Hanayamata – Seeking Happiness Alone or with a Group

[HorribleSubs] Hanayamata - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_02.01_[2014.09.16_23.06.21]

One of the running themes of current airing anime, Hanayamata; deals with the idea of seeking “happiness” alone or with a group. Yosakoi – the unique Japanese dance, is something I just somehow immediately likened it to our hobbies of anime and games.

[HorribleSubs] Hanayamata - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.16_[2014.09.16_23.11.21]

“I want to do something together with other people. The sense of unity I saw in their dance when I was a kid was amazing. Dozens of people, all staying in sync and trusting one another. Comic book heroes look awesome so I like them a lot, too, but they’re all fighting loneliness. I want to have a connection with someone. I want someone to understand me, you know? I’m not a very strong person. I suppose that’s why I like superheroes, though.”
~by Hana

“Happiness” is quite a subjective thing, and there are dozens of way to achieve it. One of them, is certainly immersing yourself into your favorite past time. When you draw that idea to some of the characters, you can see that most of them are struggling between the two too. Naru found “happiness” in her fairy tales, and idolized the princesses she read in the story. This is however, a subjective hobby that she only immersed herself with. Likewise, and particularly the case with Hana, she likes reading superhero comics, but again, it is a hobby she spent alone and there are no interactions at all – which is one of her driving motivations in Yosakoi. Tami found “happiness” in getting on her father’s good terms by being a top model student while disregarding anything that she herself might had wanted.

I think the theme is telling us this – the importance of a connection within a group. There is nothing wrong with seeking happiness on your own, but seeking happiness with a group is just as important. Yosakoi, in this case, is the source of connection, between all of them. Connecting to one another through a hobby is an especially gratifying experience, and is certainly a more entertaining experience than just immersing into it on your own.

[HorribleSubs] Hanayamata - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.55_[2014.09.16_23.02.07]

Aforementioned, it seems to remind me of our fandom and our respective interactions in the visual culture. Anime, on one hand, is a medium you watched, and aside from perhaps some discussions, there are minimal interactions with the fandom. Sure enough, there might be those rare anime like Evangelion and I dare say, Mahouka, which propels heated debate whether for the good or bad, but in general, I feel interactions, unlike things like games, are still somehow limited. This had gotten a lot better ever since the emergence of internet however, and discussions can take place anywhere as long as you have a stable internet connection.

Though, games on the other hand, they don’t just inspire discussions but also interactivity-mostly in the form of multiplayer. Instead of fighting against hordes of AIs, fighting against human opponents is a much more entertaining in a way that you are fighting against someone not moving in a predetermined way, and strategy can changed at any time depending on the situation. Furthermore, for a better sense of camaraderie, there are also games where you team up to fight a common foe, or perhaps with games where you form a team and fight against other human teams, some obvious examples being DoTA and the likes. Ironically, I’m not really a multiplayer person. Although, most of the multiplayer functions I came across in my 3DS looks pretty cool.

This need for interaction is perhaps why the fandom is so particular with conventions. I had never join one myself, but I assume that you would definitely be able to root yourself more strongly into the fandom; developing a more stronger sense of unity with fellow people share the same hobbies and accept you for who you are. And indeed, despite what I said, there are so many conventions amassing worldwide, it’s actually difficult to describe anime as a non-interactive hobby by now.

[HorribleSubs] Hanayamata - 07 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.26_[2014.09.16_23.16.29]

What do you think about this theme of Hanayamata?

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This entry was posted by Kai.

13 thoughts on “Hanayamata – Seeking Happiness Alone or with a Group

  1. First, you should try board games. More particularly, “eurogame” style games (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German-style_board_game), and stay AWAY from “Hasbro” and “Milton-Bradly” style games.

    But, anyway, I think you’ve done a good job developing one of the main themes of Hanayamata. In fact, it immediately brings up a comparison for me, to that of K-On. Obstinately it’s much the same, a group of kids get together around a common activity and become close friends as a result. However, Hanayamata seems much more focused on that activity than K-on was, and at the same time has much more ‘drama’ involved. It would be interesting to see some sort of comparison between how people view these two shows.

    • Not sure if anyone’s even interested in it here, but it looks like neat. Used to play chess a lot with my friends but no longer atm.

      Your comparison is interesting, because I normally don’t compare such anime to K-ON. If any anime with a “cute girls doing cute thing and become close friends” is comparable to K-ON, there are obviously a lot of other examples with similar idea. I do agree that Hanayamata is more focused with it though, and K-ON’s more laid back, and not accounting the few last episodes of S2, K-ON’s certainly less dramatic. Not sure if there are similar themes we can dig out of K-ON, and I certainly wasn’t looking for them much when I was watching it before, lol.

      • “chess”? No, not even a close comparison. They are an entirely different type of game.

        To me it seems reasonable to ‘group’ Hanayamata with K-On and Manabi Straight!, where much of the story’s background is around a shared activity, as compared to shows like Azumanga Daioh, Kin’iro Mosaic or Yuyushiki where there is no such shared activity. To me they just seem to have a very different feel.

  2. Aw I love this show… Hana is so cool

    I think you can get the most of your school life when you can find such companions and do something ambitious (ambitious in a sense of creating something) everyone enjoys. I like the bonds between the girls and how they develop a deep friendship through their progress and cheerful training. It don’t have to be a dance though ^^ Nevertheless no physical things, like watching anime together or discussions about anime are not really ambitious and actually more fleeting memories, but it’s fun when you find people with the same taste, still the majority watches it alone.

