「ガールズ・スタイル」 (Gaaruzu Sutairu)
This week marks a shift in character development; Naru is still struggling yet cautiously dedicated, but the other characters take center stage as Naru works out the kinks in her dancing. Of particular interest this episode is the development of Yaya and Hana–Yaya for her changing attitude towards Hana, and Hana for the hints behind her mysterious backstory. While we got glimpses of the rest of the supporting cast that we’ll be seeing soon, the focus was definitely on the “Ya” and “Ha” of Hanayamata.
Last episode, I stated that I was not as satisfied with the pacing of Yaya’s development, stating it was too fast and resolved itself way too quickly. One commenter responded that her development was not over and boy, they were right. It’s good that Yaya still remains a key part of the dialogue; her tsundere nature works best when she’s not harboring negative feelings. She still had some hesitation around Hana going into the episode, but the episode did a better job of bonding the two together than last episode. Rather than disjoint scenes of switching between Yaya and HanaxNaru, a much smoother focus on just one group at a time did wonders for the flow of the show and developing Yaya’s character. This will be the same case for when our school president is up for development. She’s really unlikeable now, but once her cute characteristics start to show (as is inevitable), that strict nature of hers will give way to likeability.
In contrast, Hana received only small amounts of development this episode, but they were powerful ones for those connecting the dots. I predict Hana will be the last character to develop, as her backstory should explain much of the mystery surrounding this show. Why can she make leaps of faith not natural to humans? How did she quickly transfer into Hana’s school? How does this all connect to yosakoi? We have no information on the first two questions, but the third is slowly opening itself up. There was a specific scene mid-way where Hana, Yaya, and Naru are having lunch together. Naru aptly points out that Hana always has bread for lunch. This is followed by an awkward silence where Hana quickly switches to slipping her drink, away from her normal cheerful persona. Although a small hint, it speaks volumes about the mysteries that Hana is hiding from everyone. The clue either hints at a lack of food at home, which either implies that she doesn’t have a home (and hence is actually a fairy), or more realistically has home issues.
If we go along with the home issues, then it makes a lot of sense why Hana actively pursues yosakoi and–more importantly–connections with people. As Hana mentioned before, parkour was a lonely sport for her and she’d much prefer things you do with people. Yosakoi seems to have been this first switch for her, as an activity that’s both colorful and sociable. This probably hints at the loneliness she probably faces at home, which is apt, since apart from the school president, Hana is the only person of the group of 5 whose home we haven’t seen yet–Tami and Naru’s homes were portrayed in episode one, while Yaya’s restaurant and home revealed itself in episode 2. I could be going off on a wild theory here, but I hope that these clues aren’t just coincidental. The story becomes all the more intriguing when the clues are scarce, yet informative.
Bottom line though, when all the analysis is done, this show is all about the cuteness, and cuteness it is doing well. Sell us on yosakoi, Hanayamata!