26 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Hanasaku Iroha episode 1

In the season preview, I had this pegged down as a potentially interesting series. I couldn’t think of any reason necessarily why, but from a studio that produced Angel Beats and Canaan, I certainly didn’t expect the highlight to be the writing quality. Yeah I know it’s not the animation studio in charge of the writing, but studios tend to work together with the same writing staff for their projects. Have the brain dead crew who wrote Canaan really produced this?

Hanasaku Iroha feels like it’s a modern adaptation of a famous piece of literature. Something like a Japanese Pride and Prejudice. It’s ridiculously well written and manages to be funny be simply being clever, rather than be funny by pulling gags, which is a very difficult feat to pull off. The scenario also feels like it comes from a Japanese Jane Austin. Young woman leaves her not-exactly-responsible mother to live with scary grandmother, who then proceeds to inadvertently cause everyone there to dislike her. I’ve read books like this for English class. It’s pretty weird to then see that same atmosphere transferred into a moe anime. It does try to pull pretentious metaphors with the main characters monologues, but that’s the only part of the writing I don’t like. It hasn’t quite grabbed me fully as of the first episode, because I’ve yet to care about anything beyond the script. Neither the characters nor the setting have grabbed me in anyway, but it does have 26 episodes in which to do that in.

It also lacks…something…I don’t know, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it lacks something. Heart? It feels rather similar to Summer Wars, but doesn’t have the same soul that movie had, is that the problem? No, that’s not quite what I’m looking for. It lacks energy? Nah, not that either. What is it then…

Anime. It doesn’t feel like an anime. Again, this is back to the literary novel adaptation feel it has. It’s an odd complaint and I’m not even sure if this would qualify as a negative point against it. Despite it’s obvious anime exterior, there’s something very different about the core of this episode to any other anime I’ve seen, yet I can’t find the words to describe. The fact that I couldn’t find any tags out of the 463 I currently have to fit this post says enough about Hanasaku Iroha’s originality.

That said, I can’t leave this post tag-less.

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  1. Posted April 4, 2011 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Oh hey! It’s the pic we used as the album art for the very first episode of Bakacast!

    Small world.

  2. Posted April 4, 2011 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t love the monologues, haha. xD

    I’m looking forward to this show. Personally, I thought it had an anime quality to it, but I agree there’s also “famous literature” vibes.

    That’s an impressive number of tags.

  3. Posted April 4, 2011 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    …you had me at literature.

    *goes to check this out*

  4. Posted April 4, 2011 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Most of the Spring season hasn’t even premiered yet, but already this looks like the top-tier material for it. I can’t recommend this enthusiastically enough.

  5. Posted April 4, 2011 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    *looks at tags*
    I ship Drossel and Gedächtnis too…

    Posted April 4, 2011 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    I did not expect this to be good at all and watched it on a whim.
    I do not regret it at all.
    Yes, it didn’t reach me as ‘omg this will be greattt’
    But it has it’s grasp on me and now I am going to see what it is exactly that grabbed me.
    Can’t wait for the next episode <3

    • mcm38
      Posted April 4, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. It won’t be great. But it’s still something that you don’t want to leave unwatched.

  7. averaen
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed the monologues, as they felt dishonest. It didn’t feel like an accurate portrayal of the character’s thoughts, but instead felt like a psuedo-narration. She felt like her internal monologue was designed to be presented to an audience. I felt she was constantly lying to herself and avoiding accepting her new situation, through externalization.

    I’m probably reading too far into it. I always enjoy a dishonest protagonist – at least in literature. I wonder if the medium of ‘animu’ will be able to deliver. Or maybe I’m overshooting the intentions of the writers by a thousandfold.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 4, 2011 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      I can see where you’re coming from with that. I’m not sure if her being dishonest with herself was the case, but if it was, I would have preferred it if they were more obviously dishonest. At the moment, they come off as pretentious misplaced metaphors rather than what you’re describing.

      Anime with dishonest protagonists? Did a quick sweep through my MAL and came up with Tokyo Godfathers and Love Hina. Surprisingly few of them, although there’s plenty of deluded protagonists (hi there Death Note)

      • cuc
        Posted April 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        For me the monologues very obviously come through as a book-lover trying to shape her life experience into something resembling literature – which means she’s simply pulling cliche’s she’ve read, rather than reflecting her thoughts.

      • cuc
        Posted April 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        This forum post has phrased it better than I did:

        I find it kind of funny how they used her writer–mother as a method to justify her almost novelesque speech mannerisms. Growing up in such the environment rubbed off on her, haha.

