to be desired, so I’m kind of indifferent about the series as a whole. I would’ve liked to see a response from Kou for one thing (a kiss wouldn’t have hurt either), plus the obvious conclusion where Sui realizes that people have inherited her dream and keeps Kissuisou open. The latter was probably too predictable, but it was sorely missed with all the build-up toward it. Aside from Ohana and Nako, there was also uncertainty over whether everyone knew what Sui’s intentions were. The only “settlement” we had regarding the inn’s closure was when Nako begged everyone to give her her Kissuisou back. For a finale, there was a little too much left up to interpretation for my liking.

    What I did like about the series was the realism depicted in it, where everything doesn’t go as smoothly as one would hope (which Takaii also touched upon). While it still feels like it lacks enough drama to ever be adapted into a live-action drama, Hanairo definitely goes against the norm in anime these days. Yes, there was a stretch of episodes in the middle that seemed to drag on or was just annoying to watch (particularly the filming episodes, even though they came up again without retrieving the money Kissuisou spent), but I found it really interesting to see the characters develop over 26 episodes. Had this series only been scheduled for one cour, I think it would’ve been quite lacking, so it’s a good thing P.A. Works had six months to work with. Visually, Hanairo was always a treat and these last few episodes really highlighted that with the backdrops and lighting.

  • September 26, 2011 at 12:23 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    Definitely a great series, IMO, and very satisfying to watch, so I’m sad this is the last episode.

    Like any anime series, it had its bumps along the way, but it quickly smoothed out after and gave us an enjoyable trip.

  • September 26, 2011 at 12:36 pmSeishun Otoko

    I’m surprised your fascination for Ohana’s awesome hair was left out of the final review, Takaii :P
    I wasn’t expecting HanaIro to end things in a dramatic way so I like that the final episode was pretty low key. There are definitely parts to nitpick but I think what matter most is that it stayed true to its self-discovery theme. Some might disagree but I thought everyone ended up in a better place and being a sucker for happy endings, I’m satisfied.

    • September 26, 2011 at 4:17 pmTakaii

      Sex Hair <3

  • September 26, 2011 at 1:22 pmSoiyeruda

    It definitely felt conclusive, but as a whole, I feel like P.A. Works put their priorities into odd places.

    The love between Kou and Ohana really wasn’t touched upon as much as I’d have liked it to be. It’s first mentioned in episode 1, but doesn’t fully take off until the very middle of the series. By then, only part of an episode was really devoted to it, and it isn’t really mentioned again until the final portion of the series. This final episode touches upon it but it’s disappointing that it’s only established without words or actions to follow up on it.

    Along with that, the middle episodes, and the somewhat ambiguous ending, I’m quite satisfied with how Hanasaku Iroha turned out.

  • September 26, 2011 at 2:44 pmOdeus

    I’m amazed at how well this ending turned out. I felt that everything that needed to be covered, was. It had me crying my eyes out in the end. Overall I’d have to say this was a damn good anime.

  • September 26, 2011 at 3:08 pmLuxorcist

    Instead of giving us our cake, it’s more like someone gave us half a cake and no utensils to eat it

    It’s certainly better than promising cake and revealing it was a lie. Oh snap I did not just make that reference—

  • September 26, 2011 at 4:21 pmthenewhorde

    first time in a very long time i felt watery (didn’t shed tears) from watching a show. i feel like this show really hits much harder home than anything else i’ve seen and Ohana being able to conquer all the problems and see the positives of life is the one thing everyone ought to look up to and learn from watching this show.

  • September 26, 2011 at 7:17 pmGia

    I leave this happy. Sure it wasn’t the best ending, but like you stated, it was a real ending. At least we got a good deal of closure and I can make up my own happy ending as to their future lives a couple of years from now XD

  • September 26, 2011 at 9:25 pmMitsuba

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I always look forward to Sundays….. what am I going to do now….

  • September 26, 2011 at 10:54 pmdeafvader

    Considering that the finale ended half way through and the rest were just scenes full of implications I would like to point out that Ohana but in Tokyo seemed prettier than before. More lively too. “Girls looks more pretty when they are in love” I will just use this statement to satisfy when KoXOhana End.

  • September 26, 2011 at 11:17 pmLilian

    The only question I have left: where is Minko living now??

