Synonyms: Hana Yamata
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 8, 2014 to Sep 23, 2014
24 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.531 (scored by 11530 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisNormal appearance, normal intelligence, normal in arts and sports... just normal. This is the entirely normal 14-year-old, Naru Sekiya. While she admires "Heroines" she continues to live a normal life until one moonlit night she meets a fairy. This foreign girl then guides her into the extraordinary world of the yosakoi dance.
(Source: Manga Time Kirara)
Related AnimeAdaptation: Hanayamata
Characters & Voice Actors
Your first impression of this show is probably spot-on. Yes, it’s a show about cute girls doing cute things. Yes, it’s flowery, adorable, and sweet to the point it makes you cringe. And yes, it’s a typical story about the friendship between five girls in a club setting. On the surface, Hanayamata doesn’t do much to deviate from being the stereotypical anime featuring everyday lives of girls in a school club. Since the anime realm is saturated with these types of anime, you will more or less get what you expected with Hanayamata, especially in terms of the overall plot progression and the character developments.
However, Hanayamata is obviously not a show you will love because of all its stereotypical aspects. It’s a show you will love because of how it takes those stereotypical aspects and manages to make them enjoyable. It’s a show that takes the predictable character developments and makes them heartfelt. It’s a show that takes the typical shoujo personas and makes them lovable. And it’s a show that demonstrates a genuine effort to deliver high quality animation and drop-dead gorgeous aesthetics each and every episode. Hanayamata excels at what it does and sets a gleaming example of how the typical story of cute girls in a club setting should be done.
Hanayamata tells the story of five middle school girls who end up joining the Yosakoi club, a club dedicated to performing a modern style of traditional Japanese dance. The story focuses mainly on Naru Sekiya, who is a shy, passive girl that considers herself as “average” in every aspect. Her wish going into middle school is to break out of her shell to become someone dazzling like a heroine found in fairy tales, but that wish is easier said than done, as Naru struggles to do anything out of her comfort zone. However, after the fateful moment she meets the "fairylike" girl named Hana Fontainestand, Naru's life slowly starts to change. After deciding to join the Yosakoi club with Hana, Naru sets out to gather members for the club one at a time, all the while unknowingly developing into someone she's always wished to be. The story follows the five girls that eventually join the Yosakoi club, as they try to understand one another and work together to eventually dance as a team at a local Yosakoi festival.
When I first read up on Hanayamata, I didn’t feel it as anything out of the ordinary from a typical club setting anime. So what exactly does Hanayamata do differently that sets it apart from the rest? Three words: Well-executed character developments. The anime really takes its time to explore the characters’ backstories and makes sure not to rush their developments. As a result, the characters’ backstories and their developments don’t feel forced or “shoehorned” in just for the sake of adding depth. This aspect allows viewers to better immerse themselves into the show since most of it is dedicated to the coming-of-age story of each character. It is generally uncommon for an anime to dedicate so much of itself to the characters, but Hanayamata purposefully focuses less on its main plot in order to focus more on walking the viewers through the gradual process of maturation and self-discovery as experienced by the protagonists as the show goes on.
Therefore, since the character development is the main focus of the show, the main plot undoubtedly loses some of its spotlight. Does this mean that the main plot is negligible? Not in the least. If the plot hadn’t been gradually moving forward in the background, then there wouldn’t have been such an emotionally satisfying resolution. Once Hanayamata painstakingly develops all of its characters, the main plot takes over and leads the characters towards the resolution they’ve been working for throughout the show: to dance together at the Yosakoi festival. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen such a satisfying resolution for a show, and that sentiment is owed to the effort that the show puts into bridging an emotional connection between the characters and the viewers, all the while keeping the focus of the main plot strong.
To top it off, Hanayamata displays a captivating art style and boasts some of the finest quality in animation. The bright color schemes and the vibrant art style really scream out “youthful” and “beautiful,” both adjectives of which are fitting of a story about middle school girls enjoying their youth. The flowery overtones go well with the theme that each of the girls represents some sort of flower, and overall the art style helps to amplify the bright energy given off by the show. Some of the backdrops and sceneries are just downright gorgeous to look at and demonstrate the amount of effort that’s been put into this show in terms of aesthetics. In terms of animation, the quality can most directly be seen whenever the girls are dancing. Although there aren’t a whole lot of scenes in which they dance, the scenes in which they do are smoothly and naturally done. Considering that animating the choreography without resorting to 3D animation takes a significant amount of money and time, I applaud the show for its dedication to deliver such high quality animation.
