Hanasaku Iroha 24: Keep Calm and Carry On

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The entire staff of Kissuisou now faces the very real possibility of Inn closure and job transfers. Meanwhile, Ohana confronts both Kou’s feelings once more (in yet another playground) and Sui’s physical collapse as everyone’s lives begin to take dramatic turns in opposing directions.

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I wouldn’t mind a 25.5 episode filler just before the series finale where Ohana and Sui make a dodgeball team and go up against the rest of the Kissuisou staff. For kicks, let’s also have the entire elder hotel/inn committee/board join the staff as well. Especially after demonstrating Sui’s exceptionally efficient after-bath cleaning skills, I think she and Ohana will do just fine as a pair against the world everyone else. As long as Sui’s not chucking wrenches instead of dodgeballs, I think the game will sufficiently start and end with minimal physical damage.

Back onto a serious note, I related well to this episode. Especially in light of what I still consider a rough (U.S.) economy, the prospect of business closures, going through interviews, and having to find new jobs is something I’ve experienced both personally and second-hand, and have also narrowly escaped from in light of the bankruptcy of a retail clothing store chain I used to work for prior to my current job. Seeing the tension among all of the Kissuisou staff felt very real, and the drive I witnessed this week to stand behind whatever success may be left of the situation for the sake of continuing the journey with a crew you’ve grown to love as family left a very good opinion on just how far the characters in this show have come.

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Speaking of progress, just look at those two! Too bad the cooking manga they mutually grew up liking was actually created by Jirou of all people. I vote Jirou as best man at this lovely couple’s wedding someday in the as-yet-written future. Or if Kissuisou really closes down, the two of them should open up a bread shop, Minko could become Cooking Mama Minchi, and their sickly daughter Nagisa would make friends with Ohana and Kou’s starfish-obsessed daughter.

I digress. And I’m now having Clannad withdrawals.

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Huge kudos to Kou for scoring major Ohana-dere points and for timing his run-in with her on the bridge. Though I feel like he really didn’t have to do much beyond getting Ohana to feel nostalgic about their moments together in order to get her to indirectly reciprocate his feelings from the first episode, I still find relief in knowing that all it’ll take now is for Kou to actually show up at the inn this time. Or the creators could just make Kou not appear at the Bonbori Festival, generating a second cour and more drama until it’s resolved once and for all through Ohana’s moving on from him. Nah, I still don’t have animosity towards this ever-so hesitant pairing. Not a spec.

Let’s start over again: kudos to Kou for changing his analogy of the trapped pieces of corn inside canned juice. He really should just be a romance novelist if he’s able to swoon corny Ohana like that (no pun intended).

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Two reasons why this scene was both awesome yet frightening at the same time:

1. Ohana outright confirming Sui’s old age and Sui bursting out in laughter made this scene priceless. Whether one will agree with Ohana’s “despite not understanding a word you said about your selfishness as the cause to closing the inn, I’ll just agree with you and carry on” attitude is up to interpretation, but her simplified way of thought makes this building drama about the inn closing a lot more simpler to digest. Sure, people need boats to jump ship to and have contingency plans, but she follows more of a zen way of life that she’ll most likely benefit the most from after all is said and done.

2. I thought I was watching one of the pivotal scenes of Summer Wars. Without spoiling the movie, I’ll only say that if the outcome of this episode followed more closely to that movie’s scene, my opinion of the show would have dropped significantly. I wouldn’t have wanted to watch the same formula happen to a series like this.

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Next week: looks like the final boss fight continues with Sui vs. the entire inn staff as the crew makes preparations for all of the reservations they booked as a result of Satsuki’s awesome editorial skills and connections. Just how long Enishi’s determination to keep things afloat will last also seems to be on the line, and it’ll be interesting to see him stick to his words with Satsuki as an audible witness.

With Sui’s justification that the inn is only being run at the expense and sacrifice of the staff’s own personal and career goals at this point, her self-proclaimed selfishness for keeping them around makes her a somewhat hypocritical inn owner in my opinion. However, like all good things in life, doors must be closed and then reopened before newer and better opportunities can be given a chance. Perhaps Kissuisou’s closure isn’t so much about the staff’s loss of a family workplace so much as it is an opportunity for everyone to grow in different paths towards even more beneficial lives. If Sui’s right on this one, then she deserves huge kudos for foreseeing this. If she isn’t right, then good luck to the staff in rebuilding what was already a good formula to begin with.

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