Hanasaku Iroha: What does “Fest it up” even mean anyway?

You know, that show by PA works with a sexy heron in it, about girls and a hot spring inn.

OOH MR HERON OOOH

My honest opinion: The heron deserves more screen time than the stupid porn writer or Enishing.

Honestly, I didn’t really think much about Hanasaku Iroha for the initial few episodes. For one, it was airing alongside another anime about a flower whose name we still don’t know and crazy stuff like [C]. I simply passed it off as some average coming of age story about a girl’s adventures at a hot spring inn (and somehow, a classmate of mine managed to convince me to watch it). My guess wasn’t far off, but Hanasaku Iroha turned out to be far more entertaining than I expected.

The plot premise was indeed rather like a fairytale despite Ohana eventually realizing it was most definitely not one: A girl with possibly the best mother in the world (cough) gets sent to work at some inn where everyone (her grandmother, her 2 co workers especially that bad tempered kitchen girl who keeps telling her to go die) seems to hate her and life just keeps throwing her into all sorts of pinches (getting all tied up by a perverted porn writer who can’t even tie her up without her help anyone?). And then things get better, she made up with the 2 girls, became friends, learned a bunch of life lessons, made up with her mother (who in turn made up with HER mother) and despite all the messy love declarations, occasional inn related issues and that stupid sexy heron that keeps harassing her, Ohana earns her well deserved happy ending with her self declared crush who never gets any screen time, Ko.

He gets so little screen time that he has to get into a flowery adorable apron dress just to show up in a dream sequence.

In fact, Hanasaku Iroha tries to stir up the whole emotional family/coming of age/romance/working drama that I had a period of time when i kept thinking this anime was based on some Korean drama and either Ohana, Ko, Sui or Tohru would probably die in a car accident in the finale. I meant it in a good way though, the drama were the only parts that was worth watching in the entire show. PA works just sucks that bad at pacing. Please, some one explain to me why Angel Beats only got 13 episodes and Hanasaku iroha 9which could easily have been summarized into 13 episodes if we got rid of the school trip arc, the whole movie thing, the omurice issue and all other boring parts) was somehow stretched into a 26 episode long anime. Somehow, it seems like they deviated from a show about Ohana to everyone else in the midst of trying to show that Ohana changed the Kissuiso and its people.

Actually, i sat down watching the final episode with a packet of tissue beside me, you know, just in case – since I’m prone to tears- but disappointingly, the finale just didn’t really meet my expectations. It was a nice twist though, how Enishing, the useless son who can’t accomplish anything without his mother, Wife or Sister finally realized just how badly he sucks at handling a inn and giving in to His mother’s idea of closing down the Kissuiso. It left a nice warm feeling in the end but it kind of makes you want more and go “thats it?”.And after enduring the whole shitty second portion (school trip, movie, omurice, arrrgh…) I was desperately hoping for a mind blowing finale. Sure this ending was really nice and all but its just not enough.

But the tears just won't fall!

Disappointing plot aside, I enjoyed the characterization in Hanasaku Iroha a lot. You would either love the characters or hate them. Everyone except Jiroumaru and  Enishing seems to end up on my “love” side though; but thats just because I’m a nice and accepting person. Ohana is just way too energetic and optimistic that it gets on my nerves at times, Minko seems to get into mood swings and PMS for no reason in particular as often as… well she does it a lot. Nako is lovable and all but she is just way too shy and insecure that it causes trouble. Don’t get me started on Takako… Her Engrish drives me nuts but you could see in the marriage episode that she is a pretty determined woman who has far more guts than her husband ever will. Tomoe was really lovable. Her only sole feature episode had me hooked and amused from start till end whereas Ren-san and Tohru are like the awkward kitchen idiot duo.

Yuina is a special case though: she appears to be an air head with her weird interests and accent of the week but she’s also pretty observant and has some hidden depths which sadly wasn’t explored enough. In fact, the entire arc trying to feature her was pretty darn shitty I fell asleep though one of them. The best thing about Yuina would be her seating on a massage chair and speaking in a wobbly voice. And making advances on the other girls.

DAT WINK.

I hold no faults against the 3 women of Shijima though. Sure, The 2 older women ruined their impressions in the very first episode: dumping your own daughter with your mother who disowned you and running off to eat lobster with a random man who owed debts; slapping 2 poor girls… Satsuki just came off as the absolute (worst) mother of the year and I just suddenly gained respect for Sui after the whole slapping incident: I mean, Ohana and Minko totally deserved it (in my opinion) and my own mother would probably lash out more than just a few slaps. I digress, the 2 elder Shijima women really shone in the episodes when Satsuki came to visit. Sui was just a mother who worked far too diligently and had absolutely zero skills in showing affection to her children. Satsuki was just really messed up and show affection to Ohana in her own unique ways.

The utterly messed up Shijima family situation was pretty well portrayed, how Grandma madam manager Sui is the neglecting abusive parent and Enishing being the forever inferior younger sibling; Satsuki the rebellious spunky daughter that does not get enough love. This gets passed down onto the next generation and the 3 generations of Shijima women… well they are all pretty awesome; a pity that their son is just complete utter useless rubbish.

I don’t think there is enough of the family drama being explored but instead we are treated with the whole “everyone is thick and oblivious to love” hexagon (or something -gon, fails math). Lets see now:

Bookstore girl > Ko x Ohana < (?) Tohru < Minko < Many of Minko’s fanboys.

honestly, this gets on my nerves more than Omelet rice. At least sloppy Omurice still tastes good, what the hell is the love dodecahedron even good for other than making the overly dragged slow plot even more unbearable than it already is.

Best couple in hanasaku Iroha

Yes, it got so boring that looking at all the conspicuously CG-ed background and scenery was probably more interesting than the episode itself at times. This IS PA Works we are talking about. Beautiful scenery is one of their biggest selling points. I can’t really say much about Music though. I love the songs used such as the OP and 2nd OP which sounded really great and all but seriously, the vocalist of nanoRIPE gets on my nerves even more than Omurice.

The only song Tohru has in his van stereo (Lets party~) is probably the best song in the whole anime.

Honestly I don’t know how to react to Hanasaku Iroha ending. I mean it has its moments but everything from episode 14 and onwards was (once again) complete utter rubbish until the final story arc. Part of me wants more because there are many things that i want to see in the story but they wasted time doing the episodes on Enishing and omurice. On the other hand, good riddance, its finally over.

The Only thing Jiroumaru done right: What could have been...

Kind of an impulse thing: I blame @fkeroge, CyborgCommunist and too much maths homework.

Be right back in 2 weeks time when my study break for GCE O levels start/Why is this post so darn long/I really should be asleep but I’m not so yea…

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15 Responses to Hanasaku Iroha: What does “Fest it up” even mean anyway?

  1. Neko_fishie says:

    Takako, ” anyshing!”,”time is money”,”nothing venture, nothing win”. so full of lulz.

  2. tsurugiarashix says:

    Thought “Fest it up” was just Ohana’s weird Engrish way of saying being honest and laying everything bare.

    With regards to characters, I also kind of had a disapproval look at Satsuki at first, but she was not at all bad I seen her as. She cares for Ohana, but it is in her own little way like you said, sadly that I can not express clearly. On the other hand, it did turn Ohana into a self-efficient person that can look after herself. Sui, she grew on me as the epsiodes went by and turned out to be one the more interesting characters of the series. Although I do agree, poor Einshing has no place in a female dominated family, lol.

    • Azure says:

      I have no idea, she seems to use it in nearly any context.

      Sui’s own parenting methods did turn Satsuki into that confident and independent spunky girl. But unlike Sui who wants her to be self dependent and responsible, Satsuki ended up being the irresponsible parent who left everything to Ohana. I really like the paralells of the 3 generations of Shijima women.

  3. lvlln says:

    This sums up pretty well my own thoughts on Hanasaku Iroha. Budding Flower’s First Step indeed. Was capable of having legitimately good highs, but also a lot of lows in between. The comparison to a Korean drama seems appropriate.

  4. LOL. So me and @fkeroge influenced u to don Yuri Goggles??? XD
    Either way, I’ve still heard really positive stuff about Hanasaku Iroha and i still regret not starting on it as it aired.
    Ur review is kinda refreshing from the other blogs just yelling at u to watch the eff-ing show XD
    And good luck on ya “O” levels. Dun worry, i’ll suffer the same pain next year XD

    • Azure says:

      No, I was keeping them on my forehead like all those Digimon protagonists until Sono hanabira came along.
      I was actually trying to get people to watch the show selectively, some episodes are must watch whereas others should never be seen. Guess writing with sleep deprivation makes me more negative than usual.
      Well, good luck with your EOYs anyway, they’re around the corner right?

  5. Will says:

    I did enjoy this series a lots actually, but I don’t find it to be particularly good. Still, after it was done, I still place the first episode as the best of the series. And thanks that you mention that it is comparable to a korean drama,the anime makes more sense to me now.

    • Azure says:

      I understand how you feel but I gradually opened up to some of the less likable characters so I managed to at least find short moments of enjoyment in each episode no matter how bad it was.

  6. Marow says:

    “Fest it up” is a great phrase, I love it. I interpret it as something along the lines of having to overcome the hardships and move on, all with a great mood. Kind of like “bite into the sour apple”, but in a more positive light. You can do it if you try. Or something like that. Who knows.

    Ambiguous phrasing indeed…

  7. glothelegend says:

    YESSSSSSSS THE HERON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ALL HAIL THE KING HERON!!!!!

  8. Overlord-G says:

    I’ll repeat what I said a few minutes ago somewhere else: I was too busy enjoying the show to even care about what “Fest it up” meant. I just figured it was a silly way of saying “do your best” and moved on. I had Nako’s perfection to fawn over, Yuina’s…Yuinaness to amuse me, Ohana’s 1000 faces and hair, Satsuki’s charm that seemed to turn every teenager (of both sexes) on except me, struggling to like Minko and other good stuff about the show that got my attention.

  9. This series ran way too long and they could have cut half of it without losing anything. The middle had me going like “whyyyyyyyyy does this exiiiiiiiiist”. I didn’t understand.

    And I wish Ko had gotten more screen time. He was a sweetheart when he WAS there.

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