Hanasaku Iroha 11: Indecision

“It’s rude not to give a proper answer”

Looks like Ohana’s faults are brought to the surface a lot quicker this episode just by being in Tokyo for an entire day. It takes lots of rain, a stubborn mother, jealousy, and realizing she’s her own hypocrite to get her to experience what it’s like to deal with seemingly adult issues. Welcome to the real world, Ohana!

Make no mistake, this is the episode I was most waiting for when it came to serious melodrama. We’d seen hints of it in other episodes in the form of petty day-to-day issues at Kissuiso, dilemmas in the staff’s personal lives, and Tohru going gaga over Ohana. But never until now has she been exposed to everything falling around her as much as what was revealed this week.

Picking up right after the surprise magazine editorial visit that the entire inn thought they nailed down perfectly, Ohana requests time off during a slow period and commutes back to Tokyo to find out the ‘perpetrator’ behind the poorly scored Kissuisso article. All of a sudden, last week’s preview of her and Satsuki meeting once again is straightened out because I totally thought it was just a flashback to one of Satsuki’s mother-fail moments. Apparently whenever Ohana wears a small backpack and street clothes, she morphs into what looks like an elementary student.

Soon after Ohana finds out that her own mother was the one who gave the okay for the article, her entire emotional existence begins to to break down. Her plea for Satsuki to come back to Kissuisso for a revised critique gets completely shot down, she finds out that Ko’s coworker has the hots for him, and then she realizes that Ko’s indecision to requite his coworker’s feelings is an exact reflection of Ohana’s own misgivings. Oh, and she gets hit on by two guys in a car as she walks in defeat in the rain.

“I’ve never had a day in my life that moved me in quite so many ways”

There were so many NANA vibes going with all of the relationship issues being highlighted in this episode that I felt as though Ohana and Ko could be the next Hachiko and Shoji. Comparisons aside, what this episode achieved in terms of back-filling some initial plot from the first few episodes was rather well done. It had to take a visit to Tokyo for Ohana to realize what she seemingly ran away from and that despite the world caving in around her, people still care about her. She has Ko in Tokyo who’s still waiting on an answer from her, and she has her fellow staff who even chased Ohana down to find her uncontrollably face-planting a light pole weeping in the rain. Talk about devotion for what seems like the most indecisive sixteen year-old you’ll ever witness in a television drama. Ohana ought to be grateful instead of naive.

Well, if you’re finally going to visit Tokyo after being away for almost six months (Ohana’s quest to find Tohru at his friend’s wedding doesn’t count), you might as well stay an extra day or two to make it worthwhile. Next week, we get more city walking, courtesy of what looks to be only Minko, Tohru, and Ohana, and a bunch of misleading, overlapping preview dialogue as usual just to throw us off from what will actually happen. If next week is Ko’s queue to exit the stage like the very last preview frame is hinting at, then it makes perfect sense and falls in line with a fresh second season, and one less character to use the melodrama on. It was a fun ride Ko, but I think the only way you’re gonna get Ohana to stop moping about you is if you help her accept that it’s time for her to move on without him, and vice versa.

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