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The sheer exuberance, the joie de vivre, of Hanayamata is hard to resist. My suggestion is to not bother resisting, and just let yourself be carried away by Hana, Naru, Yaya, Machi, and Tami

This is a series where the OP accurately catches the spirit of the show. I’ve managed to find a subtitled version[1], and the lyrics are also well matched to the show:

In terms of genre, Hanayamata is basically “cute girls doing cute things”, with the “cute things” in this case being Yosakoi dancing[2].

The trigger for the series is an American girl[3] Hana N. Fountainstand[4] coming to Japan to realise a dream of dancing yosakoi in a club with friends. The first girl she meets is the painfully shy Naru Sekiya, and the initial interactions between these two are simply glorious.

The core of which is Hana convincing Naru that she can be dazzling if she dances Yosakoi with Hana.

The exuberance of Hanayamata may have caught my attention.

Naru’s willingness to try, to grow, and the associated character development for Naru and the other characters is what is keeping my attention.

I must admit that story wise Hanayamata is fairly formulaic. So far it is using the well worn anime plotline of setting up an (initially at least) unpopular school club to introduce the characters, and the elements of Yosakoi[5]. In both this, and in the acquisition of her own dream, Hanayamata bears some similarities to the superior Chihayafuru.

However formulaic does not necessarily mean bad. As with Chihayafuru, Ruin Explorers, and Pretear, a competently executed formula can provide the foundation for a fun series.

So it is with Hanayamata. The formula is solidly, and exuberantly, executed and generates an enormous sense of fun for the viewer. The formula also allows the series to lampshade some standard anime tropes by having Hana refer to Yaya-chan as a tsundere for Naru[6].

Overall Hanayamata is the show putting the biggest smile on my face each week. Take a look, have fun, and put a smile on your own face.

[1] Unfortunately CrunchyRoll don’t always subtitle the OP/EDs.

[2] Yosakoi is described by Wikipedia as a “modern rendition of Awa Odori, a traditional summer dance … combining traditional Japanese dance movements with modern music.”

[3] Hana is possibly too much of the the Manic Pixie Dreamgirl, but the series is making it work so far.

[4] Someone should really take mangaka aside for some quiet advice when they pick “western names”, although this isn’t as bad as some. Kia Asamiya I’m looking at you.

[5] As of episode 5 the process isn’t quite complete, but there’s already mentions of the tournament/festival arc that will follow the formation arc. Yosakoi is danced competitively after all…

[6] It helps that there’s some truth to the accusation…