Posted on 25 September 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Hana-Saku Iroha




Hana-Saku Iroha…. is an interesting one. Probably the best way to start a review about it is to warn that it can be quite misleading when you start watching it. This series has two wonderfully written opening episodes that have a ton of well written drama, only followed by episodes of random slice of life hi-jinks.

This is a criticism, it takes time to get used to, but also: once this show finds its pace, it delivers a unique slice of life series. The thing is however, that it doesn’t care whether or not it annoys its viewers. This can be great for realism, but this series always tries to take this a bit beyond the comfort zone by inserting random stupidity at times. Throughout the series there will be plenty of teenaged romance angst, random yelling, characters who turn a mosquito into an elephant. Oh, and a depraved writers of smutty romance novels.

And on the other hand we have this series’ brilliant ability to write drama. Seriously, the characters in this series can get annoying, but their development is absolutely wonderful. When it wants to, it can create strong conflicts, character-development focused scenarios and heart-warming dialogue without getting cheesy. Especially in the second half the cast (and with that I mean nearly the entire cast, not just the main characters) develops into engaging characters, with everyone making some sort of impact.

What also helps is that PA Works really put in effort to make this series a feast for the eyes. The art and animation is crisp and fluid, the background art is gorgeous. This was really intended as their celebration for their 10th year anniversary, and they really succeeded here. Hana-Saku Iroha celebrates working and taking responsibility. And through its characters, it really turned that into a wonderful message.

Storytelling: 8/10 – There are scenes that come off as stupid and annoying, especially in the first half. When this series gets serious though, it really delivers excellent drama.
Characters: 9/10 – They will get on your nerves, but their chemistry is excellent, they’re really well used, and their development is top notch.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Clean and crisp. A feast for the eyes.
Setting: 8/10 – Good themes, although it does tend to ignore the borders of realism at times.

Suggestions:
True Tears
Konnichiwa Anne
Les Miserables – Shoujo Cosette

13 Responses

  1. Puran says:

    I have a feeling you’ve become a bit stricter with your scores. You’ve just scored two series 85, while when I was reading the review, your words made me believe you would rate them at 90 (and I mean this and Kami-sama). Not complaining, just making an observation. (maybe natsume is pushing everything else downwards? :P )

    Still this show was a nice surprise. I wasn’t expecting anything when I started it and it turned to be a really good slice of life series. The only fault I can find is that the first 2 episodes prepared me for a different series than the one we got. But that’s not necessarily bad.

  2. Hogart says:

    This show turned out alright, once I figured out what the heck it wanted to be. Thank goodness they didn’t botch the ending.

    I enjoyed the show when it was about the situation between Ohana, her mom, and her grandma. But the rest, especially the stuff about her uncle, really dragged it down for me.

    I think if they put more effort into showing me the inn was a great place, rather than having characters say so over and over, I would be far more taken with this series.

    That, and I think I’ve developed a violent aversion to the phrase “fest it up” and Minko’s various lame insults :S

  3. Skoopman says:

    I’m glad I watched this Anime and every, really EVERY Anime studio should take an example of the animation quality and beautiful backgrounds deliverd by PA Works. I really don’t know how they kept up the great animation throughout all the 24 episodes, but I applaud them. Of course the series had it’s ups and downs, but overall it was really good.

  4. Firechick says:

    Whoa! Psgels, you’re actually putting Konnichiwa Anne as a recommendation with Hanasaku Iroha? If I remember correctly, you were rather harsh on that anime (though for good reason).

    And yeah, I’m glad this anime ended. For me, it’s only flaw was Minko being a brat throughout the entire show!

  5. info600 says:

    The only interesting thing I’d say here is that Ohana’s development can be related to the show itself only because they both have an identity crisis…and the fact that they were resolved at the same time…

  6. Ray says:

    The creators should have stuck with the smartly written, awesome drama as was evident in the first two episodes instead of the moronic, clowny claptrap filler employed throughout most of it.

    It is as if the writers just tossed everything in the garbage early on only to go back to try and dig it out when the show only had a few episodes left in its run.

    If they really wanted to do a funny/comedic with some seriousness/drama sprinkled in here and there, maybe they might’ve learned something from Skip Beat. At least in that show, Kyoko’s anger is relatable and the situations she’s put in have a great balance of comedy and drama when it fits. I feel that Hana-Saku Iroha was never able to really accomplish this at all.

