Hana-Saku Iroha

Title:Hana-Saku Iroha
Hanasaku Iroha (Japanese)
Азбука цветов (Russian)
花咲くいろは (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - P.A. Works
ITO Kanae
P.A Works' 10th anniversary anime project featuring character designs by Mel Kishida! Matsumae Ohana, a 16 year old girl, moves out of Tokyo, and starts working at a hot spring hotel, which is located on a hill surrounded by cherry blossoms. Matsumae has yet to decide her future. Matsumae begins working at the inn and makes friends with the other employees. The story features other teenage girls who are looking for their dreams and excitements.

[TV series, 2011, 26 episodes; Animation Production by P.A Works. A "new visual work" of this franchise has been announced for 2012.]
2:07min promotion video - YouTube Video
1:36 min trailer - Youtube video.
"花" ("hana)" = "flower"; 咲く" ("saku") = "to bloom"; "いろは" ("iroha") = the traditional ordering of the Japanese syllabary, something like "the ABC" in western languages. So the title may mean "the ABC of (flower) blooming".
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 10 9 8 9 9 9 Dreamer [series:2428#2279]
It's rare that I sit through any anime's OPs & EDs. But, that's exactly what I did here. I was so impressed with this series, even the OPs & EDs were impressive to watch.... visually.

Art, Animation & Character Designs
Artwork was absolutely gorgeous! We had some great lighting effects (most notably) near the beginning of episode one. Colors were rich and vibrant. The animation was smooth as butter and fluid. The attention to detail was without fail..... superb! The characters, all of them were more than simple 2 dimensional animations. They were full of color and vibrant in character.... all the supporting characters.

The piece playing in episode one about a quarter way through (on the train), was a nice alternative or pop piece with female vocals. What made it good was its placement with the scene at hand and how it flowed smoothly. Most the OPs & EDs were rock-sh alternatives with female vocals in a more grungy tone but without it being classified as grundge. The soundtrack as a whole was executed quite well, all well worth listening to.

Series and Episode Story
As briefly touched upon above, one of the best parts of this series is the breathtaking artwork and animation. I mean, everything from a very rich color palette to attention to minute details to near-realistic lighting effects & ambient lighting. Take the ED sequence in episode 14 (and forward), where it starts off with the camera angled up between some trees with colorful leaves and sun rays streaming down in the field of view. Now looking at this on a large HD screen, and it being so realistic, I caught myself squinting at the scene.... eyes were fooled by the bright rays shining between the leaves. Breathtakingly gorgeous! And it wasn't just limited to this, it was the case throughout the entire episodes.

There's some really funny moments in this series, and it's the facial expressions that really brings the series to life, along with the humor. Take episode 3, where Nako just saved the writer. Ohana describes a bit of the novel when Minchi & Nako sorta flips out and Nako's eyes are all buggered. The visuals were funny as heck and worth several minutes of a good laughter. Throughout the series, we get a good sprinkle of humor but this series is hardly classified as a comedy..... which is good 'cause that would probably make the storyline dull, perhaps boring. Instead, this is just full of charming moments, beautiful character interactions and just great storytelling through and through.

By the end of the series, a couple things occurs that were predictable, but that's what made the series so darn good! We were expecting it but to see it blossom into fruition and executed so elegantly and smooth, it was enough to paint a giant smile across the face (at least my face).

Overall, I almost shed a tear watching the final episode.... knowing that it was the last episode to be had. I wanted it to continue on but as they say, "All good things must come to an end". Do watch!

Last updated Wednesday, April 03 2013. Created Wednesday, April 03 2013.
Rent 10 8 9 7 7 8 Ggultra2764 [series:2428#1552]
Hanasaku Iroha was solid as a drama yet hit-or-miss in the delivery of comedy. The series was effective in its implementation of coming-of-age drama focused around the everyday activity with Ohana and the workers of the Kissuiso inn owned by her grandma. Many of the characters in the series do get their focus and depth, including some episodes centered around a situation faced by a supporting character in the series. The main focus of the coming-of-age drama for the series centers on Ohana, Minko and Nako dealing with their own dilemmas of growing up with Ohana learning to rely on others and her inner conflicts about loving close friend Ko, Minko wanting to be a master chef and dealing with her crush on a co-worker and Nako overcoming her shyness. While Minko and Nako clearly have their archetypes with the former a tsundere and the latter your typical anime shy gal, there is enough to their characters where they don't completely fall under them. The show takes its time at developing the situations faced by the three gals throughout the series through everyday, serious and comical moments.

As I noted in the opening sentence though, I did feel as if the show was hit-or-miss in its delivery of comedy, especially considering that Hanasaku Iroha's first two episodes had me convinced that the series was gonna be a serious drama at first. While some of the show's more subtle humor did earn me a chuckle such as some of Sui's actions, attempts that the show made at over the top humor such as Taro's erotic novel ideas and Tomoe fending off "survival gamers" had me wondering what the show's creators were thinking at adding those moments. Episodes focused around comedy often led to the series losing its main focus on Ohana and her friends as I wondered at points if Hanasaku Iroha was either trying to be a serious coming-of-age drama or a slice-of-life comedy. I also questioned why the show was prominently focusing on Yuina as a central character in the series even though she doesn't appear as regularly as Ohana, Minko and Nako; was not working at the same resort as the three girls; and only getting a two-episode arc focused around her character.

The visuals to Hanasaku Iroha are great on the eyes with gorgeous and vast scenery of both the countryside in which Kissuiso is located and the city environment of Ohana's home of Tokyo. There is plenty of detail and lush colors conveyed through both rural and urban settings in which Ohana and other characters travel through in their everyday activity. While animation isn't the prominent focus of the series, characters were moving about at a smooth pace through walking, working at Kissuiso and traveling in vehicles; thus I didn't feel as if the series resorted to any shortcuts when it came to animation, especially during some scenes featuring crowded areas such as a Bon festival held at the end of the series.

While I wasn't as big on the show's comedy, Hanasaku Iroha did still entertain me with its drama and focus on the coming-of-age trials faced by Ohana and her two close friends working and living at the Kissuiso inn. It's not the best anime I've seen by a long shot, but it is definitely worth a look if you dig slice-of-life and coming of age titles.

Last updated Sunday, September 25 2011. Created Sunday, September 25 2011.
Unevaluated 21 [series:2428#3223]
(11 episodes watched)

Solid show. However it's dragging on me a bit as of episode 11, the show quickly lost its edge after the first couple of episodes. Regardless the animation is great and story is at least good if not that entrancing.

Last updated Tuesday, July 05 2011. Created Tuesday, July 05 2011.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:2428#628]
(One episode watched):

When I first saw the image above, at the very start of the first episode, the thought that occured to me was that maybe this was going to be a comedy about five goofy girls, sort of like K-On. Nothing could have been further from the truth. In fact there was relatively little comedy, and infinitely more obvious was the cruelty, both physical and emotional. It made me squirm, thank God I hadn't wound up in a similar situation--and ask myself if this really looked like the sort of show I wanted to watch. As of yet many hastily sketched characters have been introduced but nobody has developed much depth. So far it's a matter of characters I don't like and ones which I haven't made my mind up about yet. Still, a classy show with high standards compared to much of the animated crap that I usually watch. Presumably Ohana and the other girls will become friends over time; for now it is too soon to decide whether I will watch this one or not. This episode was kind of disturbing and if more than a few of the ones to come have the same tone, I'm not so sure.

Last updated Tuesday, April 05 2011. Created Tuesday, April 05 2011.

Other Sites
Official site http://visual.ponycanyon.co.jp/hanairo/

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