Continuing to bloom: Hanasaku Iroha BD Volume 2

Beginning this spring, Hanasaku Iroha returned to its strong roots for episodes 4-6 after a change of pace in episode 3. These episodes were much better received and gave the impression that episode 3’s comedy aspect was an aberration rather than a part of the show. So continuing on in the much better first half of Iroha, let’s get to BD Volume 2! The usual Photobucket album full of screencaptures is here!

This volume contains the episodes mentioned earlier: Grey Heron Rhapsody, A Tearful Chef Romance, and Nothing Venture, Nothing Win.

Grey Heron Rhapsody introduces us to Minko officially having a crush on Tohru. The impact he has on her life is evident by her “ideal guy” she mentions when being confessed to. On that note, it was great to be able to see that they are high school students and do attend classes. We also got to meet Yuina this episode. Having Tohru pick her up on his bike to end the episode was a great surprise and final scene to make you anticipate the next episode.

A Tearful Chef Romance concludes the arc with Minko finally becoming true to her feelings that she likes Tohru and would be lost without him. The problem is that there’s also much admiration that she has for being able to put her to work before she graduates high school. I’m not sure she truly likes him or is indebted/admiration for his actions. Having the rest of Kissisou miss him as well must have greatly helped him feel needed. Ohana’s barging in scene was also a great way to keep her in character as well as add some good misdirection as to what the truth was.

Nothing Venture, Nothing Win helps introduce us to Takako and her strange style of speech and inn management. Her idea this month is to have the waitresses dress in a new outfit. Of course it doesn’t end well for Ohana and Nako, but that idea sticks with Ohana. She is able to find some older costumes that Sui made a while ago and hid away. Since they would be a good change of pace and look great, they choose to go with them and they look amazing. The change in style definitely suits the inn and I’m sad they didn’t stick with them. A good sole episode after two big arcs.

Included on the disc are the textless ED and two commentary tracks. The first is a character commentary for episode 6 with Minchi (Chiaki Omigawa) and Nakochi (Aki Toyosaki). Nako throws in a lot of otaku references (calling Minchi a tsundere before the OP ends!) and continues the thought that she’s a mix of Uiharu and Saten. Nako got over her nervousness by teasing Minchi a lot and of course the latter has to throw her signature “Hibriron!” many times. A lot of fun to listen to just like the last time. Omigawa even hums/sings the special ending theme to avoid saying bye! The second commentary track is a staff commentary for episode 4 with series composer Mari Okada, producer Kenji Horikawa, and producer Takayuki Nagatani. Okada does like Jiromaru, even jokingly calling him the coolest in the show. She does later say how cool Tohru is. It’s decent to get her thoughts on the various people.

Included with this volume is the second Hanairo Notebook. This volume contains a summary of the three episodes (2 pages), character designs for Nako and Yuina (8 pages), an interview with Kazuo Tochi (4 pages) and a conversation about the background art of Iroha (4 pages), and a spectacular 40 pages of background art! Those forty pages have so many amazing images in them that I couldn’t decide which to include. It’s certainly worth the purchase for the notebook alone.

To conclude, this volume of Iroha continues both the amazing pace and amazing packaging that the first volume started. Another highly recommended set. To conclude, I’ve included some comparison shots to show the color shifts from volume 1 to volume 2. It’s a nice shift from pink to pinkish-orange. With volume 3 looking more orange the trend looks great. Next month can’t come soon enough! BDInfo

Author note: With my classes beginning next week, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to complete a review on the same day like usual. Thank you for your patience with future reviews.

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