I’m a little surprised Ohana got caught (and so elaborately tied up without being unconscious) by the perverted, no-talent writer. But at least nothing dramatic/traumatic happened as a result of her “kidnapping”. In fact, I think this episode did very well in playing up the drama (in an almost ridiculous manner) and then immediately bringing it back down with the no-good-writer’s Grand Theft Auto move and tearful “I should just disappear” speech. And everything in between was just another day at the hot springs inn.
Nako is by far my favourite character so far. Her shyness is a bit irritating at times, but her beyond gorgeous character design makes up for it. Plus she didn’t spend as much time with Ohana this episode, which means we were treated to a slightly less formal Nako. And she was given a drenched beauty shot. I’m not sure how much they’re going to elaborate on Nako’s background, but I’m glad that she was given some strength and confidence (even if it is in the form of swimming; no one is going to complain about a wet Nako) this early on, otherwise, with Ohana and Minchi’s fiery exchanges of ‘I hate you I love you’, she could have been easily overlooked as one of the main characters. This might have also been strategic in building Nako popularity before they introduce the final fourth girl in the group – who seems to be quite popular too, despite not being a part of the storyline yet.
Did Ko’s text message (or mail) to Ohana make anyone else smile? (Mint? Renn? RP?) These little scenes where Ohana “interacts” with Ko are so well done: subtle and understated, but with clear impact on Ohana’s character development. In the first episode, when he’s physically there, we take his character for granted – much like how Ohana did. In the second, there’s no contact between the two, and through Ohana’s loneliness, we learn alongside our protagonist how important Ko really is to her. Now, by the third episode, after Ko’s presumably sorted out some of his feelings and has taken the initiative to reconnect with Ohana, she finds comfort in his simple message. And perhaps, even begins to weigh her feelings for Ko as something more than just friendship.
My only… complaint about this episode was the end scene with the grandmother: I know the grandmother really loves Ohana, deep down inside, and that she also loves her daughter (Ohana’s mommy, Satsuki), but I didn’t appreciate the “you knew she was going to put things right”. It was just a bit too feel-good, a bit too staged for me.
But that’s my only complaint. Everything else was wonderful.
…Okay so the whole thing with Ohana reading the dirty sex novel the failed writer was attempting was odd at best, but I chose not to focus on that in and of itself; what really stuck out to me from those scenes is just how pathetic this guy is – so pathetic, in fact, that I didn’t bother to remember his name. I’d like to think his only purpose in this show thus far, was to give Nako her shining moment.
So far so good, Hanasaku is doing well in my books. The animation is beautiful, the characters are developing at a good pace – even simple revelations like showing Minko’s notebook, and how much effort she puts into what angry words to say to Ohana, add depth to her character without spending too much time; and the storyline is still easy to follow. I have no expectations as to how it’s going to play out, who might be introduced next, or what events or plot twists are thrown in. And I don’t really care at this point, to be honest. I like being able to just sit, watch, and not think too much. I know, for some people, that’s the makings of a bad show, but for me, it’s perfectly okay.