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Anime / Hanasaku Iroha

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L - R: Minko, Tomoe, Ohana, Yuina, Nako.

Sixteen-year-old Ohana Matsumae is a mildly happy-go-lucky but pragmatic girl who dreams for drama in her typically normal life of school alongside her best friend Koichi "Ko" Tanemura. One day, upon coming home, her eccentric mother Satsuki decides to send her to live with her estranged grandmother, Sui Shijima, while Satsuki plans to flee their apartment with her boyfriend after he racks up substantial debt in their name. Ohana tells Ko, who confesses his feelings for her, but their relationship grows awkward when Ohana is too surprised to respond and Ko runs off without telling her goodbye.

Ohana's mood soon brightens, only to get quickly get dashed against the rocks when she finds out that Kissuiso, her grandmother's hot springs inn, doesn't quite live up to her fantasy as her unfeeling grandmother quickly puts her to work, she runs afoul with coworker Minko "Minchi" Tsurugi, and each of Ohana's well-intentioned gestures towards Minko end up with not-so-pleasant results.

Despite this, Ohana tries to not let the circumstances get her down as she works hard in her new environment.

Hanasaku Iroha (translating to "The ABCs of Flower Blooming" or "The Blooming Colors") is a 2011 Anime First series from studio P. A. Works. It was eventually followed in March 2013 by a movie, Home Sweet Home, which tells the story of Satsuki's teenage years, as read by Ohana on an old logbook, detailing her deteriorating relationship with her mother and a fateful meeting with a young photographer.

This series provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Ohana's mother abandons her and her grandmother works her like a dog. Subverted in that Sui actually works her no more than she does everyone else (and like everyone else, is chastised if her work is not up to snuff), and pays her well enough for it, judging by Ohana's reaction to her paycheck.
    • However, Sui always put her work before Satsuki.
  • Accidental Pervert: Enishi, who accidentally gropes his niece Ohana after they bump into each other.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episode 3 is one for Jiroumaru, Episode 7 for Tomoe, Episode 13 for Satsuki, Episodes 14 and 15 for Yuina, Episodes 16 and 17 for Enishi (and to a lesser extent, Takako), Episode 18 focuses on Nako, and Episodes 19 and 20 for Minko.
  • Adults Are Useless: Satsuki flees with her boyfriend and leaves Ohana to stay with her grandmother.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Minko and Nako refer to each other as Minchi and Nakocchi respectively. Their peers quicly join this.
  • Age-Gap Romance: Satsuki met Ohana's father when she was in high school and he was already a photographer in his 20s.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Ko liked Ohana for a long time without the latter knowing. Minko likes Tohru without the latter knowing. Tohru develops an attraction to Ohana without the latter knowing. And Ko's female co-worker, Igarashi likes him, but it is unrequited.
    • As of episode 22, Minko and Ohana have a fight about Tohru and he overhears Minko's feelings. He reveals that he may like Ohana but it is because she always surprises him and he likes to see what she'll do next. He tells Minko that he does care about her and Minko decides not to give up.
    • Finally subverted between Ko and Ohana by the last episode: She confesses her feelings to him, and they seem to have gotten together.
  • Alliterative Name: Sui and Satsuki (before she changed it)
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Ko towards Ohana.
  • Beat:
    • Someone asks to see Beanman, and Sui responds with this.
    Sui: "He just left with his son."
    Tomoe: "I'm sorry, he just left with his- *beat*
    Tomoe:(to Sui) Son!?!?
  • Bishie Sparkle: Yellow stars and a golden aura surround Ohana and Nako, complete with Wingding Eyes, after witnessing Tomoe enthusiastically hosing away the survival gamers in the outdoor onsen.
  • Bishoujo Genre
  • Bittersweet Ending: Kissuiso ends up being closed down by the end, but all of staff manage to move on. It's also not ruled out that Enishi or even Ohana herself will reopen Kissuiso in the future.
  • Bland-Name Product: Several examples include
    • Satsuki owns a laptop made by Parasonic.
    • WcDonald's is a fast food chain equivalent to McDonald's.
    • The sewing machine in episode 21 is named "Jinger".
    • A guest use handycam named "Canan" to record blooming flower in episode 18.
  • Break the Cutie: What passes for Coming of Age in this show.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The manga's fourth chapter starts with Ohana fearing that she's fired "already by the fourth chapter".
  • Book Ends:
    • The first opening credits start and end with Ohana stopping to gaze at a passing butterfly.
