Hanasaku Iroha – 05: THIS. IS. OHANAAAAAAAA!!
This episode had me grinning from ear to ear. It’s not like Nichijou, where the comedy is flat-out trying to make you guffaw out loud; it’s subtle and well-woven into the script, being played out by a very lively cast of characters. And it’s not as tear-jerking as AnoHana, where the drama is a bit heavy-handed. What you get is a refreshing mix of both, and once we realise that it’s not such a serious anime after all, it’s really fun to watch.
After what transpired in the last episode, Minko has an even deeper scowl on her face. She’s obviously affected by seeing Tohru and Yuina together, and Ohana’s muddled attempts to console her only results in making Minko more angry.
Renji the head chef confirmed Tohru’s absence, and that only served to convince Minko that Tohru had jumped shipped and joined Fukuya, snagging the pretty Yuina in the process.
And we have the gossipy duo that does all the shit-stirring. Jiromaru claims, with his fine-tuned writer’s mind, that Kissuisho and Fukuya have been at loggerheads due to their rivalrous nature. In an attempt to swiftly beat Kissuisho down, Fukuya poached Tohru, whose culinary talents have not gone unnoticed. Tomoe also claims to have overheard a conversation between Renji and Tohru, completely taking things out of context that Renji would be fine at Kissuisho without Tohru.
Minko overhears the conversation, and laid the smackdown on Tohru with anything she could find, which happened to be a grater that she was asked to bring to Renji. Completely lost in thought over Jiromaru’s and Tomoe’s gossip, she makes a rare mistake of cutting her finger, and was promptly sent away by Renji as she was more of a hindrance than a helping hand in her current mopey state.
A question arises: What’s with Minko’s unconditional devotion to Tohru? Why is she willing to bear any scolding from him? Tomoe reveals to Ohana (and to us, not by breaking the fourth wall, but y’know, in a flashback kind of way) that it was Tohru who convinced the manageress to employ Minko. Despite objections from her parents, Minko stubbornly chose to chase her dream of becoming a chef, and Tohru was moved by her mindset and attitude, thereby asking the head chef for permission to take Minko under his wing. He even brought her to buy her own knife.
Ohana tries to comfort Minko, but as you can expect from her horribly tactless way of talking, she managed to blurt out what she heard from Tomoe. It’s amazing how she always has the best interest in helping, but the worst way to convey it. Ohana’s mom, you didn’t do your job. She’s a fine girl, but she has got as much subtlety as a propaganda vehicle.
Utterly defeated from Minko’s verbal backlash, she trudges into the path of her uncle Enishi, who finds it a convenient opportunity to bring her to the storeroom to help him search for Bonbori lanterns for the upcoming festival. Legend has it that the gods will grant the wish of those who write it on the tag dangling beneath the Bonbori during the festival, but only if they work hard in their normal routines. Ohana’s train of thought starts figuratively chugging, and she devised yet another plan to bring Tohru back.
Ohana is determined to work hard to bring Tohru back, so that her wish of patching up with Minko would finally come true. Just as legend has it. While Minko was still wallowing in her self-doubt, Ohana insulted Minko with her own choicest insult (Balut -.-) and set off, trailblazing towards Fukuya, on a solitary mission to arrest the wily chef that defected to the opposition camp of greener pastures.
Ohana bulldozed into Fukuya 300-style, demanding to know the whereabouts of Tohru. After her long rant which proved to be futile in the end, it is revealed that it was a misunderstanding. Tohru was basically ‘lent’ to Fukuya as they were short of staff due to one chef being down with illness. And the part where Tohru picked up Yuina? She just wanted to ride on a motorbike. The sparkly heart that she adorned on the helmet was just a decoration that befitted the sparkly personality of Yuina. Now some people may look at this and say that this was an opportunity wasted to make a good love triangle, but I say that it’s good that it was just a misunderstanding. That way we won’t have to see Minko wearing a permanent scowl for the next few episodes, alternating between periods of emo-ing around and taking it out on Ohana. This misunderstanding will inevitably foster a stronger relationship between Minko and Ohana, and I must say I can’t stand misunderstandings dragging on for episode after episode. Anime like School Rumble was based entirely on misunderstandings, but you have to make it exceedingly funny for it to work, else I’d stop watching it as it will get so infuriating.
Utterly defeated for the second time in an episode, Ohana slowly lumbers back to Kissuisho, wondering what her boundless energy has got in return. She goes back to find Jiromaru fleeing for his life for spreading false rumours. Funny that Tomoe looks so righteous; didn’t she stir some shit as well? Tohru was at least thankful to Ohana for actually bothering, and gave her a friendly tweak on the nose.
Then we have this scene where Ohana’s grandmother asks Enishi to make a call of apology to ‘Shigeko-chan’, possibly referring to the name of the manageress of Fukuya. Now it seems to me that there really isn’t any rivalry between Kissuisho and Fukuya after all. Ohana’s grandmother referred to Fukuya’s manageress with a ‘-chan’ ending, indicating that they might be quite close friends actually. And to lend a chef to a rival is just inconceivable. So keep this in the balance, we’ll see what the relationship between the two inns are eventually.
Lastly, we have a scene of Ohana, Minko and Nako walking together. It seems Minko has finally opened up to Ohana, much to Nako’s rejoice. She’s finally willing to give Ohana a nickname and call her by that. This episode wasn’t about the love triangle; it was about developing the relationship between Ohana and Minko.
And we keep seeing intermittent appearances from Kou. Perhaps we’ll see him and Ohana together soon?
As I mentioned at the start of this post, this episode had me smiling throughout. It’s just so much fun watching Ohana bumble along, and she makes quite a few epic expressions. This is definitely the anime that I can place my full trust to getting my week started on a good note.