The long awaited pool ep is overshadowed by a torrential downpour of feels.
Here’s my review.
Summer time. Pool time. Yes it’s something we long for in anime, the pool ep. We eagerly await to see our favorite characters in swimming attire. Probably for the obvious reason, but it’s something to be excited about either way. This week in Hanayamata we have that moment happen. Sure they’re just school swimsuits, which are still good (not super into them personally, but they have their place I guess) and we see the girls splashing around in the water as well. But it’s not all fun and games.
Remember back to last week when Hana received a phone call? Well yep, it was from her mother; who has traveled to Japan to visit her. Hana shows the rest of the girls the text from her mother, saying that she’s here to visit and if Hana’s grades aren’t good, she’ll bury her. Ominous words for sure. Hana’s grades aren’t that good though, Japanese and English being the worst for her. Why English you ask? She’s from New Jersey after all, she should know her English quite well, but as the questions are in Japanese, it’s a bit tough.
Pushing the matter aside, Hana just wants to practice as they’re only a week away from the festival. Throughout practice though, everyone is noticing that Hana seems a bit distracted, her mind in another place. By this point I was already formulating ideas of what it could be, most of them all leading back to the one I didn’t want. During a food break, Yaya brings up something she wants to talk to the group about, that being singing a song to go along with the performance. Not sing as they dance, but just record a song then play it as they dance; seems like a good idea. Yaya’s written the lyrics, something Machi is quite surprised about, as she likes the energy in them, but notices a few lines that could be changed.
After revising the lyrics they call it a day; Yaya heads over to Naru’s house to help her practice the song, as Naru isn’t really up to singing. They also briefly talk about why Hana might be so distracted, Yaya suggesting that her mother must have put her through the wringer about not getting good grades. Whatever the cause is, Yaya just wants to get to practicing.
We see Hana now at home eating dinner with both parents. Just a side note, they’re all blonde, why is it that all American characters in anime are blonde; same for anyone from the UK? Sure it’s not a big deal, but I just wanted to point that out. Anyway, Hana mentions how much she enjoys eating dinner with them like this, her mother saying that soon they’ll be able to do this all the time. Yeah that pretty much confirms what I was thinking. If that didn’t, you can see boxes in Hana’s room in the following scene as she lies on her bed, quietly singing the song they wrote by herself. Her mother enters the room telling her goodnight and to make sure she’s all packed and ready to leave.
Ugh… my heart is trembling already.
The next day Naru shows everyone the completed coats (or whatever they’re called, I can’t remember the name), each with the club patch on it. If this wasn’t amazing enough already, Yaya also shows them the parasols, similar to the ones seen at the training camp. After giving them a paint job, making them look even prettier. They’re back inside sewing flower like hair accessories as a finishing touch; at this point Hana hasn’t told them yet, but she tries to. The rest of the girls sit, waiting for Hana to open up, but it’s too hard for her to do that, right when things are going so well. She passes up telling them, knowing that the longer she puts it off, the more it’ll hurt.
Late that night, Hana visits Naru at her home, and finally opens up about what’s going on. From this point the tears start and don’t let up until the ep is over. Hana explains that she’s moving back to America with her family and she won’t be able to dance in the festival with them. Naru is stunned as it’s the last thing she was expecting, but offers comforting words to Hana. She tells her that if this is what she truly wants, to be with her family again, then she should go as it’ll be what makes her happy. After a long night of talking, eating ice cream and taking a bath, they finally go to bed. Naru wakes up next morning to a note on her pillow, a note Hana left before leaving them for good.
The following scene was, for me, the most emotional of the ep. At school Naru waits for everyone to arrive and once they’re all there, she reads the letter. It’s a very touching letter Hana wrote herself and it brings everyone to tears, almost including myself. Naru finishes reading and as it sets in, Yaya starts going through a range of emotions. She can’t accept it, she’s angered by it, she’s heartbroken, but she’s motivated to do something about it. Leaving the school in a hurry, they decide to race to the airport to tell Hana how they feel before she leaves. With help once again from Giant Octopus (Masaru Oofuna, the yosakoi shop owner) they get to the airport and begin looking around for Hana.
Realistically speaking this is probably impossible, but since it’s anime I’m not going to pick it apart over something small like this. They spot her in the boarding line up and race over to see her before it’s too late. Naru promises they’ll all dance enough to make up for her and how they’ll always be together when they’re dancing. The tears are a raging river now as they say their final goodbyes before Hana leaves them.
Back at school the absence of Hana really starts to set in the group. Yaya shows them the finished song they recorded, the sound of Hana’s voice still stinging their hearts. Naru decides that the best way to deal with this is to practice and make sure their performance will be flawless, even if they’re down a member. The final scene is of Hana and her mother on the plane; her mother asks what Hana is holding, and she explains its a naruko, something that gave her a dream and a beautiful encounter.
And the credits roll.
Wow… this was a very emotional ep and I will say that I felt the feels hard. Not to the point of Snow Halation or ep 11 of Love Live, but this was close. I know many watched this and Ao Haru Ride ep 11 on the same day, maybe even back to back, and man… I’ve gotta hand it to you for doing that. Both eps are very feels heavy and I know for a fact I could not watch them both like that. So the big question now is: will Hana return and if so, how? The preview has Hana in there, but I’m not sure how she’ll be able to travel across the world to reach them in time. Monday is almost here so the wait is nearly over, but I know that as amazing as the final ep will be, it’ll probably also have a lot of feels too.
Let’s take a look at some screen shots from this one.
And there you have it, Hanayamata ep 11. It was a very emotional ride through this ep. I found it harder on the second and third time I watched this for the review and screen shots. This anime has really been one I’ve enjoyed looking forward to each week as it’s really got a lot of heart and soul to it. I’ll be really sad when it ends on Monday as it’s one of my favorites this season for sure. How did you handle watching ep 11? Did the feels get you? Were you brave enough to watch Ao Haru Ride right after (or before) this? How do you think Hana will make her return in the finale? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Up next we’ve reached the final stop in Rail Wars, my review for the finale will be up soon, I’m just waiting on FFF for their release. I’ll have the fall preview post up soon with all the plans for reviews and such. It’s a big post and I’m really excited to show you guys what new and exciting things that will be happening here on Anime Corps are.
So to get ourselves ready for the finale, here’s what to expect!
I’ll cya in the next post!
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