Episode 21 -
Some people did suspect last week that Enishi and Takako would be getting married, and indeed, they plan on doing so. They never quite struck the image of a couple in my mind, so the sudden announcement does come as a surprise. I mean, they never seemed to be in love or anything, though they did seem to have a deeper relationship than what met the eye. Anyways, while the marriage was the most eyecatching detail here, the devil is in the side events that are shown in this episode. The sudden drama between Minko and Ohana over Tohru, and the surprise comment left by the manager with regards to her successor, immediately puts brings up some huge questions and worries. Now that I think about it, this entire episode was a setup episode, where PA works is setting the foundation for some of the climactic arcs to this series. With 5 episodes left to go, I would’ve been worried if the creators weren’t starting to hint at some sort of closure.
Like I already said, the most flashy aspect here was the marriage. But really, the important things to note happened all because this marriage acted as a catalyst, and will definitely bring about some surprise resolutions in the future. The main one to note would be the ongoing drama between Ohana and Minko, where Minko’s suspicions about Tohru’s feelings finally boiled over. Minko realizes she can never attain the same status that Ohana has in Tohru’s mind, which leaves her both confused and terribly anxious. Of course, it doesn’t help that Minko isn’t being straightforward with her feelings to Ohana, which confuses Ohana as well. This touches upon both Minko’s anxieties and lack of self-confidence when it comes to Tohru, as well as touches upon Ohana’s anxieties about love, Kou-chan, and how she may be responsible for the problem at hand. Quite frankly this could devolve into a complete and utter mess, though Hanasaku Iroha does have the tendency to surprise me with some normal, yet fitting, conclusions. Funny how the source of the drama, Tohru, is blissfully unaware of any sort of conflict between the girls.
Another big point to note here is how the manager approves of Takako and Enishi’s marriage, but briefly mentions how she has no intention of handing over Kissuisou to the couple. While it is in the manager’s best interest to appoint her soon to be daughter-in-law and son as the successors, she does seem to indicate that she has other plans in mind. I do vaguely remember the manager saying she normally would’ve had Satsuki inherit the inn, but the person in question wants to have nothing to do with running an inn. This would leave Ohana as the only other family member she can really leave the inn too, which I personally think is a shocking idea to even contemplate. However, my bet is that the manager’s line of thinking isn’t as predictable as I’m making it out to be here, and she may have some more complex ideas in mind for Kissuisou’s future. Perhaps the involvement of the romance drama between Ohana, Minko, and Tohru plays a role here, where if Ohana and Tohru really got together as a couple, it would mirror the situation in which the manager met her husband. As of now, we can only wait and see.
After the oddly out of place (or perhaps “oddly typical” would be the better phrase) arcs of the past few weeks, Hanasaku Iroha has finally seems to be delving into some more important matters revolving around the Shijima family. This arc will probably have some huge repercussions for the future of the main cast, where you can tell that some of the side characters are getting some closure. There’s stuff like Takako and Enishi getting married, and even the vague hint that Tomoe holding some interest in Renji. All of this is all setup for a gradual closure to this series, and the buildup here was quite intriguing to watch. The tension shown in this episode is all just a ticking time bomb, which will probably implode in the near future. This episode did an excellent job with setting a solid foundation to the story. What I’m curious about is how all of the seemingly unrelated conflicts here will all converge in the bigger picture, and how it will affect this overall picture.
Overall Enjoyment: 4.0/5
Screenshots are later in the post.