    Still wished they had touched upon more about her family background.

    • September 27, 2011 at 10:53 amSoiyeruda

      She’d probably either live in an apartment either by herself or with Tohru. It’s not uncommon for teenagers in Japan to live by themselves, though still supported by their parents.

  • September 27, 2011 at 12:21 aminfo600

    for me, the show itself felt like a personification of Ohana growing up, trying to find itself, with its own stumbles (which are just as interesting to watch)…

    …and it’s interesting that way.

  • September 27, 2011 at 1:04 amJason Isenberg

    It was more like a 3 run home run, it was close but the somewhat filler episodes kinda killed it a bit. Though when I think of it the fillers weren’t bad because you got to see some sort of development or just what it’s like outside of Tokyo. You have to admit, the fact of how amazing landscape like that are just makes you want to go there and spend the rest of your life with amazing people like the people at Kissuiso. Love it or dislike it, this show is one of the best this year.

  • September 27, 2011 at 3:41 pminnerchihiro

    I had been busy and so I’m only now getting to this finale, but let’s just say I loved it. It was beautiful realism, and I’m glad no corners were cut to give us the perfect ending. This show really stands out from everything else that I’ve seen in anime, and it’s such a refresher.
    Whatever trips Hanasaku Iroha had along the way, it sprinted hard to the finish line and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Thank you very much for covering it Takaii!

  • September 28, 2011 at 1:35 amewok40k

    Everybody finding their places in life was probably best ending possible…
    Satsuki made me LOL when she asked Ohana to write a report about “meeting with Ko-chan”… only to have been one-upped by perv Jirou hiding in the closet!

  • September 28, 2011 at 5:36 amjreding

    To me, Hanasaku Iroha first and foremost was about its stunning visuals. I was half laughing, half having tears in my eyes every time I watched the scenes in the OP with lots of people moving around in the most complicated ways imaginable. Therefore, it was a proper ending seeing Ohana hastily leaving her apartment . The backgrounds, as well, were simply gorgeous. And the quality has been kept up over the whole show! Maybe one show per year reaches these stellar visual heights, the last one being K-ON season 2.

    However, I wasn’t that happy with the story. When it started with Ohana’s rather depressing family circumstances and her even getting slapped by Okami, I was quite curious how things would go on. Unfortunately, this wasn’t developed further and the story arcs mostly seemed a bit forced to me.

    Also, I think the characters were not fully believable. While I liked watching Ohana run around in her short skirt, I found her personality rather annoying. I very much liked Minchi, but why the heck does a cute schoolgirl voluntarily spend all of her time working in a kitchen? Because she read a manga and decided to become a cook? Does she have no family? I’m sure there is much more to her personality and background but it wasn’t developed. The same goes for Yuina, the other character I liked a lot.

    Finally, I’d like to mention that HanaIro for me is an example of fanservice done right. All those scenes in the bath were visually gorgeous, not even mentioning Yuina’s socks scene in ep. 15!

  • September 29, 2011 at 3:27 amTopboy

    Everything that has a beginning has an end.However what important is the road from the start till the end, a little thing here and there, meet and part, a choice we make and result of it.Hanasaku Iroha is 100% Slice of life story, a beautifull and well-done one.It may not that great compared to Ano-Hana but it is good above the average.Nice story,Nice character,Nice Production and give you nice feeling in the end.

    Thank you P.A.work, staff.

    Thank Doki fansubs,randomc.net too.

  • September 29, 2011 at 9:32 amAndrew

    Although there were some underwhelming but good character building episodes, the show was great overall.

  • October 2, 2011 at 11:15 amayasawada

    “The one thing I’m taking away from this show is that even though life is generally crappy and will deal you some pretty crappy cards, it shouldn’t stop you from living it up while you figure out just who you are.”

    Well said Takaii. That’s exactly what I took from the series too. I agree with your assessment of the show – didn’t know what to expect but as it went on it turned into something magical, almost profound. It didn’t quite reach the ‘grand slam’ level that we were hoping for, but that doesn’t take away just how great this show is. For me, I’ll always remember my summer spent at Kissuiso :)

  • October 3, 2011 at 9:36 amanon

    Anyone else catch minko talking with hiromi’s dad from true tears?

  • October 9, 2011 at 7:44 pminnerchihiro