Strings and Ropes – Fashion, Bondage, and Power in Hanasaku Iroha

Hanasaku Iroha fashion animation Ohana

I first took interest in Hanasaku Iroha because of its breathtaking, gorgeous animation. I was sure I would get plenty of eye candy from the girls’ fashion styles and the cultural flavors of a traditional ryoukan. Hansaku Iroha delivers on those… and so much more. [1]

Hanasaku iroha bondage rope play shibari kinbaku Ohana tied up

This is an example of shibari, also known more commonly as rope play. The girl is Ohana, who has recently been abandoned by her mother and sent to work at her grandmother’s inn. [2]

Hanasaku Iroha wallpaper Ohana Nako ryoukan inn uniform

But before we get to the exciting kinky stuff, let us talk fashion first.

Among all the cute adorable hairstyles and casual outfits of all the girls, [3] Ohana’s staff uniform does not particularly stand out. It is a merely a fairly blank outfit with an apron (maekake). The inn cannot have staff outshine the guests after all. However, there is one element to this traditional worker’s outfit that jumps out to me: their tasuki.

Hanasaku Iroha Ohana tasuki kimono rope play

Tasuki is a special cord looped behind the nape, traps the sleeves near the armpits, and ties on the back. If you have ever done dishes with loose sleeves, you can imagine how annoying it is to get them wet. Tasuki keeps them out of the way for chores. Simple and practical, the strings are almost an indispensable part of the ryoukan fashion package. I would love to buy some strings and try this thing out. Unfortunately, it seems way too complicated to tie.

Hanairo bondage ropeplay shibaru Ohana tied bdsm

Now, let us tie shibari to tasuki, which is, interestingly, also the name of a specific shibari pattern.

Japanese rope bondage adheres to a very strict form to optimize eroticism. Specific katas -different knots and loops- have equally specific rules. Close roping binds and squeezes the thighs, breasts, genitals, pressuring them into a carnal blend of discomfort and enjoyment. Furthermore, the spread of the ropes on across the bound body is also carefully structured. Pain, pleasure, lust, and aesthetics are all tightly controlled.

Hanairo ropeplay ribbon tie ohana inn ryoukan maekake

What Ohana faces in her grandmother’s inn is not too unlike shibari in some sense. There is a very disciplined attention to customs, aesthetics, and details. Even something as minor and simple as efficiency in getting dressed and how to tie tasuki is important.

Hanasaku Iroha rope play kimono wafuku ohana nako minko

I find it fascinating how easily Ohana accepts and fits into strict confinements. I would have expected her, having first been abandoned, then thrown into labor, to rebel and lash out against life. Sure, she speaks her mind once in a while, but she never goes against the rules set or the restrictions her new life puts on her. Instead, she willingly puts on those working clothes, much as she seems not to mind being tied and gagged.

hanairo bondage tied gagged Ohana shibaru kinbaku ropeplay

Back when I was extremely interested in BDSM, I learned that in a consensual sadomasochistic relationship, the submissive hold all the power. [4] Is Ohana’s casual passivity and acceptance of her situation actually a different form of masochism? And if so, is it also a display of her inner strength?

I think so. And I think her grandmother and the novelist would agree. After all, Ohana is in perfect control of herself and her situation. [5]

__________________________________________________

  1. Examples of some nice eye candy:
    hanasaku iroha nako wet t-shirt fanservice
    Hanairo yuri Ohana Nako bath
    I think I am falling in love with Nako.
  2. Just a side note so people do not get wrong idea about Hanasaku Iroha: the tone of the series is fairly light despite some drama and BDSM.
  3. I will probably do a fashion spot post later in the season. In the meantime, I am keeping an eye out for Yuina Wakura (the girl next to Nako), who has yet to appear.
    Hanairo wakura yuina oshimizu nako hair styles
    I have a feeling Yuina would bring a lot of good stuff. She also has lovely hair.
  4. Bondage, sadomasochism, and power dynamics are fascinating topics worth exploring further.
  5. Bold sentence added for clarity.
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103 Responses to Strings and Ropes – Fashion, Bondage, and Power in Hanasaku Iroha

  1. 2DT says:

    I think you’d be interested in this chapter of Nana to Kaoru Arashi. A bottom describes her first time being tied by her master, and at the same time the master tells his side of the story from the POV of an inexperienced top. It illustrates the dynamic of power and control beautifully, and in some ways it’s quite romantic… But it’s also really not safe for work:

    http://www.mangafox.com/manga/nana_to_kaoru_arashi/v01/c005/1.html

    Great post! 🙂

    • Yi says:

      Ooh very fascinating read! The fear that blossoms into loving trust. Very romantic indeed. And a very intricate portrayal of the SM relationship. Lovely.

      Anyway, thanks for the compliment, especially since I love your posts on sexual kinks. ^ ^

  2. @fkeroge says:

    Wow, this is a rather… enlightening post about different… stuff. ^^

    I like how they dress too. It’s kinda refreshing not to see school uniforms for a while. Also, you should’ve noted the yuri bathing scenes, ^^

    • Yi says:

      Agreed it’s refreshing to see some different clothes.

      I chose not to focus extensively on the fashion this time though, and instead tailored the discussion to lean toward shibari. I’ll have to do another post later on the pretty clothes.

