Hana-Saku Iroha Episode 12 – Punctured Pride
The chief joy and burden of being a teenager, as I suggested at the end of my last review, is that only in that time of life are you absolutely right and anyone disagreeing with you wrong. It’s a joy that fades when one exits adolescence realizing that maybe you didn’t know everything you thought you did. And its a burden that you often don’t have the power to act on that knowledge, or convince your parents or others with power that they should on your behalf.
The appearance of Minko and Touru has saved Ohana from her physical concerns, but emotionally she’s still a mess. She’s still stuck with the two failed relationships she left behind in Tokyo: Koichi’s proposal, left floundering in the wind, and her mother’s legacy of irresponsibility. This episode ties them together in an unexpected way.
Touru, hearing the full story from Ohana, agrees to help her “kidnap” Satsuki and take her to Kissuisou, but only on the condition that she gets Koichi to come too. Given Touru’s own interest in Ohana, it’s an odd request for him to make. Perhaps he wants to size up his competition, or perhaps he just wants to encourage Ohana to make a choice. His motivations on the issue aren’t revealed, because a good chunk of the episode watches Ohana fail at her task.
I don’t want to spend too much time (yet) on why Ohana gives up on following Koichi, or how Touru deals with a day waiting for the girl he likes trying to connect with a romantic rival. Both are interesting and well done, but I don’t think either forms the core of this episode. That only comes at the very end, as the group reunites with Satsuki.
Much to the surprise of everyone, Satsuki comes out with luggage ready to head to the inn. She’s says that she just needed to get some time off, but she’s completely reversed her prior resolve not to go and its not easy to see why. (It is easy to see that her excuses for coming to Kissuisou are just that.) As I suspect is often the case for Satsuki, everyone else is too shocked to press the issue.
Only on the car ride back, after Ohana and Minko have fallen asleep, does Satsuki discuss with Touru how she’s failed as a mother. Not that she says that outright, of course. But she does mention how she didn’t pick her daughter back up when coming back to the city, and how it was a really odd thing not to do. This, along with a few other key flashbacks in previous episodes, point out how Satsuki is aware of her faults.
Of course, Satsuki’s knowledge of her bad parenting doesn’t make her less inclined to keep doing it—even with this trip, she has to phrase things in a way to make it sound like a whim, rather than an admission of guilt. She manages to tie in a self-serving excuse by the end of it, saying that Ohana, unlike so many other adolescents, has the gift of being right in her arguments with her parents. How many others, looking back on their teenage years, can truthfully say the same?
This rationale is all the more interesting because it is precisely this moment that Ohana has lost her sense of moral authority. Her righteous anger against her mother was completely deflated by re-meeting Koichi, and realizing that her entire relationship with him has been one where he gives and she takes. Even today, she’s trying to get Koichi to do something (come along with her to the inn) for her own benefit.
That realization, combined with a browbeating from Koichi’s coworker Namiko Igarashi (the one who has a crust on him), sends Ohana into a spat of self-loathing. She not merely refuses to force Koichi to come along with her, but begins to see herself as the villain of the drama, toying with his affection so long as she can get something out of it. If she loves him (and I think she does), she can’t quite admit it to herself, so her reliance on him comes off as selfishness.
With that, she can’t really stay angry at her mother. Satsuki might have done horrible things, but so, Ohana reasons, has she. While there might be a bit too much moral equivocation here, Ohana is beginning to notice the log in her own eye. And she’s coming to think that perhaps she should take care of that first.
Right now, Ohana’s thought process seems too focused on wallowing in her own guilt than seeking to improve herself. Perhaps a few days with Satsuki will restore some of her moral outrage. Really, though, I hope that she’ll come to be honest with herself about what she wants, and what she’s willing to give in return. This episode provides a beginning to that process, but not a conclusion.
You can watch the episode here.