Hanasaku Iroha – 14: Obligatory yuri fanservice beach episode
The second half of Hanasaku Iroha kicks off with the now customary beach episode in the form of a school trip. Such is the standard protocol of recent anime that even a non-ecchi series like this has to include a fanservice filler-y episode (or two). But I’m not complaining, obviously, as we get to see Yuina in action at last. She’s regularly featured in eyecatches and splash pages along with the main characters (Ohana, Nako and Minko), but up till now, her role in the anime has been somewhat peripheral. So this light-hearted episode is just the way to re-introduce her into the fold.
New cour, new songs! The OP and ED have both been changed, and they feel really similar to the previous songs. Omokage Warp (面影ワープ) by nano.RIPE, sounds exactly the same as the first OP, which is sung by the same group. While having the same kind of sound isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it becomes an issue when the first song was, to me at least, mediocre at best. It’s not the kind of OP that I’ll watch throughout, something like the first OP and ED in the new Gintama S2.
Well, this is a fanservice episode, so I shall not bore you with lengthy paragraphs analyzing each character’s psyche and feelings. All you need to know is they’re on a school trip, which to Ohana is more of a chance to learn more about running an inn, than actually to relax. This inn is much bigger than Kissuisho, and it’s run by Yuina’s distant relative, whose son, Yosuke, is supposedly her fiance. That’s about it. Oh, one more thing, it’s also showed that Yuina is capable of serious thought, and she’s not just the eternally bubbly character with weird accents.
With the boring part out of the way, on to the beach! Yuina looks fabulous in a bikini, Ohana looks fabulous in a bikini, and Minko needs some persuasion in the form of forced stripping to reveal her hidden ample cleavage and DAT ASS. I’m only wondering why Nako isn’t here. It would’ve been a PERFECT opportunity for Nako to wear something NICE for a change and show off her funbags.
This is Yosuke, whose entire proof of existence is built upon the fact that Yuina said many years ago that she’ll grow up to be his partner in life and fulfill the lifelong dream of becoming a manager of an inn. And he treats his workers badly. That is all.
This is a boy, whose entire proof of existence is built upon his belief that he has another chance with Minko after she had supposedly dumped the phantom boyfriend whom she conjured on the spot to plant seeds of doubt in said boy’s mind and make him back off. After saying that he liked her ample cleavage and DAT ASS, he is instantly rebuffed with a word that almost carried physical force: Balut. Ohana tries to break down the single word into a concise explanation, but her thought process breaks down, and the boy breaks down when his belief is shattered and harsh reality sets in.
This is Ohana and Nako, who are compelled by a mysteriously strong compulsive desire to be waitresses, find themselves arranging slippers neatly even though they are supposed to be on vacation.
This is Yuina, whose dormant yuri powers have suddenly been awakened upon the sight of Ohana creating a new word. Who here would like to see Ohana dump Kou, and Yuina dump Yosuke, and then realize that they actually make a good pair? I’d be as happy as a JohnnyYandere reviewing BL series. Yuina x Ohana FTW.
This is Yosuke, whom I am loath to mention again, but this douchebag is under the impression that pissing off his fiance’s friends by not knowing where Kissuisho is and passing it off with a cursory remark is the way to score points with her. Yuina may act air-headed, but I’m quite sure she’s not too impressed with the way Yosuke has turned out. Talk about YUINA IS DISAPPOINT.
This is Ohana, who mistakes a swimming Nako for a Kappa. I mean how could she mistake Nako for a Kappa? I mean, Kappas look like this:
Besides, Nako looks fabulous in a swimsuit, funbags and all. Nothing like a Kappa.
This is Yuina once again, trying her best to prevent Yosuke from dropping the question while maintaining her usual sprightly self. Yosuke is so convinced that his dream is to be a manager of an inn, but is it Yuina’s. He never bothered to ask, and was still under the impression that Yuina’s childhood promises have not changed, despite not seeing her for ages. Yuina is quite scary, to be honest. I mean, you never ever know what she’s thinking. Yuina must be having a laugh, that Yosuke is under the impression that he knows her very well. She escapes before Yosuke asks her for confirmation of their affection. Well played, girl.
This is Ohana, whom I must include in here because she is nearly naked if not for some convenient censoring. I am thankful to P.A. Works for not messing around with the climate. I mean, animators have the sudden ability to introduce dense swathes of fog when lady bits are dangerously close to being exposed. Convenient censoring is a much more artistic touch. But of course, manipulating the weather is easier for animators than to just to draw an opaque object that blocks the view.
These are four snotty disgruntled part-time workers, dissatisfied by the shitty treatment from Yosuke, who is singularly focused on becoming a manager of an inn that he neglects personal relations. And it’s time for Yuina to drop the bomb on him. Obviously Yosuke has disappointed his fiance, but Yuina shows enough tact to be cheerful around him. She cleverly integrates her desire not to be a manageress into her well-disguised rejection. This may be a beach episode, but it does portray Yuina in a different light. She’s perceptive and straight to the point, but she conceals her true feelings well till the opportune moment. And for that, it warrants her place as a main character, as I don’t think she’s just the simple happy-go-lucky person that she’s made out to be.
Hanasaku Iroha (はなさくいろは) by Clammbon, is the new ED. While it’s not as good as the first ED (discounting the fact that it’s sung by Sphere, which instantly makes it better), it does give off a frolicking-in-the-country-grass kind of feel, with a tinkling piano accompaniment. Makes it sound like something you’d hear from Spice & Wolf, if you know what I mean.
All in all, this episode was adequate to say the least. It didn’t jump straight into serious drama from the get go, as we needed a little bit of transitioning after the first half of the series. It’s what Hanasaku Iroha does best, really, finding the right mix of drama and comedy. You never feel that the scenes are abrupt or forced; everything builds up steadily and resolves with good timing and flow. And that’s why at the end of each episode, I feel completely satisfied with how it turns out. Next week promises more Yuina, so look forward to it!