    • Ohana's first task in Kissuiso was to cleans the inn hallways, guess what was the last thing she did before leaving Kissuiso in the final episode?
  • Bound and Gagged: After discovering his original draft, Jiromaru abducts Ohana and restrains her. Ohana ends up giving him advice, and realistically her cleave gag doesn't keep her quiet and she quickly works it off.
  • The Cameo: Kimiko, the singer of the group nano.RIPE (who perform both openings and some endings for the series) makes an small appearance as one of the guests to Takako and Enishi's wedding.
  • Captain Ersatz: Minko and Tohru favorite manga Teppei is
  • Captain Obvious: In Episode 7, Ohana and Nako talk to Tomoe about their first run-in with the survival gamers:
    Ohana: "Survival Gamers?"
    Nako: What are they?
    Tomoe: People who play survival games.
    Nako: No, for starters, I was wondering what "survival games" are ...
  • Catchphrase: Minko's "Just die" to Ohana. She also Apologises a Lot. Minko changes her "Just die" to "balut" after being chided by an angry Ohana.
    • Ohana's own catchphrase, 'bonboru'note .
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Ohana's best friend Ko works up the courage to confess to Ohana after learning that she is moving away, but he runs off and doesn't see Ohana off when she leaves town because of her confusion and lack of an answer to said confession.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: The survival gamers are ultimately this. Even though they stalk girls at the inn paramilitary style, and try to peek on them, it never develops beyond that.
  • Coming of Age Story
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Ohana's way at getting back at people is to cook their least favorite foods and force them to eat it.
  • Cool Big Sis: Tomoe inadvertently becomes this to Nako and Ohana when she tries to get herself fired.
    • Also Nako herself.
  • Curtain Clothing: Ohana makes some in Episode 22.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: The first opening singer, which has a vocalist with an unusual range.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Two out of four. Aki Toyosaki and Haruka Tomatsu (Nako and Yuina, respectively) are both part of Sphere, the four-girl band that sang the first ending theme.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Minko doesn't like it when Ohana tries to help her.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage
    • Ohana hums the opening theme while she is in the bath in Episode 7.
    • Then the second season opening theme in Episode 19.
    • Yuina sings the Episode 8 and Episode 26 ending theme in Episode 14.
  • Disappeared Dad: Ohana's dad died when she was only a year old. Satsuki had many flings after she got widowed, but, as she told he daughter, she never really got over the loss of her husband. (Point is that she still uses the surname "Matsumae" instead of her maiden "Shijima".)
    • Satsuki and Enishi's dad (Sui's husband and Ohana's grandfather) is long deceased before the story began.
  • Epunymous Title: The title translates to, roughly, "The ABCs of Blooming a Flower." Hana means "flower," and the story is about the coming of age of a girl named Ohana.
  • Evolving Credits: From Episode 4 on, Jiroumaru is included in the opening credits with the rest of the inn staff.
  • Evil Matriarch: The initial interpretation of Sui.
  • Fanservice:
    • Episode 3 has both a justified example (Ohana's imagining of Jiromaru's H-novel) and a straight one (a lingering shot of Nako soaked through her clothes).
    • Episode 6. Qipao. That is all. It really brought out Nako and Ohana's beauty. Too bad it hilariously backfired on them.
    • Episode 18 also counts, everytime when Nako imagined herself as a mermaid, and fitting room scene that led to Ohana's envy.
    • Teenage Satsuki gets a moment as soon as the first scene of Home Sweet Home.
  • Fan Disservice: Episode 9, Dancing Jiromaru. 'Nuff said.
  • Flower Motifs
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble:
    • The Cynic: Minko
    • The Optimist: Ohana
    • The Realist: Nako
    • The Apathetic: Yuina
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Yuina is sanguine, Ohana is leukine, Minko is choleric/melancholic, and Nako is phlegmatic.
  • Freudian Excuse: Ohana's initial refusal to rely on anybody stems from the many times her mother disappointed her by not following through with her promises.
  • Generation Xerox: Ohana's estranged relationship with her mom, Satsuki is similar to Satsuki's relationship with Sui.
    • Both Satsuki and Sui found True Love but are currently widows.
  • Genki Girl: Ohana, Satsuki and Yuina.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man:
    • Ohana delivers one herself to Jiromaru after his failed attempt at suicide, telling him he does have talent in writing because he told something about herself that she didn't even know—that she wanted to "shine."
