Rating: 3.5

There are times when you want art that challenges you, or shows you new perspectives, or enriches your existence. And there are times when you just want to stick to the comfortable and familiar.

HaNaYaMaTa is perfect for me when I'm in the latter mood. Young, not-special high school girl reluctantly joins a club, finds joy and friendship, hurdles are cleared with hard work and dedication, happy ending. We've all seen a few series like that: K-On!, Sound! Euphonium, Girls und Panzer. Each has its own quirks, but the basic formula is recognisable, and effective. And sometimes it's exactly what one needs.

Naru is this serie's totally average protagonist: she has friends that she admires, but just knows that she's never going to be as sparkling as them. Until one day she meets the extremely extroverted and energetic Hana, recently relocated from the US, who's passionate about the style of dance called yosakoi.

From that encounter, a school club is formed, more schoolgirls join, a teacher is recruited to help, shows are danced. Our girls battle insecurities, family drama, and plain bad luck, with their strong belief in, and commitment to, each other. We have the traditional "hot springs" episode, and some scenes in swimsuits, just to underscore that the whole structure is really not the most original. But the girls are cute, the relationships feel right, and what if the animation is a bit cheap and the soundtrack is just three songs? This is the kind of show you watch when you want to believe in people and the possibility of a loving world, and it's very good for that.

This review was originally published at: https://www.easternkicks.com/reviews/hanayamata
DatesCreated: 2017-07-23 10:52:18 Last modification: 2023-02-10 12:45:24