Note: Review copy supplied by MVM Entertainment
Title: Hanasaku Iroha Part 2
Anime Studio: P.A. Works
Publisher: MVM Entertainment
Genre: Slice of Life / Coming of Age / Romantic Comedy
Released: July 15th, 2019
Extras: Clean OP and ED, Japanese Trailers, MVM Trailers
Ohana’s job at Kissuiso continues. Just when she grows accustomed to her daily tasks as a hot spring inn attendant, Kissuiso’s financial stability is called into question. An opportunity to have a movie filmed at Kissuiso causes a big to-do, but will that be enough to revitalise interest in the inn and keep everyone’s dream alive?
The first half of Hanasaku Iroha was a real surprise for me. It successfully blended lovable characters with a coming of age tale in a simple setting. The second half of the series continues down that same path.
Ohana herself has been a strong lead throughout the entire series. Her desire to work within her circumstances is endearing, and watching her grow throughout the story was an absolute pleasure. From her life at Kissuiso, to her familial relationship with her Mum and Gran, and all the way back around to her romance with Ko, she’s more than worthy of being the focus of the series. The overarching family drama and romance plots build up slowly with her, but it all feels very natural. Nothing was rushed, it just ran along the way it probably would in reality.
Ohana is not the only one to take the spotlight though. There’s an arc towards the end that deals with Minko’s crush on Tohru. It’s so easy to feel bad for Minko here as, for all her hard work, Ohana somehow manages to be the first on people’s minds. The girls are able to maintain their relationship through the troubles that arise as a result, but the whole thing did seem to set them back for a while. Minko was a favourite of mine from the first half of the series too, so seeing her get some time to shine was really nice.
The ending ties everything up nicely, and even sees the Gran learning a little about herself. She also gave an important message about finding your place in the world: “Some find the right path quickly, others search harder and longer. It is as acceptable to take a detour as it is to get it wrong sometimes.” It’s moments like that that showed her to have a softer side beneath the harsh exterior.
Hanasaku Iroha Part Two sets up a few scenes that I was expecting to become fan service focused: a beach episode and some hot springs moments. In keeping with the first half of the release though, it doesn’t actually push things near as far as these types of episodes often do. I was glad to see that; the story itself is so relationship-driven that it would feel fairly out of place to throw it in for the sake of it.
The series remains as aesthetically strong as before too, which strong vocal performances and decent visuals throughout. The opening theme is peppy in all the right ways, and the piano-driven ending is equally fitting. If that all sounds brief it’s because there isn’t much more to say. Everything is good enough to be clearly decent but not stand-out enough to make you want to shout about the quality. That’s not a bad thing overall though because nothing sticks out as poor or out of place either.
I previously described the series as a marvelous little coming of age story. That still feels fitting here. The story is excellent, and the characters and setting are instantly memorable. Part two brings everything to a satisfying conclusion and should be a must-own for fans of slice of life anime. 4.5 out of 5.