227th G-View: HaNaYaMaTa

Parting with greatness is such sweet sorrow. This is Hanayamata.

Hanayamata Cover

Genres: Slice of Life, Drama, Comedy

Themes: Yosakoi, Moe, School, Yuri

Number of episodes: 12

G-Rating: 11/10

Plot Summary: Terminally average Naru borders on underachiever status and she has few interests. Things change when she meets up with Hana, a very energetic and outgoing American girl who is fixated on forming a club dedicated to yosakoi, the traditional form of Japanese group dancing.

Hanairo Yosakoi Festival Poster

The simplest way to describe yosakoi is that it is Japanese freestyle rhythmic dance in the same vein as shogi is Japanese chess. The show covers the basics of what yosakoi entails but aside from the beat and dance steps the general idea is similar to other forms of freestyle dancing across the globe. I explain little about the yosakoi portion for a simple reason. The thing is that while Hanayamata’s theme is yosakoi it is primarily a character driven show. The main goal is to form a team and compete in the “insert tournament name here” but the show mainly focuses on the characters, their ups and downs, their romantic moments with their respective girlfriends/love interests as they face many challenges before all coming together and finally being ready to enter the tournament.

Hana's motivation

Like any other “cute girls doing cute things” anime Hanayamata’s strengths lies in its main cast doing whateveer it is they feel like doing while being as adorable as humanly possible. What makes Hanayamata special compared to many other beloved moerific shows is that while the moe level is set to high, akin to K-ON!, the show can still be taken seriously when it wants to be, also likethe aforementioned undisputed champion of moe. In fact I feel this show tackles several interesting topics that very few other shows of the same subgenre ( perhaps even main genres) with dramatic elements have covered. Also it is not forced. Simply put, “THE FEELS!” is a recurring tagline during the more dramatic parts of the show. These moments are THAT powerful. Then again it also depends on the color and size of the viewers’ hearts.

You go Naru!

A strong theme throughout the show is people suffering from loneliness and whether it’s best to push onward alone or accept the warm hand of friends who wish to help one find the happiness they seek. It’s actually an interesting question to ponder at one point or another in a person’s life. Once again I’m plugging one of King Kai’s well written editorials. Check it out later: Hanayamata

Hana-Slam again

The powerful Hana-Slam which was sadly banned because of how “cheap” it was.

Having said that at its core Hanayamata is a sweet, puffy and amusing show where cute girls do cute things and shower the viewer with BUTTLOADS of memorable moments. It is difficult to explain but in Hanayamata the aforementioned slice of life subgenre’s charm is at an all-time high. Maybe because the seiyuu put in a lot more effort in making the characters sound as cute and charming as possible. Not saying other shows haven’t done the same thing as effectively, it’s just more noticeable here.

Hanayamata Petals

The animation quality, holy cow. The show is an absolute marvel regarding simple aesthetics. While a show like Space Dandy’s animation revels in creative character design, Hanayamata shows off its visual strength as a bright, sparkly, wonder filled and awe inspiring marvel both in scenery and character emotions. Basically it’s eye candy for the soul. I suppose a minor nitpick is that several of the yosakoi performances felt “cut” in places. It’s kinda complicated to put in words but during several of the dance numbers many still images were used which made it feel like the writers were teasing the viewers “Godzilla style”. “Oh you guys want to see the whole performance, let’s tease you all with some cuts and still images instead while giving you small snippets of the epic dancing”

The soundtrack is easily one of my all-time favorites of 2014. There isn’t a single tune that didn’t fill my ears with bliss.

As usual in these kinds of shows the whole cast is likable so I will mainly focus on discussing the five leads:

Naru's embarassed face

For everyone who followed my episodics, Facebook posts and tweets it should be no secret that Naru is not only my favorite character on the show but also my pick for cutest girl of 2014. Where do I even begin praising this sweet bundle of cuteness that grows from being a pessimistic cutie to an inspirational cutie who wins the hearts of all female adolescents around her, especially a certain tsundere. Or should I talk about her sick naruko wielding skills? Or how about her believing in aliens? I could go on and on…

Yaya's rage

Next we have the resident tsundere Yaya who inherited her sex appeal, brains and impressive musical skills from a certain other person attending a Catholic school with the same name as her. Despite her popularity and ability to become a superstar there is only “special desire” in her mind. One “special desire” that is the reason for her being when she isn’t focusing on her future…I daresay this “special desire” is part of her planned future.

Tami onee-chan

Next is Tami, the resident ojou-sama of the show and possibly one of the most popular for good reason. Similar positive traits as Yaya except she’s not a tsundere and already has her “special desire” in hand. Is famous for having a smile that can easily melt the hearts of millions.