The music of Hanayamata isn't anything noteworthy, but I did want to point out its opening song, “Hana Ha Odoreya Irohaniho,” which is uniquely sung by the voice actresses of the show. As you get more and more familiar with the show and the characters, you will start to hear the characters’ voices within the opening, thus giving the song a feeling of intimacy nonexistent in most opening songs. It is often the small things that count, and details like this really made me love the show even more.
To end, I did a double take on this show when I realized that the writer for this show, Yoshida Reiko, wrote for shows such as Aria, Girls und Panzer, and K-On! among other famous works. Combine her with the director, Atsuko Ishizuka, who directed shows such as Chihayafuru, Nana, No Game No Life, and Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, and you have a dynamic duo that knows what it’s doing when it comes to anime like Hanayamata. Although Hanayamata is filled to the brim with stereotypes of the typical anime featuring “cute girls doing cute things,” the duo still manages to evoke a sense of brilliance out of the staleness commonly found in this genre. Hanayamata as a show is nothing too out of the ordinary, but the amount of effort that is put into this show is astounding and the execution of the story and the character developments is one of the finest I’ve seen in awhile. Whether or not you’re a fan of “cute girls doing cute things,” definitely give Hanayamata a try.
(This has been adapted from my reddit thread)
Dancing is usually seen as something different to many people. For some, it is an art form for the human body. And yet for others it is an expression of the soul. When it comes down to it, dancing is what the dancer makes of it. In Hanayamata, Hana, Naru, Yaya, Machi, and Tami come to learn that yosakoi, to them, is a bond of everlasting friendship and love.
Hanayamata starts by introducing Naru, a young girl looking to become more "dazzling." One night, she witnesses a young girl, Hana, dancing beautifully in the moonlight. After becoming friends, Hana makes it her mission to recruit Naru and a few others into her yosakoi club so they can all have fun together.
When going into this show, it's important to understand that this is a "cute girls doing cute things" type of anime. There is no grandiose plot, intricate characters, or incredible world-building. Instead, much of what goes on is the girls interacting with one another in adorable ways. Whether this be visiting a sauna to practice and relax or them going to a festival to see other teams compete, everything they do is for fun.
This being said, the show does try to inject some drama into the story. Every character has their own arc that follows the same pattern: character gets some back-story, drama unfolds, a solution is found, and then the girl joins the club. This becomes the apparent method of doing things by the second girl, but for the show's purpose, it worked fine. Having a somewhat large main cast and only a particular number of episodes to work with, I felt that the drama wasn't necessarily forced each time. They had proper explanations for the girls apprehensiveness or overall issues they were dealing with, and they were more or less taken care of at a steady pace. It never makes you feel overly emotional, but it never feels melodramatic.
Part of the problem with the show is its handling of yosakoi. It's one of the main portions of the show, but I personally felt as if there wasn't enough behind the subject to get me invested in it. I didn't much care for what yosakoi brought or even what it entailed because I felt that the show didn't really articulate well enough how powerful it can be. Maybe this is a problem with yosakoi itself not being complex or deep, but I think there should have been more focus on it besides just the girls practicing.
Hanayamata is quite gorgeous. Directed by Atsuko Ishizuka, her style of extremely vibrant colors, beautiful backdrops, and excessive use of purple makes Hanayamata a feast for the eyes. The nighttime portions are captivating in the moonlight and its great use of sunset lighting during many scenes (combined with the aforementioned purple) makes them look stunning.
The animation quality is also very high. The girls general movements are fluid but the animation shines best when the girls are dancing. The show also does its best to include different locations that the girls visit, allowing for other animation opportunities such as with rustling trees, a busy hotel, or the school grounds.
The character designs are nothing amazing like the art style and animation, but I particularly liked Hana's design mostly due to her unique look when compared to the rest of the cast. Being "American" and having blonde hair made her design pretty nice.
As a final note, the character's eyes actually have pretty interesting shapes. They're not really oval but more like diamonds. Just something I thought I should point out!
Hanayamata's characters each have their own personality traits, but for the most part, they are each quite adorable in their own respects.
Machi is the school girl, valuing hard-work and dedication over play. She and Tami have both a friend relationship as well as a working one, with Tami always looking to break down Machi's shell just a little bit. I liked her the least among the girls simply because she wasn't as cute as the rest.
Tami represents the doting mother; she is mature for her age and looks out for the other girls' well-being. She especially takes care of Naru since they have known one another for quite a while. I liked her character a lot because, despite her maturity, she loved to tease the others a lot.