    • Sui delivers multiple slaps to Enishi for panicking about Satsuki's visit.
    • Takako gives him another one in episode 25 to snap him out of his misjudged beliefs when the inn gets into chaos.
  • Gratuitous English:
    • Takako Kawajiri is a constant offender of this.
    • Used by the survival gamers in Episode 7.
      • Tomoe shouted a quote from a scene in an old war movie she watched from earlier in that episode at the survival gamers right before hosing them at the inn's onsen:
        Tomoe: Okay, baby! Get some!
    • Ohana has a few of her own. In episode 14, when trying to remember the meaning of Minko's "Balut" insult, she mutters "lonely".
  • Hands-On Approach: Tohru shows Minko the proper way to make a skewer this way.
  • A House Divided: Happens in episode 24 in wake of Sui's announcement that she will close down Kissuiso after the Bonbori festival.
  • I Have No Daughter!: Ohana's grandmother's has disowned Satsuki. Her treatment of Ohana might be seen as an extension of this, until one realizes she treats all her workers with the same strictness. She also privately acknowledges Ohana as her granddaughter with satisfaction.
    • However she did personally cook for Satsuki, when she stayed at the inn. She also made it no secret that she'd prefer Satsuki to succeed her
  • In-Series Nickname: "Minchi" for Minko and eventually "Nakochi" for Nako.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tohru and Takako.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Realizing this is the conclusion to Enishi's character arc.
  • Lost in Translation: Minko's new insult for Ohana, "balut"—or rather the Vietnamese term, "hột vịt lộn"/"hobiron"—stands for "honto ni bikkuri-suru hodo rongai" ("truly, shockingly out of the question"). The official CrunchyRoll subtitles totally drop this and preface the already-present comparison of balut and Ohana by stating Minko's notes read "smelly and ugly".
    • Another one in episode 23: The 'black tea' pun is lost on those who don't know the Japanese word for black tea is kocha.
    • A third, and another pun in episode 7: the discussion on survival (contracted to "saba") gamers is interrupted briefly by Minko, carrying a large, clearly labeled crate full of mackerel ("saba"). This camera cut just looks completely random without that understanding.
    • In episode 5, when Ohana is told to come up with a nickname for herself, she considers "Hanachi", but decides it sounds too much like "hanaji", meaning "nosebleed". The official subtitles change it to sounding like "hibachi chicken", which loses the reference to Ohana's sensitive nose.
  • Love Dodecahedron: It appears the series is going in this direction with Yuki->Kirito->Minko->Tohru->|Ohana<->Ko<-Igarashi.
  • Love Triangle:
    • Minko likes Tohru, but Tohru appears to be dating Yuina. Subverted in Episode 5, as Tohru was actually lent to Fukuya for a little bit since they were short on chefs and Yuina just wanted to ride his motorbike.
    • As of Episode 6, a new one is sprouting, as Tohru seems to have become smitten with Ohana. This won't end well. It surprisingly gets resolved well in Episode 22, with Ohana determined keep her crush on Ko and plans to confess to him, Minko determined to keep her crush on Tohru in hopes of dating him one day, and Tohru admitting that he likes Ohana but won't do anything about it and while he doesn't feel the same about Minko, he does acknowledge her feelings.
      • Ko's co-worker crushing on Ko isn't helping things either.
  • Maybe Ever After: Applies to both Ohana and Ko, and Minko and Tohru.
  • Meaningful Name: The title itself says it all.
    • In Home Sweet Home, we get the confirmation that Ohana's name was inspired by the Hawaiian word for family.
    • Kissuiso literally means "(An inn) to please Sui". It was her husband's personal wish to make Sui happy with the inn during the years when they were just starting it.
  • Mood Whiplash: Episode 2 ends dramatically with the implication that Ohana is about to get raped, or at least attacked, and Episode 3 even starts with panting and grunting sounds, implying that she is indeed being raped, only to suddenly drop the drama and turn into a comedy when it turns out her kidnapper is harmless and incompetently trying to tie her up with her helpfully telling him where to tie the knots.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Sui's super speed bathing and cleaning.
  • Na├»ve Newcomer: Ohana. Due to her Wrong Genre Savvyness, she had certain ideas of how things at Kissuiso would be. She was quickly proven wrong.
  • Nosebleed: Not for the reason you would think; Ohana simply has a sensitive nose. Also a Bilingual Bonus, as the word 'hana' in Japanese, whilst meaning flower, is also the word for nose.
