Category Archives: Hanasaku Iroha

Ask Me Enishing!

If one finds sites like Formspring an exercise in social media vanity, does that make Hanasaku Iroha episode 21 an exercise in social media Engrishing?

It’s this sort of questions that boggles my mind on an ordinary day, along side with “Why is the USD:JPY exchange rate still going the wrong way?” Or “Why can’t I write that blog post about Hanasaku Iroha where I describe the character design as it appeals to an realistic view of human proportions?” Or “Why did Mayo Chiki get better? Why can’t I drop it?” Or “Why is everything airing on Thursday nights?” and its part-2 question “Why am I compelled to watch them on Thursdays?”

I hope these things, like the puzzle pieces from Mawaru Penguindrum, have a rhythm behind it.

The marriage thing in the latest episode of Hanasaku Iroha is kind of puzzling; it’s playing to some kind of pre-assumed cultural mindset in that it both conform and deviates to something. This something, I don’t really know what it is. Am I suppose to be surprised about their marriage? Are the previous episodes good enough of a lead-in? I can only hope that subsequent episodes reveal these things satisfactorily.

Lastly, if someone told you to watch Steins;Gate episode 1 again, you should probably listen to that someone. It’s also a means to get people to watch it if they haven’t even seen it yet.

Hanasaku Iroha: Food Induced Coma

A few weeks ago I talked to someone about curry and how that played a role in Penguindrum. Here’s a recipe inspired by it. (Apple in my curry, tho, not my thing.) On Sunday I made “chicken rice” and wrapped it in an egg skin for breakfast. I guess that qualifies as omurice. I guess that also tells you I woke up to HanaIro on Sunday! I also took a note from Penguindrum and added Sriracha sauce in the egg. Because that’s just how I roll.


  • 3 eggs
  • small amount of diced spring onion, or some diced onion.
  • rice (probably 2 cups of cooked rice is fine; any variety is fine but short grains are preferred)
  • enough chicken (could be any, as long as boneless) to go with the rice (I actually used some leftover rotisserie chicken breasts)
  • pepper
  • salt
  • ketchup
  • cooking oil (vegetable oil, lard, chicken skin, anything really)
  • optionally hot sauce (I prefer Sriracha with this, but whatever works)

I was amused when Ohana thought Minko couldn’t make it. But since omurice is like, home-style all the way, there are a lot of different varieties. As we learn this week. This is the super simple you can do it if you are a single man in your bachelor-pad style. And ideally your cooking surface should be better than a hot plate…

I used a really deep skillet (almost like a wok but with a flat bottom), because that’s just what is handy. You want to basically make fried rice. For omurice you probably don’t want to season it that much, unless you prefer it to be like Chinese or southeast Asian style. I just added ketchup and pepper. But that is especially true if you want to spike the eggs. The goal is that when you eat it with the egg, you can taste both and the rice goes with the egg. If you are using raw chicken pieces, you can also season them more heavily since it will stand out when you chew on it. Marinate it even. However for fried rice, you want to cut it fairly thin and small.

Heat up your wok or whatever, and toss in the spring onion or onion. You want to cook those pretty well and caramelize it. I just throw it in whenever. When the cooking apparatus is hot enough, put the meat in. Stir lightly until they are just done. If you are using leftover like me, this time is just long enough so they are kind of warmed up. Seasoned veterans of leftover fried rice construction should feel free to substitute any other meat or vegetables in here, but for omurice you want to keep it simple.

Simple is delicious sometimes, you know?

So as the chicken is cooked, you put in the rice. Cooked rice. If you don’t have any, you will want to make the rice first before any of this, since that takes a while. Cold or hot it doesn’t matter, just stir it up so the ingredient mixes well. Add ketchup and pepper to taste. I think omurice tastes better with more ketchup. Some people even like a little char. Whatever, man. You can also add salt here, but I prefer to add it in the egg.

When the rice looks good enough to eat, it’s time to set it aside and make the egg part. You can do this on a hot plate if it’s big enough, a wok if you’re skilled, or just in any skillet or frying pan. But first you want to deposit the eggs in a bowl and mix it up well. At some point you can add some salt to the mix. Also, some hot sauce, if you want it all over the thing. It’ll give you a more subtle flavor rather than a strong kick. That is, if you don’t add too much.

Ad a bit of cooking oil for your skillet. When it’s hot enough evenly mix in the egg mixture so it forms a thin skin, hopefully big enough to fit the fried rice you’ve whipped up. If you made too much fried rice, that’s fine, you don’t have to add all of it in. Anyways, it’s like making an omelet. If you can do that, you can do this. First carefully dislodge the egg skin. Carefully scoop in the rice towards the center, about 1/3 of the way from the edge. If you’re a noob, don’t add too much rice. Close it up, and then carefully slip it out of your pan onto your serving dish.

