Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

2 September 2011: Why Hanasaku Iroha is better than Usagi Drop

Yuina and Ohana
Scowling won't help you.

I'm really glad Hanasaku Iroha is a two-cour series instead of another dinky 12-episode flash in the pan. The strength of the show lies with its characters, not in their wacky adventures, so it helps to have enough time to get to know them. The strength of Usagi Drop also lies with its characters, which is why its brief 11-episode run is terribly short. I suppose there's a "just read the manga" solution to this problem, but I'd really like to see a much longer Usagi Drop anime, and I don't mean a bunch of 11-episode seasons sporadically introduced over a stretch of four or five years.

Daikichi with Kouki's mom
After nine episodes I still don't know Kouki's mom's name.

It seems most shows these days are single-cour, presumably because the current competition for consumers' shifting attention spans make two short series a safer investment than a single 26-episode one that might bomb. This is why I was pleasantly surprised to discover Hanasaku Iroha, The IDOLM@STER TV, and [a bunch of shows I'm not watching] are all normal length. With its massive cast, I can't imagine any IM@S series being very satisfying without a decent episode count. Really, it could probably use a 48-episode Precure-sized run.

Minko and Tohru
Try a little tenderness, Tohru.

With regard to Hanasaku Iroha, the Minko & Tohru arc works much better after following them half a year. Both characters make pretty silly decisions and Minko is a very flawed individual. I'm not about to give Minko a pass for some of her more egregious actions, but I am more accepting of them because they're in line with her behavior established from the beginning of the series. She'll probably end up the Hanasaku Iroha Best Girl barring a late resurgence by Tomoe, but I haven't figured out if Minko will win it despite being a real bitch or because of it.

This tree is a goner for sure.

Usagi Drop has been very solid through nine episodes, but knowing it ends after two more takes the wind out of the show's sails. It guarantees there will be no real development or change to the (admittedly pleasant) status quo. This really is a "read the manga" show. It's not really a big deal, since I was going to do that anyway, to at least figure out what in blazes the troubling development past the time-skip has everyone so worked up about actually is. I hope it's not something lame like Kouki flattening Rin's tree after his ninja training goes bad. (That's totally going to happen, by the way. Calling it now.)

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