One of the first new series of the new season I watched was “花咲くいろは”, studio PA Works’ tenth anniversary anime original project.
When I originally saw “Hanasaku Iroha” listed among the series to air this spring thought it it looked promising and was determined to watch it after reading the original character designs were done by Kishida Mel.
Having also created the character designs for the stunning series “So-Ra-No-Wo-To”, the promise of another new anime original project with Kishida Mel’s art as ground work gave me high hopes.
Having watched the first episode, must say I’m hooked and it looks like this might be one of the better series this season. Although had originally expected it to be a slice-of-life series with a light, upbeat tone, the latter half of this introductory episode hints we might get a fair share of drama.
Ohana’s arrival at the Kissuisou ryoukan looked like it would bring the lively yet pragmatic girl in a new home where she could blossom much like Kana in “Kanamemo” or Shiratori in “Mahoraba ~Heartful Days~”. But that new home soon changed into a rather cold and hostile environment putting her in despair.
Where the episode starts by showing us the girl’s bright smile, it ends with her in tears.
So this series may yield plenty of drama and become a more serious slice-of-life mixed with drama type of show where Ohana will blossom in this hostile environment, one where the other characters will no doubt be revealed to not have such bad personalities as we are meant to think at first. Actually expect them to open up and soften due to Ohana being a breath of fresh air in their lives.
Although that’s merely a personal hypothesis of what the show could turn out to be like. Will keep on watching though for I know PA Works can handle drama well from having seen their adaptation of “True Tears”.
As far as character illustration style and overall animation go, PA Works did an outstanding job on this first episode. In fact they stayed faithful to Kishida Mel’s art, which I welcome as A-1 Pictures who animated “So-Ra-No-Wo-To” did veer significantly away from the artist’s original designs.
The colors are understandably not as subdued as in Kishida Mel’s painting like art, the usual vivid anime color palette is used though all characters and scenery still have realistic colors. You won’t find girls with blue, green or purple hair in this series.
The animation didn’t particularly strike me as resembling that of “Angel Beats!”, PA Works’ previous shows though it is ever so slightly reminiscent of “True Tears” which was in terms of story and character depth surprisingly good. Can only hope that “Hanasaku Iroha” will excel there as well, bringing us a moving story with compelling characters and outstanding animation.
Can’t deny that another bonus is Kanae Ito voicing main female lead Ohana, adored her voice work as Saten in “To Aru Kagaku No Railgun” but she also handled roles like Airi in “Queen’s Blade” or Ringo from “Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi” showing she can be quite versatile.
The timid Nako is voiced by Toyasaki Aki, who you may know from her roles as Yui in “K-ON!”, Uiharu in “To Aru Kagaku No Railgun” and Kana in “Kanamemo”.
Minko is voiced by Omigawa Chiaki, tackling a role in “Hanasaku Iroha” that couldn’t be more different from her work as the oddball Hotori in “Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru”. Soft voiced Mamiko Noto handles Tomoe, though not the same Tomoe character she voiced in “Queen’s Blade” of course.
Am very much looking forward to the next episode and definitely recommend you to check out this new series.