The nice thing about a writing project that only a handful of people will ever read is that I’m not required to take myself too seriously. I have no dignity to lose, here. This week? That’s especially useful.
What is it?
HaNaYaMaTa is a cute, slice-of-life, sports-type 12-episode anime that started out as a manga series. The title is kind of like a portmanteau of the names of five of the main characters.
What kind of story is it?
Let me sum up: Cute, because it’s a group of schoolgirls being adorable. Slice-of-life, because it’s mostly the girls being adorable & goofy rather than being caught in a high-drama thread of plotlines. Sports-type, because there’s a (slight) team competition aspect to their chosen activity, and of course our girls are the underdog newbies.
The history of anime television is littered with shows whose premise boils down to, “Let’s show schoolkids getting involved with a sport (or other group activity) that nobody else has done an anime about yet.” For HaNaYaMaTa the activity is a dance style called yosakoi.
Go ahead and Google it if you want. You don’t need in-depth knowledge about yosakoi to enjoy this show, however.
Why do you like it?
Because it’s adorable. It just is. The opening theme song is perfectly cute and bubbly, the characters are delightful, and the whole show is just a joy to behold. There is drama but it’s really low-key stuff. Not that it’s handled poorly; there are a few lovely tear-jerker beats along the way.
Sometimes you need bright colors and happy silliness, right? Right.
What might one not like about it?
This much cuteness isn’t for everyone, I know this. HaNaYaMaTa wouldn’t ordinarily be my kind of fare either! Different people have different lines for the boundary between “this is just too much bright-and-cheery” and “this is just right.” I don’t even remember why I checked this one out… glad I did, mind you.
Also, to be fair, the characters are all sourced from the Anime Schoolgirl Character Archetypes shelf.
Other thoughts about it?
This show has one of my all-time favorite upbeat-style opening songs.
No, that’s about all I’ve got. They can’t all be complex, thought-provoking shows, can they?
Where can I watch it?
Crunchyroll has you covered, you can stream all 12 episodes for free (as of this writing).