Yaya is your classic "tsundere." She is best friends with Naru and even has what appears to be some type of "yuri" feelings towards her. I actually like this trope in anime, so I found her to always be a blast on-screen. Plus, she loved to pick on Hana which never ceased to make me smile.
Above all, the best two characters from the show are Naru and Hana. They define the cuteness that is prevalent throughout all of the series. Their reactions, blushing, smiling, and overall happiness gives you the biggest grin possible. It is extremely hard not to like them because of how freaking adorable they are. This is not an understatement; everything they do screams "moe."
On top of each characters traits, as said before, they do get their own bit of back-story and drama that helps to let them develop. But once the drama subsides, it is mostly forgotten and replaced with their usual cuteness. The characters are not going to be remembered, but they all fit the "cute girls doing cute things" bill to a tee.
The OP for Hanayamata is fantastic for two reasons. One, it is very catchy, upbeat, and wonderfully composed. Second, and as discussed elsewhere, it is an actual plot device. Unlike every other OP, it isn't just there to be listened to at the beginning of each episode (as it should), but rather it is incorporated into the girls' actual yosakoi. For this reason, the show gets big points for doing something pretty unique.
The ED is good, and follows the same feeling of happiness that the OP, and for that matter the rest of the show, does. It also pretty catchy in its own way.
The rest of the soundtrack is fine, but there wasn't anything I found to be standout like the OP and ED.
However, shout-outs to Minami Tanaka for her voice acting of Hana and Reina Ueda for her voice acting of Naru. They did a spectacular job in their respective performances. Their voices not only were cute but fit wonderfully with the characters they were playing.
I like cute. I find it fun to watch, smile at, and relax to. And this is something that Hanayamata does quite well. It is filled with cuteness in each episode. You will be hard pressed not to be smiling when you are watching the series. Watching Hana with blank eyes and worrying about her grades makes you laugh. Naru blushing hard over saying something embarrassing will make you smile like a doofus. Tami, Machi, and Yaya acting older yet teasing with one another will fill you with joy. Every episode goes out of its way to just make you happy.
Again, this show is "cute girls doing cute things," and it's awesome. While it isn't a show that I absolutely loved, there is no doubt in my mind that you will walk away from the series having just had a wonderful experience.
Story: Fine, cute girls with okay drama
Animation: Great, beautiful and colorful
Characters: Good, so cute it's almost a sin
Sound: Great, OP is unique, ED is good, VAs are experts
Enjoyment: Good, non-stop smiling the whole way through
Final Score: 8/10 read more
A small group of girls trying to start a music-and-dance-related club in their school. They struggle to recruit members, and their goal is to participate in a competition. Cute girls doing cute things.
Slice of life series with a group of characters coming together to do with they love. There is talent that exists among the characters of both series. The energy level is ecstatic with a strong empowerment to the story that drives the series' characters and their goals. Recommended for anyone into a slice of life with purpose.
Hardwork,Practice,Friendship... They have a common goal on achieving their ultimate dream.
One is about dancing and the other is about idol groups. Both follow a very similar episode format, and both groups have a goal to compete in some kind of large or grandeur festival or competition. Both are slice of life with (though possibly debatable for Love Live) an emphasis on moe. Character dynamics and the way they all interact also feel relatively similar.
Love cute girls dancing around in circles? Then look no further since both of these Anime includes cute girls dancing. The girls in both series are mostly on the rooftop practicing whatever they need to practice and the student council doesn't really want them around.
Both anime started out with someone wanting to start a group. It takes time for the groups to be fully developed, meaning that a member or more is introduced into the group as the anime progresses. And seriously, there are certain scenes that felt very similar to each other.
Love Live is on music, while Hanayamata is on dancing.
Both also talks about how teamwork and friendship can get through hardship to reach goals.
Both have characters with almost the same personality.
Both have almost the same atmosphere.
Both animes are worth to watch and great animation. If you like Hanayamata, you might like Love Live!
Both shows are slice of life anime about a bunch of cute girls. The "main" girl joins a club even though she doesn't know much about the subject of the club, but they have a little trouble creating the club due to a lack of members and advisor. Yui from K-On can be seen as a mix of the both main chars in Hanayamata since she is not very confident, like Naru, but she's enthusiastic and lively like Hana.
K-On! is about music and Hanayamata is about Yosakoi dancing, also K-On! is a lot more lively overall. However, both shows mainly aim to being "cute" and have slight Yuri subtitles due to a lack of male characters.
