「ホビロン」 (Hobiron)
“Balut”

More so then any other show airing this season that I’ve watched, Hanasaku Iroha has successfully managed to become my number one pick. If not for the amazing cast of characters, or the stupidly funny situations, it has to be the show’s ability to consistently toy with my emotions — bringing them up and down at its whim.

After last week’s dirty cliffhanger, there was no clear indication what was going to happen until a good four minutes in. While there were some pretty nifty shots of Ohana, Minko, and Nako together, Jiroumaru’s story of being a failed writer really didn’t grab my attention. Watching someone wallow in their own doubt and fear doesn’t hit me where it used to, but the difference between other shows and Iroha is that there were still reasons for me to get emotionally involved. Sure Jiroumaru’s complete 180 was clear as soon as it was revealed he wasn’t going to rape Ohana — but did you expect a handful of important characters to show a bit of their true selves?

Between Minko and Nako, I’m not sure which one of them left a bigger impression on me this week. Nako’s ability to come through when the situation called for it really opened up her character. That shy front is probably the only thing stopping her from becoming some kind of famous Olympic swimmer or lifeguard. Can you even imagine how successful she’d be if she were able to put that much determination into other things? For Minko, it was really disappointing to learn she’s actually a really spiteful person. After she swallowed so much of her pride and ate the spinach Ohana served her, it surprised me that she had a new insult ready to retaliate for the spinach. I can accept that she doesn’t like Ohana, but to go as far and write down her mental notes next to each insult, describing why it isn’t insulting or mean enough left a sour taste in my mouth. Especially after watching her be so friendly with Nako in the beginning of the episode!

But the person who left the largest impression, once again had to Okami-san. Like I said in my first post, I knew that she wasn’t a bad person. Even after that super double slap to Ohana’s face — I always knew that she had a large heart inside of her. Her words of encouragement to Jiroumaru were amazing, but listening to her acknowledge Ohana’s words felt like someone handed me a hundred dollars. To make things even better, after getting a small peek at Okami-san’s personality outside of her role as an Inn owner my opinion was sealed. Who knew such a stern grandma could produce such a pleasant smile.

I could go on and on about Ohana’s amazing performance this episode but to put it bluntly, her attitude towards life is the most amazing thing about her. Being crazy enough to see the good in people like Jiroumaru even when she was bound and gagged really says something about her. That, and the fact that she managed to contain her emotions after finding out just how much hate Minko has for her was amazing.

At the end of what felt like the first arc in the series, I can’t wait to see where things go from here. Even though the preview answered my question of when school was supposed to start, I was left with a new and even bigger one — how will Kouichi play in all of this? And did Ohana even give him an answer to his confession?

P.S. Just for you guys.

 

Preview

96 Comments

  1. wow the quality of this show and Ano Hi Mita revived my faith in anime. Hopefully these shows don’t get thrown under the rug, the anime industry needs more writers like this.

    kayn420
    1. I think these sort of shows are just what Yutaka Yamamoto really tried to do in Fractale. They’re not really moe overdose (though there is a little bit of it) but more importantly, the focus is on the character interactions, story, and overall drama. In my humble opinion, it’s these sort of key points in any anime that really make it refreshing and enjoyable to watch.

      Victor3y
  2. Glad to hear you liked the episode. I know that some people are claiming mood whiplash and pushing the fan-service too hard, but I found the subtle character development enjoyable, and I didn’t mind the fanservice (especially Nako’s).

    As for Minko, my impression of her has improved slightly, I saw the scene with her “notes” as her doing her best to respond to Ohana’s complaint while retaining her own independence.
    My money is on her becoming Tsundere with Ohana (if she isn’t already).

    ZeruFenrir
    1. I think she’s already tsundere for Ohana, providing that she DOES care about Ohana’s complaint about using ‘die’ word enough that she’s put her heart into it. If I really hate that person, I won’t spend that much thought in it, I’ll just use other word that comes to mind.

      Serapita
    2. My thoughts exactly. Sure, she may have just come up with a new insult to throw in Ohana’s face- but having put so much effort into finding a new one displayed quite clearly that she actually cares. Furthermore- what particularly caught my eye was the “Perhaps a too harsh?”. She doesn’t actually want to hurt or drive her away- she just wants something that’ll sting enough for Ohana to keep her distance, and allow Minko to preserve her tough-girl image.

      Stranger
  3. You know, I’ve actually had Balut while staying in the Philippines, and holy shit. It’s a billion times grosser than it sounds.

    This was a pretty great episode though. The animation was even more mindblowingly beautiful than before, and there’s some great character development going around here. Also, some scenes were absolutely hilarious.

    But damn, that was a pretty high rock to jump off of. I’ve gone bridge jumping quite a bit, but that looks ridiculously dangerous to dive off of and to jump off of (especially when he pretty much landed on his ass).

