This was a wonderful conclusion to the past arc. Instead of using the midway climax as the most dramatic of the episodes so far, it was actually really warm-hearted and entirely focused on character development. Ohana’s mother’s visit was very down to earth and it showed something new about pretty much the entire family. Ohana’s mother’s advice and presence really brought change to this series.
I especially loved that the characters weren’t afraid to use liquor in this. That always turns out to be a great way to flesh out characters. It’s a bit weird for Ohana to get drunk on soda, but the way it finally made her lay out her feelings was really worth it. It also was quite unexpected that Ohana’s grandmother suddenly started drinking. Through this episode you could really see that Ohana, her mother and her grandmother are related: they’re all big workers, even though their personalities are completely different. The only oddball here is Ohana’s uncle: this episode really established him as a third wheel, and I suspect that the rest of this series is going to make use of that.
Also, since next week will be a beach episode, it’s clear now what format this show is going to follow. Setting aside the fact that beach episodes are bloody overused, this show will follow about the same format as Tiger & Bunny: the first half has random episodes with a long climax, the second half also has random episodes followed by a bit of a longer climax.
That’s not a bad thing by the way. When an episodic series is done well, it’s the second half where its episodes really start to shine because it’s there where the characters really start to show themselves off, and it’s here where the creators can really play with their development.It’s been a while since we’ve had series like this, so I’m quite interested to find out whether Hana-Saku Iroha and Tiger & Bunny can pull them off again. It’s a format that I really like because it can lead to a lot of variety. Whether or not we’ll already see this with the beach episode though… I’m not sure…
Rating: ** (Excellent)