As Hana continues to immerse Naru face-first into the dazzling world of yosakoi, she is also spending an awful lot of time with her, which irks Yaya. We met Yaya last week as the smart, talented beauty whom Naru looks up to and who ultimately is the source of Naru’s desire to better herself. But this week we see a new side of her: the jealous, tsundere side.
Yaya and Naru go way back, and became friends because they walked the same way home from school. While on those many walks, Yaya would always brag or whine, and Naru would always listen, take her side, and back her up enthusiastically. Naru says again and again that she wants nothing more than for Yaya to approve of her decision to get into yosakoi, but at first, Yaya can’t; because it exposes something in her.
That is that for all her popularity and skills and looks, she’s miserable if Naru isn’t around to take her side or if Naru isn’t around for her to protect. The two may be very different people, but they’re alike in the only way that matters for them to be friends: they’ve both come to depend on one another. Yaya knew all along that Naru wanted to improve herself, but couldn’t approve at first because she feared losing the special bond they’d both become accustomed to.
Yaya’s desire to hold on to the comforting status quo mirror’s Naru’s hesitation to join Hana, whom Naru (and we) learn isn’t as strong or fearless as she thought, but still finds the courage to do what she does. It took Yaya’s outburst at Naru for her to realize that a true friend doesn’t pretend her friend doesn’t want to change, simply because it might inconvenience her. Instead, she vows to support her, and they make up.
I really like what this episode did with Yaya, taking her of the pedestal she was atop last week and painting her friendship with Naru as much more reciprocal. We also see Naru dancing yosakoi for the first time, then in front of her audience (of one; Yaya), showcasing the animators’ deftness with body motions. Her performance is rough, but there are glimmers of greatness, harking back to when she swings the naruko Hana gives her for the first time and it makes a crisp, clear clack…the clack of destiny.