Series Review: Hanasaku Iroha (10/10, yes haters)

Hanasaku Iroha is my absolute favourite series for the past two season. There are plenty of worthy titles that I've enjoyed as well, like Anohana and Croiseé, but they didn't quite give me the eagerness and anticipation like HanaIro does. Nowadays, I usually set aside anime episodes I've downloaded to watch during a free time, but in the case of HanaIro, I would set aside everything I'm doing to dedicate my next twenty minutes to that episode.

And the funny thing is that HanaIro had been the subject of much criticism, mostly on the weaker characters, unnecessary dramedy, pace, and failed expectations/potential. I didn't overlook the weaker side of HanaIro myself; there are many boring scenes and even episodes, parts that I thought could be played out better, unrealistic actions and situations, and pacing problems that I've questioned many times. These are widely "discussed" on blogs and forums, between haters and fans, where they try to convince the other party that it's either the best thing ever produced or just an incredibly over-hyped piece of crap.

It's obvious which camp I'm in. Well, I can't deny that the series has it's ups and downs, but it never fails entertain me, even for a particularly crappy episode. I feel that judging the charm of HanaIro as a drama would be a mistake, because its charm doesn't lies on its story; even without the pacing "problem", the series didn't (even try to) create a actual story arc with a exciting climax. Except for, well, the Jiroumaru arc, but I would argue that the arc is used more as an introduction to the series.

I feel that the real charm of the series lies in the unique style HanaIro took to present itself as a show. It lies in Ohana's monologues and her perspective of the her current life, the series' intricate handling of the finest details, depth of the various characters and how we get in touch with them, superior animation quality, and how "real" the characters and their feelings were. It is very, very different from your usual anime. So much that I would argue that it does not really fit into any of the genres it's commonly assign to, like drama and slice-of-life... because HanaIro has a genre of its own.

Is it a good ending? Is it a bad ending? I don't know. It feels to sad that the inn is closed, but at the same time it feels happy and hopeful, for the fact that everyone's looking at the better future, and to a certain extent, same goals. The strongest feeling I had at the end of the series is nostalgia, because I'm really going to miss the inn, its crew, and its special atmosphere.

HanaIro has its boring and crappy parts. That's true, and I don't intend to defend the show on that. But the ingenuity and excellence into delivering what we saw shows a level of commitment beyond what most anime could had possibly do, and that makes the experience damn worthwhile. It deserves a perfect ten for value, no doubt. The show had just set a standard on which this generation of anime should try to achieve. And I'm gonna miss my HanaIro mondays.

Now who's going to go rebuilt the inn in Kanazawa with me.

Concept: Excellent!
Style: SUPERB!
Audio/Visual: Superb!
Value: 10

Goodbye! *Sobs*
where the fuck are the hanairo figurines??