12 Moments in Anime 2011: Hanasaku Iroha and How to Make Boys Watch Cheesy Chick Media

[HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 21 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.38_[2011.08.22_22.12.12]

[Fourth Moment: Madoka's Mom Tells It How it Is]

Girls, moé, nudity, in that order so it seems. Growing up around an extended family that is outright matriarchal (think Summer Wars) I had no problems orbiting around a female locus of power in my life. I held my female friends, acquaintances, teachers, colleagues, and superiors in high regard and gender never got in the way in my relating and working with them.

I reallize though that I have some difficulty reading literature written by female authors. It’s not a crippling difficulty, given that I’ve read a fair amount (Bronte, Lammott, Zimmer-Bradley, Weis, Le Guin, McCullough, Allende, Alvarez, Rowling, Esquivel, as well as a number of poets). I even watched my fare share of chick flicks (Meg Ryan films, Sandra Bullock films, etc.) without outright hating them. But after a decade or so, I couldn’t anymore… not the books (4 years ago I bought the complete works of Jane Austen… they’re still in their plastic wrapping), not the films, not the TV shows. I don’t really know why, but the only media I can stand written in a female voice is shoujo manga and anime.

And it’s not like I consume lots of it, and a significant amount of it have strong male creators taking part  anyway (Revolutionary Girl Utena)… just like Hanasaku Iroha. With its generous helping of male-oriented fanservice, I can swim in its estrogen ocean.

[HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 13 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.55_[2011.06.30_04.20.27]

On this night of domestic violence
You all sit around the table and revel
At all your similarities;
The vanity and narcissisms forgiven
But not necessarily each other.
This too, is love?

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
This entry was posted in Hanasaku Iroha, moments of 2011 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to 12 Moments in Anime 2011: Hanasaku Iroha and How to Make Boys Watch Cheesy Chick Media

  1. animekritik says:

    This is a very complicated topic. I think sometimes shoujo is a vehicle of escapism for men, but since men do not need to live the reality of being female in a modern society, they don’t empathize so much with chick flicks and the such and instead prefer a more utopic femininity (i.e. shoujo). I don’t know. I just made that up but it sounds kinda smart :D

  2. Reid says:

    What is the “point” of this show? . Is it just some fanservicey thing that happens to tell a good story/good characterization or the other way around? I’m completely ignorant to most anime stuff unless it involves lots of killing and/or robots.

    • The point of any show is to entertain. The nature of the spectacle here involves young pretty girls, which is common enough. The production values are fuckmazing, which is rare enough. The strength of the characters and their dynamics is noteworthy enough, and it all comes together well in this story which is also that of the slow tide of the economic crunch encroaching on the Japanese countryside and its tourism industry.

  3. bobbierob says:

    I never did once think Hanasaku Iroha was shoujo by its definition (if that definition is that it is intended for a female demographic). It was almost as if the show had shoujo elements but it’s outright apparent that it is entirely pandering to a male audience; providing a sort of escapism for them.

    Perhaps that is what is distinguishing HanaIro at least from your previous instances of non-anime female-oriented literature. I might be wrong, but this could be a plausible explanation.

    • Well Okada Mari is a woman who has written works that are big hits with male audiences, so it can be said that her work isn’t straightforward shoujo, or whether it is shoujo at all.

      Still, there are very strong scenes and moments in these works that remind me of “chick flick/lit” material. Now, I don’t mean to use this terms as value judgments. I want to be clear about this. It’s just a term I mean to describe interests and contexts that I feel are more female than male sense traditionally. I imagine that it is not common for females to appreciate puerile displays of testosterone, manliness, etc. that boys eat up. I am similar to my consumption of media with mostly female casts. It is easier to get my interests when objectifying fanservice elements are present.

  4. ojisan says:

    Maybe Hanaaku Iroha is kind of proto-Josei – it reaches towards an adult demographic with its characterization and it ensemble of well-written characters, like Nana or Honey & Clover – and yet it still has one foot in high school hijinks, like, say, Toradora. An on-the-verge-of-adulthood story.