      Anyway, here it is:

      Hanairo yuri Ohana Nako bath

      (It somehow got lost…)

  3. Itachi says:

    I’m totally fond to the cute character in Hanasaku Iroha. Watching every episode pass by is like giving a new inspiration to me although its still in episode 3. Nice hairstyle and outfit makes this series more lovely.
    Seeing Ohana in the “tight” situation, perhaps she enjoy that moment…

  4. gozieson says:

    Hmmm….

    I actually didn’t know what BDSM stood for before. But I’m not into girls getting bound up and all. They look like they’re done against their own will (even though some girls aren’t.

    Just an opinion, I just don’t like bondage….

    • gozieson says:

      Sorry, scratch that. Of course f they are bound too tightly that is, that’s a no-go for me😉

    • Yi says:

      BDSM is a very clever acronym that stands for bondage and discipline (BD), dominance and submission (DS), and sadism and masochism (SM).

      I’d like to point out a few things and clear up some common misconceptions about BDSM. Just like sex and any other sexual play/ acts, there will always be consensual and non-consensual relationships. BDSM is not always done against the participants’ will. It’s just another way for people to enjoy themselves.

      Of course, the common stereotype about the rapes and such stems from the infamous Marquis de Sade. Japanese bondage, however, has roots in martial arts discipline (thanks 2DT). The immobility is a very strict form of self control. In the post, I argue that Ohana embraces (whether intentionally or inherently) this ideal.

      “Just an opinion, I just don’t like bondage….”
      To each her own. ^ ^

  5. Solaris says:

    Uhm It doesn’t look like Ohana particularly liked or disliked her ties. At least it looks like the old guy is far more anticipating to be tied far more than Ohana already is. Or rather, It’s just the novelist guy sucks at tying, so I hardly think those gagging had whatsoever effect it was meant to give Ohana. Another way to show how incompetent and fool the novelist was, and really nothing to fantasize about😛

    • Yi says:

      I’m not sure if you’re suggesting that I said Ohana liked her bondage, or that this is something to fantasize about. If you are, I urge you to read the post again. ^ ^

      In fact, my post argues that Ohana didn’t care about being tied up, which surprises me. I further draw a connection between her physical binds and her situation at her new work, and argue that her acceptance and lack of resistance is really a display of being in control. As people say, the submissive holds all the power.

      p.s. I have to admit though a tied up writhing Ohana is… pretty hot.

      • Solaris says:

        Sorry but I’m implying, something worse: The post missed the point greatly in my opinion. The ropes are there only for fun. They’re are meant to show how the novelist is incompetent even to harm to anybody, so much the victim has to tell how she’s supposed to betied. Of course that puny attempt has no effect on Ohana. The point is the novelist’s pitiful, even more than the girl he’s supposed to kidnap. I can agree about Ohana’s display of being in control, but not as long as it has to do with bondage.
        As for the parallel with her job situation, it actually doesn’t hold at all. The situation is reversed at job, and Ohana tries to struggle to no avail. Just notice that ‘I want to sparkle’ sentence. You can see she’s hardly that submissive ona as a submissive type doesn’t want to sparkle at all. She’s quite the rebel one, instead.

        • Yi says:

          I’ll address the comment in two parts.

          First, on missing the point:

          There isn’t only one single way to watch an anime, and a scene can serve multiple purposes. Reading between the lines and drawing connections/ comparisons is part of the exercise, regardless of the anime’s primary intention. It is, after all, an interpretive medium. As such, I think it’s a pretty bold claim that the ropes are there only for fun. It’s the obvious reason it’s there, but it can’t be the only one.

          So, I don’t think I missed the point. I chose not to address the obvious. Sure I can write a summary about how badly the novelist failed, and talk about what an incompetent fool he is, but I’m not writing an episode guide or broad impressions. I’m sure everyone who watched the anime can see the incompetence of the novelist, or recognize that this was largely for fun. I don’t think that’s interesting enough to warrant a post.

          Instead, I wanted to write a short essay discussing the subtleties to Ohana’s character, using this particular scene as a starting ground.

          Now, on the bondage parallels. This is something we can discuss more on. I think there’s a subtle difference between being the submissive and being unassuming or insecure. In fact, I argue that being submissive is a form of self-discipline and being in power (wanting to sparkle).

          Ohana hardly rebels. In fact, early in the second episode, she thinks about rebelling and running away, but immediately dismisses that idea. This acceptance, to me, is an example of taking a submissive role, just like her passivity during the rope play scene.

          “You can see she’s hardly that submissive ona as a submissive type doesn’t want to sparkle at all. ”
          Again, I disagree.

          Shibari stems from martial arts, and thus has very different roots from the more infamous Marquis de Sade styles. As Japanese bondage evolved, so has the power dynamics. In a dominant-submissive relationship, what we often see is that the submissive is in control and more secure, confident, and independent. The submissive Ohana would certainly want to sparkle.

          “I can agree about Ohana’s display of being in control, but not as long as it has to do with bondage.”
          I thought she was completely in control during that shibari scene. She was not just ordering the novelist around, but she also holds the power to stop the whole thing.

          (p.s. This is actually fairly common in BDSM, where the submissive -the one tied up- usually holds all the power, and Ohana shows why that is.)

          I can see that you passionately disagree, which is fine. Anime is an interpretive media after all, and you don’t have to buy what I’m selling. ^ ^
          I think I’ve explained my argument fairly thoroughly both in the comments and in the posts, so I doubt I can change your mind. I hope I showed at least how this take is reasonable.

          Lastly, thanks for reading and the comments!

