Obviously there are SPOILERS. I am posting this review a bit early this time because it’s so special.
The Bonbori festival reaches its climax as night arrives and the lanterns are lit. Everyone at the Kissuiso inn has come up with a wish to put on their plaques, including Ohana. Her wish is to become like Sui (awww! c:). After hanging up her plaque on a lantern, she meets up with Ko. Although an awkward moment arises, Ohana is finally able to confess her feelings to Ko, and the two share a yakisoba plate happily while watching the last bit of the festival.
Later that night, the inn workers return to the Kissuiso to celebrate. Once there, Enishi announces that, as he is; he is unable to be the manager of the Kissuiso. Thus, the Kissuiso will close down—but only for a little while. When he feels confident enough to run an inn, he promises that the Kissuiso will re-open its doors. All the inn workers agree to return someday. Thus, Ohana spends one last “sleepover” with the girls (Minko and Nako).
The next day, the inn closes down. As Sui is making one last round around the Kissuiso, she spies Ohana, who missed her train. The two spend a few more moments together before Ohana finally departs. Sui gives Ohana Denroku’s old logbooks as a parting gift, implying that Ohana will take over Denroku’s place should she return to the (re-opened) inn. Ohana tearfully accepts it, and the train speeds off…
The rest of the episode is dedicated to showing where the Kissuiso workers are now. Enishi and Takako are going around to different inns and taking notes; Tohru and Minko have been accepted as cooks at some seafood restaurant; Renji is working as a chef at another inn (hotel?); Tomoe works as a waitress at a restaurant; Nako is teaching swimming lessons; Jiroumaru appears to be working odd jobs while continuing to pursue his writing career; and Denroku finally has some time off in retirement, which he spends with his son’s family. And as for Ohana… well, Ohana’s life is pretty much back to normal from the time before she was sent to live at the inn. She continues school in Tokyo, but she seems much more mature than before (and even has Ko as a boyfriend!). However, Ohana muses that she still has much to learn.
This episode made me teary… but they were happy tears. This was somewhat of a more quiet ending episode, but it’s very fitting for such a relaxing series as Hanasaku Iroha. I’m really glad that we got to see what happened to the other characters after the Kissuiso shut down. It really brings a lot of closure to the series. It would have been awesome to see what happened after the inn reopened too, but I suppose that is better left to the viewer’s imagination.
Ohana finally gets the courage to confess her love to Ko after 26 episodes! In hindsight, it’s a very fitting way to end the series, isn’t it? Ko confessed to Ohana in the first episode, and she confesses to him in the last. It gives a sort of “full circle” kind of feeling. It was a bit agonizing to sit through so many episodes with Ohana angsting over this, but I realize now why the producers decided to do this. I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE SERIES! It’s a good thing most of the angsting is really present in only a few episodes, otherwise it would have just been annoying.
Overall, I am very happy with the way Hanasaku Iroha decided to end. It’s not exactly completely “happy” (as the inn closes down), but it’s not hopeless (the inn will re-open again someday). Also, the animation was simply lovely, especially during the Bonbori Festival parts. I’m glad they didn’t actually skip over that like I thought in the last review.
In the realm of general anime, Hanasaku Iroha would probably stand out for being so different from the norm. It’s not a very action-packed series; it’s not extremely plot-heavy; nor is it full of drama (above everyday drama). In the slice-of-life genre, it would also stand out for being much more “mature” than the standard ones focusing solely on high school girls. While Hanasaku Iroha also focuses on high school-aged girls, it focuses so much more on the aspect of growing up than just school shenanigans (and girls having fun and acting cute). The setting (working at a traditional style inn) allows for the introduction of older characters, which makes it far more relatable to a wider audience. So I guess what I’m trying to say through my ramblings is that… yes, this is a very good series.
I’ll be honest here; slice-of-life things usually aren’t my type of thing to watch. But Hanasaku Iroha manages to be entertaining enough that I was very rarely bored. It manages to be both funny and sad at times; and (most) conflicts are treated with realistic seriousness. It also manages to be relaxing despite all the drama. This is due to its lovely animation and wonderful characters, who all have unique and realistic personalities. None of the characters are shown to be perfect. They all have flaws; but at the end of the day, they all still manage to be friends.
Although the episodes are somewhat slow at times and I don’t think I would ever have the patience to re-watch this series again; the character development in Hanasaku Iroha is top-notch. Even though Ohana is the designated “main character,” the focus often switches to other characters, showing that the world does not revolve around one person alone. The events depicted in the series might not always be realistic, but it manages keep itself in the boundaries of reality quite well.
This is definitely an anime I would recommend to a lot of people, young and old alike. It isn’t chock-full of fanservice, and the themes present can be related to by people of all ages (in different ways, of course). Even if you hate slice-of-life anime, you should give Hanasaku Iroha a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Out of five for this episode:
For the series as a whole: