I know Hanasaku has been dropped and picked up and dropped and picked up and dropped by a few members of Bokutachi during its 26 episode run, and as the person who was originally responsible for reviewing it, I felt the need to at least review the last episode.
Some things we hoped would happen never happened – like the departure of the perverted, useless (I was going to say waste of space, but he does clean up and wash the floors at Kissuiso so he’s not a complete waste of space I suppose), non-novel producing novelist. Thankfully, he hasn’t had any undue central focus at all since his initial debut in the third episode. But many other things that were pleasant did happen – including a conclusion to Ohana’s “one-sided crush” on Ko.
I really like that Ohana’s relationship with Ko was resolved early on in the episode and that it was a simple resolution. Bumbling like any 16 year-old would in front of her long-time friend and newly discovered (self-discovery is still a discovery) love, Ohana confesses loudly while Ko talks about yakisoba. The moment was incredibly endearing. (Now, at this point, I have to hand it to Mint who had foreshadowed the possibility of Ohana making up with her mother, moving back to Tokyo, and therefore making a relationship with Ko plausible. And I also have to point out that I was right about being wrong about Ohana and Ko ever getting together, haha.)
But Ohana coming clean with her true feelings about Ko wasn’t even the best part of the show – actually, I’m having a really hard time choosing a “best moment” of this last episode because everything was so well done. Little moments like when Satsuki and Sui found Ohana’s wishing tag and discovered her dream was to be like Sui. Or when Minko shared that she didn’t just want to be a chef anymore, but the chef of Kissuiso. I thought Mameiji (aka Beanman, aka Denroku)’s farewell speech was touching, and I’m pretty sure that’s the most he’s ever spoken – in any of the episodes prior, and quite possibly in all the episodes put together! And I’m really glad they did a short showing of what everyone else was doing with their life after Kissuiso (or in between). They’re all doing things that are normal; no one seems lost or stuck after their parting with Kissuiso even though we all know their time there changed them, even if just a little bit
One of my two top moments, though, was Sui walking around Kissuiso after it had been closed and everyone had left. First of all, the background music was beautiful and perfectly suited to the moment. Her envisioning the people and normal activity around the building contrasted by the empty reality made it more impactful in understanding how Sui experienced and remembered the inn she started with her husband. And then seeing her late husband standing on the stairs… It was so sweet to see that just because her husband wasn’t physically there anymore, that the meaning and importance of him hadn’t left the building. When Kissuiso started, it started with just Sui and her husband, and at the end of Sui’s reign, it comes back to the two of them.
My other top moment was Sui meeting Ohana in Kissuiso. And of course Ohana was found doing what she was first assigned to do when she moved to Kissuiso: cleaning the floors. This was one of those ‘full circle’ moments, and while not very important, it was a nice touch to add. It’s also this moment that I’m pretty sure Sui cries. It’s not for sure, but I’m going to go ahead and say this is the one moment where Sui’s emotions overwhelm her. And if that’s true, I actually quite like that we’re not 100% sure it’s true. Every bit of emotion Sui has, whether it’s joy, relief, anger, or disappointment, is expressed in an overly demure almost stoic manner, so I feel like even though she’s entitled to a good cry, I wouldn’t want to see it up front. I like that she simply covers her face as the scene fades out to Ohana’s nonsensical analysis of the wooden knots of the floorboards and soft piano.
Okay I lied. Those were two of my top three moments. I really loved that Sui saw Ohana off at the train station. I love the simple exchange of words they shared, and that Sui gave Ohana Beanman’s book to continue, because they both knew Ohana would return to Kissuiso. One day. Finally, the gentle touch of Sui’s hand to Ohana’s cheek was a beautiful contrast to how they first made contact, which was when Sui slapped Ohana as discipline. The art was absolutely impeccable for this closing scene and it really was the icing on the cake (or the hot chocolate sauce poured over the icing on the cake) for me. For the most part though, Hanasaku Iroha has to be one of the most beautiful animes ever with gorgeous scenery, and great character design. And it’s just fantastic that it ended this well. I feel like I can almost forget about some of the less than stellar episodes in between the first two and the last handful, haha.
But at least it didn’t end like Canaan. Thank God it didn’t end like Canaan.