Beginning over a year ago in April 2011, Hanasaku Iroha became my favorite show last year. The immense visual quality from P.A. Works combined with a wonderful growing up story was an absolute joy for me to view. While it had its ups and downs, overall it was a really well-done series. So now we finish the 9 Blu-ray volumes and conclude the series properly until our new work is released. BDInfo/Photobucket album
Volume 9, unlike the other 8 volumes, only comes with 2 episodes: episode 25, My Beloved Kissuisou, and the final episode, To Bloom One Day.
My Beloved Kissuisou does a wonderful job emphasizing why each of the each of the characters love the inn and just how far they want to go to continue working there together. The arrival of Satsuki, just in time, brings so many wonderful moments of the three Shijima women working together. It’s a great set-up for the final episode…
To Bloom One Day is a wonderful conclusion to this series. No strange events such as Enishi suddenly becoming very competent at his job and running the inn occur. It’s a very melancholic end, yet we see hope that everyone will come back together one day in the future. The mirror setting of Ohana on the streets of Tokyo is very well-crafted. I was heavily depressed when this episode aired last year and it still makes me feel sad when I re-watch it. It’s a pleasant ending to this series.
Included on this volume is audio commentary by Ohana (CV Kanae Itou), Minko (CV Chiaki Omigawa) and Nako (CV Aki Toyosaki) on the final episode. They start out so happy to see each other again, crack jokes about Minko being a tsundere maid at a cafe after the series, but they end up in tears thinking about how they’ll part again soon. It’s a very sorrow commentary compared to the others. Also included are two staff commentaries: the first is on episode 25 by the episode directors Takefumi Anzai and Heo Jong as well as line producer Mitsuhito Tsuji while the second takes place over the final episode with Supervisor Masahiro Ando, producer Kenji Horikawa, and producer Takayuki Nagatani. Both talk about their favorite parts of the series and how happy they were to work on it.
Also included on the BD is a feature about the Bonbori Festival held in Yuwaku (the model town for the show) last October. Narrated by Kanae Itou (the voice of Ohana) this feature gives a wonderful view of a festival that we, as international viewers, would have been unlikely to see before. It’s a treat to view this festival that was created from the show. Also included are the answering phone messages that played throughout April to October if you called the phone number listed in the first episode and the PV played at Winter Comiket last December to promote the new work. While it had no new animation, it was a good digest of the final episode and the parting.
As with each volume of Hanasaku Iroha, this volume comes with a 64 pg color Hanairo Notebook. This notebook gives a little drawing/message from nearly all of the staff and most of the cast, character designs for most of the minor characters (that weren’t featured in notebook 8, box art from Mel Kishida, a report on the Bonbori Festival, and an interview with Supervisor Masahiro Ando and Producer Kenji Horikawa. Quite the fitting material for the final booklet.
Since this is the final volume and there’s things left unpacked, this BD volume comes with a special box to hold all 9 Hanairo notebooks. As the details mentioned, this is on the night of the Bonbori Festival with all of the main cast present. It’s a lovely box and feels quite heavy with all 9 notebooks packed in it.
And so we come to an end. This is the final Hanasaku Iroha Blu-ray review until the new work comes out sometime this year. It’s been a wonderful journey and I hope you have enjoyed my reviews of the series thus far. Pony Canyon made 9 absolutely gorgeous volumes and I’ve been quite happy to share them with everyone. See you when we go to Home Sweet Home!