    I mentioned earlier how much this show had so much wasted potential and looking back over its run; it really shows this fact to a nagging, almost aggravating degree. To me, Ohana herself is the biggest disappointment. She had the potential to become the most awesome, kick-ass female protagonist in a slice-of-life show to face challenges head on with such an admirable intensity and really make her an endearing person – and yet the show COMPLETELY abandons this angle very early on. Instead, they craft Ohana into this overly emotional, selfish (yes, she really is), “fest it up” annoying balyut that embodies many of the clichés of other female anime leads into one package.

    To close, despite my obvious personal dislike of Ohana, I think most have said and will agree that this show continuously failed to truly know what it wanted to be and/or accomplish with the time it had.

  7. gan says:

    Whoa 85?That was a surprise.I was expecting at least 87,5! I guess as some people have mentioned earlier you have become strict with your scores :P
    Btw don’t you think that ‘Production Values’ could have received a 10?The animation of this series was,without a doubt,superb!

  8. Blue Bomber says:

    ^^^ +1 on production values. The colors, lighting, consistency of quality, etc. were just amazing in this series. Even when the plot waned, the animation never let up. One of the reasons I kept up with the show. ;)

  9. Joojoobees says:

    The strength of this show was really the gorgeous visuals. I’m so glad they delivered a compelling Bonbori festival, it was one of the two keys to this ending on a positive note for me. The other was Ohana’s grandmother who was a great character, and very unusual both in complexity and to have a character of that age who was at all realistic.

    I wouldn’t say I really cared for most of what happened in the middle, but I’m happy I watched the show, nonetheless.

  10. Akari Mizunashi says:

    “At least in that show, Kyoko’s anger is relatable and the situations she’s put in have a great balance of comedy and drama when it fits. I feel that Hana-Saku Iroha was never able to really accomplish this at all.”

    Excellent reference to Skip Beat, Ray; I tend to think of that show as one of the most underrated in the past few years. This is exactly how I felt while watching the show: the drama was always forced, the character’s actions were never believable and the show never did anything but cater to a teenager anime fan’s angsty mind.

    I’m not one of these people that were upset about the abrupt change in direction post episode 2; teenage drama of any kind is usually not my cup of tea regardless of quality. NONETHELESS, I can attest to the fact that the vast majority of the series compares poorly to the first 2 episodes and the finale in terms of writing&direction.

    My personal motto is that if you aren’t going to make things believable, if you aren’t going to write meaningful scenarios and if you aren’t going to do drama right…you may as well not do it at all. I clearly do not share the same motto with many directors. Thus solely for the sake of the captivating art, I attempted to endure watching this show week to week.

    At the end of the day the only reason I am sore is because the background art and visual/atmospheric effects were just too wonderfully gorgeous. It pains me that it was absolutely wasted on a show of such undeservingly shallow content.

  11. Will says:

    To be honest, Hanasaku was a big disappointment. This is really a case where the production team put everything in the style and particularly nothing in the content.

  12. MAruu says:

    Hana-Saku Iroha excite me.. and so interesting :)

  13. rampart says:

    Hanasaku Iroha is a beautiful anime..visually. The animation, the charater design and the background drawing all was superbly drawn throughout the series. Its very hard to find any flaws at all in term of the animation qualities.

    The storyline however, is only moderate at best. Even at the story’s climax, I found it really bland and not as exciting as it could have been. It tried to be a warm and touching, but could suffered bit from overly cheesy dialogue and storyline. At times I felt like it would a drag just to continue to watching the next episode.Its the kind of anime that when it’s over you just stare blankly at the screen and ask ‘…what was it all about again?’

