May 24, 2011

Hana Saku Iroha Ep8: Taking Charge

Posted in Hana-Saku Iroha tagged , , at 7:12 pm by meotwister5

When shit hits the fan, someone has to man (or woman) it up, take control, take charge, and steer the ship away from the shitstorm. Vulgarity aside, this task usually falls on the hero who must take the helm and lead the crew out of their current predicament. Most shows, even more slice of life-ish ones like this, have conflicts that need resolving in the midst of (more than) average daily life. That’s not something you only see in heroic Shounen shows, and for Hana Saku Iroha in this episode, Ohana’s been likened to a Shounen hero springing into action as the inn faces a daunting task that may very well affect its future. Throw in a very interpersonal event while all this goes on, and you have a setup for one hell of an exciting drama.

A sudden influx of visitors to the area has the town and it’s places of accomodation in a frenzy. Supposedly a famous magazine has agents in town checking up on it’s hotels and inns for an article expected to gain wide circulation. Kissuiso is also gearing up for this event, however things are thrown into limbo when Ohana’s grandmother’s heart starts acting up, leaving the inn without it’s leader. Add in the that two of it’s members are also on leave, and you have an inn woefully understaffed for the task at hand. Ohana’s uncle grabs the management consultant again and proposes that they focus their service on the people they presume to be part of the magazine, which does not sit well with Ohana who sticks by her grandmother’s philosophy. Now that Head Chef Ren is starting to crack under the pressure, she takes it upon herself to take the lead.

The episode takes another switch in direction, at least as opposed to the tone and approach taken by the past few episodes. In most respects the episode returns to the roots in built up in episode one and two, a more balanced mixture of comedy and drama that has made the first two episodes s gripping as they were, ctaching the attention of many viewers. That is not to say that the more recent episodes are poor in comparison, because this is far from that. The past few episodes, more centered on comedy, managed to expound and explore a lot of the characters, their relationships and their beliefs, especially the last two episodes. This episode puts the plot back into action, putting the spotlight back on Ohana and the inn itself in general, as this becomes a way for the inn to try and gain some glory in spite of her grandmother’s health. With her grandmother now in the hospital, this event perhaps becomes a catalyst to put some more perspective into Ohana, who has a great responsibility set upon her.

The arrival of Ko back into her life by actually visiting her at Kissuiso is set to really make things interesting and add perhaps a good dollup of teenage romantic tension into the mix. To be honest his sudden decision to come and visit her seems a bit too convenient as device to further complicate an already complicated situation, especially when considering that she’s not even there at the inn the moment Ko actually arrives at the station. Anyone who’s ever been a teenager can perhaps understand Ko’s feelings, and how he simply cannot live the rest of his life without coming face to face with her for a clear answer. Yes he did run away the last time they met, but it takes a great amount of courage to come out and confess when you know that so many things hang in the balance. It also takes a lot of courage to go and visit her and try to have a good face to face talk with Ohana and put some clarity into their now awkward relationship. Their conversation on the phone sounded just as usual as I imagine their usual conversations to be, perhaps revealing that despite his desire to bring their relationship to a new level, there still exists a familiar friendship between them despite the awkwardness. In the end this is good because it means that despite the events and maybe no matter the outcome of his trip, they can still remain the best of friends.

Ohana has been shown to be someone who is very capable and level-headed when the need arises, and now the episode thrusts her into a situation to test her capacity both as a central character to the viewer and as someone to look up to for everyone else.  The fate of the inn may as well hang in the balance, and Ohana’s mettle looks to be tested.  Once again the elaborate marriage of maturity and naiveté comes out from Ohana as she knows she has both to act for the sake of the inn but also according to the ideals set up by her grandmother.  She is impulsive in the sense that she pretty much said things emotionally in front of miss consultant, but mature enough to know that the proper way of action must be done.  She has taken a bit to the sidelines for the past few episodes but now we are reminded why she’s the main character of the show, as now she has retaken the spotlight to try and carry the weight of the inn and it’s people on her shoulders.

There’s a lot of speculation going on regarding how Ohana will “crash” the wedding and how her fated meeting with Ko will turn out.  A lot of it involves melodrama and maybe more than a few tears, but I’m more willing to believe that the wedding will end up properly and that Ko and Ohana’s meeting will be more civil than most angsty teenager meetings tend to be portrayed on TV.

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