Hanayamata
This was a different show for me. Yes, it is a dancing show, and, on a nuts-and-bolts level, not much different than “AKB0048” or “Long Live!”, in that a group of girls wish to perform, but it is done in a different manner and it is earnest without being overweening. “Hanayamata” tells the story of Naru Sekiya (front and center), an ordinary 14-year old girl who likes fairy tales. She sometimes wishes her life could be like one, but, that’s the harsh realities of real life. You have to play the cards you are dealt. She is worried about her lack of other interests and dearth of friends. She has a nighttime chance encounter with a “fairy”, a foreign girl practicing dance at a temple. On the spur of the moment, Naru asks to join her and she is introduced to the world of yosakoi dancing. And the rest of the team include, left to right:

Hana N. Fountainstand, that foreign girl ‘fairy’
Yaya Sasame, one of Naru’s friends
Machi Tokiwa, student council president
Tami Nishimikado, student council vice-president

Not pictured is Sari Tokiwa, Machi’s sister, a teacher at the school as well as the club advisor and Masaru Ōfuna, the owner of a yosakoi shop. The series is how these girls interact together and push forward in trying to get to a competitive level to be in the Hanairo Festival, where you showcase your skills. Yes, this is a standard show about (a) overcoming adversity, (b) bettering yourself, both physically and emotionally, (c) understanding the power and strength of friendship, (d) taking responsibility for all that you do and don’t do and (e) enjoying life as it is set before you.Continue reading