Hanasaku Iroha 25: Your Heart’s Like Tofu

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Tomoe’s going to have a lot of forehead wrinkles when she grows older. And if the staff of Kissuiso keeps it up with their bickering during such critical times, Sui’s intent on closing up shop on them just might come true in spite of all they’ve worked for.

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Sui’s health seems to be deteriorating relative to the length of this last arc. Seeing Satsuki’s reappearance this time as part of a helping hand for the stressed-out staff doesn’t help either in thinking of the possibility of Sui’s handing-off of her managerial duties. To whom that may actually be is more than likely going to be Enishi-Takako at the moment, but it was at least very entertaining to see Satsuki take on a waitress’ responsibilities. Is anyone else the least bit concerned about our favorite okami?

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“You made me happy when I thought you felt the same”

It’s almost a crime at this point not to put some sort of tsun-tsun or dere-dere Minko moment at any given time in an episode. I rather liked her bare confession and thought of betrayal at thinking Ohana shared the same dreams as her, yet seemed to abandon it by siding with the one person of authority Minko and the rest of the ‘rebels’ are fighting against. Of course, Minko isn’t the only one at present to have thought that way about Ohana. Tohru actually blurts out what he confessed to Minko about a few weeks ago in that she really brings about an aura to the work environment that fires everyone up like no one else can. So, to see Ohana sulking over what seems like her own selfish reasons is the biggest reason why Kissuiso itself isn’t doing so well, as well as why no one seems to even care about her much during the festival preparations.

But if a single star had to be rewarded, it would go to Nako and her proclamation of the absurd arguments and pitfalls Kissuiso is facing in light of increased customer traffic. She further echoes everyone else’s stand on why Sui is flat out wrong in thinking the staff is only being dragged along at the whim of her selfish dreams when, in fact, it’s the staff themselves that have molded her dream into something they can call their own. Admirable thoughts from our favorite introverted waitress.

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Silver star goes to Yuina for her continued up-beat antics and carefree sidelines support in the midst of all things drama. While she doesn’t do much by way of helping Ohana overcome her career- and life-dilemmas, she at least attempts to liven up the people and places she surrounds herself in. Also, revealing her intent to study abroad for the sake of understanding hotel/inn business overseas was pretty shocking for someone who dislikes both working and inns for the most part. Perhaps she actually will return to her childhood friend from another, bigger hotel that we were introduced to some weeks ago.

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“There’s no way we’re serving something like [balut]!”

Simply put, this was another week dealing with what happens when you overbook a resort, panic and freak out in front of your coworkers, and contemplate on the meaning of your current circumstances. I think it’s funny how the concept of ‘leaving your troubles at the door’ seems to not apply so well for half of the staff since they all live there as well. Would Kissuiso do better if its entire staff lived off-premise? Flashbacks to the old staff members seemed to prove this to be the truth. But the interesting thing about this last arc, if spun in a positive light, is how today’s mixture of cultures from the individuals that work there all shape this big and uniquely refreshing take on what it means to associate your job as one big family instead of going to work just for the sake of working. And family has been the hot button to drive this show in the first place – Minko’s insistence that Kissuiso (and Tohru, in a sense) is her only home; Tomoe’s idle standby as she waits for suitable husband-material to float into her life; the entire Ohana-Satuski-Sui dynamic; Nako’s siblings – the list goes on.

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Coming from a fashion retail background when I had my first job in college, I know well enough of the high tension during peak business periods (especially seasonal holidays). So it was pretty refreshing to see the efforts of the staff of Kissuiso from a third-person perspective. But at the same time, my experience (albeit in a different industry) tells me that everyone is overreacting, and whoever was supposed to make sound plans and head the call for organizational/managerial skills really dropped the ball for this festival. Sorry, Enishi-Takako, but you two need to brush up on your inn management skills, and fast. They’re lucky wild-card Satsuki joined the fray.

Well, next week is the final episode. I’m really excited to see it, but I know I’m going to miss all of the melodrama and comedy I’ve grown to admire about this series. And it looks like we get an ever-so important confession to an aspect of the story I’m sure we’ve all been waiting for. The inn is probably all but saved from closure at this point, but it would be nice to surprise me at the last minute like P.A. Works should know how to do with its viewers by now.

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