「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.




  1. “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 —”

    Hahahaha, I have such a twisted mind.

    Admittedly, I didn’t even watch this whole episode. For me, it got off to a really slow start so I started to skim through it after about the first 5 minutes or so to see if anything interesting was happening. All the bits I caught didn’t seem to get any better though. I don’t know what it is. I like Nako, but she doesn’t scream “I deserve my own episode” to me. Something about her just doesn’t really resonate with me…

    Baby Choo Choo
    1. Also too sexy for me. Maybe if she wore jeans, it would made her more comfortable.

      I met a couple of ‘Nako’ in real life, & they don’t need to be ‘more exposure to the skin’ to show them their beauty. The way they are, were already there. Plus you add Nako responsibility to her house, home & family, she is a top-notch lady. Fit to Lisa Stansfield’s song, ‘All Women.’

      I glad that by the end of the episode, she hasn’t changed & the praise she got the customers & Okami, was well deserved.

      Thanks Takaii. Now that you mention it, Nako in playful mode does sound like Yui, especially when she angry about her younger siblings not wanting to eat onions.

  2. I love Nako the way she is.. I’m glad she stayed how she is. I find her prettier than the others too. 🙂

    btw, I still don’t know the name of the flower I saw here… and I’m sure it’s not a Forget-me-Not.. :p

  3. I remember Nako being excessively shy with Ohana at first when the series started. I think because we see her with Ohana and Minko mostly she only seems more relaxed than she is with most people. I can’t recall seeing her comfortable in front of any customers so far. I think the first time I saw her relax in public was when she was on the school trip. Focused on swimming helped I guess lol.

  4. It was okay in terms of development. Why Enishi gets two episodes while Nako only gets one makes sense, yet does not sit with me well. I was expecting them to delve into why she can swim so well, how that pertains to her now, and how Okami knew of her swimming ability. Was she on any swim teams? Why is she shy in front of everyone but her family; is it just natural or did something happen? I just felt as if putting her as the focal char, there should have been more story to tell.

    1. That’s a good point. They didn’t tell us anything about the reason she became shy. That’s something that’s often the first thing explained when the focus is on a shy character. Not very many episodes left to get to that either. It seems like this show isn’t gearing itself toward character progression as it is showing how people stay true to their character. It wouldn’t have taken very long to show that though. They could still fit it in a future episode.

      1. Just speaking from my personal experience (i.e. I have a similar personality where I am loud and goofy with my family, but around others I am soft spoken and have difficulty expressing my thoughts), shyness isn’t necessarily caused by some specific event. From what I can tell of myself, I usually can speak more easily with people whose thought process I am familiar with because I know exactly how they are going to react to me, bordering on my personality become a bit arrogant with people that I view as below myself (I’m not proud of that).
        Shyness can often just be the result of over-thinking situations, which is exactly what I took away from Nako in this case; with her family she has a natural rhythm that allows her normal personality to be a bit bigger and louder, but, for example, when the two guests asked about finding flowers she started to over-think what to tell them, most likely to the point where the thoughts just got jumbled in her head and she could only write them down afterward once she was able to straighten things up in her head.

      2. Oh, that’s a good point too! I totally get what you mean. Sometimes I think I see the same events to often in anime it makes me over think and look for things that aren’t. When you say it like that it makes more sense.

  5. A little disappointing that they didn’t make this a two episode, but I found it fun to watch. As for Enishi, well, you could argue he shared those two episodes with Takako. I still like this episode better.

  6. Meh episode for me. Nako was my one of my least favorite, largely because she was so bland and one-dimensional. This episode gives her a more dynamic personality, but it didn’t seem to add anything for her. It didn’t really work for me. It was nice to see her in a dress at least.

  7. As much as I enjoy Nakochi I think I wanted to see main story now, please. The pentagon love (tohru,minchi,ohana,ko,glasses girl?) seem to be drifting further and further away now. Not to mention the bonbori festival seem like a far off memories.

