Episode 1 Impressions: Hanayamata

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Shows that have so much sugar that you’ll get a toothache. They are an odd breed and Hanayamata seems to be quite the seasonal offering of sugar overload. Though sometimes that just isn’t enough for some people.

e1hanayamata5Synopsis
Sekiya Naru is a self-proclaimed average girl. Always watching others obtain their dreams and standing in the shadow of her friend Yaya Sasame who has the brains and talents to make her something special. All the while, Naru remains her usual self, reading fairy tales and dreaming of the day that someone would whisk her away from her boring life.

One day while helping her father with a delivery, Naru has a faithful encounter with what she believes is a fairy. A blonde-haired cute girl dancing in the light of the nearby festival fireworks. She chases the girl up into a shrine where she embarrassingly asks if she is a fairy that can take her away.

e1hanayamata4The girl accepts her request and begins dancing with her, though Naru quickly lets go and rushes off claiming that she had changed her mind because she can’t be beautiful. Though the girl tells her she can, and that she’ll wait for her.

The following day, the supposed fairy ends up transferring to Naru’s school, though it turns out that the girl is in fact an exchange student from America named Hana N. Fountainstand. She immediately spots Naru in the class and begins a long adventure to win Naru over to dance Yosakoi with her. Though Naru constantly refuses, reluctant at the idea of dancing in front of people and accepting change in her life.

e1hanayamata2After some time passes, Naru confronts Hana during her Yosakoi club meeting time to return her naruko. Though Hana immediately thinks that Naru wishes to join her dance and explains why she fell in love with Yosakoi in the first place. This shine of dreams and desires throws Naru into a depressing state, expressing her frustration for feeling empty and not having the dreams others have.

Despite this sorrowful state, Hana attempts to cheer her up with the idea of filling Naru’s emptiness with many great new things. Even though Naru doesn’t leap to joining her dance, she still grows a desire to help Hana find people to join her club and thus becoming Hana’s first friend in Japan.

Thoughts
e1hanayamata1Oye, where to start. While this show did have a few moments of “feel good” content, it just didn’t pull itself out of the mess that I found it build up. At the beginning, we got quite a bit of insight into Naru’s struggle, which was fine really. It’s when this transitions into Hana recruiting Naru that the show got quite unbearable.

Granted Hana was cute at first, and has a good heart, but she was also extremely annoying after the 50th time she showed up to beg Naru to join her club. Then to top it off, she responds, “I’m sorry I was a bit pushy.”

The show managed to end with a slightly nice note, but the overall feel of the episode gave me nothing to like. I guess it’s too much to ask for a sugar anime show to have as clever writing as something like K-On, but nothing here had me laughing or smiling.

One thing I will give the show is the beautiful work that was put into the visuals surrounding the characters.  While I can’t claim to like the character art itself, the sakura pedals and lighting was very pretty and well done.

Episode 1: Shall We Dance?

NOT BAD, BUT NOT GREAT..

NOT BAD, BUT NOT GREAT..

IMPRESSIONS VERDICT:
Meh..

Pros:

  • Some cute moments
  • Some feel-good parts

Cons:

  • Mindless sugar
  • Nothing enjoyable
  • Lacks any entertainment
  • Hana was obnoxious

Impressions are based on a single episode and don’t necessarily reflect the series as a whole. Unless dropped, we will continue to give updates on thoughts and impressions of the series as time goes by.

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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.