Machi has a similar role as another kaichou, Eli from Love Live! and is equally as difficult to recruit. Main difference is her cute side is revealed much quicker. Otherwise her relationship with the vice president is similarly cute and heartpounding.

Hana's bribe

Lastly we have the energetic leader of the group Hana. As far as American characters in anime she’s one of my favorites. She also dared to be bold and break new grounds by having TWO “fangs” in her mouth instead of the traditional one. Sadly there was some initial controversy against her because of her voice but that’s the usual internet complaint against girls with high voices. Nothing new. At least some newcomers will now be aware that her voice is high. Other than that she’s a high spirited cutie who rarely stops smiling because when she isn’t smiling or cheerful it means something very serious will happen.

Tami's true feeelings

The show used to be a Grade 1 but after a long period of deliberation it got demoted to Grade 3 because the love power, while clearly there, wasn’t as intense as in Kiniro Mosaic or even Locodol.


Team Hanayamata poster

Overall Hanayamata is easily one of my top shows of 2014. It may seem like a basic “CGDCT” SoL subgenre anime but give it time and it quickly becomes something more. As usual when it comes to these kinds of shows, female centered SoL fans and open-minded SoL fans or fans who will watch any genre will easily get into this one. Those who do not won’t. Unless readers are new to my reviews my recommendations for these subgenre has always been the same. I don’t know how many times I can change the words to make it sound different. By now my fans who have yet to pick Hanayamata up can already tell whether they’ll like it or not.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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44 Responses to 227th G-View: HaNaYaMaTa

  1. ArcaJ says:

    Great entry OG! HaNaYaMaTa just melts the cynical side of me with sweetness. I can’t help but to cheer for Naru and the others. I’m usually very selective about my anime, since everything I watch is available on crunchyroll and like sites. But, this show goes on my MUST OWN list. I just hope we get a blu-ray release. (I like my Yurikoi goodness in HD)

    One thing to note, during Naru’s little speech before the competition, you could actually see the moment the others realized that they had fallen for her. Hard. Poor Naru’s going to be exhausted!


  2. Overlord-G says:

    Oh yes. So many moments I had to applaud, squee or get all giddy,

    Hopefully Sentai Filmworks licenses it like they did with Sakura Trick.

    That was also the moment Machi officially became part of her harem. The other two already wanted to be with her, especially the “purple one”.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. cirno9fan says:

    It was truly one of the best of the Summer season, and probaby one of the best this year. But, well, we’ve still got one more season before the year’s end. Still, I imagine it will be in the tops.

    I really liked how they portrayed the various males of the show too. Rooting for you shopkeeper guy! I’m sure Machi’d be fine with a big brother like yourself 🙂


  4. animelover32 says:

    Amazong review. This is definitely in top 5 for 2014. The last just literally killed from happiness because of Hana coming, and of sadness because of my favorite anime this season ending. Really hope they make a second season soon. I love this Anime to freaking much. Good bye Yurikoi, Good Bye Hanayamata 😥


    • Overlord-G says:

      It’s sad when an anime one loves comes to an end. At least the memories will last forever and its appeal is worth many repeat viewings. Hopefully we’ll meet our adorable yurikoi dancers again someday for a second performance.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. JimJiminy says:

    Hanayamata brought a smile to my face every episode and I’m sad to see it go. My favorite parts were mostly at the beginning while the end brought more story and sweetness to really give the show a strong finish. As of right now it rivals Sakura Trick and Kiniro as my all time favorite SoL (although each has there own fantastic qualities that you really can not compare them).

    On the other hand I did get to see a teaser trailer of Hello! Kiniro Mosaic so I’m really looking forward to that as well as Zwei Herz. Fall looks okay to me but nothing really stands out. Going to be watching Cross Ange due to an all female mech pilot cast (Nana Mizuki is lead) and Yuuki Yuuna.


    • Overlord-G says:

      Hanayamata was simply wonderful. Two other excellent SoL shows you mentioned. KM 2 an Illya 2.5 are definitely hype-worthy.

      Cross Ange is on the top of my Fall list.


  6. Kai says:

    “Cute girls doing cute things”, sweet, relaxing, slice-of-life anime but with strong level of focus on story, drama and character development; and with some yuri for good measure. Not accounting the upcoming Fall season yet, Hanayamata’s definitely one of my favorite anime this year.


  7. mutopis says:

    I want more yosakoi!


  8. SilverFox says:

    So good, so very good! Naru went from a shy little girl to unknowingly being the leader of the group, that’s what I think, and Queen of her own harem. The last two episodes both brought tears to my eyes and made me happy at the same time. The parents in this show are all great as well with being supportive of their children’s choices and doing whatever they can to help them live the dream they have. That’s how parenting is done. I would love if this got a second season eventually or even a nice OVA for the culture festival.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Overlord-G says:

      Lovable main character with equally lovable co-stars and awesome side-characters. Great stuff all around. That’s what loving parents do, support their children as best as they can and reward their efforts to become better people.
      A second season or even a bonus OVA would be splendid.