    Click
  4. This episode was great. Not much to say that hasn’t been said already.

    I will say this episode did get me thinking about Minko and her possible secret crush on Tohru again. Maybe she was just blushing because someone caught her mumbling and she felt embarrassed. Maybe I’m just reading waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much into things (as I tend to do). But whatever. Whether there are any feelings there or not, I’ll keep loving this show as long as it keeps being this good.

    BabyChooChoo
    1. Oh yeah, I did forget to mention that 2nd half of the ‘bath scene’ was really funny to me. When Minko’s head came up from off screen, I just sat there thinking, “this is both the hottest and funniest thing I’ve ever seen.” lol

      BabyChooChoo
    2. I almost died at that part. And I kind of get what you’re talking about with Tohru, like, the preview showed him holding her hand while she used a knife and I’m curious to see what her relationship with him is. They say she’s popular with the boys, but maybe not with the one she wants.

      innerchihiro
  5. Disappointing in the fact that the story seems to be going down the expected route- it’ll still be good, but all it is in the end is a good cliche. I wanted to see a show where the director dared to turn all story conventions head over heels, but I guess I won’t find it here. Nonetheless, it’s still a good show, and I will sit back and enjoy it…

    Zenith
    1. well since this seems to have the same writer as Ano Hi Mita, I think the writer was trying to make this the more light hearted road to growing up drama. Ano Hi Mita looks like it’ll have the more emotional impact.

      kayn420
  6. Ohana is a boss. End of story.

    Easily my favorite anime of the season so far. Made me laugh, made me all warm and fuzzy inside, and made me want to punch kittens at times. All the ingredients for an an amazing show.

    Jin
  7. This episode feels like a filler to the main story, but nevertheless entertaining. Looks like they’ll have fan-service scene every other three episodes to ascertain decent BD sales.

    EnigmaKatz
  8. I am amazed how this show piles up unconventional character development – from failed writer and equally failed pervert (stopping at red light, no less….) whose ecchi works manage to discover someting new in Ohanas soul thru amazing swimming prowess of a shy waitress to sheer effort Minchi put into new insult!
    The only thing wrong with the show is the net will be crawling with fanfic writers taking up the challenge to best Jiroumaru’s yuri works!

    ewok40k
  9. Pretty hilarious episode. I enjoyed it a lot especially the cliche car chase leading to the cliff. I agree with Takaii about the grandmother. I can’t help but like her after that conversation with Denroku.

    I have only one qualm, Ohana acting all friendly to that novelist after being tied up “bondage like” was stretching it too far.

    Yes! School life next ep and new character. Her hair reminds me of Kurumi.

    Nhelraios
  10. Blu-ray sales just trippled lol

    I don’t blame them for stuffing bunch of fanservice into this episode.They have to sell this stuff in the end but I guess the lesbian scenes came out to be funnier than expected.

    GodKnows
  11. Oh my goodness. This show did a bit of a 180, but I thoroughly enjoyed it all the same. This part where Minko just popped her head up from outta nowhere had me rolling on the ground. The awkward humor and seeing a different side to our characters was pretty awesome. Doing inappropriate things with a mop. LOL.
    I was highly impressed with Nako. Holy shit! When she just busted out of her uniform and dived off the rock I was like “WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?!” Very impressed, but I also just enjoyed seeing a more comical and normal side to her. She has redeemed herself since last week when I was NOT happy with her.
    Surprisingly, I wasn’t mad with Minko at all. I mean, I know she’s still less than friendly to Ohana, but the fact that she came up with a different insult shows to me that she feels guilty about her previous one. I know she’s still being bitchy, but it came off as sort of Tsundere-ish to me. Like “I’m still going to insult you, because I don’t like you, but I actually like you, so I won’t be quite as rude.” ^^’ Besides, I have no doubt that Minko will eventually be somewhat normal around Ohana since it’s only the third episode of 26 and she’s the only one at the inn who openly dislikes her (though I wish we were given some clue as to why.) (By the way, I looked up Balut and I think I’ve been scarred for life. A Balut may seriously pop up in my nightmares from now on.)
    The only part I felt was odd was Ohana’s blatant acceptance of Jiroumaru’s sex novel. I mean, I get that she’s fairly straightforward (and I assume pretty innocent), but if I were in her shoes, I would be either kicking his ass or dying with embarrassment. Or both.

    innerchihiro
    1. I didn’t really hate Minko this episode either. I think it was also a refreshing that Ohana got back at her by giving her a bowl of Spinach. It might have the most gentle **** you Ohana has done so far.