Omurice is really easy to make. It’s also really gimmicky. It’s like, if you just want to eat egg with your rice, you can put that egg directly in the fried rice. Why bother when you’re cooking it for yourself? It’s more an opportunity to display that extra loving tender touch for the ones you cook for. Like Ohana’s super broccoli omurice for her mom. Or the maid cafe flair. It works. On somebody else.

One last note; I actually applied hot sauce on Sunday directly on the rice right before I rolled it up in the egg. It’s probably a little more potent and you can localize the flavor this way. I  wouldn’t recommend drawing hearts and crap with Sriracha sauce though!

Mid-Summer Review, 2011

When the humidity is high and the  sun is making waves on steaming pavements, do you want to watch an anime like Aria, where the same is sometimes protrayed, or do you want to watch something from the deep freeze, like a scene from Spriggan? I don’t know, and it’s not like I’m getting either this summer.

So, a list of stuff I’m kind of watching.

I’m still keeping pace with No. 6. I want to start this post about No. 6 out because those … homoerotic gazes kind of bothers me when it’s put at the fore, so let’s put that to the fore. Those scenes bother me in the sense that “wait, there’s this long pause in which I am suppose to be feeling some kind of tension between the two male protagonists, but what kind of tension is it? Why is this pause here?” It kicks me out of the mind set in which I’m following this mystery about killer bee things, which is probably the main draw for the show. At least for non-fujoshi types. On a normal, sunny day, I typically like to think critically anyways. But when the show gives me a chance to–scratch that, more like when it invites criticism, I can’t help but to think in the negative. It isn’t necessarily a “wrong” on the show’s behalf, but that’s just how I roll. Some anime invite you to introspect, to reflect and consider what is happening in the story from a third-party perspective. Others invite you to take part in the action, to get the audience wrapped up in the narrative. There’s nothing special or good or bad about either approach. But sometimes the beams cross, so to speak. In the game of Magicka, it usually means an explosive, suicidal death. Thankfully anime is not some European-made exercise at self-infliction of pain.

I bring up Magicka because it is a game sold on its solid gimmicks. Gimmicks can be solid. I think this is why I still like R-15 a lot, half way through. The gimmicks, compared to, say, Yuruyuri, are random as hell and yet somewhat organic. It’s kind of like Xavier’s School for the Gifted; you have a bunch of kids who have some kind of special powers. Except by “power” we don’t mean cool mutant powers, but “the most random, most Japanese crap-anime plot generator” you can think of. Some of these “powers” are really creative; in order to top some of these, I have to go to fanfiction. And we typically don’t want to go there.

It’s easy to point to some show and say it is more organic than Yuruyuri. Because Yuruyuri is very…inorganic. I don’t know why and how, it just feels very stale in terms of its timing? Direction? Animation generally? I can’t quite put my finger on it. The writing works pretty okay with whatever that I feel that is stale, and once we can begin to tolerate the main characters, the jokes come alive. I think that might just be the strength of the writing to a degree. I don’t think the staleness is particularly a bad thing, it just makes it difficult to form a good first impression. When done right, staleness gives a show a unique flavor. Sometimes stale bread tastes good too!

Speaking of stale bread, Yune has the cutest scene with stale bread possibly in the history of anime. I mean, it isn’t something that comes into play on a regular basis. Croisee is a sharp anime, but it feels a little bit, shall we say, out of the water? It’s missing something, something big, that pushes the enjoyment level over the edge to the next level. For Aria, it was how it channels the mono no aware stuff, for example. As is, Croisee is just a cute and well-executed show.

That’s also what I’m going to say about Ro-Kyu-Bu. It’s just somehow one gets you branded as a lolicon and the other doesn’t, when in reality they’re kind of the same thing.

I am really enjoying Usagi Drop, but I also don’t really want to talk too much about it right now. Maybe when it’s all done. And maybe I’ll read the manga then.

I’m also really enjoying Mawaru Penguindrum, if it wasn’t clear. In a way this is the anime I always wanted after watching Utena. So it’s a long time coming. I just don’t think words do much against it; there’s a simple, calculated yet visceral point to the way the show is directed. It feels very theatrical (as in, a play) but yet not that over the top. Maybe I’m just too used to over-the-top stuff, but for a cartoon this is pretty okay. Given its Thursday lineup and the equal doses of girls-side pandering, I’m half suspect that this is real free-market competition versus noitanima.  Also it makes me suspect which show has done it before. It’s time to pander harder, Fuji TV.

