September 6, 2011

Hana Saku Iroha Ep23: Conviction

Posted in Hana-Saku Iroha tagged , , at 10:43 pm by meotwister5

It’ll hit anyone hard when they hear that the place they’ve come to call home is being closed down.  It’s already a difficult thing to be forced to move, to make such a drastic change in life.  You try so hard to make a new life for yourself in a new environment, and when you start to finally feel at home it, the rug gets pulled under you.  Madame manager must have her reasons, but it no doubt comes as a rather depressing revelation to Ohana and everyone else in the inn that the place that they call home (or second home for that matter) is closing its doors after so many years.

It shouldn’t be surprising of course that anyone would want to defend their home.

Manager’s sudden announcement has put everyone in shock, which still hasn’t worn off.  Not unexpected when your home and workplace is suddenly going down the gutter.  Just because it’s depressing doesn’t mean they’re taking it as it is, as Takako decides to go to Tokyo and try to recover the money that got swindled from Enishi.  At the same time Ohana tries to go with her in an attempt to sort out her future with her mother now that the inn is closing, and possibly squeeze in some time to finally settle things with you know who.

The depression doesn’t last very long eventually as everyone else tries to get back into the funk and to fest it up, as Ohana always says.  Minchi still continues to do her best at cooking, Beanman consoles a very worried Enishi, Pervert Writer tries to look for a future beyond Kissuiso, and everyone else just trying to live every day as they come.  Life still goes on in Kissuiso even as Takako and Ohana look for a way to keep the inn open.

The one thing that truly stands out in this episode is really how, despite the near doomsday announcement, everyone still tries to live their lives and best and positively as they can.  Takako has slowly evolved from a snooty new age lady to  someone who, despite her reluctance, has slowly become worthy to run a country inn.  She claims to harbor no true love for the old place, but she tries to do her best to keep the inn running by tracking down the producer and getting their money back.  Perhaps part of it is her love for Enishi and his home, but I surmise that she too had come to love the inn as her own home as well.

It’s almost surprising that Satsuki was the one who gave her the information needed to track down the producer.  She been in that love-hate tug of war with the inn and her mother for years, but it’s been clear for a long time that she loves the place as her home despite everything she says.  This episode only further solidifies that while she might have absolutely nothing to do with the inn’s daily affairs, she still looks out for it in her own way.

The foci of the episode lies in the conversations of Ohana and Ko with Takako and Satsuki, respectively.  They are both at the center of the events about to transpire, and the chance to speak with older and more experienced people provides them with much needed insight and perspectives into an issue that has been dodging them both for a long time.

Takako says flat out that Ohana doesn’t have as many problems as she thinks she has, and Ohana does realize that this is indeed true; she may as well be making mountains out of molehills.  Kissuiso’s possible closure none withstanding, one of the things we have seen Ohana do a lot of the time in the series lies in two very polar opposites:  her tendency to be spontaneous and gung-ho when faced with problems, and her tendency to think and ruminate excessively on many issues.  Most people have a single mindset, yet she is very capable of ending up in either extreme.  When you think about it, it was her spontaneity in the beginning that left Ko hanging without an answer, and her indecisive rumination again keeps their relationship on an indefinite hold.  Perhaps to say that when she should be quick, she is slow, and when she should slow down, she takes things a tad bit too fast.  Ohana, like that mix of her childishness and maturity, is again a melding of extremes.

On that train and in Tokyo tower she is given a lot of time to think about her actions, and what she thinks she must do.  It’s a bit difficult at this point to understand what she will do, but it’s clear that she possesses enough resolve to finally settle the issue with a decision.  She claims to have a one sided crush on Ko, probably stemming from the belief that Ko has finally moved on, but it would seem that her ideas are different from reality.  It isn’t one sided.

Maybe Satsuki really hasn’t seen the video of the inn and it’s staff before, but I think she was doing all of that with purpose in mind for Ko.  Down in the dumps despite his attempts to get out of it, the poor boy simply was still in limbo whether he still felt the same way for Ohana despite being left hanging all this time.  It’s only natural for him to be confused after months of being left in the cold and waiting for a bone, any bone for that matter.  He asks Satsuki for things he thinks he needs to learn about his best friend turned potential girlfriend, to which she declines to respond but opts to just show him the Kissuiso video, which I do think she hasn’t seen, but most likely believes has something for him to see: her lfie in Kissuiso he hasn’t been a part of.  The video will, at least, show him something he could be there for.  With it, seeing Ohana hard at work and having one hell of a Freudian slip on record, gives him some more extra strength to continue a quest he finds to be useless.  Nothing could be farther from the truth it seems.

As for the bland coffee bit… bear in mind his comment that Ohana isn’t anything like plain coffee, and Ohana’s penchant for mixing cola and coffee.  Aside from the caffeine overdrive, we have only seen once or twice Ohana make her usual combination.  The show decides to have her do it again, in the same time that she gets used in a coffee metaphor.  I don’t need to explain this symbolism any further.

Call it cliche, serendipity or maybe even plain Okada trolling, but I’d assume that the final cliffhanger scene we’re all going to remember serves a greater purpose than we give it credit for.  Perfectly cliche in its positioning, but nonetheless the best time to finally put them facing each other after a day of learning and introspection.  What happens next is anyone’s guess, but for what it’s worth, a perfect buildup for what may be a one hell of a series conclusion.


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