HaNaYaMaTa is an anime series that features a 14-year-old girl named Naru Sekiya as the main character. She 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. One day, Naru encounters a blond-haired girl named Hana, who is dancing yosakoi. Hana transfers into Naru and Yaya’s class, and she keeps pestering Naru to dance yosakoi until she finally relents. After some effort, Hana is finally able to establish a Yosakoi Club at school that includes Hana, Naru, and two friends of Naru’s (Tami and Yaya, though Yaya says she’s a member in name only).
At the beginning of the episode, we see that Yaya has now officially joined the Yosakoi Club, and one of the first things she does is take the song that Tami composed and programs it into a synthesizer, and she personally plays the drums on it. Now that they have their music, the club works hard at perfecting their choreography in order to be ready for their first public performance.
I was glad to see that Yaya was able to bring her musical experience from being in the band to the Yosakoi Club. And I was also very happy to see her truly becoming a member of the Yosakoi Club and putting her all into their dancing. Plus, Yaya’s attitude improved immensely in this episode. By the end of Episode Eight, I found myself liking her a bit more than I had during the first seven episodes.
In this episode, we also learn that Naru had a bad experience in elementary school during a sports festival; she was part of a group of girls doing cheers, and she fell and cried in front of the audience. This memory keeps haunting Naru as the time of their performance draws near. Knowing this piece of information, I can better understand why Naru has been so hesitant up to this point.
The day of the performance arrives, and it’s discovered that the CD with their music was put into the wrong bag. Sally-sensei says her little sister can bring it; we learn that Machi, the student council president, is her younger sister. After seeing them together, I felt kind of stupid for not picking up on the resemblance before this revelation. It turns out that Sally and Machi aren’t terribly close, and it appears that Machi is jealous of the attention that Sally is giving to the Yosakoi Club. I wonder if this might ultimately be what gives Machi the nudge to join the club.
The episode ends with the girls doing their dance, but something unexpected happens…
Overall, this was a decent episode; unfortunately, there was a little bit at the beginning that didn’t do much for me. Sally makes Naru and Tami self-conscious when she mentions they have plump thighs. This leads to several minutes of Naru and Tami thinking they’re fat and needing to find ways to lose weight. Overall, I didn’t think this truly added much to the story, and it felt more like a way to kill time than anything else.
Unfortunately, the unexpected happening at the Yosakoi Club’s performance is just starting when the episode comes to an end. I’m looking forward to seeing Episode Nine in order to find out what will happen in the wake of this event, and how the girls move forward after this.
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