Hanasaku Iroha – Wonderful and heart-warming.

Note: This review is spoiler-free. I’ll be avoiding any major events in the episode and mostly talking about the mood and initial characters. Most of the episode is left out.

Today I opened up a few of this season’s new shows, starting with Hanasaku Iroha. As with most shows, I only go by what I see on the Cart Driver (or previously chartfag) listings. I like to start a show with as little bias as possible. To begin, here’s a brief premise of the show:

“Hanasaku Iroha centers around 16-year-old Ohana Matsumae who moves from Tokyo to out in the country to live with her grandmother at an old hot spring inn named Kissuisō. Ohana begins working at the inn and makes friends with the other employees.”


I was expecting one of your typical naïve, slice of life episodic series focused on a cute girl who slowly learns what is important in life. While this does seem to be what we’re going to get, the show starts out strong and presents a very unique mood. The main character, Ohana, is absolutely adorable without trying to hard (Think Taiga, but not tsundere and much calmer). This is supplemented by her personality, which is presented with depth long before any of the naïvety and cuteness come into play.

We are first introduced to Ohana as she is preparing dinner while her mother, Satsuki, is typing away at a laptop. We quickly figure out that Satsuki is a single mother. Her character comes off as bold and a little childish.

We move quickly on to school, where Ohana is relaxing with her close friend, Kōichi. She is playful with him, and right away it’s obvious that he likes her. As they are walking home, we are introduced to the subtle mood of the show that is endearing, tranquil, and ultimately memorable if they keep it up. It first caught my attention when Ohana is lightly chided by her friend, and replies, “Ruin myself”, huh? I like it. Sounds dramatic.”

Oh, and did I mention that Ohana is absolutely adorable? Her character design is beautiful, especially that wavy, blonde hair. That being said, the art style throughout the show is fantastic. Attention is paid to detail in the foreground and background with little noticeable compensation. Frames are smooth, but don’t feel computer generated. Definitely a treat for the eyes.

“What boring scenery. A mere fraction of sky is visible; the rest blocked by tall buildings. A transient escape on a packed train, as the sunset dyes the city vermillion.”Ohana

I have to applaud P.A. Works on doing a good job at getting you hooked early. All of the stunning artwork in the scenery and dialogue is very well done.

“I do like this time of day, though. Lights flicker on, one by one, illuminating my path. I hope they also light the way to my future. And i hope that, at the end of that path, I’ll have changed for the better.” -Ohana

Foreshadowing for the theme of the series.

We soon learn that Satsuki and her boyfriend will be running away to avoid debt collectors, and she decides to send Ohana to live with her grandmother. A little cliché, but a necessary plot device.

“The scenery outside reflects the feelings in my heart.” -Ohana

And so our little heroine departs, leaving the city and her friends to live with her Grandmother at a hot spring inn in the mountains.

I absolutely loved this first episode, and have great expectations for the rest of the series. I highly recommend that you try out the first episode. It’s heart warming and the main character is so cute I literally wanted to jump up and hug her the entire time.

Let me know how you feel about it as well. Until next time~

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About Anima

"You know, when you're standing on the platform at the station, don't you have things that cross your mind. Like, what would happen if you jumped?"
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22 Responses to Hanasaku Iroha – Wonderful and heart-warming.

  1. afkeroge says:

    No!!!!! You beat me to it! 😄

    Anyway, I have the same thoughts, so I’ll give up on doing an episode summary. I’ll just do something else.

    This has turned out to be a jewel in terms of art. I practically felt nosebleeds coming from the beauty of the backgrounds alone. This is proof that anime lives!

    • afkeroge says:

      Not to mention that Ohana is friggin’ cute! One of the best character designs of the season! 😄

    • afkeroge says:

      Oh, and if I remember correctly, is the line from your author profile from Shigofumi?

      • Anima says:

        Haha, yes it is! I realized I had no quote on my Gravatar, and that was the most memorable one that I read lately. I just started Shigofumi based on Feal87’s review of it. Fantastic!

        And yes, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. The artwork, the cuteness, everything! Such a great series, and a great way to start the season. Sorry for beating you to it, I just felt the intense urge to screenshot and write after watching it. xD

  2. TRazor says:

    Going to watch it in an hour. The art looks gorgeous though. I hope it lives up to the hype I gave it in my Spring 11 Preview…

  3. Justin says:

    Glad I’m not the only one who liked the first episode!

  4. Pingback: Hanasaku Iroha – Wonderful and heart-warming. (via Ambivalence , or is it ambiguity?) « @fkeroge: On Anime and Reason

  5. Marina says:

    It’s interesting, this show wasn’t even on my horizon when I glanced through the spring charts some months ago. But after d/l the first ep. on a whim and glancing through it quickly to check out the visuals, I was pleasantly surprised. Reading your post, as well as some others, verifies that this may be a show I’ll want to keep up with this season.

  6. EmperorG says:

    It’s no surprise whatsoever that I’m going to continue watching this show. It won me over from the very first dialogue between the mother and daughter. I expect many good things from this one.

    • Anima says:

      I have to agree, they set the show’s mood quickly and keep it going strong. Fantastic. I also noticed those first few lines between Satsuki and Ohana. 🙂

  7. baka~ says:

    Kanae Itou’s solid acting as Ohana brought out the carefree emotion from her and I guess that’s one factor to consider why her character sold-out effectively. Not to mention, the first episode did deliver some interesting lines such as the ones sampled above and I think most anime viewers have a penchant for individuals spouting GAR ‘dramatic’ lines

    • Anima says:

      I forgot to comment on the voice acting, which is fantastic in this episode. That’s at least half of the battle for believable characters. 🙂

  8. lvlln says:

    I enjoyed the first ep quite a bit and see a lot of potential, but I’ve seen PA Works mess up after starting strong a couple times. Not just mess up a little either, these were outright disasters. Will this be the show where PA Works finally comes through? Could it be to them what Haruhi was to KyoAni? I’ll be watching with cautious pessimism.

  9. Nopy says:

    I really wasn’t expecting Hanasaku Iroha to be as good as it turned out to be. The first episode set the bar extremely high, and I hope PA Works can pull of the remaining 25 without crashing and burning in the end.

  10. ~xxx says:

    I must Watch it NOWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I must Download it NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Jo says:

    Well it is PA Works 10th Anniversary project… so I’ve got high hopes for this one. Looks like they poured everything into this show…and it definitely shows..
    Ah scenery porn..

    =)

  12. hoshiko says:

    I really like the first episode of this series. I wasn’t interested at first cuz the summary I read of the chart sounded boring. I’m glad I gave this a try, and I’ve decided to follow the series just to see how things turn out later. Very nicely done – for the first episode that is.

  13. Will says:

    Original production + Anniversary = Obligatory win.
    In other words, P.A can’t fuck this up, they just can’t.

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