I’m still keeping the pace with Sket Dance. It’s probably some form of penance. I guess without the trappings that Gintama is surrounded by, I find Sket Dance a cleaner version of kind of the same thing. It also slightly reminds me of Nadesico, in the way that Yurika and her crew would consistently making peace signs at the camera–something I am also watching it (similarly to how dm is watching CCS).

And oh, episode 16 was AWESOME. For a show as inorganic as this advance-formula Jump anime.

Blood-C? I guess I’m behind, but it isn’t bad. Just not really engaging until you get to episode 5…and I’m behind. It’s kind of a dangerous thing; nico comments boosts its entertainment value drastically, but I can’t say too much about the source material like this.

I’m also behind on Blue Exorcist and Tiger and Bunny. I just don’t have the time to catch up now that I’ve fallen behind. Maybe soon! I enjoy both shows (especially T&B) so hopefully I can make a run before some major climax goes to town.

Back to fresh stuff: The IdolM@ster is doing well. Is it canon to spell it “The Idol Master”  when the @ is an illegal character in the title? Or what? Anyways, this show doesn’t disappoint, but I don’t think my expectations was high in the first place. Still, given how much I loved episode 1, episodes 2-end have a lot to live up to. Also, this is definitely an anime that is made for the game fans, which is kind of refreshing. It’s done well enough to not bore me, giving us something of an episodic character focus while expanding on the rest of the crew, at least as much as they reasonably could. The Producer main character is interesting enough, which highlights something interesting coming from the game, too. Maybe someone can go wax poetic on the importance of assertion of the other self in first-person ADV games where the overall narrative is driven by intercharacter drama. Something a mix between Sakura Taisen and IdolM@ster?

Kamisama Dolls is pretty okay; I don’t particularly dig the character designs either (but it does make Utau cuter than she ought to be) but the story is snappy and enjoyable. There’s a little bit of everything to make it worth watching, even if the end is kind of telegraphed.

As for telegraphing, there’s a lot to be said about that in Nichijou. It’s pretty quality textbook example of how to do it. Is it doing the telegraphing right? For the most part; but that doesn’t automatically make the jokes work. For meta-humor of the direct kind…I’m not sure how to put it into words. It’s like if Nadesico (again) is an anime about meta of everything about itself, then Nichijou is just meta enough about the execution that it tries to do something about it. Where as a show like SeiZon is just straight-face meta. It’s like how in MLB, hitters adjust their swings to counter-game the scouting on them, over the long season?

Mayo Chiki is kind of the Seizon kind of meta, except it’s straightforward enough to make the jokes internally. Sadly it’s kind of boring if the lead characters don’t sell you. I’m not sure they’ve sold for me yet.

It’s a busy summer season that continues from a busy spring. Maybe Hanasaku Iroha continues to be the “bar” this year as to measure the effectiveness of anime to entertain. It flounders periodically and yet it hits the mark periodically, and like many series this year, the presentation is overall solid. What lies in the differences is how good they are at telling their stories. It’s also not a surprise the best storyteller anime (at least for battering average) is also one of the most popular and most anticipated series this year, Steins;Gate.

As for stories, totally random last note here, but big grats on Maaya Sakamoto x Kenichi Suzumura marriage. It is pretty awesome– they have canon OTP roles! There’s Shiki x Kokutou from Rakkyo, Haruhi x Hikaru from Ouran Host Club, Lunamaria x Shinn from Gundam SEED Destiny…and some not-as canon ones, like Sakaya Nakasugi x Shamyalan from Birdy Decode. Both are from the same agency, and despite the 5-yr age difference, Sakamoto got her debut before Suzumura. I guess they see themselves as from the same “era” or whatever. Anyway, congrats to two of my favorite voice actors! You can find a full pairing list here.

Satsuki And Hiroko

Evirus isn’t the first or the last person to make the comparison, but it doesn’t come to mind at first, at least to me.

The parallels between Satsuki from Hanasaku Iroha and Hiroko from Hataraki Man are easy to make at first. At a glance, it seems that both are career women who write for magazines. Both are not really attached to a SO, even if Hiroko does have a steady boyfriend and Satsuki has…whatever she has. But once you get beyond that, I don’t think the two are really a good pair for comparison.

I mean, Satsuki raised Ohana on her own.

It’s the one big secret behind Hanasaku Iroha, I think. It’s the question it is begging people to ask, but not really: I think what will happen is that they’re going to save this as a surprise for later.

