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Hanasaku Iroha Episode #11 Review

5 min read

A bad magazine review drives Ohana to make a trip to Tokyo, but once there, matters she may have thought she left behind come back to haunt her.

What They Say:
The Kissuiso received a 5 out of 10 rating in the Hot Springs guide and Ohana is mad. She is taking the fight to the reviewer which is her…Mom?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The reviews from the hot springs magazine are in, and Kissuiso has scored 5 stars…out of 10. Actually, none of the hot springs establishments in Yunosagi did well, which has the owners in something of a snit, but Ohana’s outrage is, as to be expected, far more over the top. The Manager is actually quite calm about the entire matter, simply noting that reviews are written by others and one must move on and improve. Ohana, of course, cannot let things slide (unlike Yuina, who is far more unconcerned about the entire matter when she all-too briefly appears), and runs off to the headquarters of the magazine in Tokyo to demand to know who wrote the review.

Of course, the anonymous editor who wrote the review turns out to be none other than Satsuki (remember her?), Ohana’s wayward mother. So, we have a reunion. While Satsuki, who never even visited Kissuiso before writing the review, provides an understandable political reason for her behavior, that doesn’t make Ohana feel any better. If anything, the mother-daughter reunion provides a setting for Ohana to finally pour out the numerous grievances she has been holding against her mother for some time now, which have been bubbling under the surface for quite a while. They come out at first in a small trickle, before bursting forth in a torrent. Satsuki, however, seems to take it all in stride, not feeling much hurt at all (on the surface at least). Perhaps she really is just that world-weary and knows too well how much she is not a positive model for her daughter.

Ohana decides to make the matter personal, forgetting to some extent the professional problem her mother has caused for the inn (after the article appeared, several reservations were cancelled). She stakes everything on a battle of wills: she wants her mother to come back with her to Kissuiso and then write an honest review of the place, regardless of whether it will be published or not. Of course, Satsuki is very strong-willed herself, so the battle will be long.

Ohana, while as stubborn as her mother, we know gets distracted easily, so she takes a brief break from her one-woman protest outside the offices of her mother’s magazine to see if she can visit Koichi (her old friend Ko) at his place of work, a bookstore in Ikebukuro. But there, of course, she happens to run into Ko with the girl who was featured at the end of the previous episode, and who clearly has a crush on Ko. Ohana, naturally, runs away in embarrassment. Continuing her protest, Ohana sits out in the rain, while Satsuki comes by and makes it clear that she is not going to give in either.

Naturally, Ohana gets sidetracked again by Ko, who comes along to see her, and the two go out for a drink (just coffee and Coke, which Ohana seems to prefer together in the same glass). While talking, Ohana notes how that other girl likes Ko, and it appears the other girl has said as much, though Ko has not returned her feelings. The conversation is awkward, but we see that Ohana has grown a bit, as she realizes some of her own mistakes in the past from how she treated Ko. In the end, it seems that Ohana cannot handle all of the conflicted emotions in her head from her dealings with her mother and with Ko, and so she runs away. Of course, pathetic fallacy is in full display as it happens to rain during her darkest moments. We end with Ohana being “rescued” by a couple of familiar faces.

And so, with this episode, we get to take a look at how much Ohana has changed from when we first met her, but also see how she cannot fully escape her past. Her pent-up feelings about her mother burst forth, but the turmoil in her heart isn’t helped by her reconnecting with Ko, who she once turned down but now cannot apparently remove entirely from her own thoughts. But we see as well that Ohana has matured a little bit, as she recognizes that she has no right to fault others for things she has herself done.

It will be interesting to see where the next episode will take us.

In Summary:
A trip to Tokyo to “right a wrong” (a bad review of Kissuiso in a magazine) turns into a trip into the tangled and unresolved threads of Ohana’s past, as her resentment against her mother and her unsettled feelings about her old school friend (who wanted to be more) Ko rise up to the surface. The contest of wills with her mother provides some farce and comedy, while the reunion with Ko leads to a rather dramatic turn. Reflecting the heroine’s inner tumult, the feeling that one takes away from this episode is a slight unease. Not the dread or terror that expects something bad to happen, but a sense of how much Ohana is churning inside with conflicting emotions. Resolution will have to await for another time.

Grade: A-

Simulcast by: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment: Apple iMac with 4GB RAM, Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard

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