    do not get me wrong though. it is still a good anime. The beautifully done art and animation alone could possibly make it worth watching. Although I was hoping for something that touches my heart more than just my senses. I would still recommend anyone to give it a try.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Friend
    (Thursday, Apr 17. 2014 02:52 PM)
    @Aidan dat straightforwardness XD
    Sidonia is a little strange, Ill have to see how well it sticks for a few more episodes.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Apr 17. 2014 10:28 AM)
    @Roger, It’s funny just how little it took for you to say “Screw you guys. I’m going home.”
    Rather flaky if you ask me. Not that you would be missed of course.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Apr 17. 2014 09:04 AM)
    *typoed an M instead of a , =<
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Apr 17. 2014 09:03 AM)
    *isn’t felt as much.
    I actually that while he drew the monsters and robots pretty well and was as always dependable drawing the scenery his modern art actually loses alot of his older style actually benifitted from.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Apr 17. 2014 09:01 AM)
    Sidonia no kishi volumes 1 through 8: All in all compotent, decent m average enough to stick with and even buy the rest of it. The setting, tech/science is fine, its not trapped by exposition and when the action shows up its enjoyable to look at/read, good designs on the monsters too. However the flow/pace of it is a bit off, it drags, meanders a bit, its too mainstream for that author and favours poorly in comparison to the rest of his work. The athmosphere, roughness, grit isn’t felt.
  • Roger
    (Thursday, Apr 17. 2014 08:48 AM)
    Seems my Mushi-shi post finally showed up, so I guess ill just abandon that Nickname to avoid the issue.
  • Roger
    (Thursday, Apr 17. 2014 08:46 AM)
    @psgels I posted as Spike coincidentally my shoutboxes also disappear when using that name
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Apr 17. 2014 08:41 AM)
    I guess a moderation system wouldn’t necessarily be of the cards, I too tend to find all the bots pretty annoying too.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Apr 17. 2014 08:39 AM)
    I have noticed on occassion that the shoutbox window will sometimes “red out” when links are posted and then it won’t go through,this is for short messages mind, not long ones. For example it never lets me link animefans ftw.
  • psgels
    (Thursday, Apr 17. 2014 08:20 AM)
    The thing is, I do not try to moderate my comments unless things become really bad, but I’m very rigorous on deleting spambots. Seriously, you do not want to know how many spam comments I have to deal with. >.<

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Clipboard01

Mushishi Season 2 – 02

Oh yes. This is it. This is what storytelling should be about: telling real stories about real people, all with their own problems that need to be overcome. And this show does that time and time again in just one episode. I still can’t believe how authentic this series is. The thing is, when I […]

Clipboard02

Mushishi – Tokubetsu-hen

Mushishi holds a really special place in my heart. Back in November 2005, when I started up this blog, Mushishi was one of the first shows I picked up to cover weekly. At first I didn’t think much behind it: it just looked interesting and I wanted to cover it, but as it went on […]

Seasonal Anime Podcast – First Impressions – 2013 Fall Anime Season

Hey everyone, I participated in a podcast again, together with Deadlights (Deadlight’s Anime Blog) Flawfinder (Standing on my Neck) and Slashe (Behind the Nihon Review) with two new members, Landon (Mecha Guignol) and Tom (Nigorimasen) Today we talked about the past Fall season. You can find the link here, enjoy: http://deadlightanime.blogspot.nl/2013/10/seasonal-anime-podcast-first_12.html

OVA Impressions: Kurenai – 02

Why was this made? I mean, apart from completely raping the Kurenai TV-Series, perhaps? If I were someone who reads manga, this would totally take away any motivation I would have had to buy and check out the manga. Please, someone. Tell me that the manga is more than just this endless string of silly […]

Mushishi Review – 94/100

Mushishi is one of those rare series you can only run into once in a long while. it consists out of 26 episodes, and each of these episodes tells a story about ordinary people, living in the quiet areas of medieval Japan and their encounters with the creatures called Mushi. Only a select few can […]

Mushishi – 26 – Sadly, This Anime Has Ended

Seriously. Mushishi managed to pick an AWESOME story for the final episode. It’s sad to see this anime finally go, one year after it started airing. Hoping for a second season would be rather false hope. Still, this show has been awesome. Definitely something to recommend to anyone. The story mostly takes place during Ginko’s […]

Mushishi – 25 – What to choose: Light or Darkness?

I’ve been looking forward to another episode of Mushishi. It seems that it doesn’t know how to deliver a bad episode. Each of the stories presented works so incredibly well, dealing with a different problem every single time. This time, we have a little girl, who’s blind. She encounters a mushi, Ganpuku. This mushi gives […]

Mushishi – 24 – Fake Fire

Mushishi returns with the same outstanding quality of its stories once more. This time has yet another happy ending. I really loved it. The case is like this: we have this village which has its own Mushishi. On one day, they run into a yet to be identified Mushi. It came from a vulcanic rock, […]

Mushishi – 23 – Voice

The series had normal episodes, and it had awesome episodes. It’s the same with the OVA. Episode 21 was perfect in every single way. Episode 22 was amazing, despite its flaws. Episode 23 shows us a standard Mushishi-story again. It’s about a disease, which causes limbs and body-parts to become stiff and unmovable. It’s being […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]

Clipboard01

Yahari Ore no Seishun no Love Come wa Machigatteiru Review – 82,5/100

I like surprises, like when a series comes that just turns out to be good against my expectations. Yahari Blahblah from the outside had all the signs to turn into yet another one of those high school comedies: snarky male lead, pointlessly long title that fails at being witty, various other cliched side-characters. And they […]