        • Solaris says:

          Ok, we could discuss for ages about power balance, but it would be wise to see how the anime developed after that. You know, it’s so easy to make up things unwillingly if you don’t hold still on observations. I just think you liked the bondage subject and let your imagination go wild. Just forget Ohana and her ropes for one moment. The main char is the novelist in that scene. He always put himself in a submissive role while confronting Ohana, even just by sight exchange. He fell victim to Ohana charm and he’s also visibly scared of her too. He’s got a big crush on her and he can’t even confront her, so he just fantasized about her. Being his own fantasies discovered by no other than his love target, it triggered his lust and he tried to submit his own object of desire. Hence the ropes. But Ohana had the winning hand by default. It’s not ‘the power of submission’, but the fact the novelist is a wimp at all in contrast to Ohana, that’s a strong girl on her own. So she knew already there was hardly nothing to fear. After all she was still in the inn and the novelist misconduct would have been easily exposed. That’s only it. There’s no need to interpretate anything. Tha anime just told us everything. Just read the flow.
          peace ^^_v

        • Yi says:

          “You know, it’s so easy to make up things unwillingly if you don’t hold still on observations. I just think you liked the bondage subject and let your imagination go wild.”
          Ahh, please don’t accuse me of not sticking to observations.

          There’s a difference between being the more confident and authoritative one, and the one playing the role of the submissive in bondage. That’s the premise my argument is based. If you completely reject that, then the post probably won’t mean much. That’s a fine stance.

          Another note, I didn’t say being submissive is what gives Ohana power. What I said is that Ohana’s inherent power and confidence is shown through her accepting a submissive role both in the bondage scene (and by submissive, I mean strictly in the sexual way) and at the house. I know that’s probably splitting hairs, but it’s a fine distinction.

          “There’s no need to interpretate anything. ”😦
          If that’s the mindset, I’m not sure what else to say on this whole issue. And I’m afraid you might not find a lot of my posts (or many commentaries) interesting…

          I guess we’re pretty different on this issue on a fundamental level. I believe literature is always subject to interpretation. There’s a reason we have the humanities branch after all. Hanasaku Iroha might not be an ageless classic, but I think even in these episodes, there is room to dig deeper, relate things, draw connections, and analyze characters. That’s part of the fun. Finding the things that the anime doesn’t hand to us on an obvious platter.

          And if you don’t agree, that’s OK. We have different ways of watching anime, and that’s all. Sigh…😦

          Well, thanks for comment. ^ ^

          Cheers!

        • Solaris says:

          Well… I usually like these kind of discussions. I find them exciting and useful even if it looks like we’re fighting. Just like Kuroneko vs Kirino, remember? I mean. It’s all done for the sake of adding knowledge to both parts, ok? So no evil intentions by my side at all. If it bothers you I can just stop and disappear.

          This post is very much alike to that about the eye racism. You just got an idea from an element of the anime that stimulated your own thrills and you made up a theory about it. The difference is you realized it was over-thinking there, but not here.
          As a matter of fact, all the matter about bondage (and sex) though interesting as it could be, has no real relevance to Iroha. That is my point. As a matter of fact it’s just related to the crush the novelist has to Ohana and no more.

          If you look closely I’ just suggesting another approach to analysis. Being fundamentally a Physicians, I tend to analyse first and elaborate extracted informations after that. My judgement can lack aesthetics and is actually pretty down-to-earth if you notice.
          As there are papers on symbolism or ambiguous representations and allegories that give plenty of room to actual interpretation, anime are usually pretty much straightforward. So there’s only the need to follow them by observation to grasp their meaning. And I really think there’s nothing to interpret here.
          The anime just told us anything straight by visuals.
          I think it’s nice to dig inside and all, but overthinking comes in when you add meanings the anime didn’t have by itself before and stuff. Adding things that didn’t belong to here would be mistaking in the first place.

          But how to do that? As the point of discordance is about the ropes just let’s do a little experiment. Let’s make a reason by absurd. If we take out the bondage from the picture, does the situation still hold unchanged or not? If it still holds, than the bondage was just an accessory to the plot and has no relevance. It’s nice to throw it in, but it wouldn’t be relevant to Iroha, and all of the discussion would shift to a what-if setup, so that to completely hypothetical matters.
          I would stop here for now and just let you do the experiment, if you like it. Ill’ continue later.

        • Yi says:

          “This post is very much alike to that about the eye racism. You just got an idea from an element of the anime that stimulated your own thrills and you made up a theory about it. The difference is you realized it was over-thinking there, but not here.”
          I don’t think I’m over-thinking here, and I think a lot of people would agree with me. The other thing is, I didn’t just write this post because bondage thrills me.

          Also, I don’t claim that the bondage is the focus of the episode. What I’m claiming is that through this scene, we can see something about Ohana’s character.

          I think I need to clarify this. I am not arguing a cause and effect thing here. I am not saying the bondage scene had an effect on Ohana. I am saying that scene reflects something about Ohana’s personality: the powerful side of her. It’s instead, observation and inference.

          So yes, without the scene, the story continues, and Ohana is still Ohana. And yes, bondage is an accessory. But just because it’s an accessory doesn’t mean that all character developments and their personalities get thrown out the window. I think this scene highlights something about Ohana.

          You can disagree with what I saw in Ohana, but I don’t think you can really say that the scene shows us nothing about Ohana’s character. She was there, and she reacted to the novelist’s actions. How she reacted is a sign of what kind of person she is. I think it shows her passive strength as a submissive. If you don’t buy my interpretation of her reactions, that’s fine. But I feel you’re denying something more fundamental. You seem to suggest that just because the scene isn’t pivotal to the plot, how the characters act and what they do don’t matter, because an accessory plot can’t show character development. I disagree with that.