    When reading through several anime boards I come to the conclusion that anime fans aren’t all friendly people.
    Sure boards are playground for lots of trolls, kids and the anonymity is the reason for some harsher comments.
    But I’m sure people that visit conventions are more open minded about the different kinds of anime. I’ve never visit one to be honest.

    I found Tami’s relationship with her father so creepy when Ii thought about it XD

    • “Hana is so cool”

      Hmm.. this is interesting. At this point, I think we are familiar with how the Japanese doesn’t seem to mind “cuteness” while Americans are more along the lines of “cool”. I just thought it’s an objective observation up to this point, but it seems that the anime even acknowledged it (There was a scene in the later episodes of Hanayamata where the girls talked slightly about it)

      Certainly. It’s the sense of camaraderie developed within a group of people working together towards the same goal^^ Well, I’m not sure about the rest, but personally, I indeed always watch it alone. I seen in twitter that they are some “skype get-together” where they watch the anime at the same time while interacting via skype. A pretty cool idea and also another possible thing to do with the emergence of internet (aside from just physically meeting up together and watching in the same room).

      Not all are friendly, and not all are unfriendly either. Depends on which boards, I guess. I was involved in a MAL “discussion” once where I only just innocently asked “What anime is this?” with a picture attached, and was belittled almost immediately for not watching it since it’s a pretty mainstream anime. Since then, I haven’t been too active in MAL discussions xD Animesuki seems like they are a better bunch as far as discussion goes, but seeing as how I’m not too active there either, I can’t say for sure.

      Papacon :3

      • It’s been my experience (which goes back to the early 90s) that you probably won’t find any *public* internet forum without jerks and trolls. Regardless of topic. And, really, while some of the posters and conversations on MAL can be ‘rough’, I’ve seen much worse places. (I recall one [b]technically[/b] oriented forum – where many of us actually knew each other – in one topic several of us got into a debate about whether you could track a dragon with something like a sidewinder air to air missile that got VERY ugly…)

        Personally, I spend a fair amount of time on MAL, but very little time in the forums. In particular, I don’t spend any time in anything other than episode forums, and then not very long if they are ‘active’. Mostly, I’ve identified a few people I can have reasonable or even enjoyable conversations with and mostly exchange posts on our profile ‘walls’. I’ve also identified a few dozen folks who’s interest and opinions I appreciate and [s]stalk them[/s] snoop around their lists to see what I might want to pick up. There ARE a lot of good folks on MAL, and it is an awesome resource that I occasionally contribute to (I’ve added a couple of shows, and I occasionally correct or add to show descriptions and details), but yeah the moderators have a thankless job that’s for sure.

        • Foo. And MAL lets me edit my comments, so I could have gone back and fixed my attempt to use markup tags around some of my words that don’t work on this board :D

        • “several of us got into a debate about whether you could track a dragon with something like a sidewinder air to air missile”
          What a discussion.. xD

          Yea, now that when I recall, MAL’s not the end of it. I had some several fair share of “troubles” around some other boards too, one of them also involving mangafox. I created an RP setting and one of the participant didn’t like my setting and ended up arguing. Also turned up pretty ugly and in the end, the RP never started.. :\

          The only things I ever do in MAL nowadays is:
          – Go to MAL
          – Updates newer episodes watched
          – Stares at my profile

          And that’s about it xD If I felt like it, I might visit the latest episode discussion for an anime I watched, and tried making a comment or two; however, usually laid-back and unconstructive.

      • Well, Hana is of course a cute character alone through her appearance, but certain parts of her personality make her cool ^^ I love her endless energy and how she can approach others without getting shy.

        This kind of watching together is probably interesting and very close to a personal meeting.

        MAL is quite the trollhouse, I once was on a more elite board with a pretty active community you could collect virtual stamps of the anime you have watched, but after some time all these rules made me sick, for example every post had to have a certain length *blah* I enjoy the exchange on blogs a lot more these days.

  3. I haven’t watch Hanayamata, but I think I understand where you’re coming from regarding the topic.

    Let’s just take anime as an example since we’re all anime fans. I started off watching anime with friends and it’s fun because we’ll all be shouting and laughing together. It definitely made me happy to be able to enjoy a medium I like with friends. We’ll have conversations about it and it sort of make us feel closer since we have something in common. Then after, I started watching anime on my own due to conflicting schedules. To be honest, it’s not as fun as watching with other people because I’ll be laughing alone. I don’t even bother shouting if there’s anything I don’t like. That’s not to say I’m not happy, but it’s more fun when shared with other people. Hence, the blogging begins.

    By the way, have you decided if you’re joining any conventions this year?

    • It’s certainly more fun exposing your thoughts verbally, and immediately with people around. Though twitter’s my alternative as far as that goes, lol. The short 140 character limit is great for quick, short thoughts. And blogging is where I got a lot more to talk about. Now that when I think about it, I’m sure if I watch Aldnoah Zero with my friends, we will probably be ranting about the ending, lol.

      Oh, about AFA. We decided not to go anymore. Me and my sis used too much money this year, and a lot of our friends couldn’t make it either. It feels like I just talk the talk at this point >_<

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