The beginning to this anime threw me off guard. I had expected a run of the mill, slice of life anime starring a cute girl and her irresponsible but ultimately caring mother. Oh, how I was wrong.
Hanasaku Iroha depicts a girl, a regular middle class girl. Like many, her dreams are grandiose and she longs to find an escape to her meaningless life. However, unlike others, she sees reality for what it truly is. There will be no prince to scoop her up and bring her to a castle, Matsumae Ohana will likely becoming an office worker and lead a boring but stable life. The wild card being her mother who’s essentially a hussy. A midnight flit later and Ohana is wisked away to her steely grandmother’s inn. There she learns that life is difficult, societies “rules” and regulations no longer apply. Not that she had an easy life to begin with, having to deal with her outlandish mother.
I was surprised. Happily watching and enjoying Otoha’s outwardly cheerful personality, my mind was boggled when everything changed in an instant. The mother, whom I probably would have liked, turned out to be a bitch, a slut. Irresponsible to a tee, her whimsical nature ruined her daughters life. I now understand why the grandmother disowned her. I can understand why Otoha is treated so roughly simply based on her mother’s behavior. It’s almost amicable that the grandmother even took her in.
Aside from the bewildering plot, the art is amazing. Landscapes seem to be the main focus in Hanasaku Iroha. The city, mountains, and especially the inn are represented beautifully. The animation quality is top notch as well. The characters are fluid and easy on the eyes unfortunately, the beauty was interrupted as a callous old hag beat the stuffing out of two high school girls.
This anime was a sleeper hit for me. Coming in with nearly no expectations, I was left with a sense of yearning. I think I may have attached myself to dear Otoha. How silly of me. Definitely a show to keep an eye on.