Hanasaku Iroha (END) – 90 points

Takako looks terrible no matter which angle you put her.

Hanasaku Iroha is the first 26-episode anime that I blogged, and while some of my post about this were a bunch of one-liners, I really had a great time with this series.

Being the 10th anniversary project of PA Works, we almost already assumed that quality is ensured. The first two episodes of Hanairo were truly breath taking. There’s that unique concept of working in an inn, and the hardships of working really showed. As Episode 3 was aired, the synchronized praise for this series splitted. There was a schism. From a highly reflective anime that we saw in the first two episodes, it became some slapstick reality TV Korean Morning Drama (lolwut) that had no idea what its theme was. While people (me included) had some problems with it, the anime somehow grew on me. It became an anime I highly anticipated every week. Each episode, I wanted to see Ohana’s antics, the problems Kissuiso will face, the large cast’s beautiful characterization, and with so many things it did well, it really just. . . swallowed me I guess.

By the end of Ohana to Tokyo arc, I was just mesmerized by this series. It almost did everything already. I even got goosebumps on how good it was on some episodes. So yeah I was really happy with this series — until the second half came.

No, the second half wasn’t bad. Frankly it maintained the quality I was hoping it would do. But these two characters really ruined things, no matter how good the characterization of each character was. TAKAKO AND FUCKING ENISHING. No offense but I could really care less about those two dimwits. When it was their turn in the spotlight, I guess I couldn’t help but sighed. And they even went as far as to fucking getting married. Don’t get me wrong, everything was nicely done, its just that those two were really annoying.

Besides Takako and ENISHING, the characterization is one of Hanasaku Iroha’s big appeals. Ohana is the most three dimensional character I’ve ever seen in anime, most of the other characters as well. They aren’t one sided nor do they land in certain anime tropes (not that anime tropes are bad but). The interaction between the characters is very flowwy; it never feels forced. There’s also Okami-san, who by the end of this series, had the best development in the series. It was really Dawwww inducing when she said to Ohana that she didn’t want to ruin everyone’s dreams just for her own sake. This is just my gist on the characters.

Being PA Works 10th anniversary project, this is probably their most beautiful work to date (aesthetics-wise). I mean the backgrounds are fucking visual porn, animation is always fluid, and there’s always that air of “OH MY GOD I’VE NEVER SEEN SOMETHING LOOK AS GOOD AS THIS”. It really comes to a point where it beats out its real world counterpart. That’s how good Hanairo’s production is.

So where does this stand from PA Works 4 fully produced anime. I’d say its the best. While there’s some heavy quality control needed at the writing (especially in the middle episodes), Hanasaku Iroha is their most balanced anime (besides true tears, but I never really liked that anime) to date. Also, where does this stand in my favourites? Nah, its not close to my top 3 so far (S;G, Madoka, Nichijou) but in itself, its a really good anime that I would love to recommend to anyone who wants a highly reflective Slice-of-Life series.

Rating:

Execution: 35/40 (Besides some writing flaws in the middle episodes, Hanairo pulls itself quite well.)

Engagement: 26/30 (My first 2-cour anime blogged. Its quite an experience, and I must say I was never bored writing about this)

Characters: 9/10 (No one-dimensional character, a large but highly memorable cast, Ohana and Okami-san are really great characters)

Production: 10/10 (Simply mesmerizing)

Overall: 90/100 (Somehow it achieved legendary status)

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