「ファースト・ステップ」 (Faasuto Suteppu)
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!