After a dazzling 12 weeks, Hanayamata comes to it’s conclusion with one amazing performance.
Here’s my review!
This is it, the festival. All the hard work, sweat, bug bites, tears, falling down and getting back up, this is what it was for. One final performance and one girl’s dream to fulfill. And they didn’t disappoint either.
Since watching Love Live! I’ve come to love and hate the big performance episodes. I love them because you finally get to see what all their training was for and all the sacrifices, but I dread them because I hate seeing all their hard work end in failure. We saw this happen already though, just a few eps ago, but this time, things were different. The absence of Hana is still on everyone’s mind and they’re having a hard time coming to grips without her being there. The energy just isn’t the same and when they dance, they leave a space for where Hana would normally be.
The girls stop by Hana’s house after practice to give her father a CD with the finished song they recorded for their concert. Yaya mentions that they’re dancing at a festival in a couple of days and invites him to come if he’s free. On her way home, Naru walks past the place where she first met Hana. For a moment I actually thought Hana would be standing up on that thing looking down at her, but no… she really is gone.
A vast majority of the middle part of this ep is of the girls at the festival just getting ready. They don’t dance until the evening, but throughout the day they’re trying to keep in the right mindset and not get distracted by anything else. I liked the part when Naru finally tells her father about what she’s been doing; his reaction is so funny. He’s trying to act all serious, yet you can see he’s quite embarrassed.
As time ticks away, the performance moves closer and closer. Now actually at the venue and seeing all the other groups, it suddenly makes them feel so small and no where near as amazing everyone else. Sally tries to comfort them by saying they’re all super cute (which is true), but good looks alone can’t make for a good performance. To shake away any uneasy feelings they might have, Naru suggests they practice one more time; you know what they say, practice makes perfect.
During their practice, Machi is out of formation by a couple steps, still leaving a gap for the would be Hana. After practicing so long for a routine with 5 members, it’s hard to suddenly switch to only 4. Naru cheers Machi, and the rest of the group up with a rousing speech though reminding the girls that they’re all in this together and that they’ll always help each other out should someone fall. She goes on to relate her dream, something we learn in the outset of the anime, about how she’s always dreamed of being a dazzling heroine like in the fairy tales she used to read. We have a quick flashback to the first ep when she first meets Hana and what she said to her about how anyone can be dazzling if they try hard enough. Naru wants to strive hard to be the person she’s always wanted to be, to make that dream come true.
Realizing she’s just dumped this very personal moment on everyone, Naru is quite embarrassed, but Yaya calms her saying she’s pretty dazzling right now. Tami adds to this saying that because of Naru helping both her and Yaya, they’ve made it this far and have the chance to perform on a stage at a festival.
The second half of the ep is the final lead up to the performance as well as the performance itself. Yaya’s former band member’s drop by to see her, wishing her the best of luck and telling her they’ll be in the crowd cheering her on. Now as time is closing in on them, as they go up on stage, Naru notices her phone ringing; checking the number it says ‘Unknown Number’, prompting her to be cautious about answering it. Checking call history she notices she’s gotten a bunch of calls from this number. Getting another call she answers it and to her surprise, it’s Hana!
In a surprise turn of events, Hana is back in Japan and en-route to the festival. She explains how her dad told her about the CD they dropped off and then she talked to her mom about it. Being the loving mother she is, Jenny (her name is mentioned only once), gets a ticket for Hana back to Japan so she can dance in the festival with everyone. As happy as they are, Hana is currently stuck in traffic and as is, won’t be able to make it there in the 30 minutes before they take the stage. Taking the matter into her own hands, Hana leaves the car and goes on foot. From this point to the end, I loved it so much. Hana is back for the performance, but time is running out, the fireworks are exploding in the air, the tensions are high, it’s just one very amazing sequence.
While jumping over a wall, Hana runs into the cop from ep 1 who tried to stop her. Hana quickly explains the situation she’s in and to her surprise the cop helps her get there. By this time, the girls have taken the stage and have started, but Hana’s nearly there. Running her fastest for the final stretch, Hana puts her bluestar hair pin in, her coat on, Sally hands off the parasol to her, and pulling her one naruko out calls out to Naru. With a dazzling backdrop of exploding fireworks, Hana leaps onto the stage, catching the thrown naruko form Naru and they continue the performance.
Everything was just amazing here, the awesome song, the fireworks, the atmosphere, I was so into this part; and I loved every moment of it. Keen ears will pick up that this is also the full version of the OP. After their performance the girls sit, watching the fireworks and just drinking in the moment. Hana’s happy that she finally made her wish of dancing the yosakoi with everyone come true. Tami ventures to ask if she’s going back to America right away, but Hana says that she’ll convince her parents to let her stay a while longer. Machi mentions that since they’re all back together again, they could also dance at the school culture festival that’s in a few weeks; of course everyone agrees on it and with one final cheer, it fades to the ending credits.
After 12 weeks of watching Hanayamata, I’m deeply saddened that it’s now over; while I’d love another season I’m not sure if there really is enough material for one, but I’d love an OVA or 2 for sure. From start to finish I enjoyed this one so much as it was so much fun to watch. The music, art, characters, atmosphere, everything about this anime was just something I loved to look forward to each week so I could see more of it.
Sure it’s not an in-depth story, but not everything has to have an engaging story to be enjoyable. Hanayamata is one of those anime that are just fun to watch as you know it’ll deliver each week. One of the things I love the most about this one has to be the amazing art, Madhouse really doing a fantastic job breathing energy and life into this anime and I’ve gotta take my hat off to them for doing that. The OP is also something worth mentioning, as it’s probably up there for top OPs of the season, the Nozaki-kun one also right up there, but just a breadth behind the Hanayamata one.
All in all I’m sad that this anime is over as it was just amazing until the ending. I always look at the final ep a lot as it’s what everything concludes on, and I think given the slice of life genre, this was a fitting ending. I’ll remember this anime for a while after as it was something that made me even think of Love Live! at times, and if any of you guys know, I’m really obsessed with Love Live!. I have to say this is a solid candidate for Anime of the Season here as it was such a well done and amazing anime to watch. Tallying it all up, I’ve gotta give Hanayamata a 9/10. Highly recommend this one for sure.
Here are some screen shots from the final ep.
And there you have it, the final of Hanayamata. I hope you enjoyed reading all my reviews for this one, and if you watched it too, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I’ve now officially finished all my summer anime reviews, so all that’s left now is to have the wrap up post with my final thoughts of all the summer anime I watched. I should have that out be next week before the new season starts. Part 1 will be out sooner though, probably later today even.
I’ll also be doing some extensive work to the blog, changing the theme entirely, so the blog might be on private mode for a while. Other than that, look forward to Justin’s final Zankyou no Terror reviews and Chris’s continuing Akame ga Kill reviews. Come the fall season, Anime Corps will be busy! Thank you once again for sticking with me for Hanayamata, it was such an amazing anime and I’m sad to see it end.
Enjoy the final bonus pic and like always, I’ll cya in the next post!
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