Episode 20 -
Well, this was definitely a funny episode. I was busting my gut laughing over Minko’s “Love” omurice for Tohru. While on the surface this episode seemed to be about a rather normal day (and learn that there are many ways to cook omurice), the arc did manage to stay consistent with it’s theme about friendship. This episode is at times very subtle at emphasizing it’s themes and ideas, and while I appreciate the subtlety, at the same time it’s really tough to see the fruits and rewards of everything that’s unfolding.
The biggest aspect to this episode was probably it’s questioning of what “friendships” and “relationships” constitutes, and what kind of friendships there are out there. Of course, it doesn’t directly ask the question in the episode, but in the entire arc there are quite a few scenarios that reflect upon such. There’s the obvious dynamic between Minko, Ohana, and Nako (with Yuina playing an observer role), then there’s less pronounced relationships like Minko’s relationship with the omurice girl, the omurice girl’s relationship with the unnamed-boy that she has a crush on, and Tohru’s relationship with both Minko and Ohana. Then there’s the awkward relationship between Nako and her classmate, which works out rather well by the end of this arc. There’s even the scene that explains Minko’s relationship with the restaurant she visited in her childhood, which became her inspiration to become a cook in the first place. Everything in this arc places emphasis on the web of friendships amongst all the characters, and how that all of these seemingly minor relationships and quirks come together to produce this simple, normal day at a highschool festival.
Like I said though, on the surface the story seems to be about the everyday life of Ohana, Minko, and Nako, only this time they’re thrown into a school festival. They do typical stuff like fret over love/crushes, worry about how to cook food, show concern for each other, gossip about each other, and so forth. Quite honestly, if you take this episode at face value, all you get out of it is learning how to make omurice in two different ways. The conflict from the last episode neatly resolved itself without more omurice drama, and in general the episode ended on an uneventful note. So yea, while I liked this episode’s emphasis on friendship and relationships, at the same time I would appreciate some stronger, more bold plot progression. It’s especially notable if you consider we are already well past the halfway point for Hanasaku Iroha.
Oh, on a side note, there was a single vague hint at Tohru showing interest in Ohana (though it was very brief). Considering how the next episode preview suggests that Tohru might get married, I’m not sure what to expect out of that （￣□￣；）
Overall Enjoyment: 3.7/5
P.S. I totally didn’t expect a Hiromi cameo, but considering how True tears was made by PA works, I guess it isn’t a complete surprise. They even mention “P.A. works” on corner of the poster in the cameo, lol. I still remember back when there were Hiromi vs Noe shipping wars while True tears was airing. Ah, those were fun to watch.
Screenshots are later in the post.