HaNaYaMaTa: Episode 9 – “Sister Complex”

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).

Right at the beginning of this episode, we see that Naru falls during the performance, but that the others help her up and they finish their set. I was glad to see the other girls react professionally and finish what they started. Naru feels bad about messing up, but this is overshadowed by Hana collapsing from a fever that we saw she was coming down with back in Episode Eight.

Episode Nine has a large focus on Machi and her older sister, Sally-sensei. It starts out with Machi telling the Yosakoi Club that they’re not an officially recognized club and to ask Sally why. They learn that Sally is unable to be an advisor since she’s only a part-time teacher and that they need an advisor by the end of the term in order to continue. Sally apologizes for not telling them and has been asking other teachers to take over, but to no avail. After Yaya points out that the Hanairo Festival is after the end of the term, Hana and Naru start to panic.

As the Yosakoi Club figures out how they’ll be able to continue, Machi provides some background on both herself and Sally through flashbacks. This made for some great character development for both Machi and Sally, and we learn that Machi has abandonment issues. I thought these flashbacks also helped to explain why Machi comes across as being rather distant when compared to the other characters.

With a series like HaNaYaMaTa, you expect some kind of positive resolution for both the Yosakoi Club advisor issue and Machi’s abandonment issue with Sally. At the risk of providing a “spoiler,” I will say that the episode lives up to this expectation. The resolution of both of these issues opens the door for Machi to join the Yosakoi Club, but nothing has been said saying that she will. I expect that Machi deciding whether or not to join the Yosakoi Club could play an important role in Episode 10.

It’s hard to believe there’s only three episodes remaining for HaNaYaMaTa. At this point, I expect that the Hanairo Festival performance will be appearing in the final episode of the series, since that seems to be what the series has been leading up to. I’m looking forward to seeing how these remaining three episodes will lead us to the end of the series.

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