May 10, 2011

Hana-Saku Iroha Ep6: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Win (Gained!)

Posted in Hana-Saku Iroha tagged , , , at 1:20 pm by meotwister5

The above statement, slightly corrected, as stated by the management consultant obvious doesn’t make any damn sense as a corrupted modification of a popular statement.  Of course, it doesn’t deny the fact that the inn’s patronage has been slipping over the years, something that even madame herself admits is true.  The statement though still manages to encapsulate the core problem the inn faces, as well as perhaps one of the more important life lessons Ohana needs to learn as she lives and works in a setting that she considers her new home.

Choose your weapon.

Early morning cleaning gets interrupted as a management consultant arrives at the inn, under the monthly request of Enishi, to try and spice up the place and bring back the inn’s clientèle alongside it’s older glitz and glamor.  Much of this, of course, includes dressing up the staff in various costumes, changing greeting approaches, and generally trying to be more mainstream.  This does not sit well with the madame manager of course, and while we question if Enishi had also other issues as to why he invited her here, it only takes a little while before miss consultant bolts away under the agreeing eye of Ohana’s grandmother.

Ohana of course tried to play along with it because she, herself, agrees that the inn could use some help, and with the consultant gone has a few ideas of herself.

There is NO WAY IN HELL you don't want this.

It’s a bit of a fanservice-y episode again, like the novelist section, but in a different way of course.  Fanservice is practically a fact of life in anime, but what’s good in a way for this episode is that it didn’t rely on stupidly suggestive forms of nudity and fanservice to get the intent across.  Call it cosplay fanservice if you want, it’s probably a more correct definition for the episode.  Many people have complained that the service detracts from the laid back slice-of-life-ish approach of the show, but so far in whatever shape or form that we’ve gotten of it, it’s been very much non-obstructive of the story and in ways have helped flesh out the characters, specifically that of Ohana the willing participant.

At the very least it shows that while she’s not above the more risqué  to get things done, it also shows that she is willing to do what she thinks she must for her new home.

Naturally.

Ohana’s grandmother has been shown to be a rather antagonistic character in the show, at least to Ohana, but the past few episodes have shown just how much of a soft character exists under that stern and tough exterior.  It’s not as if she’s like a rock standing against the crashing waves of modernity, but rather that she really has her own sense of direction and intentions for the inn that she has managed to for longer than anyone of can imagine.  It’s just that her status gives her a large amount of pride, pride she maintains to keep the inn functioning and keeping her in command of it’s destiny.  At the same time it doesn’t mean she rejects change, but rather than she refuses to let radical change she cannot control and comprehend overwhelm the sense of tradition she herself still maintains for the institution.  Watching Ohana don the clothes she has made over the years, and seeing the Tsun side of her from it, shows that deep down inside she does really care.  It’s only that she is a cautious inn matron and matriarch, ever watchful of the things happening around her world, yet also trying to maintain the ways of the old while letting the new in as well.

Think about it, if she rejected all of modernity, she wouldn’t have let her son and grand daughter work there.

Looks better, doesn't it?

Ohana’s slow growth and development over the series has been a pure joy to watch.  As I have said before she is both a very typical yet atypical teenager as a result of her life with a very spontaneous and irresponsible mother.  When she gets her first salary in this episode, it might have been expected to see her perhaps splurge it or generally go ballistic with 20k Yen, as stereotypical teenager probably would.  In a way seeing her suddenly become so appreciative of the money was a very nice surprise considering she says so herself that she made do with half that amount in the city, and that there was no real indication that she may have been poor in the past.  Again perhaps another showcase of just how different her upbringing is, and that sense appreciation she has developed for the things she has been denied through her life.

More than that, I think, is again that mix excitement and genuine concern she has with the sudden need to try and bring a wind of change to the inn.  She feels like she hasn’t “done enough” to deserve her paycheck and has such not even touched it.  She thinks she has to work harder for the inn, to earn her keep, and thinks perhaps bringing this new approach to the inn would be it, no matter how small or purely symbolic it is.  She says she wants to earn what she gets, which in turn seems tied in to her previous life philosophy of doing thing’s for herself as opposed to her attempts to learn how to rely on others this time around.  I think it speaks a lot about her personality and life, both for the empathy she feels for others around her, and the pervasive feeling she has that she needs to always earn her own place in the world.

She has a question for you.

As for the next episode, what does a military assault have to do with a country inn?  I have no freaking clue, so let’s wait for next week and find out!

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