April 19, 2011

Hana-Saku Iroha Ep3: All Tied Up

Posted in Hana-Saku Iroha tagged , , , at 7:06 pm by meotwister5

It’s a… very different and somewhat jarring change of pace for a show built on as a semi-serious show about growing up in a world very foreign from the hustle and bustle of the modern city.  I guess wherever you go, there will always be perverted writers with bondage fetishes dreaming of a Pulitzer Prize for writing the novel of the century about high school girls getting it on in a sparkly and steamy bath fantasy.

Or maybe not.

He ties her up and stuffs her in his room.  I forget this guy’s name, but he was bold enough to kidnap Ohana, tie her up turtle bondage style and try to make a steamy novel based on her and most of the younger workers of the Kissuiso.  Ohana is, for her part, apparently more than willing to be an active participant to his schemes after he reveals that he’s a worried and anxious man trying to make a name for himself despite his boasting.  One presumes a sad excuse for Stockholm’s, or more like she really wants to help him overcome his issues and become the writer he has always aspired to.  Que some strange hijinks from everyone else and you’ve got a serious change of pace for a show that was itself serious to begin with.

As the above screen shows, this a very steamy fanservice scene in a comedy episode.  In certain respects you have to give it to Okada for trying to get this show into other things aside from the more dramatic coming-of-age tale it is about.  It is itself a genuinely funny episode full of absurd hilarity after a lot of the cast got hit by the temporary idiot stick as they chase down our loliconous writer down to the coast in his depression filled rampage.  They, of course, try to save him from his personal hell, and in the end he is saved by the one everyone was expecting to come out of her shell, but probably not this early in the show.  I again would be lying if I said this episode wasn’t genuinely funny for the most part.

The real problem with the episode is that this was a very radical and abrupt change of pace for a show that built a foundation of a balance between a light hearted slice of life show in the rural areas and a dramatic coming of age tale for a young girl plucked from her city life and dropped into a country inn in the middle of nowhere.  Now we get a fanservice-y episode involving the main character who seems a little too willing to involve herself in the guy’s perverted fantasies alongside his anxieties and fears, and the rest of the cast who seemed so distant and hostile now banding together on some sort of witch hunt.  This is all well and good as a single episode, but it clashes with the previous two considering we;re seeing it this early in the run.  There doesn;t seem to be enough material in the base of the premise as of yet to try a temporary change of gears this early, putting a bit of an odd impression on the viewer who has yet to decide what kind of show they think this is.

It doesn’t make it bad per se, but it puts a bit of confusion on the show’s identity, just like Ohana’s own search for herself and place.  Perhaps such a comparison was intentional?

The episode does manage to prove to me that even if the internal consistency of the episode started to break apart at the seams, a very well written and well characterized main character can prop up the show on their shoulders. While this was practically silly by all accounts considering what the first two episodes showed, Ohana’s oddball mix of youthful audacity and her slightly jaded world view managed to save it and show the consistency of her character while everyone else was getting slapped silly by the idiot stick. I think the episode managed to show how much the show will likely be a character driven one as opposed to a plot driven one, and such shows can only succeed if the main character can carry themselves and the rest of the cast no matter what quality of writing the episodes have. From that perspective, this was perhaps an episode that was meant to showcase what Ohana would be capable of no matter what kind of events life throws her way.

For this she was thrown quite the odd pitch, but she managed to hit it out of the park and prove to me why she seems to be more than capable of helming the ship. Again, it makes me affirm my belief that she is perhaps one of the most intriguing and dynamic female characters of recent years, strong enough to carry a show when it is needed.

Episodes like this are fun once in a while, but I do hope that this doesn’t become the tone and pace of the show from now on.  Comedy isn’t bad in this show, but as a show built primarily on one girl’s quest for herself in the world outside, seeing her tied up in fetish bondage doesn’t help that approach a lot.

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