          All the anime does is tell us what happens. Everything else about the characters we have to interpret through the scenes, regardless of whether the scene is a filler or not. The scene doesn’t tell us exactly what Ohana is thinking or what she doesn’t seem to care. I’m proposing an explanation to that.

          “So no evil intentions by my side at all. If it bothers you I can just stop and disappear.”
          Ahhhhh don’t do that! I love talking to you, even if we can not reach the same conclusions. ^ ^

          I know you don’t have evil intentions. But I have to at least put up a fight and defend my posts, right?
          It wouldn’t be fun or productive for our intellects if I just concede everything.

          Hugs and loves, the Kuroneko to my Kirino. (Or is the Kirino to my Kuroneko?)

        • Solaris says:

          I am saying that scene reflects something about Ohana’s personality: the powerful side of her
          Now that’s more like it.
          I’m just suggesting the bondage scene is not relevant to that situation. Ohana had the winning hand by default, independently from the bondage and all.
          The scene is meant to show the novelist as pitiful in contrast to Ohana. She was powerful from the start, ropes being used or not. The fact she’s ‘stronger’ comes rather from the fact the other guy being weaker there. Just notice her reactions to the guy: Ohana is not scared and tries to run but that’s not any submissive either. She played along just to study him. There’s any sex involved, other than in the guys fantasy. The bondage is important to that context: It’s a poor attempt to force the hand on Ohana which just backfired. Ohana knew already the guy was rather powerless and she didn’t want to put him in trouble by screaming. I think she just pitied him. She wanted to know more, instead. But the guy was exposed soon after. It was just a matter of time and Ohana knew it. In the mean time Ohana learned something about herself from the side of the novelist too. So all of the scene is actually meant to show us the char of both the novelist and Ohana. If there’s something we learn about her is she’s quite the caring person, before being strong too. That’s right. But not by the use of bondage (Lol)

        • Yi says:

          From the beginning, I never claimed bondage shapes Ohana’s character: not in the post, and not in any of the comments. Glad we finally cleared that up. ^ ^

  6. Smithy says:

    Great analogy between the rope play and the underlying plot of Ohana’s situation, a very nice perspective to look from!

    Ohana’s strength shows in how she didn’t panic when tied up, she seems to be a very strong person, perhaps much like her grandmother.
    The turn around with Ohana’s grandmother seems to come quick too, already in this third episode we see she actually cares about Ohana but acted the way she did towards Minko and Ohana (slapping them) out of duty and in her vision how they should be taught/raised. (Whether that vision conforms with our own is something else entirely.)

    Like 2DT says while “Nana To Kaoru” is very nsfw and ecchi, it does offer some terrific insights into bondage and sm play. Which shows that if one tries to look at this from a certain point of view (such as that of those into it), one can gain new insights that break the limits prejudice and lack of knowledge may have cast on our minds.

    Seriously loving this show~
    Tied up Ohana is❤
    Wet Nako is❤

    • Yi says:

      More than just her calm demeanor, I think there’s also a sense of authority with her. For example, during the rope play incident, she instructs and orders around the novelist (even though she’s tied up). She also has the power to put a stop to the whole thing if she chooses to. With Minko and Nako, she has this presence around them that makes her more authoritative. Indeed, Ohana is a very fascinating character.

      Agreed about the grandmother.
      p.s. I think the grandma’s methods aren’t that awful. A few slaps never hurt anyone. ^ ^

      Nana to Kaoru is very interesting indeed. I’m loving the inner monologues and confessions.

      Loved tied up Ohana, wet nako, and yuri threesome!!

  7. Kylaran says:

    So I’m not quite sure what to think of the power relations in Hanasaku Iroha. It could be a statement about control and power in a traditional Japanese environment, but at the same time, it could be an aesthetic to please the viewers. After all, it’s highly unlikely that one would be bound in such a manner in contemporary Japan even at a ryokan.

    But I think the anime is smart. At least, the creators aren’t being frivolous with the animation itself; it shows to some extent that it can possibly be a serious show. So maybe you’re right (I certainly don’t disagree with you), and I even want to believe that what you’re saying about Ohana is true: she actually holds power. If this story goes where I think it might go (coming of age story probably?), then your take on the bondage might just be accurate.

    • Yi says:

      I have no doubt the primary purpose of that rope play scene is to provide some really titillating fanservice. I also don’t think this kind of stuff happens often at ryoukan. Still, I think it’s really neat that Ohana’s character is not only kept consistent during these fanservicey moment, but the scene actually brilliantly highlights a defining side of her: her passive authority.

      Agreed that the anime is smart and very very beautiful! I’m really looking forward to the serious aspects that underly the comedy. Hopefully, the coming of age story will continue to be developed.

      Thanks for reading!! ^ ^

  8. Swordwind says:

    Oh…wait, what?

  9. foshizzel says:

    What random bondage?! Hahahah this was a strange episode, but I liked it and agreed I think most people are falling in love with Nako and Ohana both are so damn cute! But I can see why people will drop this due to the sudden fanservice being thrown in, not me thou! I shall watch more.

    • Yi says:

      The bondage scene is super random indeed. And lovely too! I think it really adds to Ohana’s character though. It’s not just blatant fanservice only for the sake of fanservice, but there’s something nice underneath.