I don’t want to play up the whole single mom angle, but the fact nobody paid it any attention in their analysis of Satsuki seemed almost like a social injustice. It’s also probably the singularly most progressive part of Hanasaku Iroha’s strange clash of viewpoints. If one can even see it that way. Perhaps it is no big deal to see a line-up of elderly women as the matriarchs of small businesses and clans, as it’s a trope of some sort. (I’m just not sure how realistic that is.) Seeing single parents coming through the way Satsuki does, however, is rare anywhere. Except maybe in anime, lol.

The more proverbial glass ceiling that Hiroko explores is something that women face everywhere. Its approach is honest and simple, actually, and I think that’s how it wins readers. Single-motherhood is a tough subject to be sympathetic about once we get beyond the pity factor and when we start to analyze the real difficulties and hurdles they have to overcome. It’s not a common thing people experience, so it’s difficult to just throw it in there. It wouldn’t surprise me if the schtik in Hanairo was more akin how it is in every other anime, and is just an easy way to add a chip on our protagonist’s shoulder, or something.

Something Positive about Some Anime

I’m watching way too many anime. And I don’t know what to cut. I don’t even want to cut, but it’s robbing me sleep, and while that’s fine now and then I don’t know if I’ll live for 3 months like this. Well, it’s not so serious; I just want my 7hr of sleep and all the other social perks that comes with living it up, you know?

Thinking about it, there are a lot of pretty interesting shows doing something right this season. I’m going to try to say a little bit about all the shows that I really want to follow, and can be cut. If a show is not listed here it means I am not watching it, or I can’t cut it, or if it’s Hoshizora Kakeru Hashi. Because that show…I have nothing to say about it, even if I am kind of watching it. Also, Moshidora is over already, so…

After writing up the list, I noticed the more I write about something, the higher chances that I am more attached I am to it than a show with a shorter point. It’s not always the case but that’s just how it ended up.

30-sai – Practical advice in a humorous form. If Moshidora is Drucker High School, 30-sai is your gossipy older sister or married friend who is trying to help you out.

A Channel – It’s just quirky enough to stand out.

AnoHana – Anal hair styles, and Jintan’s t-shirts (tho they could be more sarcastic). More seriously, it does a good job showing how circumstances amplifiy positive and negative emotions, and it’s almost like being mesmerized by a cell screensaver. Less seriously, I want to see “Team Menma” cosplays where a bunch of Yukiatsu cosplayers line up with pride.

[C] – Tomatsu makes a fiery pokemon, she’s fun to watch.

Blue Exorcist – It looks really good.

Deadman Wonderland – The only thing pushing this show forward is the mystery element, but it is a pretty good one because it is covered up by the weirdly large setting they have in place.

Hen Zemi – In a Qwaser sort of way, but more close to home in terms of how over the top some of these characters can be.

Hidan no Aria – I keep talking about the Segue + Uzi combo, but that’s so clever I can’t stop myself.

Kaminomi – As others have said, the best thing was how Saori Hayami’s Haqua worked out as well as it did, contrary to expectation (or lack of in my case).

Lotte no Omocha – Besides the fact that Horie’s character got her boobs milked, the iyashikei focus is a nice touch. It kind of makes me wonder why this hasn’t happened earlier, the iyashikei x harem angle.

Moshidora – The daily presentation is helping a lot. I don’t think my attention span would have survived 10 weeks. Nor is it fair to ask for that much for a (even if it is inspiring) display of Drucker management basics. I think two weeks is about right from a syllabus planning perspective.

Nichijou – It’s funny, and there is at least enough number of gags per episode to not miss any one single week.

OreTsuba – The narrative style presents a very weird premise with a lot of intrigue via its nonlinear presentation of life as is from independent third-person perspectives that are connected plot-wise. Of course it is still an act of deception via omission, but at least it ordered things right so that when it does tell you the trick, it makes sense and carries dramatic impact.

Seishun Otoko – The Seishun point system. It adds a “game” layer that is fun to wrap your mind around, kind of like seeing Mahoro’s expiration date but without the cheap emotional play.

Sket-dan – If anything, pacing is  fast and on the dot for this Jump manga adaptation.

Steins;Gate – Okarin is very likable, kind of like Wah but actually crazy and use Real Facts to back up his statements. It works well with the overall mood of the show.

SoftTeni – Cute girls doing amusing things.

Tiger & Bunny – It’s the better superhero anime this season, mainly because it’s the traditional, character-driven drama that anime is best known for outside the violence and porn perception of the west.