HaNaYaMaTa is an anime series based on a manga by Sou Hamayumiba. The series is produced by Madhouse, and is directed by Atsuko Ishizuka. As of this writing, Crunchyroll holds the North American streaming rights for HaNaYaMaTa.
The main character of the series is Naru Sekiya. She’s a 14-year-old girl who likes fairy tales and is worried about her lack of other interests. Her worries are compounded by the fact that her friend, Yaya, is so talented (she’s won a writing contest and is part of a band with some of the other girls at their middle school).
One day, as Naru is heading home, she thinks about seeing the film of Cinderella when she was a little girl, and how she thought that someday, someone will take her away from this world through a mysterious encounter. Suddenly, she encounters a blond-haired girl who is dancing. Naru sees her and thinks she looks so pretty that she must be a fairy. Naru tells the girl that she thought the girl could take her away to another world. The girl says she can, if Naru will dance with her. Naru says she can’t dance, but the girl tells her all she has to do is twirl around and have some fun. After a brief dance, Naru lets go of the girl’s hand and says she’s not dazzling enough to do this. The girl tells Naru to wait for her and that she’ll come for Naru someday.
Later, the girl is jumping around and accidentally jumps on top of Yaya, who is waiting to cross the train tracks. Unfortunately, this leaves Yaya with a bad impression of the girl.
The next day, the blond-haired girl is a new transfer student in Naru and Yaya’s class. She introduces herself as Hana N. Fountainstand, an American from Princeton, New Jersey. She recognizes Naru and runs over to her. Hana asks Naru to dance yosakoi with her, and Naru says no.
Hana is then seen chasing Naru around school, trying to get Naru to dance with her. Rumors begin spreading around school because of it. Naru finally tells Hana to leave her alone. Hana apologizes, saying she misunderstood Naru and got a little too pushy. However, if Naru changes her mind, she can let Hana know.
Naru then sees Hana trying hard to recruit people for yosakoi. After seeing that no one is joining up with Hana, Naru goes to see her. After learning why Hana is trying so hard to recruit others for yosakoi, Naru is moved and says she’ll help recruit more people.
I have to admit that for a lot of the episode, I was really starting to look at Hana as an obsessed stalker. However, my outlook changed after the conversation she has with Naru that explains why she’s so intent on getting others to do yosakoi with her.
For the most part, the episode had a strong focus on Naru and her belief that she’s simply average. I’m guessing that the overarching story of this series is going to be on Naru learning through Hana that she’s not as ordinary and boring as she thinks she is.
Animation-wise, the series is very bright and colorful. The female characters all have a rather “cute” look to them, which gives the series a “moe” feel.
So far, HaNaYaMaTa is off to a decent start and appears to have the foundation for an interesting story. I really hope that this series can continue in the style I saw in this episode and not devolve into becoming yet another “cute girls doing cute things” show. I’ll continue watching the series, and time will tell whether or not this series can feature cute characters and continue telling a good, overarching story.
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