Home > Episode Reviews, Hana-Saku Iroha > Hana-Saku Iroha Episode 10 – Sick Day

Hana-Saku Iroha Episode 10 – Sick Day

Last review I spoke about how Ohana, over the course of the series run, was becoming the central figure in Kissuisou’s staff, taking initiative as needed and providing the backbone to save the inn from potential disasters (like taking the advice of Kawajiri). She was beginning to internalize the principles her grandmother took to managing the inn and infusing them with her own youthful enthusiasm. As a result, I suggested, Ohana was becoming increasingly indispensable to the inn.

This episode exposes the flip side of that: Ohana gets ill from overwork, and has to be coaxed back into bed several times by various members of the staff. She’s so certain she’s necessary to keeping the inn going that she feels obligated to stay up—and when she finds the inn can function without her, the realization moves her to despair.

Having shown her worth to the audience in the last few episodes, this time she (and we) learn that in any functioning organization, no one is truly indispensable, at least in the short term. That is, it’s another lesson for Ohana, who from her mother’s haphazard parenting seems to have gained somewhat skewed ideas about what it means to be needed.

Ohana's early morning routine proves a bit too much for her. The last straw is trying to chase a bat out of a covered path

I presume the root of Ohana’s insecurity comes from her mother; at best, her home life was codependent, with her taking over crucial household duties. Responsible for cooking, cleaning, and basically every other traditional parental task, Ohana is probably used to things coming apart whenever she couldn’t be a mother for her mom—and that’s when there were only two people to take care of.

Those experiences are what gives Ohana her sense of initiative, along with a variety of useful skills, but it also means she’s not used to being in a situation where she isn’t necessary. Certainly, every crisis (real or imagined) Kissuisou has faced since she’s come has needed her attention. So when she finally comes to understand, as a staff member coaxes her back into bed yet again, that the inn can work without her, she freaks.

Ohana's either/or mentality to what it means to be valued exhibits further the malign influence of her mother. Nako and Minko wind up talking her out of it, although not in the roles you would expect

It’s a simple conflict, one which only shows up in bits and pieces throughout the episode before coming to a head toward the end. Ohana’s deeper psychological issues and their source have to be inferred—my explanation makes sense, but it’s not required by the episode. Even as it shows yet more growth in how Ohana bonds with and comes to rely on her coworkers, that by itself is not enough to carry the episode.

Instead, we’re given various snapshots of the inn members as they try to comfort or treat Ohana in their own way. This varies from the heartwarming (Nako making sure to keep the TV on, as “it’s lonely to wake up and not hear voices”) to the incompetent (Jiroumaru reads from his latest erotica, only to have the feverish Ohana still pick it apart), but it does show how much she’s come to be loved by the staff.

Jiroumaru leaves the room deflated when Ohana correctly identifies the model for his latest heroine: the manager in her younger years

Some might love her more than others. It’s been hinted at over the past few episodes, but now it’s very obvious that Touru has a serious crush on Ohana, one which he disguises under his various taunts and insults. Ohana’s far too sick to notice that his concern might be more than just cordial, but Minko—who has her own reasons to pay attention to Touru—is at least suspicious. When that finally comes out, it’s going to be a very interesting day.

Neither the exploration of Ohana’s relations with her various coworkers, or the exploration of her own mistaken impressions on what it means to be needed, are quite enough to make this be a first class episode. It’s not a bad episode, by any means, but it’s not one that will win over new watchers or fence sitters. It’s far too low key for that.

Touru is a bit too obviously embarrassed by Ohana's praise of his cooking. He's saved by the fact that Ohana has never been very observant about these things

Instead, what we have a reasonably well done background/filler episode, with a few seeds for future plot developments planted in the meantime. Were it not for the fact that entire story arcs of Hana-Saku Iroha could also be classified as background/filler episodes, I doubt I’d have anything to complain about at all. As it stands, Hana-Saku still feels like it’s stalling, like it’s not quite ready to give us something resembling a main plot.

I suppose that, given it will continue into the summer season, the show still has time to move into weightier territory. But right now, it seems content dragging its audience along with the promise of cute girls doing cute things. Hana-Saku Iroha is certainly aiming at being a more serious show than, say, K-On! and this episode does some work to establish that fact. I just wish it would do more.

Ohana hallucinates a few times during her fever, mostly involving Koichi. I'd like for the latter to start getting a little more credit

You can watch the episode here.

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