  9. Lady Matoi Ryuko says:

    Nice the review above! 🙂
    G. I have noticed you are a very intelligent man… the thing you talked about shogi and chess made me remeber about this site: -> http://www.chessvariants.org/
    I don’t know if you plays or played chess but I, for instance used to play it in the past especially some variants.
    See ya! 😉


  10. yurimylove says:

    well as most viewers speculated, Hana finally returns to perform yosakoi with her friends during the festival. I’m very happy to see her again. I must say she adds certain dynamics to the group which makes it more fun to watch. Though she cuts it REAL close, she sorta makes up for it with a dramatic dashing, umbrella-opening entrance. Like you said I’d wished for a bit more animated final dance but i guess I’m okay with what i got.

    Overall an excellent, enjoyable ride. I put it in equal footing with Locodol this season.


  11. I always told my friends “You need to watch Hanayamata, is good for your soul” and “Hanayamata is my weekly dosis of moe to get through the week” I’m glad that we agree in one thing al least

    Liked by 1 person

  12. elkat4 says:

    If I were to rank the girls in order of my most favorite to least favorite it would be:
    1.) Tami: I’ve always revered Yamato Nadeshiko/oujo-type characters like Tami. She’s kind without being completely submissive and is not afraid to do what she believes is right.

    2.) Machi: Hard working and independent, Machi may be a little head strong but only because she wants to be the best at whatever she does.

    3.) Hana: Her energy and care free spirit means she’s not afraid to live her life doing what she wants, even if it means taking the path less treaded.

    4.) Naru: While Naru isn’t exactly a leader or ideal protagonist, she is more the core of the group and I doubt Yaya would have ever survived being the same room with Hana if weren’t for Naru.

    5.) Yaya: So tsundere, yet not in a manner that comes off irritating. She can be rather short tempered and butt heads with calmer members of the team (Machi) and has little patience for Hana, but she’s willing to do anything to protect her Naru.


  13. John Hayabusa says:

    Hey G,long time no see! I have been watching some yurilicious shows in this season. Love both Locodol and Hanayamata. As for this anime, I really enjoyed it. So funny, vibrant, heartwarming, and yurilicious. I wish it toned down the drama, though.Honestly, I was hoping for Machi to go for her sister teacher Sally instead of her best friend Tami. Anyway, it is a great show that truly warms my heart.


  14. Hanneman says:

    I dont know if this is a constant, but damn if every summer season is full of great shows like last year and this one i’m going to look for next year’s.

    It’s a show where everything was done right: animation, music, characters. Although the end was really over the top, i loved it.

    The only thing i’ll have to disagree with you is about the cutest character of 2014, which, in this case, my pick would be Nanako from Locodol.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. the_elevator_man says:

    Gotta admit I had my doubts at the beginning of the season. Yosakoi’s a high-cultured, pretty dance unlike more casual school groups like I dunno, mj or light music. But Hanayamata just said screw it, we’re going to make it work. Overload cuteness, and “pretty” in all sense of the word. It’s not your normal drama, or comedy, or even sol. It didn’t begin as anyone’s “style.” But it makes it work. And beyond that, it’s so “pretty” that you can feel good for enjoying it (not that ST and AnR before it feel wrong, but they do have a certain amount of “trashiness – just ask Nio!”) Just a good clean, feel-good yuri, and honestly, that makes it hall worthy.

    In other news, a much better ambassador for yosakoi than other club-related anime/mangas. Looked into yosakoi, and that stuff’s pretty amazing.


  16. Ah Yurikoi. I can see the hype surrounding it for sure, but alas, I’m still on episode 5. I probably won’t enjoy it as much as say, Locodol or Sabagebu (which I still haven’t finished yet), but I’ll certainly finish it soon. I do hear some complaints from some people that the drama is kind of forced, and while it doesn’t bother me that much, I sort of agree with them. But like everything else, I won’t judge it until I see it myself. 😛


  17. kracensc says:

    Loved it from start to finish, loved the characters, the sea monk, though being a male character, was accepted in my eyes, and for me that’s saying something.
    The music is excellent, the dancing more so, cheering them on had never been rewarded so much as the ending delivered, sitting on the edge of my seat hoping she made it in time.

    Liked by 1 person

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  19. The Otaku Judge says:

    I thought Hana was a bloodsucker due to her fangs. She even resembles the girl from Dance in the Vampire Bund.

    Liked by 2 people

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