「ファースト・ステップ」 (Faasuto Suteppu)
“First Steps”

After five episodes of waiting, we finally see some proper yosakoi in action, aside from the OP and clumsy renditions (bless Naru and her skills). It wasn’t as fancy as I was hoping, yet seeing the scene actually pan out has me excited for future episodes. Apart from the dance style which we’ve seen several times, I’m most excited for the dresses. Yes, the fashion. While this design that looks borderline cameo is pretty nice, I was actually taken aback at the designs of the younger team, portrayed here. Although I was so disappointed they didn’t actually dance in the scene, the vibrancy and detail of their dance uniforms are really cute and elegant. Just as the OP has hinted, I hope we get to the episode where our new yosakoi club starts planning out their uniforms. I sure don’t mind if Tami models for all of their designs either, heh heh.

Aside from nice clothing, the yosakoi festival as a whole was a pleasant episode to watch. We got to see Sari-sensei act awkwardly around the girls and Masaru, as well as some gorgeous head shots of all the characters. Oh, and casual clothing. Hana in casual clothing. Yes.

Alas though, the whole episode wasn’t all cheer and dancing. Today’s episode wouldn’t be Hanayamata without some emotional bonding, which we sure got towards the end.

For much of these past few episodes, Yaya seems to be more of the main character than Hana or Naru, or at least on equal ground. This isn’t a bad thing though, but rather the opposite. Hanayamata is diligent in balancing the characters interactions equally between each and every main character introduced. Yaya is probably the most visible example, where she is the only main character to have shared a private scene with Naru, Hana, and Tami. While each interaction definitely ends up with Yaya going tsundere, it also reinforces the central idea of the show and how it relates to each character: the idea of companionship.

Whether or not we agree on the effects of the drama, I think it’s safe that we can agree that each character has definitely made clear their reasons for joining yosakoi and desiring friendship. Naru seeks to make a story for herself, where she and her friends are the leads. Hana wants to bring smiles to others by enjoying the same thing. Yaya is soft for Naru and finds happiness in her happiness, though she’s slowly opening up to her own happiness as well. Tami shares the same sentiments as Yaya, except her happiness comes from doing something she enjoys for herself, which she finds in the activities of her companions.

It’s all been laid out for us, but I think the great thing about these individual desires is that they all interlink cleanly with one another in harmony, making the show seem like a connected whole rather than 5 separate side-stories. The message is basic, but the consistency and commitment to this message is something I have to congratulate the show for, all without making it not too boring to watch. These girls have but one simple goal–to dance yosakoi–but in the end it’s the preparation for that yosakoi that’ll really make them happy. It’s sappy as a message, but it’s not a bad message to portray

Now let’s hope for our school president to finally join in so we can complete our group of five for the yosakoi to come!




  1. I’m sad we didn’t get to watch the younger team dance, but watching the girls geek out over yosakoi was worth it. Their excitement is rather contagious and I really do look forward to them working out their own yosakoi style in the future. Also, I just love every time Masaru shows up on screen. He’s hilarious, and he’s such a bro. Aniki indeed.

    I agree with you Zani, in that this show works so well because of the harmonious connection between these characters and with the overall message of the values of companionship. The execution so far in terms of its main themes has been pretty well done so far, because Hanayamata knows where its strenghts lie and then focuses on them. A bit sappy maybe, yes, but though the show’s pretty high up on the optimism scale, I find it impossible to hate it because of that.

    Now bring on the prez!

  2. Naru-chan… Hazukashii serifu kinshi. 😛

    Leaving that aside… I can’t handle so much moe! The show it beautiful! The girls are beautiful! The emotions are beautiful! Every moment between every girl is beautiful!


  3. Yaya will have it tough. She’ll have to balance the band, school work, the yosakoi, and then helping out at her family restaurant. I can understand why she wants to back out. But between Naru, Tama, and even Yaya its not going to be easy. Well, resistance is futile anyway.

    Aniki and Sally-sesei would make a cute couple.

    I love how this anime always puts a smile to smile. Helps me relax and forget the problems in life.

  4. I was really disappointed that we didn’t get to see some real yosakoi dance this time either. I mean, I get that it’s probably quite hard to animate and they might not have wanted to waste budget on animating a group of unnamed yosakoi dancers but I feel it would have made more of a nimpact if we’d gotten to “feel” the magic of yosakoi first hand by watching a group do more than just some short movements but (at least part of) a whole choreography. Right now I just can’t help but feel a bit left out as a viewer with everyone being so happy and enthralled by yosakoi whereas we viewers only get some short snippets here and there.

    Aside from that the episode was quite cute though and I’m happy they’re keeping Yaya still somewhat reserved and unsure and not just have her quickly jump in after all. It makes the whole thing just so much more believable and her final ‘real’ joining much more rewarding.

  5. Was it just me or was the pacing was a little jarring?
    Anyway, I totally get what Naru said; it’s fun to work in a group though in real life it can be very disappointing. And that’s why anime is awesome I guess!
    I want to see more Yosakoi and understand why they’re so moved.

  6. Yaya is really growing on me as a character. It’s pretty obvious she’s got “reasons” why she’s holding back so much. I’m looking forward to seeing that get worked out on the show.

    Also, is it me, or were there more hints that Hana hasn’t had the happiest life up til now? She seemed a little down at the festival, then kind of covered it up. She didn’t have money for food, and kind of covered that up, too.

    This was picked up last week– is this something that’s going to be fodder for a later conflict, either with her host family or her real family– hey speaking of which, if she’s an exchange student, DOES she even HAVE a host family? She hasn’t said anything about that, and usually kids that age who do exchanges have to have one. And what about her real family?

    I have too many QUESTIONS! (I’m really digging the show, though!)

      1. In “America,” Hana went to Melvin T. Parkour Middle School, but couldn’t stand the daily Parkour Death Matches, where two contestants sprinted up a skyscraper, and the first one to fall, lost. @_@ (Kidding, of course, but nothing I see in anime these days would surprise me.)


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