Hanasaku Iroha is P.A. Works’s 10th anniversary production. It began airing in April of this year and will finish this week with its 26th/final episode. Though the airing is about to be over, the show will continue to be released until March 21, 2012 on DVD/BD. September 21st was the release date in Japan for the third volume. This is my review of said volume. BD Info/Screencapture album
The third volume continues the “Ohana/other heroine” theme with Yuina finally making the cover of a release. After being left out of the artbox and on the first two volumes, she finally appears in her “gardening” outfit. It’s another gorgeous cover from P.A. Works that highlights the scenery of Yunosagi. Included on the disc are episodes 7-9: All Quiet on the Kissuisou Front, Run, and The Longest Day at Kissuisou.
All Quiet on the Kissuisou Front highlights the senior waitress Tomoe and her troubles with getting older. Her mother wants her to quit working and get married; even going as far to set up a marriage interview for her the following week. As she’s preparing to resign, she decides to be rowdy with a group of customers who enjoy survival games to the point where they greatly annoy the entire Kissuisou staff. Her attempts to be fired become hilarious as they backfire on her intention. While there were a few viewers who didn’t care for the immense humor aspect, I greatly enjoyed this episode. It’s a good insight into another “major/minor” character.
Run introduces us to the main problem held throughout the series: Kissuisou is unprepared for big shifts. After the Manager becomes ill and has to be taken to the hospital, Enishi is unprepared when not only do they have a secret reviewer as a guest, but they have a sudden influx of customers with two people absent. Takako and Nako come in and Ohana dashes off to bring Tohru back. Not only that, but Kou is coming to visit the inn! A great first half of an arc to be finished in the next episode.
The Longest Day at Kissuisou finishes the story started last episode. Tohru makes it back, the inn continues working as they typically do instead of prioritizing customers, Kou misses his chance to visit the inn, and Ohana saves the day thanks to their actions. While not as dramatic or crazy as the last episode, it ties the story together nicely. The final scene where the Manager returns to the inn while everyone is outside to greet her is a very touching moment. A great end to the volume.
Included on the disc is the non-text version of the second opening that began with episode 4. It adds Jiromaru to the opening as he became a member of the staff with that episode. Also included is character commentary by Ohana (CV.Kanae Itou) and Yuina (CV.Haruka Tomatsu) on episode 7. Once again, Yuina steals the show. Her massage chair commentary returns and is hilariously placed. She has the ability to turn a funny episode into a downright hilarious one. The staff commentary is on episode 8 with art director Kazuki Higashiji, episode 8’s supervisor Junji Matsuda, and line producer Mitsuhito Tsuji. They have some interesting conversations about the artwork through the episode.
For this Hanairo notebook we have the usual summaries and character designs. This time highlights Tomoe and Kouichi as they played a big role in this volume’s episodes. Next we have an interview with the character designers Mel Kishida followed by 41 pages of initial character designs to finished designs for each main character. Lastly we have another feature where Kishida talks about the “illustrations of Iroha.”
Since this is the third volume, this finishes the first artbox. Here’s some pictures to compare the first three volumes and their Hanairo Notebooks.
So again, another wonderful volume of Hanasaku Iroha comes to a close with another high recommendation for this set. Next time will feature the buildup to the first cour’s finish. Another set of episodes plus a gorgeous artbox await next month!