A group o friends coming together with similar interests. K-On and Hanayamata has a small ye favorable cast when it comes to storytelling. An important element also related to their work is the music as that too part of its gimmick.
Recmmended for fans of slice of life involving clubs and music.
Both are about cute girls who are all best friends with each other and participate in a club. The only differences are that K-On! is about a band club, while HaNaYaMaTa is about a yosakoi club, and that HaNaYaMaTa has a little more drama. If you enjoyed the cuteness of K-On!, you will definitely enjoy HaNaYaMaTa!
Although Hanayamata has not yet finished airing, it draws many comparisons to K-On!. They both are a slice of life anime that revolves around a group of high school girls that initially struggle to start a club (an increasingly common trend). However K-On! And Hanayamata stand out similarly in regards to their type of club and the directive storyline. In both these anime, the club is centered on a performance based activity, with a light music club in K-On! and a yosakoi dancing club in Hanayamata. Their stories are notable in that they center on the struggles and hardships the girls face, both in their personal lives as well as in pursuing club goals. I greatly appreciate K-On! and Hanayamata’s focus on the bonds and deep friendships the develop, instead of the ecchi and crude humor commonly found in this genre. I would characterize both anime as more than slice of life, due to the nature of the clubs, which provides a strong guiding storyline and a goal the characters strive for, as opposed to simply the daily homogenous club activities, although those can be found intermittently.
K-On!, with its great cast of characters, has been a long time favorite of mine and Hanayamata is shaping up to be as well. There are five main characters in both anime, who throughout the story, develop distinctive characterizations, although Hanayamata seems to rely a bit more on prevalent archetypes. However, as I had mentioned, since Hanayamata is still airing, this may change. There are parallels that can be drawn between the characters in both anime, the most obvious one being Tami from Hanayamata and Tsumugi from K-On!, who are both the rich and proper girl. The others are more debatable but Naru from Hanayamata seems to exhibit the same shyness and lack of confidence as with the popular Mio from K-On!. Another parallel in in the rambunctious and unabashed club leaders, Hana from Hanayamata and Ritsu from K-On!. A new favorite of mine, Yaya from Hanayamata, expresses “tsundere” tendencies, which can be seen in both Mio and Azusa from K-On!, although the K-On! characters are more quiet and reserved. The lead character Yui of K-On! seems to be a bit more unique, perhaps only drawing similar traits of airheadedness and naivety with the lead Naru from Hanayamata. However, as the fifth character from Hanayamata has yet to be fully introduced and implemented into the club, this again, may all change.
Of course, there are still differences to be found between these anime, the main one being their visual style. Hanayamata displays a more airbrushed quality, while K-On!, being produced by Kyoto Animation, has its distinct and recognizable style. Hanayamata also features a unique style in the eyes of the characters, which have been received negatively by some, but I personally find the art to be lovely and refreshing.
Overall, I greatly recommend both anime and if you are a fan of one of them, be sure to watch the other! They are both character based anime with a great driving storyline. Although I am not sure if Hanayamata will rise to the high standard set by K-On!, it is already greatly enjoyable and if it stays its course, may become a great anime in its own right.
PS - I just noticed Hanayamata is the first syllable of all the characters names, which is awesomely cool!
Girls doing fun things and bonding together.
♢ 5 bishoujo
♢ Heroine that isn't confident with herself (Yui - K-ON! and Naru - Hanayama)
♢ A Club that will change their future
Opening Theme"Hana wa Odore ya Irohaniho (花ハ踊レヤいろはにほ)" by Team "Hanayamata" (チーム"ハナヤマタ") [Naru Sekiya (Reina Ueda), Hana N. Fontainestand (Minami Tanaka), Yaya Sasame (Kaya Okuno), Tami Nishimikado (Yuka Ootsubo), Machi Tokiwa
Ending Theme#1 "Hanayuki (花雪)" by smileY inc. (eps 1-11)
#2 "Hanayuki (花雪)" by Team "Hanayamata" (チーム"ハナヤマタ") [Naru Sekiya (Reina Ueda), Yaya Sasame (Kaya Okuno), Hana N. Fontainestand (Minami Tanaka), Tami Nishigomon (Yuka Ootsubo), Machi Tokiwa (Manami Numakura)] (ep 12)
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Related ClubsM⑨echan, For God's sake stop reviewing shows when only one or two episodes are out!, I♥Y&SA Yuri Hunters, Team Yosakoi, Cute Girls Doing Cute Things, The News Club, Slice of Life Club, AUTUMN 2014 ANIMU, I ♥ Yuri & Shoujo Ai
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