      P.S. Balut is a delicacy where I live and it’s awesome and tasty. Silly foreigners and you’re “normal” dishes of slaughtered animals and murdered plants 😛

      fragb85
  12. If only this anime started showing a week before we could see more of her normal life before getting to the countryside. Was probably watching some living on an island of bishounens show, which made her want to sparkle.

    deafvader
  13. there’s some serious case of the show not taking itself seriously with this other half of the cliffhanger, wish I had notice it from the first 2 eps (most others on animesuki didn’t), all because of Jiroumaru too…

    …o well, setup-arc complete.

    …and you gotta wonder, whether or not that book was supposed to be used on Nako-san…

    info600
  14. I think you’re totally being unfair to Minko here, Takaii. Surely you’re familiar with the concept of the tsundere?

    She’s been softened up considerably by Ohana last episode, but she’s still too embarrassed to admit it, hence the need to maintain her “hostility” (in a much weaker form) in order to conceal that embarrassment. And the more she tries, and fails, to maintain it, the cuter she gets. 😀

    Kinny Riddle
  15. Hmmm, didn’t like this as much as the last 2 episode, but I already predict they will insert some “lighter” episode like this since this show gonna be a 2-cour. Frankly, I prefer a drama show to have 1-cour rather than 2-cour since a larger number of episode means more risk of the director or scriptwriter to drag the drama too long. Still, a promising series and I hope it will stay that way for all 24 episodes.

    aiueo123
  16. “Kagayaki no Ohana” sorry couldn’t resist. ^^

    Really didn’t expect the comedy and fan service in this series but then again whose complaining. I wasn’t also a fan about the writer story, sure he was funny but that’s it. I still don’t know how I feel about him staying in the inn or being part of the main cast for that matter.

    Another thing, a 15-16 year old girl reading an erotic novel about her and friends while keeping a straight face is definitely 2D.

    Jaden
    1. quote
      Another thing, a 15-16 year old girl reading an erotic novel about her and friends while keeping a straight face is definitely 2D.
      end quote
      well, who knows what tetxts has her mom given to her for proofreading? and how much would pay inn’s resident rumor mill pay for that info?

      ewok40k
  17. Nice post there Takaii.

    I heard a lot of people complaining about how “out of place” this episode was, especially the characters. Personally, I found it both enjoyable (light-hearted, humorous and sufficient fan-service) and well-written in terms of character and story. All of the characters were still themselves, while showing us another side of them. And remember for a 2-cour slice-of-life series (and this is just the beginning), episodes in which the producer could still balance a slice-of-life story with good developments either story wise or character wise are not often seen.

    The fact that Hanasaku Iroha is going down this route is expected and arguably inevitable, but if it is still beautifully executed, who cares? Not to mention it is often these light-hearted episodes that make us feel attached to the characters and prepare us for twists and turns in the future, if you know what I mean.

    sLaDk
  18. just one question didnt you get the bit where she actually changed the insult? i mean thats some progress the actual fact that she changed her insult from pretty much GO DIE to balut says something about the impact Ohana had on her life

    Torrigan
  19. I didnt expect yuri to show up in this one. sure the main chars are girls while there is few guys to get them interested but didnt expect it to be what that guy imagined.
    yuri gains point for me, even if it was just delusion, theres a slim chance of subtext to happen.

    amado
  20. The story is moving along at a great pace; enough development and comedy. Besides, from the OP as well as some of the promotional art, I’m pretty sure that Minko is quite the tsundere towards Ohana.

    HenDarou
  21. the yuri threesome bath novel was more hilarious than hot (still pretty hot though), and I’m liking Ohana’s character more each episode and now Nako is improving as a character as well, cannot wait to see where this show goes next

    Der Fur Shur
  22. takaii, you say that youre kinda disappointed in minko when you learn she was spiteful and so on.
    i believe you dont have a sister… thats just how real girls are. =p

    jakajaka
  23. Ohana actually looks pretty good in bondage hehe.

    Also, she hasn’t mastered it yet, but Ohana is working on her Archie Slap.I can’t wait till she applies it to her mother’s face.Heck, she might even do a tag team combo slap with Okami, Ohana gets the left cheek while Okami gets the right cheek.

    anishuma
  24. I think you’re taking Minko’s character the wrong way. I don’t think she really hates Ohana, and I don’t think that the fact she put too much effort into finding another insult was supposed to make you feel the way you did. It’s not the fact she’s spiteful that should be opening up her character, but the fact that she actually spent ALL of that time looking for a different insult because Ohana didn’t like the first one. The way I saw it was that Minko was trying to look for something else to call Ohana because Ohana felt truly hurt every time she would say “die.” Get it? She’s, in her own twisted way, taking Ohana’s feelings into consideration. I feel this is so, because as a truly stubborn person myself, I know that if I truly felt something I said was hurting someone I maybe didn’t like that much but didn’t really hate, I’d look for another, less intense way to annoy them without hurting their feelings as much as before… I think Minko is just stubborn and she sees maybe something in Ohana that she wishes she had, perhaps she feels Ohana gets things too easily, or something like that. I don’t think the notebook was to highlight Minko’s spite, but rather the fact that she’s trying to take Ohana’s feelings into consideration without letting it be known that she’s actually doing that… that’s just me.

