Ohana has grown accustomed to living in the hot springs inn her grandmother manages, Kissuisou. One day, the daughter of a manager for Kissuisou's rival inn, Yuina, comes to Kissuisou for training to become a landlady herself. As Ohana is observing her training, she finds "a certain item" in the storeroom while cleaning.
We often look at movie spin-offs as unnecessary, thoughtless, and maybe even a little bit greedy. Do we really need another addition to an already concluded story? Not usually. There's an undeniable sense of indifference whenever we hear that a spin-off movie has been greenlit, and who can blame us when "movie" often simply means "bad adaptation with a couple new scenes".
Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home is not one of those movies, but do still keep your expectations in check before digging in. Most of what was frustrating about the main series remains here.
Taking place somewhere in the time-frame of the TV series
(no indication is really given as to when), Home Sweet Home decides to show us a little bit more of an oft neglected character: Ohana's mother, Satsuki. While cleaning one of the inn's storage rooms, Ohana happens upon a set of diaries from her mother, telling the story of Satsuki's rebellious teenage years to the birth of Ohana. We see in greatest detail how Satsuki met Ohana's father, but the message is never in the story itself - it's how it relates to Ohana's own struggles. Like mother, like daughter, or so they say.
There's an inherent sense of maturity to Home Sweet Home that was not present in the TV series. We see the beauty of childbirth (reminiscent of Mamoru Hosoda's "Wolf Children") and the toils of an adolescent girl trying to find adulthood in a world alien to her. Growing up has always been the central theme of the series, but the movie achieves it with much more clarity than the TV series. Few stories evolve the conflict beyond existential angst and into parenthood. There is a reason for us to care this time, and there is finally a message to be drawn by the end of the story, unlike the ambiguous "Huuuh?" of before.
Being a product of P.A. Works, of course, it is impeded by melodrama. Plenty of screaming, crying, and more screaming for your hearing pleasure. Why do they always do this? Home Sweet Home is a better story than that. I understand that it is mainly a story about teenage girls, but come on, you can convey emotion through thoughtful dialogue instead of this nonsense. It doesn't always have to be two characters screaming at each other. It's a shame that an otherwise intelligent story had to be bogged down this way.
The biggest problem however is that Satsuki's story only takes up about one-third of the overall story. Ohana, Minko and the rest of the inn are often given the spotlight instead for whatever reason. This naturally creates issues when the runtime of the movie is just 60 minutes. Large sequences of time are skipped by in a flash, numerous questions are left unanswered, and we never do fully understand the relationship between Satsuki and Ohana's father. Why does she fall in love with him so quickly? And why is an adult like him even interested in a highschooler suffering from a severe case of teen angst? Who really knows. Maybe we could have if the movie didn't spend its time on irrelevant subplots.
I just have to wonder, why? Ohana and the rest of the inn already had plenty of focus in the main series. It's merely a repetition of what we have already seen. The worst offender is the Nako subplot, based on her issues at home and relationship with her siblings. One of her sisters runs away at random, generating us ten minutes of the inn screaming and searching for her, only to end with the tired message of "Nako is mature". The audience knows that already. It is verbatim. Why not show us something new about the character, or instead spend that time developing the relationship between Satsuki and Ohana's father? There was plenty of potential here for something great and in the end it is pushed aside for the familiar.
The audio-visual quality fares much better. Even when it's only "pretty good" by Hanasaku Iroha standards, it still looks better than many animated films released these days. The lighting and reflections are the art's greatest asset as they often have the ability to enhance the story itself (one particular scene has Satsuki's confused face mirrored in the bus that her love interest is leaving in). The animation is merely serviceable, however, and distant shots will often have the characters drawn without a face. This laziness feels especially out of place when contrasted with the beautiful backgrounds.
As for the sound, while I can't imagine there will be anything to stand out in anyone's memory, there is a certain beauty to the background music when one listens closely. There's a subtle sense of melancholy to each piece, never relying on loud, sappy music to make the audience feel something. It makes the quieter moments all the more powerful, and these quiet moments are unequivocally the strongest piece of the experience.
At the end of the day, is Home Sweet Home worth your time? Certainly. If you had problems with the TV series, there is nothing here to change your mind in any significant way (there may just be more melodrama than before), but at only 60 minutes long it's hard to go wrong with more Hanasaku Iroha. It's just unfortunate that P.A. Works decided to play it safe for the fans instead of trying for more. Is that so much to ask for? I don't believe so.
Every once and awhile, people like to dig up the past. By the past, I mean going through an old photo album, book, or anything that might bring back a bit of nostalgia. It’s not unusual when people feel a bit of sentimentality because memories are important. You can’t buy it. You can’t steal it. And for a certain young girl, these memories are like a treasure that comes once in a lifetime.
