Kaushik here, back with something pretty recent. I mentioned this in my Hanasaku Iroha review from way back when, but the movie finally hit DVD and Blu-ray recently, and I got around to watching it. I was looking forward to it for a while, though honestly I forgot about it until I saw it was released, and everything came flooding back to me. I was a big fan of the TV series, so let’s hope the movie is good too~
Well let’s be a little blunt. This movie felt like a long episode. In fact, at only a little over an hour, it didn’t even feel like a proper movie. Is that bad? No, not really, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. What I was expecting was some sort of sequel to the anime, with some of the loose ends tied up in terms of character relationships and whatnot. What I got was something that partially satisfied those expectations, but not quite in the way I expected.
One major example of this is the relationship with Ohana and her mother. There was a resolution of sorts in the anime, but I was really hoping for something of a deeper understanding between the two of them. The movie did partially deliver on this. The method used by the movie to convey this was a series of diaries written by Denroku, the one of the workers at the Kissuisso in. In these diaries, it gives an account of the various goings-on in the inn, but more importantly to Ohana (who inadvertently stumbled upon these diaries) it gives an account of her mother’s life at the inn.
Ohana’s mother, Satsuki, was a somewhat fierce and wayward child. More than anything, she didn’t want to be stuck in the inn run by her mother for the rest of her life. One line in particular from the diary struck Ohana, “I want to shine”. A line uttered by her mother, struck such a chord with her. Ohana too, wanted to shine. She felt the same way. It was one of the few moments Ohana could really connect with her mother, and I think that was one of the strongest moments in the movie.
Besides Ohana connecting a bit with her mother (without her mother actually being there, unfortunately), there was some light shed on the mystery of Ohana’s father. I’m not quite sure how I feel about the fact that her father was some out of college guy that dated her mother when she was in high school, but I suppose the age difference means less the older you get. It doesn’t quite explain what happened to Ohana’s father (other than that he’s gone) but this resolution is better than none.
One major plot point that I was kind of hoping would be addressed was Ohana and Kou’s relationship. This kind of gets back to the fact that this movie felt more like an extended episode rather than a proper movie. For that reason, it didn’t really tackle the show from a “new plot, sequel” perspective. Rather it was a minor plot, with some minor subplots. I love Hanasaku Iroha either way, so I wasn’t too miffed, but I expected more out of this movie I suppose.
The art and animation were gorgeous, which is what I expected. I would say the quality wasn’t significantly better than the Blu-rays of the television series, which is mildly disappointing. Again, this goes back to the idea that this felt more like an extended episode rather than a proper movie. Even the music fits this mold. Many of the tracks are just lifted from the TV series, which was mildly disappointing. Some of the new tracks are quite good though. I really enjoyed the piano arrangement of Omokage Warp, and the ending theme Kagefumi was quite good. While I wasn’t quite let down because I enjoyed the TV series, some part of me feels just a little disappointed I suppose.
— If you like the television series, this is just another really good episode
— Has the pretty art of the TV series
— Some really nice and powerful moments
— As a movie, it didn’t feel very movie-like
— Short and not much improvement over the television series
— Music rehash is mildly disappointing
Studio: P.A. Works
Director: Masahiro Ando
Writer: Mari Okada
Character design: Kanami Sekiguchi
Music: Shirou Hamaguchi
Original run: March 30, 2013
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