NIS America has brought over many great titles to North America these past three years or so, and each title is always given a very generous localization. Today, we will be looking at Hanasaku Iroha Blossoms For Tomorrow premium box set Vol.1.
This set is available now at select retailers and via the NIS America Store for USD$55.99. It comes with a hardcover slipcase, art book, and both Bluray and DVD copies. The art book is a nice addition, containing character artwork, scenery, staff interviews, and concept artwork.
Hansaku Iroha is a coming-of-age drama focusing on 16 year old Ohana and her interactions with the other members of the inn Kissuiso. She learns the meaning of hard work and struggles to win the praise of her grandmother -- the head of the inn. Notable voice actors such as Aki Toyosaki, who plays Yui Hirasawa in K-On!!, appear in this title
Ohana is thrown into a new town after her good-for-nothing mother runs away with her boyfriend to dodge debt collectors. In the first 13 episodes, Ohana meets the other members of the inn who aren't exactly happy to work with her. Minko, the first person she meets, has a cold demeanor and tells her to die following their first meeting. There is also the shy Nako who tends to avoid unwanted social interaction. A writer staying at the inn kidnaps Ohana and makes her read his steamy novels.
The quality of the video is extremely promising and stunning. Like other NIS America releases there is no English dub, instead containing only the original Japanese audio track with English subtitles. In a way, I'm thankful that there is no English dub as the scenery is not very western and the acting is already spot on. However, there are no extras on the disks other then trailers and this is quite disappointing (having some commentary would have been nice).
Fans of slice-of-life and comedy will defiantly enjoy the story. Those who also love anime with beautiful animation will also be pleased. All of the characters have interesting qualities and play an important part in the development of the plot. $55.99 for the release is a decent price, and the artbook more than helps justify this.
Hansaku Iroha Blossoms For tomorrow is now available at the NIS America Store along with other recent releases such as a standard addition of Arakawa Under the Bridge Season 1. Volume 2 will be releasing this summer.