Number of Episodes Aired: 2
Simulcast on Crunchyroll
Alternate Title Suggestions: I Can’t Believe My Grandma is This Sadistic, Flowers+Depression
The amazing thing to me about Hanasaku Iroha is that, with its premise, it should be horrendously depressing, yet mysteriously, it’s not. Our plucky protagonist Ohana gets kicked out of her normal life when her flighty Mom decides to run off with her boyfriend (it doesn’t matter why), and is sent to go live at her grandmother’s country inn- where she’s forced to do physical labor for her keep and is basically treated like dirt. Even Grandma gives her no sympathy, since she disowned Ohana’s mother and no longer considers them part of the family.
At least so far, it’s interesting because Ohana is a realistic medium point between Little Cosette/Orphan Annie victim type, and one of those inimitable balls of love that inevitably turns these dark situations around by just scooping everyone up in her incredible zeal for life. In fact, having to play the supportive role to her immature mother has already caused Ohana to grow up too fast in certain regards, yet stay socially behind in others. There’s a lot going on with her, making it difficult to predict what she’s going to do from scene to scene, yet nothing she does feels forced. From a writing perspective, it’s pretty impressive.
Really, I could wax poetic about everything this show does right for about twenty paragraphs, and it would all come down to “the writing is unusually good.” While some characters haven’t developed beyond classic archetypes yet, the interaction between Ohana, her grandmother, and the other workers at the inn is often fascinating. I think Iron Grandma is not as immune to her grandaughter’s plight as she lets on, which leads me to wonder- was it the strict rules of the inn that drove Ohana’s mother away, and now Grandma regrets it? Or was she too lenient with her only daughter, and now she’s unwilling to make the same mistake twice? I’m just happy that the show leads me to ask these sorts of questions.
I don’t actually have a helluva lot to say about this show as of yet; I just know I’m definitely watching it. However, I am interested in Ohana’s mother, who reminds me of Anzu’s mom in 2010’s Hanamaru Kindergarten. Is there some sort of stereotype that all immature women in Japan who have kids early go to work as editors for magazines, at which point they become glued to their laptops for the next few decades? Or is this just a coincidence? I’m betting on Ohana’s mother coming back later in the series after getting bored with her boyfriend, so maybe we’ll find out more.