With a large portion of its cast being teenagers, Hanasaku Iroha has a good deal of interesting romances, but none are as cringe-inducing as the one between the young master of Kissuisou Enishi and the business-minded Engrish machine Takako. It is by far one of the most awkward relationships I have ever seen portrayed in fiction, and just seeing them interact with each other makes my face contort like I’ve been sucking on a whole lemon, but that’s also what makes it so fun to watch.
Enishi and Takako’s relationship is the kind where you know it looks different from their perspective compared to an outsider peering in. To them, it must be this wonderful thing where two people grew to love each other, but to everyone else (and that includes both viewers and the other characters in Hanasaku Iroha), their displays of affection induce a reaction similar to witnessing a 15-car pileup on the highway, only with a happy ending.
Because of all the awkwardness though, their romance comes off as strangely beautiful. The ideal partner is not someone who is perfect, but someone who can appreciate the real you on a deeper level, where they simply see you in a way no one else possibly could. This looks to be the case with Enishi and Takako, though I feel like the best reaction you could hope for from someone looking at the two of them is, “They seem to be a match for each other… I guess?” Then they make a face like someone just farted. it’s territory that no one wants to dwell in for too long, lest they come out more monster than man.
If I had to guess what Enishi sees in Takako, I think that her somewhat odd fashion, slight overuse of makeup, and frequent use of English phrases all speak towards a woman who is dedicated to success, able to perceive a goal and then do everything to reach it. Though it is really awkward to see her in action, that’s not how she looks in his eyes, and just the fact that he’s able to appreciate her because of (as opposed to in spite of ) the way that she presents herself in turn makes Enishi appealing to Takako.