Since watching Episode 24 of Hanasaku Iroha, I’ve had one thought overriding everything else that’s going on in this series right now, and that is that Ohana doesn’t deserve Ko. But despite that belief, I still want to see them get together in the end.
The plot of Hanasaku Iroha has had its ups and downs over the past twenty-four episodes, but one consistently solid storyline is the relationship between Ohana and Ko. I have to say I’ve liked Ko from the very start: he’s down to earth, level-headed, and a really good friend. Even though he took the roundabout way on the romantic side of his relationship with Ohana, when it came down to it, he mustered up the courage to not only confess to her his feelings, but to let her go and leave him behind. He contacted Ohana first after their awkward parting, and even apologized for not seeing her off properly; this revealed a great deal of maturity – and commitment on Ko’s part. From then on, he continues to support Ohana much like he did before, despite the distance separating them physically, and does his best to cheer her on in her endeavours.
But despite reinstating himself as Ohana’s best friend, Ko doesn’t easily give up on pursuing Ohana romantically. He puts in a lot of effort into planning a surprise trip to see her, and even tracks her down in the rain when she unexpectedly returns to the city. Since Ko’s confession, Ohana had started thinking of him in a ‘more than just a friend’ way, but she never committed herself to liking Ko in return; I guess she just needed time to figure it out, but part of me also thinks she was avoiding it. It isn’t until Ohana has a little chat with the girl at Ko’s work, Igarashi who has feelings for him, that Ohana is forced to think about it seriously and with some sense of urgency – not because she was running out of time, but because of the ripple effects of withholding her decision. It’s from this conversation that Ohana is made aware of her selfishness and how she’d been holding Ko’s heart captive all this time, that he still looks out for her and worries about her. And to top things off, Ohana misinterprets Ko’s meaning when he bids her farewell on a phone call. … I’m sure this scene would have been more impactful if I spoke and understood Japanese better, because in English, while there are many things you could say when parting, none of them imply a definite “farewell forever”. I always thought Ohana was a bit on the dramatic side, and it doesn’t help that she was overly emotional at that moment too, but I can’t say I would’ve reacted any different if that happened to me at that age. But the good thing about all this happening in one day is that it causes a shift in how Ohana perceives Ko and her relationship with him. Sometimes all it takes is the thought of someone who’s always been there not being there anymore, or the thought of him with someone else, to make you realize that you want to be the one with him.
The romance slows down a bit as they seemingly drop out of communication, and during this time, Ohana goes and decides that she’s got a one-sided crush on Ko, believing that his telephone “goodbye” was his way of ending things with her. (Yes; I’ll admit that sometimes girls misinterpret things and take it to their own extremes.) But in the last two recent episodes (23 & 24) we’re shown that Ko didn’t dump Ohana and that his feelings for her haven’t changed. In fact, he hasn’t really changed at all, remaining the one constant in Ohana’s crazy up and down life, and the grounded one in all of Ohana’s self-fabricated drama.
So why would I want Ohana and Ko together? Because that’s what Ko wants and that’s what would make him happy. And so, even though Ko could easily find a girl who appreciates him more, who’s more grounded and affectionate, who’s more honest and decisive with her feelings, he probably wouldn’t stop thinking and worrying about Ohana – especially without knowing her final decision. … It kills me that a guy as good as Ko is so dedicated to and determined on getting a girl like Ohana, but you can’t help but root for him since you know that’s where his true happiness lies (at least until they grow up and possibly apart but we’ll leave that out of the fairytale).
The scenes between Ohana and Ko are beautifully animated and incredibly realistic. Maybe it’s because the relationship itself is so realistic, but every shimmering tear, every shift of gaze, every varying degree of blushing, every slight move of the head, or fiddling of the hand adds to the depth of their relationship. You can see how Ko cares about Ohana, and even before she’d realized how she really felt about Ko, you could tell somewhere inside Ohana, she felt the same way. She just needed to be in the right situation and to be inspired (by her parents of all people) to figure it out for herself.
Well there’s still two more episodes of Hanasaku and I’m finally excited again to see the final turns of the story and how it will all end.