Life has many different stages, from growing up as a child to leaving home as an adult. In the movie adaptation of Hanasaku Iroha we get an extended glimpse in the life of Ohana and her mother.
Hanasaku Iroha has an interesting back story in which mother and daughter seem to have a rather harsh relationship with each other. This is applicable to Ohana and her mother Satsuki, but also to Sui and Satsuki. A generation game is going on in this series.
The focus in Home Sweet Home lies on Ohana that discovers logs from Denroku who has written a story about Satsuki when she was the same age as Ohana. Satsuki’s relationship with her mother is harsh and resembles some distance like she has with Ohana. They both don’t want to go back home, yet they have life shaping memories to their own homes.
The story revolves around the girls leaving home, yet they display their homes’ as a place of great importance. They’ve grown, fell in love, left and were searching for their identity while doing so. While this seems rather cliché, it links both Ohana and her mother, drawing a resemblance between them.
It would be an understatement if I said that I like the Hanasaku Iroha franchise. I love the series, mainly because Ohana is a strong character. I love the world that is put down for the viewer. The inn is, despite less in your face, still very present. It’s full of life and the characters shape that experience once again in movie format.
I wonder if we’ll see more of Ohana and her adventures. The movie used flashbacks to connect the past and the present, filling the inn with more history than the anime series could. I’m almost convinced that this is the element which was lacking in the anime series. I wanted to know more about the characters. How did they interact at the beginning stages of the inn? How did Satsuki end up in Tokyo? Those answers were given more shape in the movie adaptation.
Minko was perhaps one of the most dreadful characters in the series, and in anime. I couldn’t stand her character. Her screaming was agonizing. Her attitude was stuck up and her overall interactions with the other characters was terrible. Luckily she became more ‘human’ in the movie.
Minko became a character with more than one emotion so it seems. She felt let down, proud, embarrassed and other emotions formerly unknown to this entity. I’m glad that I didn’t have to mute the sound or skip past Minko’s horrible appearances.
Just as the anime adaptation, the visuals are brilliant. P.A. Works showed once again they master the skill of detailed animation. I would like to argue that they’ve surpassed Kyoto Animation. The fluency of the movements, the beautiful environments and the subtle details are really a feast for the eyes.
The soundtrack isn’t overly present, which is a good thing. It builds atmosphere at key moments and creates hints to the inn.
Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home creates a great warmth and nostalgic feeling for fans of the anime series. It’s sweet, the characters are diverse and the visuals are top notch.
There are still some unanswered questions or developments I would like to see. I rate this movie an 8 out of 10, because of its outstanding performance. Ohana remains one of the most well balanced characters in anime. At this point it is yet unknown if there will be another installment of this popular franchise, but I definitely can’t get enough of the Kissui Inn shenanigans.