      I think a lot of people were disappointed at this change in tone. At first, I was a bit put off as well, but now I think I’m embracing it.

      Definitely watching more!

  10. Overlord-G says:

    First of all, great first article on the awesomeness that is Hanairo.

    And yes, Nako is the most awesome character on the show so far. No it’s not because of episode 3, I’ve been a fan of hers since her debut in episode. Quiet/shy anime girls always have something special about them and Nako shows us that the tradition continues to live on.

    Minko has yet to impress me. I don’t hate her guts but she has yet to move me, which is why I jumped for joy when Ohana finally “kicked her ass”. Even though she was partially responsible for getting Minko in trouble, I currently sympathize more with Ohana than Minko. Of course with a character like Minko it usually means troubled past. I’ll just wait and see what hers is, or maybe I’m supposed to feel sorry for her getting scolded all the time.

    Ohana must have sensed that the novelist was just a moron after reading the draft, thus why she wasn’t as scared of him as she should have been. she was angrier than scared, which eventually led to pity and wonderful a bitch slap. Points for Ohana “kicking ass” when the going gets tough.

    Am I to assume from the bottom girl’s pictures that your favorite hairstyle is that one?

    If people want serious stuff and drama, AnoHana should more than meet their expectations. Sadists.

    • Yi says:

      Aw thanks. Hopefully the post gave you something interesting on Japanese culture and bondage culture to think about.

      Nako is absolutely lovely. I loved her from the beginning as well, and she’s only getting better! One th other hand, like you, I’m not exactly in love with Minko.

      As for Ohana, I don’t know if she’s angry either, or necessarily thinks that the novelist is a moron. In fact, I don’t think she thinks anything of the whole thing. Her attitude throughout the scene is one of casual acceptance. For her, the ridiculousness and awkwardness of the situation is just another day. And that’s really why I think she’s such a powerful character.

      Yep yep. Out of the four girls, hers is my favorite so far. I have pretty fickle tastes though.

      I think HanaIro can still deliver some serious drama alongside the fanservicey stuff. In fact, as the post suggest, even i this kind of silly plot, we can see slivers of serious undertones.

      • Overlord-G says:

        Oh yes it did teach me something about the Japanese culture. I never would have guessed that a simple knot had so much behind it.

        You’re right about Ohana. That’s one way of expressing how awesome she is. It’s all about how well she can handle situation. In fact, she can adapt quite well. Compared to her first day, the novelist’s antics are nothing to worry about. I guess angry wasn’t the right word to use.

        Everyone has their own favorite hairstyle as you gracefully discussed in a previous post which involved another beloved heroine of ours, Victorique and the seemingly controversial Kurumi.

        Oh no doubt on HanaIro’s ability to capture serious moments behind its lighthearted exterior. I made a huge fuss over the very 1st dialogue between Ohana and her mother. The very first sentence uttered by Ohana was an eye opener. So yes, I don’t doubt HanaIro’s serious moments at all, I was just saying that AnoHana looks to be the closest thing to a KEY anime this season based on what animeniacs have seen in the first episode.

        • Yi says:

          With 24 episodes, I’m pretty excited about what this series will bring. Ano Hana seems decent, but has maybe a little too J-drama feel for me. It’s getting a lot of good impressions so far though, so I’ll look more into it.

          p.s. Watch Kimi ni Todoke!

  11. Nopy says:

    I was a bit shocked with the bondage and lesbian scenes in this episode, I thought it was going to be a “pure” anime. I don’t think I could ever take an interest in BDSM, especially considering I hate pain, and I hate causing pain even more.

    • Yi says:

      Well, BDSM is not only about pain and causing pain. That’s a popular misconception, but there are many variations as well as different levels. Something like simple humiliation play can be a form of BDSM.

      I wasn’t too surprised at the yuri. My goggles were fired up from the first episode. The bondage surprised me too.

  12. SnippetTee says:

    Very entertaining post. Bath scene Naku is so hot. ^^
    Btw, I think Ohana’s passivity and acceptance is a form of strength because it’s an ability to withstand pain, therefore can be considered as power.

    • Yi says:

      Yes, Nako is super super hot!!

      I think in addition to being able to withstand pain, Ohana is also very self discipline. It gives her a very strong presence. Further, being in the position to leave her situation (i.e. rebel against the inn or scream while bounded) also puts her in the position of control.

      Thanks for the comment!

  13. VucubCaquix says:

    This is a fantastic post.

    That is all.

  14. Ristlin says:

    Wow, the string thing is such a convienient invention for such inconvenient clothing! I never knew something like this existed O.o thx for the little lesson on jpn culture.

    I did notice a long time ago that the knots used in bdsm are quite complex, but nice job in explaining it further. I would say that I personally certainly have not analysed knot tieing or paid lots of attention to the the diciplines involved in them. Very…interesting post

    • Yi says:

      Yea, now I really want to know how to tie one. I always get my sleeves wet, and it’s super annoying to have to roll them up with wet hands when they come down.

      Anyway, glad you found the post… interesting. ^ ^

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  16. shinra says:

    Yes! HanaSaku Iroha! I can’t miss any episodes of it!😀

    The almost yuri scene makes me scream mentally! And same as you, I’m starting to like Nako more. I like those shy types that makes me wanna protect them, in this case, Nako!

