Hanasaku Iroha Ep. 2: Die

In case you didn't notice.

Is everyone supposed to be unlikeable? The grandmother continues her vicious streak, of course.

But Minko doesn’t let up either, continuing to be a frigid bitch squared. Still, I don’t know… her portrayal just seems so devoid of effort. Minko can’t even be witty or interesting; she just huffs and puffs whenever Ohana’s around, repeatedly telling the new girl to “Die.” Die? Are you like five? Actually, I think that’s the problem — everyone is just so petty, childish or both. adaywithoutme nails it: we’ve all met these kinds of people in real life, but there’s no way they all reside in one place. But realism aside, does any of this actually improve the story? Even if everything’s for the sake of entertainment, the fact that Ohana’s so utterly alone at the start just takes away from the weight of the drama. You can only shit on the new girl so much before I, the viewer, go numb from the entire affair.

Minko makes a mistake in cooking again, and this time, it can potentially ruin a staff meal. As an aside, having seen kitchens before and having been a waiter for a short period of time in high school, the kitchen staff can honestly be brutal in berating its subordinates. Anyhow, Ohana observed the whole affair and it turns out Ohana is a fabulous cook. I wouldn’t have guessed it from her omurice and broccoli concoction, but shrug. I dunno how Ohana snuck in and operated an entire kitchen without any of the back of the house staff noticing, but she did and saved breakfast. Rainbows and ponies, right? Not to Minko, though! Some slight needling from Toru causes her to charge out of the staff meal — again, like a child. Upon Ohana’s pleas, Minko accuses Ohana of cooking the meal just to spite her. That’s a little narcissistic, don’t you think?

Branching away from the three main characters doesn’t offer much relief. This week, we also get to know maid/waitress Nako and junior chef Toru a little better. We’ve already seen that Toru’s a dick. Nako, however, is so meek that if there was a gentle breeze, we’d never hear from her again. It’s like everyone in the cast has to be exasperating. We would have been better served to have just one person who is friendly to Ohana. This would offer a contrast to the nasty treatment she gets from her grandmother and Minko. Instead, we get someone (Nako) even my fat orange tabby of a cat could beat up.

Yo Nako, my cat challenges you to a duel.

As for Ohana, we see a little pathos this time around. I’m not going to say too much about her “Never rely on others” mantra, because we each have our hang-ups and as long as Ohana’s not a mess of walking angst, one flaw doesn’t bother me. But her solution to Minko and Nako freezing her out? Ohana demands to know their least favorite food so she can prepare it for the next staff meal. When Minko and Nako finally act normal for once, i.e. just walk away, Ohana charges at them and knocks both girls to the ground. What the hell? Really?

I know the girls are all around 16 or 17 years of age. I get it — most teenagers, regardless of gender, are relatively immature. But c’mon, we’re shortchanging young people if we think they all act like this. I was 16 once and I don’t seem to remember a lot of blithering idiots charging at people and telling them to, “Die.” Having said that, I’m not really hung up on whether or not the anime is realistic. Sure, it’s realistic… if everyone was five. The story is trying to sell me on the fact that these are young adults though. I’m being hard on the Hanasaku Iroha because it could really be a solid series, but it’s just a little too silly right now to take seriously.

12 thoughts on “Hanasaku Iroha Ep. 2: Die

  1. KizukuKanshi

    I may not be so accurate on this one, but I have a feeling that once everyone warms up and things lighten up, it’s going to get less interesting. The show is obviously going to turn into something else when it stops being about how everyone hates her, but I’m afraid it might not live up to this somewhat dramatic introduction. On the flip side, however, if the show keeps being about how she screws up and whisks her way out of it, I don’t know if whatever impact the show’s had so far will be able to keep up either. Still, I am interested to see what turn the show will take, and that alone is a step above most shows this season so far in that I actually give more than half a crap about it. I’d go so far as to say that “more than half a crap” is within 78-90% of a crap.

    Oh and don’t forget, there’s still that other gossip lady with the mole, (I think she has a mole….) who doesn’t hate her, but she’s hardly around.

    1. E Minor Post author

      I’m sure there are interesting routes they could go once they’ve tapped the well of hate dry. I feel like the childhood friend at the start of it all is like a Chekhov’s gun. He’s gotta figure prominently again in the story, right? Maybe Ohana learns to love her new home, but her mother is ready to take her back. Then maybe Ohana confronts her mother for being such a bad parent. We’ll go full circle when the grandmother learns to love Ohana, but also defends her daughter. These are all familiar turns for these types of stories. I don’t normally indulge in plot speculation though so I’ll just leave it at that. All I can say is I often exclaim “C’mon!” when watching Hanasaku Iroha rather than being completely engrossed and that feels like a shame.