  8. luffyluffy
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t do it. This cute little thing bored me to pieces.

    That said, go blog Tiger & Bunny already

    • Scamp
      Posted April 4, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      It’s coming it’s coming! I have to leave a little space between each post ya know

      • mcm38
        Posted April 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        Don’t rush the chef Luffy! Or the meals quality’ll drop.

  9. mcm38
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    It’s not something for diehard anime fans. It’s not amazing or great. It’s more like something everyone could watch. It’s plot does it alone.

    I feel like it’s story is going to be the one thing this show will not lose to others this year. Looking forward to seeing more of it.

    Oh, and I also want to meet an old lady who gives out candy.

  10. Posted April 4, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    So this really is a 20+ ep show? Wonder why ANN pegged it as 13 eps. Maybe just the confirmed titles I guess?

  11. esha25
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed the first episode. You nailed it on the head when you said this has a literary feel. I guess that is why I really liked this episode.

    Great change of pace.

  12. Posted April 4, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    this feels more movie-esque than literature-ish. a josei/shoujo coming-of-age slice of life story. a whimsical girl maturing into a woman and coming to know love and all that jazz.

    lol, the monologues were ENTIRELY a girl who’s been around a writer way too long and develops their tendencies to narrate everything like a novel at all times.

    i dont like any of the characters currently except of course for the girl’s best friend guy. i’ll give this a few more eps to see where the story goes and if i’ll be interested.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 4, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I guess it was more literary movie adaptation than like you were reading a book or anything. Which is preferable to be honest. If I wanted a book I’d read a book etc.

  13. Posted April 4, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    I liked the monologues for one reason–it made her feel like her a 16 year old girl, the age where you think you know it all, and are so ~wise~ about the world, when in reality you have so much to learn. Of course, my favorite was when the boy tells her she’s one way, and she says he is wrong, and how she’s so much more deeper then that, just because that’s another mark of the angst of being 16. I think it demonstrates her immaturity really well.

    It’s very much a coming of age story, although told in a different way. There are many coming of age stories where the protagonist is sent away, and usually it’s a strange unrealistic but wonderful place where the residents are quirky but kind, and while the main character doesn’t like them at first, she grows to love them and comes to age there.

    In this case, she desperately wants someone to want her, yet no one does. There’s nothing wonderful at the inn so far. But this is where she will have her coming of age, one way or another.

  14. Posted April 4, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    There males and females in this series.

    Also, I loved the way Ohana did not cry until she was finally alone. So many parts of this anime felt so…real? Because they payed attention to small things.

    • mcm38
      Posted April 4, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

      She’s a strong girl.

  15. Thrashy
    Posted April 5, 2011 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    I jumped into this mostly on the strength of the art (and talk about quality — there must be a guy in the PA Works office who only answers to the name “Reflections-In-Glass-Man”) but also came away equally impressed with the writing. The characters are developed, three-dimensional, and real in a way that characters in anime rarely are, and the writers play them off each other wonderfully. I’m excited to see how this one plays out.

  16. Anonymous
    Posted April 5, 2011 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    Skimming through these comments I can only come to one conclusion. Apparently I was the only person in this universe to look forward to this show. Part voice actors, part premise, part art, part this-show-is-not-aimed-at-mainly-guys-so-no/less-moe-loli-characters, part instinct. Judging from this first episode I was right. My expectations were pretty much blown away (I set them low for obvious reasons). It gives me the same kind of feeling as Princess Jellyfish did, a feeling that this is going to be good. Or at least very enjoyable for a long while. Hopefully the show can keep that feeling up for it’s duration. Now the important question is, will you blog this show?

    Also, Canaan was great. HACK THE SATELLITE CANAAN! HACK THE SATELLITE WITH YOUR EYES!! Or was it a nuke? I forgot. Sexy double-tap in the OP made everything good.

  17. Posted April 5, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Awesome whale! :D

    Mom sucks! and Grandma is even worse! However I will watch it anyway due to the voice work and animation.

  18. Posted April 8, 2011 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    “Have the brain dead crew who wrote Canaan really pro­duced this?”

    Really? Have people already forgotten True Tears, the anime which basically launched P.A. Works out of obscurity? Remember, P.A. Works previous two series were produced in collaboration with “big-name” creators – Kinoko Nasu (of Fate/Stay Night fame) for CANAAN and Jun Maeda (CLANNAD) for Angel Beats, respectively; and we can see how those turned out.

    If anything, the fact that they’ve ditched the star power of the previous two works they’ve done means the writing team can finally go back to the same sort of stuff they started with.

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