Post Reply HaNaYaMaTa
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Posted 8/14/14 , edited 8/14/14
by ArticCafe

Emerging from the eclectic mix of Summer 2014 titles, HaNaYaMaTa provides a refreshing spin on the comedy scene. The story’s central theme revolves around Yosakoi dancing - an energetic and lively style that combines traditional Japanese dance movements with modern music. Coupled with the usual playful and slice of life moments, HaNaYaMaTa holds much promise.

14-year-old Naru Sekiya wishes for something out of the ordinary to happen to her, but with the school year starting out just as average as the other ones, there’s not much to expect. That all changes the night she meets Hana N. Fountainstand, the “fairy” dancing near the temple on her way home. Ironically, the next day Hana shows up in Naru’s class as the new transfer student. Haru notices Naru right away, and hilarity ensues as she literally chases her around the school, claiming that she’s there to “take her away.” From then on, Naru and her friends begin their Yosakoi journey, as well as experiencing the ups and downs of life.

The cute and silly antics that Naru and her friends get up to keeps HaNaYaMaTa fun and lighthearted. In particular, Hana’s foreign perspective is a great appealing gag throughout the series. Hana’s foreign presence doesn’t come from being associated with the common gags of getting dropped off in a car, living in a rich Western mansion, or possessing western items; in fact, it doesn’t have anything to do with Hana’s background - it comes from her knowledge and perspective of Japan and its culture. From freaking out at a “Japanese Samurai” to wondering the use of “Engrish” in Jpop, Hana’s curiosity and foreign manners provide many realistic situations that people have probably experienced for themselves.

The pacing of HaNaYaMaTa is great so far.The first three girls are introduced within two episodes, and all have had a good amount of screen time to show their roles and personalities without feeling rushed or half-baked. This might be due to a small cast, but you can tell that time was taken to flesh them out - quality over quantity as they say. The girls play off of each other so well that I didn’t find myself drifting away to a new tab or waiting for the next interesting scene to pop up. The episodes don’t stray very far from the overall theme either, balancing between Naru and her friends on their days off and learning how to dance. This effectively lays down the story of Naru’s high school years and her experience with Yosakoi at the same time.

On a sidenote, the animation is visually pleasing to the eyes, and makes the world even more enjoyable to see Naru and her friends dancing in it. The dance movements are fluid and smooth, making it a sight to see - even the opening is surprisingly good, with Naru and her friends dancing enthusiastically throughout many of the scenes. Compared to similar “active” movements in previous anime back then, the improvement is a welcome change.

Overall, HaNaYaMaTa is a solid addition to the Summer 2014 shows. Presenting a fresh musical concept thats supported by an energetic and likeable cast makes it a worthwhile anime to pick up. And for only seeing the first few episodes, I can’t help but say I’m hooked.

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