Hanasaku Iroha 18-19: Work and Play


Character building’s the name of the game for these past two weeks as each of the girls besides Ohana and Tomoe get the spotlight and a chance to show off their talents for the upcoming cultural festival. But like how all good things must come to an end, so nearly does Minko’s own kitchen committee as she puts up an uncrossable line between work and play that gets the best of those who just want nothing more than to cook their crush’s favorite omurice dish. Drama ahead!


If you thought Minko’s earlier “die” and “balut” expletives towards Ohana were bad in the first half of the show, it only goes downhill when we discover just how serious she can get. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a fine line that has to be drawn between work and play, but Minko took it a bit too far and ran her committee into the ground by the end of this week’s episode. Perhaps if she wasn’t influenced so much by the prospect of Tohru visiting their cafe, Minko would have been more lenient in letting her classmate’s plea for letting moe-moe omurice into their otherwise posh, five-star menu.


In almost perfectly opposite contrast to Minko’s kitchen committee, Ohana and Yuina and crew are taking it easy and having a blast showing off Sui’s vintage kimono waitress outfits, chomping on snacks, and sipping carbonated beverages. It’s mostly amusing how Yuina and Ohana became the blatant observers of change this time around because it led not only to Minko’s crumbling team, but also to some hilarious run-ins with how Nako dealt with her new artsy friend in the organizational committee.


Poor Mizuno. I wonder how she felt when Nako kept messing up each motif she picked up. And it looks like we’ll have to wait until next week to find out just what awkward title Nako named Mizuno’s painting that she held up at the end. Nako making friends? Come on, that’s not possible!


Speaking of Nako, last week was a great opportunity to show off traits we’ve never seen from her. Nako’s attempts this past week during the cultural festival preparations were directly tied to her ongoing focus on becoming more outgoing and (properly) outspoken with those around her. To get 23 minutes of Nako nearly running her mouth without her knowing much of its consequences made for some really awesome interactions with the rest of the cast whenever she came out of her shell. And to see her plight continuing into this week was pretty charming.


A lot of people who watched these past two weeks episodes probably loved seeing Nako as a mermaid, changing in and out of work clothes, or even seeing her at home as the caring older sister she so effortlessly pulls off despite having three siblings to spoil care for. I personally just loved when she tried to be herself by being frank with everyone regardless of whether she was hitting any sensitive topics, such as putting down Ren for his rather attractive red jacket. Perhaps it’s because I can relate to being rather straightforward as well that I can see how it would benefit Nako and her introverted nature by just expressing the first thing that comes to her senses.


Put simply, the past two weeks of Hanasaku Iroha were nice, fulfilling diversions from the main story that is Ohana and her quest to fest it up with everything she’s got. Ko was brought back from the depths of last season as either some possible foreshadowing to his return and subsequent visit to the cultural festival, or just to troll us into thinking as such. At least the writers were able to dumb down the drama that he usually brings by having him appear in one of Ohana’s whacky dreams as an over-ecstatic waiter wearing the kimono waitress outfits and sporting a feminine voice. As little Ko as possible is better than bringing him back entirely.


Next week: more (chibi)Minko! Maybe her committee really didn’t permanently abandon her after all. And is it just me, or did Minko’s father from behind look like Tohru? For a second, I thought it was a scene of Tohru helping out at the cultural festival. You never know, it could happen.

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