「プリンセス．プリンセス」 (Purinsesu Purinsesu)
Sorry everyone, I’m really tired, so I’m going to keep this one brief. I hope the sleep deprivation doesn’t make my post too non-coherent!
In many ways, Nishimikado Tami is the embodiment of an ‘ideal’ Japanese women, at least according to the ideals of Yamato Nadeshiko. Graceful, refined in the arts, kind, and above all else, loyal to her father, Nishimikado is the embodiment of the idealized Japanese woman about to bloom. At least, that’s what it looks like at first glance. As we progress through the story, it becomes apparent what Nishimikado’s fatal flaw is. Just as Yaya struggles with jealousy, Naru with incompetence, and Hana with loneliness, Tami struggles to please. Although she tries her very best to please her father, it never seems to be enough. Never so much as a smile cracks his face as Tami jumps through hoops and then some for the sake of her father’s love. As we quickly see though, this is a futile and counterproductive effort. Not because of Tami’s questionable dedication to her father, but the fact that she continues to do so without any sort of positive feedback. What Tami needed, more than the joy of yosakoi or freedom from her father, was someone who appreciated her for who she was, unquestionably and unconditionally. Much like how a prince would sweep up a princess, to sweep her off her feet. Funny how it ends up that Tami’s prince is the prince who believes least in their own abilities.
This leads me to the second point I wish to bring in quickly, before my head crashes onto my keyboard. Although we can talk about how Tokiwa received some humanizing development this episode, or how Yaya is really desperate for Naru’s attention, or even more cute talk, but the ending of this episode deserves center stage.
I personally think that Hanayamata can get a little melodramatic at times. The motives behind the character’s feelings seem a bit shallow at times, perhaps due to the pacing, but again, that’s my personal take. I hope that we can all agree that today’s episode was a bit unexpected, especially considering the roles that each character took. For the first half of this episode, we saw a Tami that Naru could idolize and look up to, as a sister figure of sorts. Tami even acknowledges this relation by using it as her justification for defending the Yosakoi Club. By the end of the episode though, we see a different reversal of roles, something I don’t think we see very often. Naru, often portrayed as the weakest character of the show, becomes the emotional support of arguably the strongest character. Naru, who so wished for a prince to sweep her away to another world, has inadvertently become a prince herself, providing for Tami the thing that even she didn’t know she needed–someone who appreciated her. The entire scene with its tears, umbrellas, and flashbacks was quite the scene. It’s easily become my favorite scene of the show and elevated Naru and Tami as my two favorite characters so far. The switching of their roles gives these two a dynamic flair to their personalities, paving the way to some profound character developments that’ll clearly change both of their characters for the better. Just as Naru’s yosakoi dancing is slowly getting better with each episode, so will these characters and the bonds they form together. It took awhile, but I think Hanayamata is taking better strides in providing a show that’s more than just cute dancing.