Hanasaku Iroha – 12: Angst comes full circle
It’s time for Ohana to take things into perspective and do a bit of soul searching. Doing things at the spur of the moment obviously had unpleasant repercussions. One moment, she’s at Kissuisho, and in the next, she’s bustling about in Tokyo. It’s no wonder bad events came in droves at her, and she doesn’t have the capacity to take it all at once, hence her breakdown. She does get to converse for the second time with the people involved, so it’s her chance to do some introspection.
I think many are supportive of the Tohru x Ohana pairing, but I’m left wondering whether Tohru has romantic feelings for Ohana. Age is a foremost issue, as Tohru is several years older than Ohana (and Minko in that respect). I know true love crosses all boundaries and what not, but based on Tohru’s actions in his brief conversation with Ohana, does he really like her? I harbour a suspicion that Tohru behaves differently towards Ohana as she is just a breath of fresh air. Her character has undoubtedly piqued the interest of Tohru, and that has somewhat cast a shadow over Minko, who doesn’t stand out as much as Ohana even though they are of the same age.
Maybe Tohru still sees Ohana as a child, as he’s always messing around with her. But towards Minko, he is still as strict as ever. Perhaps that’s the barrier that Minko finds hard to overcome. A teacher-apprentice relationship is present between Minko and Tohru, while none of that sort exists between Tohru and Ohana. Minko is sharply aware of her disadvantage despite being with Tohru for a longer time. As I see it though, Minko’s relationship with Tohru just hasn’t had a catalyst to start it off, while Tohru is displaying a vested interest in Ohana. I find it hard to envisage a relationship between Ohana and Tohru as everything points to Tohru being interested in a decidedly more interesting person.
After a rough night, Ohana came to the conclusion that the only way for her to win was to kidnap her mother and cart her off to stay at Kissuisho, much to the bewilderment of Tohru and Minko. Tohru suggests that Kou should be “abducted” as well, to give Ohana a fighting chance. It’s another point to make me think that Tohru just wants Ohana to do well, regardless whether her relationship with Kou is a success or not. His motives are hard to tell though. It’s the same feeling I get when I watched True Tears. Until the very end, I had no idea which of the two girls the protagonist would choose. Well, part of the fun is being left hanging.
On her quest to intercept Kou at his working place, Ohana runs into the love rival who now goes by the name of Igarashi. She’s a tough opponent, much like certain aspects of Ohana, in a way that her directness in pursuing a relationship is unparalleled. Immediately, Igarashi throws the gauntlet at Ohana, claiming that she had confessed to Kou, who rejected her as he was still waiting for Ohana. Judging by their characters, they’d easily be friends, but due to circumstance, Igarashi is pretty miffed at the way Ohana is delaying her response to Kou. Granted, it’s unfair to Kou and Igarashi, but similarly, it’s hard to expect Ohana to make these kinds of decisions as her mind is just not wired for romance. Despite Kou being one of her closest friends, she’s hesitant to acknowledge his love. We’re going to see much more of Igarashi, as she’s obviously going to see this through.
Minko is kind of happy that Tohru brings her about Tokyo for a food race. Perhaps this is Tohru’s way of showing concern for Minko? I think I’m reading too much into it, but why didn’t Tohru bring Nako along then? Nako is Ohana’s first friend at Kissuisho, so she’d be the perfect candidate to comfort Ohana. Maybe Tohru wanted to spend some time with Minko?
…maybe Tohru loves his apprentice too much. They all look so appetizing though.
When Kou told Ohana about his solitary journey to Kissuisho, Ohana really felt a pang of guilt wash over her. All these while, she’d been relying on Kou as a mental pillar of support, safe in the knowledge that he’s always there to support her as he was the one who confessed. I believe it’s an important step for Ohana, as she finally takes a step back to realize that her headstrong attitude had resulted in the people around her cleaning up after her. From the start, Ohana had been dragging Kou along, from the confession to his trip to Kissuisho, to actually physically bringing him to Kissuisho by ‘abducting’ him. It was time for Ohana to let Kou off the hook. Whether this means the end of Ohana x Kou remains to be seen, but I think Ohana has finally resolved what Kou means to her.
Time to tackle her mother then. Meeting up with Tohru and Minko after their date that was not nearly much of a date, they set off to find Satsuki, who surprisingly was all packed up, ready to move. Satsuki is Ohana’s mom after all; she can read Ohana like a book. It doesn’t take much effort to mess around with her. Ohana is totally befuddled at her mother’s actions, as she was so adamant in her refusal to visit Kissuisho.
I’m seriously not getting Tohru here. He promised to have a go at Ohana’s mom, but in front of her, he goes all wimpy, and some might even pick up the fact that he was showing quite a lot of interest at Satsuki as well. Does he have a thing for the mother as well?? If I had to say, I’d reckon Tohru is bad at interacting with the opposite sex. He’s strict towards Minko, but could that be just being unable to voice out his feelings because they are teacher and apprentice? He’s very concerned for Ohana, but he does act rather stupid in front of her. And when talking to her mother, he completely loses his cool image when Satsuki brings up the topic of girlfriends. Back to Satsuki though, even though she’s not doing a very good job raising a child, she does get reminded of her past when she see’s Ohana’s rebelliousness.
Back in the day, Satsuki also confronted her mother, Okami-san, in a similar manner that Ohana did, complaining about neglect. So as I pointed out in my title, the period of angst and rebelliousness has come full circle for Satsuki. She realizes that Ohana is going through the same stage as her in the past, and maybe she’s trying to ease up on Ohana. Okami-san is similar to Satsuki in the way they handle their children, but you wouldn’t call Okami-san a bad mother, would you? It’s probably the nature of her job and her habits that puts Satsuki in a bad light. That’s not to say that Satsuki will suddenly change her ways and become the good mother that Ohana had always wanted, rather Satsuki would like to do things differently such that history does not repeat itself. It’s not that I don’t want Satsuki to change, it’s just that I do not think she has done enough for Ohana to redeem herself.
Throwing Ohana to Okami-san was beneficial to Ohana, but not necessarily the right move to patch up past conflicts in Satsuki’s case. Judging by the reaction of Okami-san over the arrival of Satsuki, I’d say we’re in for another rollercoaster ride, but in a totally different way as compared to Ohana’s emotional journey.