    And I always think of Shoujo as being by definition ‘young’ – you need to be young and inexperienced to achieve that level of belief in the POWAH of LURV.

    And big thanks for posting that amazing guitar session!

  5. megaroad1 says:

    A girl playing a Les Paul will always be sexy in my book.

    Funny to read your experience. I used to have a complete block when it came to reading literature written by women until some years ago I discovered Marguerite Yourcenar. Between Hadrian’s Memoirs and Opus Nigrum she completely blasted away all my nasty little stereotypes and prejudices on womens writing. After that I could pick up LeGuin, Bronte, Morrison, Woolf and a couple of others no problem. The one that I simply can’t get past page one on is Doris Lessing. But that has more to do with her writing style than her choice of topics.

    I haven’t done a lot of shoujo, but have to say that when it comes to anime and manga I’m much more open to other genre’s and styles than with mainstream stuff. I enjoyed Clover, which is pretty shoujo in my book.

    Right now I’m reading Ooku which is actually written by Fumi Yoshiinaga but is not shoujo at all. It’s about a feudal Japan in which about 80% of men have died and women have the power. And the female shogun of course keeps a huge harem of men. The stories actually center on the gossiping and intrigue in the harem which is a pretty funny reversal of gender roles. I highly recommend it.

    • Read McCullough’s Masters of Rome books. Fucking hell.

      I’m intrigued by this Ooku thing.

      • Matt Wells says:

        Ooku is superb, but be wary of the Viz English translation. Lots of faux-Shakespeare “ye olde English”, their attempt to give the series a period evocative medieval feel. Which might work if it didn’t remind me of Frog from Crono Trigger.

      • megaroad1 says:

        Historical novels set in Rome. Oh yeah I’ll check it out.

        Yeah, Ooku is worth a read. I’ve read the first 4 volumes so far and I’m really liking it.

  6. lolikitsune says:

    Yeah Hanasaku Iroha def. isn’t shoujo. But Ohana is. The world is a complex place. !!

  7. Hana says:

    I still don’t fully understand why I liked this. However, I do know that hearing your rage against Minchi was worth every moment. Thank you.

  8. foshizzel says:

    Great series! Even thou I think it was the random bondage scene scared away so many fans early I just remember the rage people had towards that episode. But yeah I liked this a lot, but there were a few moments where I did get tired of Ohana always whining and what not about Ko..

    Not to mention Ohana’s voice actress! Kanae Itou I love all of her voice work, even thou 90% of the time she is playing a perverted character like Saten from railgun or Sena from Boku wa tomodachi…

    • The people who raged against that episode were mostly hipster faggots who wanted this show to be this pristine, artsy fartsy, edgy shit.

      Instead this show is epic awesome and they can’t handle it.

  9. Reid says:

    Aight, Mr. Lightning, I called ya bluff. I’m on dat google+ tip. You’re my only friend at the moment. So sad. LET’S GET DANGEROUS.

  10. Pingback: 12 Moments of Anime 2011: Daikichi Takes The Highest Road and Portrays a Manliest Display of Manliness (Usagi Drop) | We Remember Love

  11. Another show I hope to get around to finishing. I can see now why my comments on Utena awhile back struck a cord with you. A reason why I put this show on the back burner was because I was afraid this would turn into one of those shows where the main character gets mentally and physically abused (to a less than criminal extent) for most of the show. Still the show’s production values are stellar and I’m always intrigued by a strong and dynamic female cast.

  12. bluemist says:

    Rather than shoujo, for me Hanasaku Iroha was more of a Japanese drama (live-action soap opera) in anime form. Can’t properly explain why it seems that way for me, but I always thought that the story could be very fit for a live-action format. The closest comparison I can make is how jdorama always starts with the main character (here Ohana) being put in an unfamiliar situation (the inn), but would eventually be able to cope, then affect all the people around her in a positive way. If you are familiar with teacher dramas (GTO or Gokusen) it’s almost the same thing.

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