    Gia V.
  25. I have a slightly different interpretation for Minko’s “insult notebook”. I don’t really think she’s trying to taking Ohana’s feeling into consideration. The way I look at it is that she simply doesn’t want to lose – if Ohana is finding fault in how she insults people, she finds another word so that Ohana can’t complain.

    Passer-by
  26. tbh, when you guys wrote the preview for this season, i did not even think i would pick this up… But after watching episode 1-3 in one sitting, it has left the strongest impression on me out of any anime this season. I don’t usually watch anime because its realistic, that’s not why i watch anime. i watch anime because the same thing wouldnt work in real world. But iroha having a somewhat realistic plot and yet manage to bring out emotions in me, in my book this series already achieved a lot. looking forward to episode 4 >:D

    n0216332
  27. I think Takaii might have misunderstood the scenes concerning Minko. She ate the spinach because she didn’t want to admit defeat. Because that’s how she is. Last episode, Ohana said she was going to make Minko breakfast using whatever Minko hates the most, so that she will feel better (she was on the verge of crying ’cause she felt she was being ignored/hated for no reason). Also, she told Minko to stop asking people to “die”.

    Minko realised that she was going too far and was hurting Ohana, so she stopped asking Ohana to “go die”, and instead thought up something that pretty much means the same to Minko only. Anyone else who hears the new phrase wouldn’t understand what it means, and so Ohana wouldn’t be hurt at all. And then, seeing how much time and dedication Minko spent thinking up of a unique phrase just for Ohana, shows me she probably doesn’t hate Ohana as much as Ohana think she does.

    Ohana thinks Minko hates her because Minko is always mean to her, pretty much like how she thinks her grandmother dislike her because Okami is indifferent to her. If you don’t think Okami is a bad person because anyone with such a warm smile can’t be a bad person, then why would you think Minko is a mean person when she was so friendly with Nako?

    …Actually, I only wanted to defend Minko because she’s my favourite character thus far. Maybe because she’s a little like me, but also because she’s the most mysterious to me.

    Dusk
  28. i want to have that novel of jiroumaru! XDD nice fanservice this episode. XD

    nako’s so cute. it’s nice to know that she’s a good swimmer behind that timid personality of hers. =) Minko was aweome this episode too. She’s so tsun to ohana. <3 so moe!! <3 btw, I dun think she really hates ohana. That of her bothering to take such notes (in spite of their negativity) means something. I do think she does care for ohana. That ‘I hate you’ side of her is just a façade. Maybe she wants to actually be friends with ohana. XD I’m so excited to see her make up with ohana. XD

    as for grandma, I do believe she’s happy to have ohana with her. XD

    keiOnDaisuki
  29. I didn’t read everyone’s comments (there are MANY + short on time) –
    but did anyone catch that the new “insult” is actually
    a dish, too? Is that how Ohana an Minko will resolve
    their differences and become closer or friends?

    I thought, too at the start of the episode, that this
    was going to be a rape of some sort – but I felt it was
    out-of-character for the writer to do this… Is he going
    to be additional silly comic relief?

    I’m enjoying this series, though.

    mac65
  30. Um please don’t hate on me, but I don’t get why everyone loves this series so much (some are saying it could be their favourite of all time). Ohana is an interesting and cute character for sure, but as far as the series goes, something’s just not clicking with me. I don’t know what it is, and through the hundreds of comments I read, I still can’t exactly tell why I don’t enjoy it as much, and why everyone else does.

    I do however LOVE the first episode of Ano Hana, and given that everyone was saying Ano Hana and Hanasaku are the two shows of the season so far, I decided to watch Hanasaku. Suffice to say, I didn’t feel like it lived up to the hype?

    Ryan
  31. Just wanted to throw this out there -> I don’t hate Minko.
    I love her voice actor, which already prevents me from hating her. I’m just voicing my opinion on her outer layer (:

    @Dusk: Well, I can see Ohana a little in myself. 😛

  32. …Is no one at all disturbed that this went from girl finding herself to WTFBONDAGE? The cast doesn’t even bat an eye at the fact that he ABDUCTED a 16 year old staff member, tied her up in frigging bondage, and read her his sick fantasies of her doing it with the other 16 year old girls that work there.

    …They don’t call the cops, even though he can’t pay his bill, has attacked a member of the staff, and written smut involving the teen girls that work there… Insead they offer him a job????

    ??????????

    Why do I have the feeling that I’m the only person that has watched this and found it horrible? I’d call it laughably bad, but…you know… the threat of bondage rape out of left field isn’t making me laugh.

    WTF

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