Hanayamata – 05

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Hana and Naru stage an ambush on Yaya and get her to sign up for the Yosakoi Club, which along with Tami gives them not only the requisite four members to form the club, but also to enter the Hanairo Festival. Yaya only has designs on being a member in name only, but that stance weakens as the episode progresses.

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Hana takes the two new members to the Yosakoi shop for their narukos, then head to Yaya’s family’s restaurant for food. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s a really big deal for Tami, who’s never not gone straight home after school to hang out with friends. She even learns from her dad (suggesting maybe he’s not so bad after all) about another festival they can go see for inspiration.

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The first official Yosakoi Club trip thus arranged, they board a train and head into the city, along with their faculty adviser, Sari (or Sally, depending on the translation). Sari and Yaya give off distinct “what am I doing here” apathetic vibes on the outset. Tami tells Yaya how Naru convinced her it’s better to be with friends doing what she loves than being alone and maintaining a “good girl” facade.

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Yaya starts to get where Tami and the others are coming from and is impressed by Naru’s ability to inspire others. Naru impresses Hana too when the atmosphere of the place leads to an embarrassing but heartfelt monologue about what Yosakoi is all about: moving hearts by moving bodies; stoking happiness and fun by having it themselves.

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Unfortunately, we see precious little actual yosakoi dancing; a lot less than I expected considering all the build-up. That was enough to make this the first ep not worthy of an 8 in our books. Still once the club gets a look at another group their same age—one also started with just four members—that’s when Naru and the others really start to believe that yes, they, can do this.

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