    And somehow, this anime reminds me of Hayate no Gotoku. LoL

    P.S: Here’s my new cover. Think it as Tenshi (AngelBeats!) feat Kaito (Vocaloid) singing this song. Female is me… Hope you’ll like it. 😀

    • shinra says:

      Sorry about the duet failure… This time, i’ve posted my version only. No Male’s voice.😀

    • Yi says:

      Agreed! Hanasaku Iroha is really cute. And I’m loving Nako!!

      Anyway, another lovely cover. Wonderful singing. ^ ^

      • shinra says:

        Another new cover from me… Sry about these postings, cause i dont know where to send it to you except here. Tehe~

        This time I used my original voice… and my friend gave me a challenge on this song cause no one succeeded on covering this song. :d

        (P.S: my friend is the one who did the harmonies on my cover. She’s awesome. BTW, do u use facebook or skype?)

        • Yi says:

          Don’t worry about the covers. They’re great pleasures to listen to!

          I think you did a good job on it. ^ ^ And so did your friend! Anyway, I’ve subscribed to your channel.

          (p.s. I don’t use either much. I did have a Facebook that I deactivated for various reasons… But yea. Sorry. :()

  17. Ryo_kun says:

    Fortunately, the sudden change in tone on this show was acceptable for me. Though those yuri scenes really hit me off-guard. And I though this show’s gonna be a serious and dramatic one! Oh well..i’ll still continue to watch it….because of Ohana!😄

    • Yi says:

      This series keeps surprising me. During preview season, I totally thought this would be a light fluffy anime a la K-On! Then the first two episodes aired, and I, as you did, thought it’d be a serious drama. Then the third episode changed the tone again to something lighter with a nice touch of fanservice. I don’t mind either though. Definitely keeping with this.

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  19. Bass says:

    Nako’s character was slowly brought out in this ep, and I can’t wait to learn more about her. In the last episode, she sort of annoyed me at how pathetic and quiet she was but I guess some people have hard shells to protect themselves. This episode changed my perception of her for the better (and not because of the fanservice lol)

    But great post haha

    • Yi says:

      I didn’t find Nako very pathetic at first. I thought her overly shy personality is kind of charming. With this episode though, it was even more lovely to see a more confident side of her. And, sexy fanservice is always welcomed.

      Glad you enjoyed the post.

  20. gan says:

    Wow!It feels like it’s been ages since I’ve come here!
    Anyways I see that you’ve put up a new page (Recommendations).That’s good!I’d like to check that occasionally for your recos🙂 I’ve been planning and gonna start with Higurashi soon.
    And coming to Hanasaku Iroha,I wasnt planning to take up this series until it was praised well on many blogs.It’s a well executed drama series indeed!And as you mentioned
    “I first took interest in Hanasaku Iroha because of its breathtaking, gorgeous animation”
    That’s so true indeed!Even I love the animation and how they depict the background (I wish you’d taken some screencaps of those as well!)
    Ano Hana is a contender to Hanasaku Iroha and I’m sure you’d love seeing that one as well!

    • Yi says:

      Hey gan, it’s great to see you again. ^ ^

      Anyway, about the recommendations page, it’s actually a page for people to post their recommendations to other people and me, rather than my own recommendations. Still, I think you might find some good things in there.

      I’m glad you’re picking up Hanasaku Iroha. It really is very pretty. I’ve heard glowing impressions for Ano Hana as well, so I’ll try to check that out as well.

  21. hoshiko says:

    I like that although Ohana is suddenly put into this horrible situation of having no friends and forced to work for shelter, she remained positive. I like that she always wanted to prove herself to others, and willing to take proactive actions in resolving her issues with Minko and Nako. Oh my, is she becoming her grandmother – always the one in control in all situations? She’s definitely a girl marching to the beat of her own drum.

    I definitely like the fashion style here. I absolutely adore Ohana’s hairstyle and her cute outfits in the first episode! Hope to see more of the different casual wear in future episodes.

    • Yi says:

      Yea, that’s what I admire the most about her. She accepts whatever unfairness life brings her, and remains independent and strong through all of it.

      Loved that scene with Minko and Nako. I think with that, she’s established herself as the one with the power among the younger girls.

      Loving the fashion! I think I’m most interested in the fourth, yet to appear, girl’s hair, but that’s closely followed by Nako and Ohana in a tie. They’re adorable. The character designs are also very sexy. It’s an all around eye candy.

  22. Salinea says:

    Because I’m into BDSM I found this episode rather disturbing actually. One of the most important thing in BDSM is consent; and the thing is the writer certainly didn’t ask Ohana her opinion before tying her up and confining her in his room. The show has Ohana rather undisturbed and nonplussed by all of this, which I don’t mind in itself, but still treating an adult man kidnapping and doing sexual activities (I consider bondage as such) to 16 years old girl without her consent as comedy is pretty damn disturbing IMO. I like the show asides from this, but this really riles.

    I’ll second the reccomendation of Nana to Kaoru which IMHO handles issues of power balance and negotiation, agency and consent in a BDSM relationship much better (and also has delicious eye candy of female bodies <3)

    • Yi says:

      A fellow BDSM fan! ^ ^ I can’t say I’m as into it now as I used to be, but I’m always happy to see it in anime.

      You bring up a really really good point. I actually raged about this on Twitter as I watched the episode. I thought it was unacceptable that the writer first assaults her, and then the hotel decides not to press serious action. Both of which are really bad.

      Also, agreed completely about consent. This dominant-submissive power relationship only applies to consensual relationship. We’re not talking about or interested in De Sade’s ideals (I hope).