From P.A. Works’ original animated series that debuted in 2011 known as Hanasaku Iroha comes forth a new movie. P.A. Works is well known for many of the original works such as
Tari Tari, Angel Beats, and recently Nagi no Asukara. What they’re less known for is perhaps their involvement in the film industry. Of course, adapting a slice of life story is never easy. The expectations of a movie usually involves a detailed storyline with engaging characters. With a movie running for roughly 60 minutes, it might look intimating to achieve such expectations. However, I am grateful to say that Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home has reached that level of expectation.
For starters, the movie stands out as a side-story of the original series, Hanasaku Iroha. However, I do recommend viewers coming fresh into the franchise to watch the original series to gain a better understanding of the characters, settings, themes, and the overall style of P.A. Works’ slice of life presentation. As a slice of life, Hanasaku Iroha shines in its character interactions and dynamics rather than a powerful storyline. Ohana Matsume returns as the main character in this movie as she is still a resident of the hot springs inn that her grandmother manages. What originally started as a girl with little interest for those around her life now emerges a confident young woman with an appreciation of her new lifestyle. She’s not the only character making her return though. Fans should also be thankful that most of the original characters make their returns including Minko, Nako, Tarou, Takako, Enishi, Wakura, Tohru, and of course the master of the inn, Sui Shijima.
The movie itself surprisingly has this explosive energy. Most of this comes from Ohana especially in the beginning. Along with this energy brings forth welcoming humorous moments around the inn such as the priceless acting and food decorations. It might not be masterpiece or Oscar level but it can definitely bring forth a smile to anyone’s face. Similarly to its original series, the movie retains its slice of life format and tells it similar to a narrative. Only this time though, it also focuses on Ohana’s mother(Satsuki) with a little trip down memory lane.
In a way, Satsuki’s character isn’t very different from her daughter Ohana in the beginning. Both characters has a stubborn attitude and doesn’t seem to appreciate their lifestyles at first. Additionally, the both of them often clashes against other members of the inn at first becoming a talk around the house. Throughout the movie, a line of “I want to shine” echoes that seemingly symbolizes a chance to become something bigger in life for Satsuki. It’s written in text as well and becomes an important theme in growing up. Surprisingly enough, I can find this relatable. After all, everyone wants to grow out of their shells and challenge themselves to become something they never thought they’d become. For Satsuki, she is inspired to become a professional writer/editor. But if we look at life itself, there’s that sense of obstacle that can prevent dreams from coming true. Satsuki sees that obstacle as her residence at the inn because from her perspective, it prevents her from shining in the real world.
The movie also focuses itself on character relationships. For Satsuki, it brings out her character in different ways of expressions including anger, sadness, regret, but also joy. However, her character does seem to rush a bit much in terms of development. It’s hard to take her maturity in a serious perspective as her actions speaks louder than her aggressive words. These actions are also usually performed out of carelessness with some regrets. Satsuki’s dream also somewhat reflects on her mother as they both chased after a different dream but similar reasons; like mother, like daughter.
Although the movie focuses a lot on memories, other characters do make some moments in particular Minko. Her admiration for her superior Tohru is still easily noticeable as she wants to impress him with her cooking skills. Nako’s highlight in the movie details her insecurity regarding her friends and family. What’s important here though is that these character interactions can be reflected on how friendship and guardianship can play such a big part in our lives. Without family or friends, a home wouldn’t be sweet in any sense.
If drama was a major idea in this movie, then I’d say there’s too much of it. At times, it seems to be forced with the emotions and tears running down. Satsuki is just one such example but some of the other characters’ drama seems to be forced out of their shells as well. It doesn’t help by the fact that these drama doesn’t tie in with relationship progression. Yes, the lack of relationship progression for some of the main characters doesn’t seem to hit anywhere near home. There’s also bits of fan service out of nowhere that can be distracting. Furthermore, the absence of a main supporting character from the original series is hardly memorable from this movie. Memories are captured by the lens of a camera but some of them zooms by like flying rice.
Once again, P.A. Works shows the world their talent in artistic visuals. The animation of this movie is outstanding with rich artwork. The character designs all seems natural. It’s refreshing to see what Satsuki looked like as a young girl to what she looks like later on. It creates that atmosphere for viewers to see how much she has changed over the years. The inn itself is also designed to look exactly how it should be with its traditional designs.
The soundtrack is cherry and lighthearted. It brings forth a home-like atmosphere to the movie as everything feels right at home. Most of the VA does a terrific job with their role. Satsuki’s voice as her younger self is also depicted well with a mixture of arrogance, insecurity, but also inspiration.
Photo albums contains memories.
Memories are created from experiences.
Experiences are bought forth from friends and family. Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home is a movie that serves as a primary example of how to live through life. There are obstacles but at the same time, there is also hope and prosperity. I don’t know how many of you reading this once and awhile looked back to your photo albums. But if you do, you’ll probably feel the nostalgia of walking down a memory lane that feels like home sweet home.