  2. Son Gohan

    I think that “Die!” is a cultural thing. The Japanese don’t have many swear words, so “shine” is one of the worst insults you can throw a person.
    If you think it’s childish, just substitute it in your mind with a big “F… YOU!”
    Yes, the coworkers are being harsh to Ohana but I don’t find it unbelievable. From their point of view she is a rookie that came out of nowhere to steal their jobs. I expect that one of the big challenges of the series will be Ohana trying to befriend her coworkers.

    1. E Minor Post author

      I’ve only ever heard “Die!” in anime. There are plenty of Japanese swears and I hear all sorts of them in movies, dorama series, etc. so I don’t really buy that “Die!” is one of the worst insults.

      Again, the believability of Ohana’s situation isn’t my main beef with the anime:

      But realism aside, does any of this actually improve the story? … You can only shit on the new girl so much before I, the viewer, go numb from the entire affair.

  3. adaywithoutme

    Minko is a total brat. End of discussion. I think this may go under the radar for a lot of folks simply since she is obviously a hard-worker as well.

    As for realism… I’m willing to accept the contrived set-up, and Ohana’s current circumstances… but I need people to actually behave like people. They could be dancing on stars in outer space and riding unicorns, but if they’re acting like people do, then I’m willing to accept that. But these folks just don’t! Blargh.

    Trying to decide who I’d rather hit with a sledgehammer – Minko or Nako. Nako is actually winning at this juncture.

    1. E Minor Post author

      Ehhhhhhh, I’m still gonna have to lean Minko. And they tolerate her ’cause she’s cute. This is anime after all.

  4. inushinde

    There’s only so much hate Minko can spew at Ohana before I want her to find some other personality trait. Other than that, and the perplexing ‘Prepare your least favorite food’ thing, I think it’s a fairly solid series so far, and I’m looking forward to what it has in store.

    1. E Minor Post author

      Don’t get me wrong — I don’t hate it. It doesn’t bore me. The worst anime are the boring ones. I don’t even want to watch half of the stuff this season. I just think people are so quick to crown this show from the first episode, then spend every succeeding episode justifying its flaws.

      1. inushinde

        Oh no, I’m not insinuating anything. It has its flaws, and it’s far too early to tell if it’s going to end up the best show of the season or not. I mean look what happened to Fractale and what a mess that turned out to be.

        Granted, that was a bit more iffy from the start, but it also had potential. Regardless, I’m hoping the best for Hanasaku Iroha.

  5. thoughtcannon

    I agree that these characters can be particularly insufferable. I know I personally wouldn’t be able to stand it if I had to be in a building with Minko, Nako and mean ol granny for any considerate length of time. I think I’m with adaywithoutme in hating Nako the most though. She’s one of those people I wouldn’t be able to resist saying “well spit it out already!” or “grow some balls”. Minko, I initially hated the most and I still think her “die” routine is obnoxious but I also felt a little sorry for as she seems to be a hard worker but gets the short end of the stick. Though the same could be true of Ohana but I suppose the mentality of how they each deal with disappointment makes a difference.

    The one point I disagree with was the “eat the food you don’t like bit”. Mostly because I like the way it’s used with her mother. When she’s angry she makes the her mothers least favorite food. Instead of complaining though her mother puts aside her work and eats the food. I actually thought it was a fairly powerful gesture when she could have been like this sucks. It’s a little bit of taking responsibility, though in light of later abandonments it’s harder to swallow. To me, if they accept to eat their least favorite foods it opens them up to Ohana emotionally and means they realize something of their past mistakes towards her. She didn’t really need to tackle them to get that information though.

    1. E Minor Post author

      I didn’t think much would be made of the Minko vs Nako thing because I think they’re both pretty annoying. I can only imagine Minko is slightly more tolerable to others because we think she has more justification to being a bitch or maybe we think people like her will show their soft side eventually. On the other hand, maybe it’s just me but we have the impression that wimps like Nako are wimps for silly reasons and they don’t normally undergo a dramatic change in personality as time goes on. Like I said though, maybe it’s just me. Even so, I’m gonna hate the asshole character more and that’s still Minko.

      I don’t disagree about the egg thing; I personally thought it was pretty clever… for a kid. Now that Ohana’s all grown up though, it just seemed kinda immature — somehow passive-aggressive even though she tackled them for the information. Maybe I just know too many people in RL who don’t have the guts to just lay all the facts out there right at the start when they have issues. They always wait until it boils over and there’s a whole lot of screaming and tears (and maybe tackling too). It comes down to this: I just didn’t think “You go girl!” when Ohana tackled them; I just shook my head.


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