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). Yaya eventually becomes a full-fledged member after her band breaks up.
At the beginning of the episode, we learn that Machi is officially joining the Yosakoi Club. There’s now three weeks until the Hanairo Yosakoi Festival. Tami suggests that they have a training camp, and she can get them a room at a traditional inn where her father often puts up foreign guests and always has a room on reserve. Talk about a lucky break! This is one of the few times that HaNaYaMaTa falls into a “typical moe” trope; in this case, one of them just happens to have access to something major that the group needs in order to get something done. And this inn happens to have a hot spring, so this could potentially be seen as HaNaYaMaTa’s “hot spring” episode; fortunately, only a short amount of time is actually spent with the characters in the hot spring.
When the group goes to Hana’s place to plan the training camp, the audience is introduced to Hana’s father. During this scene, Hana also gives the backstory as to how she came to Japan in the first place. Her parents are divorced, her father moved to Japan, and she moved in with her father after her mother was too busy with work. I appreciated finally getting some backstory for Hana, and it looks like this will play an important role in the next episode.
Machi ends up being a good addition to the group; not so much for her dancing ability at first, but for her attention to detail. She reminds the group that with the addition of a new member, they will have to make adjustments to what they’re doing to accommodate another person. And when they’re at the training camp, Machi is the one who discovers that the registration period for the festival closed three days earlier.
Not surprisingly, Machi gives them a hard time about not getting something as basic as that done. However, Machi did surprise me when she insisted that they keep on practicing after the others seem to want to give up after learning they missed the registration deadline. Near the end of the episode, we get to see that Machi has truly gotten into what the Yosakoi Club is doing and seems to be enjoying herself. When it comes to missing the festival deadline, Sally finds a way to get the girls into the festival after all…
When I saw that the girls had missed the registration deadline, I found myself wondering how the series would progress since I had assumed that the series would end with the girls going to the Hanairo Yosakoi Festival. But I should have known that a show like this would have found a way to get around that roadblock; and when I saw how they got around the obstacle, it’s something I would have expected out of this series.
But while the girls have the good news of being able to participate in the festival, the preview seems to be hinting that something could potentially keep Hana from joining them; right at the end of the episode, we were given the impression that Hana’s mother is in Japan, so I suspect her mother may have decided that her workload has eased up and can have Hana living with her again. It’ll be interesting to see if I’m right on that guess.
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