「ガール・アイデンティティー」 (Gaaru Aidentiti)
Actually, there actually hasn’t been an episode where they haven’t made the emotional drama stand out. Even in the club trip episode, where most of it was good old fun and bonding, it ended with a rather emotional set of scenes. This episode was no exception–the animal ears fanservice was nice plus Sally-sensei being lewd, but that quickly gave way to some angsty Yaya. Some drama is good and all, but the sustained heavy-handed drama each episode may actually be a detriment to proper character development and the comedy.
I was struggling to write a post for this episode because I didn’t want to go off on the “omg the melodrama” tangent; I sense you guys are tired of that direction (myself included).The plot itself wasn’t so bad–the actions that followed fit Yaya’s tsundere nature well. What seemed to be the problem was realizing that the show hasn’t given us a break in terms of doling out tears, vulnerabilities, and constant pep talks. The core message is nice enough, but man, for a show that is about the joys of dancing, for once it’d be nice to have an episode without a joy-killer. That’s perhaps a bias of expectation for more light-heartedness on my side, I admit, but I sincerely believe Hanayamata would benefit from a drama breather, to allow all the afterglow of that drama to sink into some positive development. Although I do applaud the show for being fierce about developing the characters beyond a single round of “character of the week”, it would be great to reap the rewards of that development in a breather episode where we can see purely positive and happy results of their success.
Aside from that main point though, the show is progressing quite well in gathering up the yosakoi team. The omission of Tokiwa’s significance as a yesgirl is seriously concerning at this point, but on all other fronts, development has been steady. The show touched base on the costumes, the music, and Sally-chan’s eventual acceptance of the club, while hinting at their climax debut at the mall. Although I complain about within-episode pacing, the overall pace of the show has been quite well balanced and mapped out. The development of the yosakoi club has been steady and gradual, and I’m surprised they’ve put this much detail into the formation of the club, the recruitment, and the training, all very neatly packed into 7 episodes thus far.
Before we close though, I would like to point out a few weird things that popped up this episode. First, what is up with this scene? When I first saw this, I seriously thought Hanayamata was getting serious and having Yaya rub one out while thinking of Naru. However, it was really just bad scene composition that gave the wrong ideas. Second, Yaya’s band seems to have come and gone without much impact at all. Their only purpose was to highlight Yaya’s success and hurt her pride, without much life beyond that. To me, it was a tacked on anime-original device that was the result of hasty writing. I doubt we’ll be seeing more of them now that they’ve disbanded, but at least we can now focus on Yaya being part of yosakoi.
Anyways, what do you guys think? Did you like the heavy Yaya drama this episode? What do you guys think about the band and the lamp scene? Finally, what is up with Tokiwa and will she get as much development as the other members? Answer away in the comments!