      Anyway, thanks for bringing it up!! And thank you for reading .^ ^

      Loving Nana to Kaoru!

  23. TheBigN says:

    Given how Ohana said that the novelist noticed stuff about her that she didn’t know, you could say that the threesome scene is justification that Ohana’s more submissive but in control, allowing herself to trust that Nako and Minko would do the right thing in helping her sparkle.

    Or something like that.😛

  24. biotoxic says:

    I happened to stumble upon Hanasaku Iroha yesterday when I noticed the little bondage avatar on crunchyroll for episode 3. That was more than enough to grab my attention!

    I was expecting this series to be fluff, but those first 3 episodes were enough to keep me hooked for a straight hour and a half. Not to mention Ohana being voiced by Kanae Itou is a great lead. She’s so energetic and really suits the role.

    Before I got to episode 3 I really liked how Ohana took everything in her stride, not giving up and trying to fit in. When she was ‘kidnapped’ by Tarou I was “oh no, don’t hurt her please”. But then it turned out she was actually in control of the situation. Instead of resisting she was willing to read his ero stories, play along and even motivate him to not give up.

    I’m looking forward to seeing this one through to the end now😀.

    • Yi says:

      Shibari can really catch one’s eyes! I was pleasantly surprised by the imagery of a writhing, tied up Ohana.

      I totally thought HanaIro would be all fluffy too like K-On! and such. But it turned into a serious drama with the first two episodes, then went the dramedy route. I think it’s lovely, and I’m totally hook now.

      Ohana’s such an interesting character, and voiced by a very talented Kanae Itou. I think her strength and her confidence really shows even in those moments when she’s being very passive.

      I can’t wait for the next episode!

  25. Cell says:

    I hope for some more yuri fan-service in this series, and I think that I will receive more. The mangaka for the manga is known to draw some yuri pictures…so there’s a high chance that there will be some more yuri scenes besides the bath scenes from the novel ^^.

    • Yi says:

      I hope for more yuri too! That little bath scene is not enough to satisfy me, especially now that it’s piqued my interest in Nako x Minko x Ohana. And I hope there’s some actual yuri not just in the novels too. Nako has potential (especially with goggles on. Haha).

  26. Cell says:

    Adding on to my last post: I hope to see more of Minko’s past. It looks like there’s something about her that we didn’t get to see yet. Doesn’t look like she’s living with her parents either. Right now I’m not too fond of her, but I don’t want to hate any characters so I’m crossing my fingers for background story!

    • Yi says:

      Me too. So far, other than Ohana, we haven’t seen much more of the other characters. There are 24 episodes, and this doesn’t seem to be a plot heavy series, so I’m expecting some substantial character developments.

      Agreed! Minko is a bit annoying for me too, but I don’t want to hate her yet either. I think she’s living in the inn right now, so it’d be interesting to see where she came from.

  27. feal87 says:

    I’m looking forward to the next arc, want to understand if the rather “heavy” fanservice is normal on the series progression or an isolated case.🙂

    • Yi says:

      I don’t know if this level of fanservice is the norm either. This series’s tone has changed quite a bit. I don’t think I’d mind either way though.

  28. MkMiku says:

    This is something I wasn’t expecting considering all the beautiful artwork. Then again, just about anything goes in anime these days. I still plan to watch this series; very nice images, indeed. xD

    • Yi says:

      Yea, the episode is quite an unexpected change in tone. I really enjoyed the fanservice though. It actually felt… kind of classy, especially wet Nako. It’s not exactly the pantsu in your face kind of fanservice. Anyway, it’s a very lovely series!!

  29. kluxorious says:

    I suspect Ohana to bea masochist. She must have seen her mom’s porns somewhere thus her interest and willingness with the whole bondage and gag thingy.

  30. When I saw the first episode I was quickly discouraged to continue… Its drama felt quite heavy. I know it would be deceiving to just judge it by the first episode and not continue, but didn’t feel like continuing right away. It wasn’t until your mention about the tying up scene that made me continue, hahaha. I’ve been kinda arou… intrigued by the rope play/bondage/bdsm again since I read Nana to Kaoru manga… Which I started to read because of watching the Nana to Kaoru OVA. Anyway… I was truly surprised at the amount of “exciting” things that happened in the 3rd episode and I have you to thank for making me continue with this series. So, THANKS!😀

    Lastly, the maekake(?)/staff uniform is not the first time I’ve seen in action. It was refreshing to see again after seeing it in Spirited Away for the first time. Quite intriguing how quickly they tied it to make it short sleeved like that. And yes, just like Ohana, I was fascinated by how quickly and gracefully Nako worn her uniform.

    • Yi says:

      Haha, glad you decided to continue watching, and that you’re “intrigued” by the rope play. I was too. ^ ^

      I found Nana to Kaoru really interesting too. Bondage is quite the lovely thing, isn’t it?

      Yea, Spirited Away features the ryoukan culture heavily, down to the staff uniforms. It was nice to see HanaIro paying attention to a lot of the flavors. Agreed about Nako. She is such a delight to watch. Her every moment, every word, and every blush make my heart skip beats.

      • I’ve been “fascinated” and “intrigued” by rope play and bondage a long time ago, lol, but never thought there would be a manga about it explaining a lot of it in detail. Though I’m sure it could use a bit more detail😉

        I’m sure this shibari is only in this one episode, but continuing the rest of the series made me more hopeful that I shouldn’t get discouraged just because of adversity (in the first episode). That it will be all right… I hope I can apply this to real life as well.