  • Oblivious to Love:
    • Ohana was oblivious to Ko's feelings until he confessed to her.
    • There are subtle hints that Minko likes Tohru scattered throughout the first few episodes, which is tragically confirmed in Episode 4. He seems largely oblivious to this.
    • Tohru eventually develops feelings for an oblivious Ohana. Minko, on the other hand, seems suspiciously aware of this.
  • Parental Abandonment
  • Plucky Girl: It's a Shijima family trait.
  • Precision F-Strike: Tomoe drops this in Episode 7 in the Crunchyroll sub, as part of her plan to get fired to the survival gamers:
    Tomoe: Wake up! Up! Up! Drop your cocks and grab your socks, ladies!
  • Quitting to Get Married: Tomoe considers getting married and quitting her job, but after some wacky hijinks, she decides to wait a while since she enjoys working at the inn so much.
  • Real-Place Background: As shown here.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Ohana and Minko. Tohru and Renji.
  • Sailor Fuku
  • Scenery Porn
  • Seiza Squirm: Considering the setting of a traditional Japanese inn, this sitting form is common. The opening credits show Ohana getting a cramp in her foot as she gets up from seiza.
  • Sent Off to Work for Relatives: Ohana's mother runs away with her boyfriend and sends Ohana to live with her grandmother who owns a Ryokan (inn). And then the grandmother forces Ohana to work there. At first it seems somewhat cruel, but grandma's point actually was to not make Ohana privileged over other people who work there.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt:
    • Nako gets her clothes wet in episode 3 and it's played for fanservice.
    • Takako gets her clothes soaked in episode 17.
  • Ship Tease: Where do we start? As far as ep. 17 it would be: Ko/Ohana, Ohana/Tohru, Tohru/Minko, Ko/Ko's co-worker and Takako/Enishi The last pair got married in the end. And a couple of minor examples.
    • Minko/Ohana anyone? Yuina even lampshades it.
  • Shipper on Deck: Ohana for Minko/Tohru. Ironic as Tohru seems to have a crush on Ohana.
    • Sui and Satsuki both support Ohana/Ko.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shrinking Violet: Nako.
  • Shy Finger-Twiddling: Nako does this as she nervously shows Ohana around the hot spring inn.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Satsuki and Enishi
  • Sick Episode: Ohana catches a fever in Episode 10.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Enishi and Takako act this way when they break the news of their engagement, surprising everyone. Subverted as soon as they drop the charade when they realize they can't afford a complete wedding ceremony.
  • Sleep Cute: Ohana and Minko in Episode 12. And when Minko falls asleep in class in Episode 25, some of the boys relish a look at "the princess' sleeping face."
  • Slice of Life
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: For some viewers, the Catholic-esque choir and pipe organ during the panorama of the Shinto Bonbori Festival at the end of Episode 25. Probably not used ironically, since the music fits the uplifting, spiritual atmosphere of the festival perfectly, but some viewers find the difference in religious and cultural motifs jarring.
  • Spit Take: Tohru's reaction at the wedding reception, when seeing Beanman cosplaying as Takako, is spraying a mouthful of his drink.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Tomoe deliberately attempts to anger the survival gamers and get herself fired, but everything she does only makes their stay more enjoyable.
  • Sprint Scrubbing: How Ohana cleans the inn hallways. Sui as well back when she was younger.
  • The Stoic: Minko and Ohana's grandmother Sui.
  • Third-Person Person: Yuina has been known to do this.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Sui is content with her decision to shut down Kissuiso, feeling she has allowed her workers to pursue their greater goals; Denroku is happily retired; Enishi and Takako, having felt they aren't yet ready to run Kissuiso, decide to train in the meanwhile; Jiromaru is back to writing his novels; Tomoe becomes a waitress elsewhere; Nako becomes a swimming instructor; Ren becomes a cook at another restaurant; Tohru and Minko get to spend more time together; and Ohana moves back to Tokyo with Satsuki, after she finally confessed her love to Kouichi at the festival.
  • Workaholic: It's a Shijima family trait.
    • Also Minko.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Ohana constantly talks about living dramatically and arrives at her grandmother's hot springs inn, feeling as though she is in a movie. However, the beautiful girl who resembles a fairytale character and extends her hand out to Ohana tells her to die, and Ohana's grandmother — who Ohana assumes will be like another elderly lady giving out candy — throws her a bucket and washcloth instead.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Watching a sergeant play this out in an old war movie inspires Tomoe to do something about the survival gamers for Ohana and Nako.