Sayonara Hanasaku Iroha: An Essay in Images

[HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 16 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.57_[2011.07.18_23.00.56]

Hanasaku Iroha would be nothing without its excellent production values. The quality of its illustrations, and animation elevate its content to become something worth noting. It’s not one of those shows that has pleasing character designs that are largely wasted due to less-than committed production. Every episode of this anime brought the goods. It misdirected what would otherwise be annoyances and complaints and transformed them into appreciation:

“Look at this exploitative cra—

Oh my, look at this scene”

Don’t get me wrong. Hanasaku Iroha is exploitative and gratuitous with its fanservice. What I appreciate is that the fanservice isn’t something used to cover for weaknesses. It is a strength among strengths. But this post isn’t about onsen fights, wet t-shirts, and the many bathroom scenes. This post is of another kind of visual fanservice.

The images are all from the finale episode.

hanasaku iroha 26 bonbori festival lights[HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 26 [720p].mkv_snapshot_01.25_[2011.09.26_20.30.17][HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 26 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.02_[2011.09.26_20.40.34][HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 26 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.46_[2011.09.26_20.41.58][HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 26 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.04_[2011.09.26_20.42.29][HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 26 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.59_[2011.09.26_21.01.03][HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 26 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.52_[2011.09.26_21.02.04][HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 26 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.12_[2011.09.26_21.03.42][HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 26 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.14_[2011.09.26_21.03.47][HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 26 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.29_[2011.09.26_21.04.08][HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 26 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.37_[2011.09.26_21.31.07][HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 26 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.44_[2011.09.26_21.31.29][HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 26 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.50_[2011.09.26_21.03.16][HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 26 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.16_[2011.09.26_21.32.09][HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 26 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.41_[2011.09.26_21.32.39][HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 26 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.28_[2011.09.26_21.36.16][HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 26 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.38_[2011.09.26_21.36.30][HorribleSubs] Hanasaku Iroha - 26 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.05_[2011.09.26_21.38.46]

I am not articulate in visual arts appreciation, but I will say this: The feeling I get out of looking at frame after frame after frame of this episode, is how much the illustrators and animators loved light; how much they loved Yunosagi; how much they loved Sui; how much they loved the Kissuiso.

The illustrations of the now-empty inn move me. The detail on the reflections, the now-unused kitchen implements; the lived-in feel of the wash area; the stark absence of people who lived in the waitresses’ quarters. And yet, the inn feels still alive, somehow. It’s with these images that the hope of reopening is closer to certainty than ambiguity.

“Yeah, but ghostlightning, Hanasaku Iroha isn’t a great show.”

I’m okay with that. I’m okay if most viewers find ways to dismiss it and convince themselves of the absence of merit. What’s important to me now, that the show is over is that I know otherwise. The images above exhibit skill in composition, and the commitment of the production to not waste such skill.

Goodbye HanaIro, until the Blu Rays are complete and I can remember love once more.

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, how to remember love and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Sayonara Hanasaku Iroha: An Essay in Images

  1. gwern says:

    Isn’t it interesting how some anime look realer than real, hyperreal? I think this mostly with Makoto Shinkai, but looking at those screenshots…

  2. Turambar says:

    I am always a sucker for sky pr0n.

  3. megaroad1 says:

    Is this a TV series? If so, the productions values of the visual are nothing short of amazing. Those reflections on the glass are the kind of thing you see in films like Dissapearance of Haruhi Suzumiya with its correspondingly high budget.

    • Yes, it’s a recently concluded TV series. The production values are solid throughout. I particularly enjoy the rural setting and especially the seaside road scenes… probably the best I’ve seen.

  4. jpmeyer says:


    (Yeah, these images do get really hyperreal. The ones of the grandmother in the inn are the most like this to me.)

  5. sadakups says:

    Yeah, seeing that empty inn moved me too. I mean, a lot of stuff happened in there. It’s like visiting your high school classroom one last time on graduation day.

    The show wasn’t that great for me, considering that I was expecting it to be different than what it was, but with the exception of some character arcs, the show was okay and enjoyable, especially the Ohana-centric ones.

  6. TheBigN says:

    Yep. Still pretty to look at.

    @gwern/jpmeyer: I like to think that this is the “idealistic” Kissuiso in the eyes of Sui and probably the rest of the staff, given the role that it has had in their lives.

    • When I start rewatching (using the BD rips) I’ll check other “showcase” scenes to distinguish if the finale stills really went for a particular effect (besides the obvious stark and empty feel stuff).

  7. Nopy says:

    This is something I completely agree with you on. I was expecting P.A. Works to get lazy with the animation part way through, but I’m glad they didn’t. HanaIro was a visual experience worth remembering.

  8. krizzlybear says:

    Episode 24 inspired me to make a tumblr blog exclusively featuring clouds. I’ll always be thankful for that.

  9. ojisan says:

    Totally totally TOTALLY. Lots of work went into creating ‘sense of place’, in how scenarios are scripted within Kissuiso and in the care given to setting and backgrounds – everything looks SPECIFIC not generic. And that can’t be achieved by just grabbing research photos and being faithful to them – it takes care and creativity at each stage of the process.

    • And that can’t be achieved by just grabbing research photos and being faithful to them – it takes care and creativity at each stage of the process.

      Good point and I didn’t think about this. I agree, of course.

  10. SnippetTee says:

    The art itself is the very first one that hooked me on this series.

    I think due to my limited anime list. I’m going to say instead…
    “Yeah, but ghostlightning, Hanasaku Iroha is a great show.” ^^

    • I don’t really know about making that claim, but I clearly like it. But yeah you’ll see a lot of anime at some point, and it’ll be interesting if HanaIro holds up for you by then.

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