I saw in a movie theater in Shinjuku (WALD9) just yesterday.
My expectation wasn't very high; I knew that the movie duration wasn't too long (66 min), and I knew that the story wasn't a simple continuation from the last episode of the TV series. I thought if it was mildly entertaining that would be enough.
I was wrong.
Animation art direction was P.A. Works at its best. It captures well the good scenes from Yunosagi (largely based on the real Yuwaku Onsen town).
The story was surprisingly good and actually quite emotionally moving; never thought it could be that good. Music was the familiar
Hana-Iro touching soundtrack with a new ending song by nano.RIPE (I like the crude-but-charming vocal; at least she has originality). All the main characters have their fair share of appearances except for Ko-chan (but he'll be Ohana's boyfriend in the end, as we all know).
It's a great fan-service for sure but this movie was much more than that.
It's a story of family (hint: the heroine's name).
I am also a fan of K-On! Series and loved its Movie. Perhaps as a work of pop art though, the Movie of Hanasaku Iroha might be better overall. If you liked the series, there is no way that you'll be very disappointed.
I was disappointed when I heard the movie was 66 minutes. Like seriously, a film in 66 minutes is weird. Hanasaku Iroha, the TV show, is a masterful telling of the stories. Okada Mari is one of the best series composers out there. From her masterful work in Aquarion EVOL to AnoHana, she has somehow weaved all the spaghetti noodles of plot and characters into this wonderful bolognese of a strong anime. PA Works is one of the better studios, even more so than the legendary Kyoto Animation. Yes, PA
Works is a better chef than KyoAni who gave us masterpieces. PA is a rising studio, rising higher than the world of the Wonderland of anime. It is from this studio that Hanasaku Iroha that it was created from the depths of the creativity of the animators of the legendary plottellers.
So you can understand the disappointment I had from the length. And yet, and yet, and yet...
“Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.”
― James Joyce, Ulysses
The movie was anything but amazing.
First off, the film is like a sidestory thing. It's not a continuation of the last episode but it's set before there. But it was very good. Here's why:
It focuses on the great character that is Satsuki, Ohana's mom. I've always been interested in how she left the inn ever and this film answered the question for me, the curiouser and curiouser rabbit that I am. I did not know she was angry at her mother, the grandma if you forget, and that she left because of her. The anger was very provocative and it made me think. Think about family themes and love themes and passion.
Satsuki wanted to shine angrily and she is very relatable. This happened 10 minutes into the film. And 40 minutes into the film. She appeared the many times (two times, I recall). You can tell she's a vital character of this film and the setting. For her two short appearances meant so much in this wonderful, wonderful film.
But we must go back to Ohana and her friends. They are the main characters of this film after all. Ohana and co are great. They are closely packed and you can see the slice-of-life atmosphere in the air. Everyone is having fun. The things are happening. No, everything is happening. So much things, so many feelings. This film evokes so many emotions you can love the film even if there are flaws (because there are flaws but I will talk about them later). Ohana is very cute, with her flower on her broccoli hair, and she is your genki girl. Very strong, very cute. She's stronger than any woman character I know. Amazing. Beautiful. Fascinating. I want to be like her.
“Remember that we sometimes demand explanations for the sake not of their content, but of their form. Our requirement is an architectural one; the explanation a kind of sham corbel that supports nothing.”
― Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
Nako is also great she is very attractive and is voiced by Toyosaki Aki (K-ON!, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing). She plays Nako. She's a motherly person. Takes care of all the little boys and girls in the family. We learn about her worries as a motherly person, trying to handle taking care, school, and working in the inn. It's a touching tale. The film is set onto her and focuses her struggle. It parallels Ohana's mom's story of going to Tokyo with Ohana's dad. I learned a lot about her problems. It made me cry.
Music was incredibly good. I noticed it because there were many strings played. It was like a Beethoven roaring Satie. It played at the most dramatic moments and it touched my heart very much. It was very sweet. All these dramatic moments were played with these great music. Wow, it's really good.
But sometimes, the pasta doesn't cook well. Where do you and here? The film is so dramatic. And yet, there are so much flaws aging like no return. Understand that all works have flaws. So something like me putting is awkward. No, clearly it's going to have flaws. No choice. Cannot be helped.
There is too much fanservice. The film is too short. I think the film should just be about Nako; there is too much screentime for Satsuki. Arguably and comparatively, the film suffers from Satsuki's appearance. She throws the film down into a ditch that never ends. Politically, the film could be better if we learn more about Mana, the central focus of this film. It made regrettable decisions.
But the film is one of the most physically beautiful things. Evisceratingly beautiful. The plot is a beauty, the characters is a beauty, the world is a beauty. I learned many morals from Hanasaku Iroha and I hope everyone watches it so they can take away something from this massive cake of a film.
And thus, I end a quote from my favorite book:
“Don't cry, I'm sorry to have deceived you so much, but that's how life is.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita