Hanasaku Iroha First Impressions

Hanasaku Iroha is very misleading from the prior impressions I had of it—it is much darker then I had anticipated. The series is a slice-of-life/drama series that at the moment is heavy on the drama. There is some humor, but most of is funny in the schadefreunden sense.

Our first scene is that of a girl telling her mother that she is not her daughter. The mother blows her off, and we start to understand the relationship between the two.  That also starts our introduction to the main character 16 year old Ohana, who is living the typical 16 year old sophomore who has no idea what to do her life yet. Really, when you’re a sophomore, who does?

It turns out to be a good thing she has no solid plans as Ohana suddenly finds herself uprooted. Her mom decides to abandon her to run off with her boyfriend, and ships Ohana off to live with her grandmother, who happens to run a hot springs. Her grandmother is only happy to have more help. From there we see Ohana as optimistic clumsy but well-meaning character use techniques that have worked in other animes with these character types to improve her life and make friends only for it each time to blow up in her face and make things worse. At the end of the episode, all I could think is that this girl’s life really sucks.

I really loved the first half of this. The conversation Ohana had with Kon about her not wanting to do anything with her life felt so real, and much like the type of conversation one has 16. On top of that, the scene where Ohana’s mom announces she’s leaving, where Kon confesses, and I could list scene after scene. Everything just fit together so well.

Hint: This never works.

Things were going well when she arrived at the hot spring, but it seemed to go downhill after she got settled in. The formula of the same thing—Ohana try to do a good thing, Ohana pissed someone off, just became stale really fast, and why oh why did her uncle have to grab her ass. However I can forgive it this time as the series was trying to introduce everything that needed to be in all this, and trying to make the introduction a little more interesting. Gah. The introduction phase of any anime just sucks.

P.A. Works being P.A. Works, the visuals are in this are absolutely gorgeous.

Sadly, this is character most like me in real world. On the internet, I'm much nicer, fortunately.

All in all, this has the potential to be a great anime. At the same time, this has the potential to be an okay anime, or an awful anime, and there are signs for all three in the first episode. Well. It’s time to gamble and take the plunge.

11 Replies to “Hanasaku Iroha First Impressions”

  1. If I were to base my impressions solely on the first episode, then it’s gonna be a really solid show. I quite liked the first episode and we got a good feel of the characters already. I especially love how Ohana is portrayed and while she is pretty much a typical spunky 16y/o girl, she has the tiny quirks that really make her stand out.

    I enjoyed the first ep and I really hope they keep the quality up for 26 episodes. They probably will since it’s the anniversary show.

  2. Excellent first impression Janette!
    I think now that with both my own and your impressions, I have a feel that I’m going to enjoying watching the rest of the series as well reading your posts at the same time. Anyways, 26 episodes does seem to be quite a lot, but as with usual “slice-of-life” comedies, time passes by quickly…On a side note, I think Hanasaku Iroha might actually be somewhat different. I remember what you said about the “drama” feel to it, so I think it’ll have more of a centralized story line instead of random events found in other SOF genre anime. Whatever it turns out to be like, I hope Hanasaku Iroha can maintain my interests all the way till the end of Summer 2011 😀

    P.S. Everytime I read “Ohana”, I couldn’t stop but think of “Obama”…lols

    1. Awwww, thanks.

      I’m excited for this to be 26 episodes instead of the usual 13. I’m tired of seeing series crammed into 13 episodes, and hope this makes use of the 26 episode format very well. 😀

      1. NP~ Gotta keep up the positive attitude flowing in a workspace! 😀

        Yeah, the announcement that Hanasaku Iroha would be 26 episodes certainly was a pleasant surprise for me. After the disaster of the Winter 2011 shows, which were all 12-13 episodes long and terribly planned out, I wanted to see some sort of a change in the format.

        I definitely hope the 26 episodes will remain as stunning as this first episode!
        Oh and on a side note, EP 2 has already been aired & subbed!

  3. This is totally drama like anime! I will expect a plot twist in the later episode. Informed that this anime having 26 episode, this totally gonna be a long journey for Ohana learning about true meaning of life(Sometimes life sucks and totally not gonna follow your own way of life). The artwork is quite great. I hope this anime not gonna disappointed me later. >.<

  4. I enjoyed this first episode a LOT more than I expected to. I figured this was going to be one of the series I watch just for the sake of watching during the spring season, but instead…well, I think it’ll keep me coming back for more out of more than a sense of obligation.

  5. Great first impression!
    You’re definitely right about how this episode showed signs of being a great, awful or okay show. There were definitely some moments that really touched me, and others that were pretty meh.
    The grandmother’s definitely something. I really wonder how Ohana’s really gonna survive in the spring inn. :O

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