    P.S. If this trend of side character arc continued,I wish I WISH that the beanman is not included.

  8. Disappointed to see RandomC also falling into the trap of the OF. This series hasn’t really grabbed me all season, it’s just been another episode to download each week, but I enjoyed the little-mermaid style skit. BTW, the OF trap is “could of”. it doesn’t exist in the english language as a phrase. That the “swore” was also the wrong tense of the word isn’t as much of a problem since everyone makes the occasional typo. Please, please don’t let “could of” usurp “could have” here, as much as it has FaceBook.

  9. Anime is full of bitch-girls (The Empress from One Piece) who got forgiven, right?

    Let’s not forget that this is an ORIGINAL ANIMATION, not an adaptation of those forever-going noveliae and serialized manga. There’s a lot of bloody money invested for such a daring, long project. Anime is not cheap.

    My logical guess is that this episode featured a bunch of marketing symbols. The production crew needed those to spin off more for the future. Can’t blame them for not explaining things as well as what was laid out before, say, from the forever-going noveliae and serialized manga which had success and guaranteed sponsors.

    Billy D
  10. Like everyone, I was a bit let down that Nakochi only got one episode compared to the last two with pathetic Enishi.

    At least compared to the last two episodes, at least we got Okada Mari back on screenwriting. The school festival next week seems to open up a new arc, and that’s likely to be covered by her as well.

    Ren’s ridiculous jacket aside, I find Okami’s mermaid look (based on Nakochi’s imagination) to be even more hilarious.

    Kinny Riddle
      1. Alright, I might be wrong, since I can’t google any costumes wore by Taylor that resemble the Okami’s in this pic. But it still looks Egyptian, hmm… Can any archaeological mind help us out here?

        Billy D
  11. Mermaid-Nako FTW!
    Balance of the week, one prince drowned, one that failed to save drowning girl (Mawaru Penguindrum)…
    Princes are overrated!
    Trendy-outfitted Nako was really gorgeous!

  12. If I have to criticize this show, it’s because of the way the characters’ actions never seemed to be explained.

    Most of the time, we see HanaIro’s characters from the outside as they deal with whatever bizarre thing is happening. But even when characters are focused on individually, it’s with the air of looking at their actions more closely rather than actually from their perspective, and often with little back story revealed.

    My point is, Ohana’s upbeat attitude, Ookami’s strictness, Satsuki’s detached practice, Yuina’s playfulness, Minko’s dedication, and Nako’s uneasiness are presented to us plainly, but even at this stage in the game, we can’t say we really know what causes any of them. We still don’t know the fundamental reasons why these characters act the way they do.

    I think as a viewer, this can be frustrating because we don’t know where the character is coming from. We know Nako is shy, but we don’t know WHY. We know she’s an amazing swimmer, but we don’t know what LEAD her to be one. So when we see episodes like this, we’re a bit disappointed because no one answers our questions (like we’re used to.)

    However, HanaIro’s weakness is what also sets it apart from other shows. It’s a polar opposite tactic to most shows which actually go too far in playing up a character’s back story. It counters the idea that a character acts the way they do because of an experience in their life and that every character needs a sob story to justify the way they act, (when of course in real life, most people don’t, they just are the way they are.) In that sense, it is refreshing to see a show tackle the fact that sometimes, people act certain ways not because they have a sob story, but because they are born with a sort of personality and they can’t change it even if they tried. It sort of goes back to the Nature vs. Nurture concept.

    So, in my opinion, while I still love HanaIro, I think it leans too much on characters’ whose faults and problems can be answered away with “it’s in their nature.” However, I do applaud P.A. Works for going that direction in a time when nearly everybody else seems to be going the opposite way.

    1. I don’t see how one can be frustrated with things on this show. Nako being shy might be just a natural characteristic. There are people out there who just don’t have charisma and people skills; it happens. With the swimming we can assume swimming is one of her interest and hobbies. Being on an island like Japan and the village is by the coast; we can assume this is how it is. I didn’t think of this episode some sob story either. I think it’s perfectly healthy to question your sense of direction once in a while. Overhearing her parents talk about using encouragement to a student to help them push harder; and having Okami giving her extra money, impaired her sense of thinking. So what I trying to say is the assumptions are already built-in on this show and that P.A. Works assumes the viewer at this point has enough comprehension to know the way people act in this show is how they act.

  13. Wow. I didn’t know people needed some reason or backstory to be shy or awkward and nervous.

    Nobody seems to have asked why Ohana is so aggressively outgoing and bold. Is it just learned from having dealt with her mother?

    This series has been a little charming, well-animated slice of life story. I think it’s a relaxing show so I’m amused by those who said they thought this ep was a snoozer. The whole series is slow.

    Nako is an intelligent, competent girl who finds interactions with unfamiliar people difficult. Most people who behave this way were born this way. I thought this episode was a really rare peek into this type of personality. It doesn’t come often because most similar fictional characters are given excuses for not being the spunky outgoing type. Shy people need some major reason to be important in a story, typically. But they belong in a slice of life since they are everywhere in the real world. A lot of care was put into showing here that even shy, nervous types can contribute something of their own and aren’t just filler between the brightly shining stars who otherwise seem to do everything (like Ohana).

    I agree it wasn’t fun watching Nako get flustered and go down different wrong paths with her friends but that’s the partly a problem of the medium. It was a bit weird watching it because I don’t think we’re used to seeing the wilting flower get the center of attention. They aren’t made for it. But most people DO look for answers beyond themselves and look like wierdos when they find the wrong ones. In reality, this is the type of development would occur over weeks and months. I’m willing to give the writers credit for tackling it and NOT dismissing her reserved nature as the result of some big thing. Points for not ignoring the ignorable.

    I’m annoyed by many of the comments here because, after this ep, I identify with Nako the most of all of the character types in the cast and I think they did a really decent job portraying some problems familiar to the personality type. I get that most people don’t care for it because it’s lame, she looked wishy-washy, insecure, confused, clueless, ect. But, you know, we wouldn’t be able to describe people this way if they never were this way. You don’t have to find it interesting or ever watch the ep again.

    1. Well said, it changes my view of the episode, although I really didn’t find it lacking. Like you said a lot of anime will leave people expecting the classic reason or life event just because it is commonly done. I can’t blame people for expecting it though since ir is so common. I think it doesn’t need to have it though. It’s just a matter of what people pick up and pay attention to in a plot. It’s easy to be analytical I suppose rather than just enjoying the moment which is what I believe slice of life is all about. Not everyone can understand shyness I suppose.

    2. Agreed. I think it’s easier to enjoy Nako’s arc if you can identify or sympathize with her. She has a realistic form of social phobia, which is something that can either result from many things, or is just something you’re born with and need to battle. As such, she shouldn’t be criticized for needing a reason to be shy.

    3. Couldn’t have said it any better.

      Most of the people expecting Nako to have some sort of back story to explain her shyness have their extrovert-bias glasses on, blindly assuming everyone has to be natural extroverts otherwise they are people with issues.

      As an introvert myself, I can say with confidence that Nako’s behaviour and reactions when interacting with people she knew and people she doesn’t is completely believable. One doesn’t need to be traumatized or have issues in order to be an introvert. They’re just born that way.

      Kinny Riddle
  14. I’m totally surprised that many were disappointed with this episode. For me it was a breath of fresh air! Well maybe because I can relate to Nako so much (in this episode only) that I thought I’m watching an episode about my life. I just hoped that I have an Okami at work who could say to me that being quiet has good points too. =_=

  15. I nearly dropped this series in the last arc,however this episode renew my hope for HanaIro.Just a single episode show too many thing(in good way),nako life,different lifestyles of 4 girls,result from good taken care of customer.The story flow is so smooth and natural from start till the end.

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