        • Yi says:

          “Though I’m sure it could use a bit more detail ”
          You ecchi man. ^ ^

          I’m pretty sure there won’t be more on this particular theme, but I do think there might be more fan service at this level.

          “That it will be all right…”
          Hopefully. And good luck. ^ ^

  31. Sakurai_Hideru says:

    As always, those are some pretty images up there, not to mention hot too. X)
    And yet another anime going on my to watch list…
    Keep’em reviews coming!😀

  32. Fabrice says:

    Anyway, compared to True Tears, studio P.A. Works did a good job of adding plenty of humorous moments to keep the viewers interested into the show. At the same time, I was surprised how main characters were so serious about their job. Is this an anime lecturing us about ryoukan management? Hmm..

    id already give it a beautiful 10/10, cause gems like this is what makes me believe in anime. There is so much shit out there today and most seasons i dont even finish a single show (sometimes i even wonder why i keep watching anime) but then something like this comes along and i❤. I dont evenknow whats so good about it i just want more. the scene with the shibari was so random but yet so amusing =)

    • Yi says:

      Yea I liked the humorous moments too. The really serious mood of the first two episodes were a bit stifling.

      “Is this an anime lecturing us about ryoukan management?”
      Haha, maybe. It does give quite a few scenes on discipline in general though.

      Anyway, totally agree that this anime is super beautiful, and makes me so glad I picked it up this season. ^ ^
      Also, shibari is kind of nice. Haha.

  33. lovelyduckie says:

    hhhmmm so that rope bondage is unique to Japan? That explains a few things for me then. I noticed similar tying patterns in the opening to Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and then again in the Genkaku Picasso manga. It seemed like a unique way of tying people up but I didn’t make the connection that it originated in Japan.

    • Yi says:

      Rope bondage isn’t unique to Japan as it has been picked up by bdsm practitioners all around the world. In the western bondage scene, rope play has developed into its own style. But if I remember correctly, shibari did originate in Japan from Hojoujutsu, a form of martial arts.

      It’s a very interesting art indeed.

  34. Mikoto says:

    xD You learn something new everyday…

  35. softwerkz says:

    Hi Yi, taking a break from work and visiting your blog. This post particularly caught my eyes. Very interesting to read and well written. The BDSM thingy you mentioned does remind me of a manga I’ve long forgotten, Nana To Kaoru. It might be your kind of manga. LOL!🙂

    • Yi says:

      Nana to Kaoru totally is fascinating! And what a coincidence. Several comments have also suggested it. I guess there really are quite a few BDSM fans around. j/k. ^ ^

      Anyway, thanks for reading. And hope you’re enjoying your break amidst your busy schedule.

  36. Anime says:

    Great review…..don’t stop keep them going….

    • Yi says:

      Not exactly a review in the strictest sense, but I appreciate it. ^ ^

      Anyway, thanks for visiting and reading!

  37. Nathan says:

    Oh I am fascinated with BDSM. It’s just an incredibly interesting subject and set of different dynamics, well worth exploration. I think that exploring the idea of Ohana’s situation as in some ways comparable to masochism is definitely a worthwhile one. I found the dynamic between her and Jiroumaru interesting in the bondage scene, in that she was giving him advice but at the same time clearly did not, at least actively, want to be in that situation. The psychology of moments like that strikes me as something that could be really interesting to look at.

    • Yi says:

      Yea, great point about her giving him instructions, and essentially ordering him around. The seeming contradiction between her not necessarily wanting to be there but still actively furthering her situation suggest further just how comfortable she is being in that position. I find what goes on in Ohana’s head really fascinating at times.

  38. jreding says:

    After reading your interesting post about Ohana I thought about Minchi and asked myself if she is really interested in cooking or maybe chose to spend her time in this rather harsh kitchen workplace just because of these very conditions. After all (and contrary to Ohana) she lives and works in Kisuisou by her own decision and against her parents’ wishes. Today, of course, she might also stay there due to her affection to Tohru, but this was not her motive to start working there. In fact, she took a fancy to Tohru just because he let her work in that kitchen. These thoughts may be a bit farfetched but she doesn’t seem to me like someone who is very passionate about cooking.

    • Yi says:

      I think with the latest episodes, we really get to see Minchi’s drive. She has gone to quite some lengths to achieve her dreams of becoming a chef. She sacrifices some things, and she tries her best.

      In that respect, Minko is a bit different from Ohana, but they’re both very strong internally.

  39. Sakurai_Hideru says:

    Omg, based on your recent tweets, I can see that impressed is an understatement. Is it an adult anime now? With lots of yuri? Argghh! I wanna watch it now! Why don’t I have a computer?😥

    • Yi says:

      Sorry to disappoint, but it’s not an adult anime, nor is it yuri. But I would recommend watching it though. It should be fairly safe. Anyway, if you get access some time and decide to watch this, I hope you have fun with it too. ^ ^

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  42. MyHatsOffToYou says:

    “Back when I was extremely interested in BDSM, I learned….”

    That is VERY enlightening; nice to know>:D

    Just so it’s fair, I was also interested in BDSM. It’s a bit difficult for me to learn bout this though since Googling it often comes up with some content too extreme for my eyes and innocent heart (Sarcasm; wink wink, nudge nudge; innocent my foot)

    • Yi says:

      Haha, is that too much information from the both of us?

      Anyway, just like anything sex-related, BDSM is really really fascinating (and fun) I think. ^ ^

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