Hanasaku Iroha 20: Iron Chef Minko


There’s been a lot of kitchen scenes in this series, but no episode has ever caused my appetite to soar through the roof until Minko displayed her professional omurice dish preparation. I definitely have to try making it the way she does it next time.


Competent chef Minko turned compassionate comrade within a 24-hour time frame (story-wise) was rather shocking yet positively surprising to witness. Even when she was young, all she ever thought about was food prep and the wonders of kitchen activity, which is pretty admirable for someone whose passion for what she wants to do completely drives her despite starting out from scratch as a novice. All of the past weeks that portrayed her as almost completely useless in the Kissuiso kitchen beyond anything involving cutting, peeling, and setting up the dining quarters were almost thrown out the window. She really is a great cook when she’s able to lean on proper guidance, but she obviously just needs more time to grow her culinary knowledge.

I also liked how Tomoe pointed out how Minko goes out of her way to set aside a portion of her income to buy ingredients unobtainable during the kitchen staff’s regular shifts just to practice cooking with them. If that isn’t dedication to your passion, then I don’t know what is. One thing’s always for sure and it’s that anyone striving to become better at what they’re passionate about must accept that education and learning new processes are always necessary for growth.


Nako’s involvement with trying to help her own coworkers figure out ways to make omurice with the limited cooking equipment subsequently drew here away from Mizuno’s attempts at getting the art gallery together. It almost felt bittersweet knowing that the gallery looked so beautiful almost solely because of Mizuno’s efforts during Nako’s absence, but Nako’s eventual return to the room to rejoin Mizuno seemed like a nice gesture of trust that will help Nako become more comfortable around people outside of her normal work/family ties. Kudos to Mizuno for being such an awesome painter and wowing Nako with that fancy “friend” piece. She deserves more gallery views.


Who can forget crybaby Yuki? Thanks to Minko giving in a little and being more accepting of her committee’s request for omurice, Yuki actually gets to do what she broke down about last week. I swear, that was probably one of the saddest wails I’ve ever heard coming from someone so heartbroken about their hopes and dreams being rejected (yeah, it’s only food), so seeing this scene seemed pretty redeeming.


On the other hand, that last scene also led to Tohru’s deliberate misunderstanding of Minko’s intentions for writing her feelings in ketchup on his own dish. That smirk of his after seeing Yuki’s crush’s omurice must have been like what someone new to maid cafes would have probably felt upon realizing that their special ‘custom’ greeting on their omurice isn’t so special and custom after all. Poor Minko, especially with what next week’s episode is hinting at. Gotta try harder than that, Minchi!


For an episode that focused on closing the festival arc, it was far more simplistic than previous episodes. Yuina’s passive observation of the ‘youth’ she’s been a witness of would most closely describe how I felt this week; nothing special happened, but each moment was still enjoyable. And it’s nice to see a full few episodes dedicated to almost absolutely nothing regarding inns and their customers for a change. It brings out and strengthens or completely changes our views of the resident characters and makes this series worth appreciating a tad bit more (at least more so for slice-of-life fans).


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