Bravo, Hana-Saku Iroha! Well done! Awesome episode! This is what I’ve been waiting for!
Seriously, this is the thing that sets Hana-Saku Iroha apart from the other slice of life dramas: when it wants to deliver drama, it really delivers it well, with terrific acting and imaginative set-ups. This episode brought all sorts of events from the series together, and the great thing is that the creators really put in effort to give this episode an as interesting premise as possible while still never tugging at the viewer’s suspense of disbelief. Sure, there are some coincidences, but their timing is used wonderfully, so who cares?
I mean, the creators could have just settled for showing how everyone would move on after the closure of the Kissuiso. Then however, they didn’t just bring in the director again, they actually also showed the test footage he made during his arc, and the creators show it to Kou of all people. There was a ton of character development because of that, and Ohana and Kou only met at the end of this episode.
To think that, in three weeks there finally won’t be any Mari Okada series airing. Ever since 2008, there have only been two seasons in which she DIDN’T write something: Summer 2008, Spring 2009. Apart from that she hasn’t just been churning out one series after the other, but she wrote many of my favourites with only rare moments of weaknesses (really, only Fractale really went wrong, along with perhaps that Kodomo no Jikan OVA; Vampire Knight apparently was a very good adaptation of an unfortunately cheesy manga, and perhaps Kuroshitsuji I was a bit too long for its own sake). My favourite has to be the work she did on adapting the Armed Librarians, with a close second the amazing original script that she wrote for Ano Hana.
As for Hana-Saku Iroha, I remember comparing it to True Tears, noting how it completely lacked its subtlety. After 23 episodes, this still remains the case, but True Tears was the kind of series that really turned its subtlety and ambiguity into its main selling point: you could never tell what the characters were really thinking. Hana-Saku Iroha meanwhile is a lot more blatant, but it has a big knack for creating interesting situations and genuine drama. Overall, if I had to compare the two then I think I’d still prefer True Tears, but that’s mostly because it really had amazing acting, whereas the characters of Hana-Saku Iroha do tend to try a bit too hard at times. I still consider this to be an excellent series though: it took its hiccups, and didn’t just make up for them, but actually used them and made them a core part of the series.
Rating: *** (Awesome)