“Hanayamata” Anime Review: An Enchanting Diamond Wrapped In Dazzling Underrated Material

❀Writer: Richard K. Moe

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Behind The Anime

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❀ Who Developed Hanayamta? ❀
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★ What An Awesome Team! ★

★Animation Studio – Madhouse (Chobits, My Love Story, One-Punch Man, The Tatami Galaxy)

★Original Creator – Sō Hamayumiba (Hanayamata)

★Director – Atsuko Ishizuka (No Game No Life, Aoi Bungaku, The Pet Girl of Sakurasou)

★Writer/Series Composition – Reiko Yoshida (Girls und Panzer, Haruchika, Tamako Market, K-ON!)

★Character Design – Atsuko Watanabe (Tokyo Ravens, Unbreakable Machine-Doll, Heavy Object)

Story

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❀ Our Heroine, Naru Sekiya ❀

Naru Sekiya is a quiet and insecure 14-year old girl who believes that she’s an extremely average girl that has no importance in life. She dreams of becoming as dazzling as the heroines in the fairy tale books that she reads. One night, she encounters an enchanting “fairy” practicing a dance and asks her to take her away from this world. The two dance and the fairy promises her that she will help her become as dazzling as she dreams. Naru, surprised and embarrassed by the fact that the fairy is actually a real girl, runs away. The next day, a new student by the name of Hana N. Fountainstand enrolls into Naru’s middle school class and is revealed to be the “fairy” that she encountered the previous night. Hana, keeping her promise to Naru, shows Naru the world of Yosakoi dancing. The two journey onto the world of Yosakoi together while growing one step at time and conquering whatever internal or external obstacles that get in their way. 

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Review

+Pros

Writing

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❀ A Giddy Hana & Embarrassed Naru ❀
  • The Anime’s title “HaNaYaMaTa” which blends the first two letters of the main character’s names, Hana, Naru, Yaya, Machi, and Tami together is a creative name.
  • Characters are cliche but it works out because they’re not flat or entirely predictable. 
  • The supporting characters who help the main girls accomplish their goals are really useful. (E.G. Masaru is a tough looking/funny guy who gets the girls started with Yosakoi, Sally is a substitute teacher who helps make the Yosakoi club exist by being the girl’s adviser).
  • Naru is a very relatable protagonist. (E.G. She wishes to be saved from this world and sent to a fantasy world with life and excitement, Naru see’s herself as an extremely average person who has nothing interesting about herself). 

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    ★ Hana & Naru Pratacing Yosakoi ★
  • Naru grows as a character. (E.G. In the beginning, Naru is very timid and unconfident when it comes to helping others but throughout the show she is able to speak her mind and help others with confidence, Naru also becomes more confident in herself). 
  • Hana’s positive, energetic, determined attitude makes her a magnet character. 
  • Naru’s self-esteem issues can be funny or serious when needed.
  • In the first episode, there is a well written moment where Naru tells Hana to stop pursuing her and Hana is very understanding and apologetic about it.
  • The way Hana describes why she loves Yosakoi is very pleasant.

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    ♥ A Jealous But Cute Yaya ♥
  • Yaya’s reason for not wanting Naru to get into Yosakoi at first makes sense and is
    understandable. 
  • Moments that could be seen as corny or cheesy are not. (E.G. When Naru begs for Hana to take her away from this world, When Tami and Naru have a heart to heart talk in the rain, When Naru cries on the school’s rooftop and talks about how she never could become anyone, When Hana and Naru try to help Yaya solve her problem and it turns into a “you stupid, stupid, stupid!” moment). 
  • The realistic scenarios make the story feel authentic. (E.G. Naru didn’t want to move forward in her life because she knew she was comfortable in her own zone, The tension and worries the girls faced during their first performance, The girls family problems affect who they are). 
  • Emotional moments with tears, yelling, sincerity, and even running, really tug at the heart strings.
  • The bond the girls share is sincere and compelling. 
  • The moments when the girls bond is really something nice to see. 
  • Most of the underlying problems the girls had faced are all solved by the end. 
  • The mix of drama and comedy works out smoothly. 

Directing and Music

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❀ Water Fight! ❀
  • The story’s pacing knows when to move forward and when to slow down. 
  • The bright lighting and shiny colors of the show give off a storybook feel. 
  • The opening theme feels like an introduction to a fairy tale book while the ending theme feels like the closure of the fairy tale.
  • Little text inserts that appear next to characters create another layer of dialogue. 
  • When characters are freaking out, being silly, or having their Chibi moments, the backgrounds and shapes inserted in really work.  
  • The directing of the last Yosakoi performance is breathtaking and uplifting. 
  • Beautifully crafted music surround the show. 
  • Music plays a key role in conveying emotional and exciting moments.
  • The opening theme “Hana wa Odoreya Iroha ni Ho” by Team Hanayamata and the ending theme “Hanayuki” by smileY inc. are perfect and excellent songs for Hanayamata. 
  • A melting and beautiful cover of smileY inc’s Hanayuki” by Team Hanayamata is presented in the final episode. 

Animation and Character Designs

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♥ An Enchanting Hana ♥
  • The show’s visuals are stunning and outright gorgeous. 
  • There are many enchanting and dreamy moments. (E.G. When Naru first encounters Hana, When Naru sees Hana dancing on the roof at school for the first time, The final Yosakoi performance)
  • The visuals of the opening theme and ending theme are marvelous. 
  • Character designs are unique and have their own charm.
  • The girl’s Yosakoi outfits are stylish and well designed. 

-Cons

Writing and Animation

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❀ Hana’s Body Slam ❀
  • Episode 4 wasn’t that satisfying because it didn’t correctly build Tami’s story. 
  • Unfortunately, the story ends with a brief and unfulfilling cliffhanger.   
  • A small portion of beauty is lost due to a consistent amount of poor illustrations and stiff animation. 

Score:

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❀ 9.2/10 ❀ Absolutely Dazzling, Enchanting, and Sensational! 

Please take me to a world where Season 1 sold wonderfully and Season 2 exists!

Here’s the P.V. for one of the most dazzling, enchanting, and sensational Anime ever! 

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