I recently attended a screening of Hanayamata (ハナヤマタ, also stylized as HaNaYaMaTa); Sentai Filmworks was screening the first four episodes. I had my doubts at first, reading the series description, but really, this series is all about the emotions of the girls involved, their friendships, their petty jealousies, their self-esteem, and the pains of discovering who you are that come with adolescence.
It has a very soap opera quality to it, and the ornate traditional Japanese dance style that the girls decide to learn is really coincidental to the story itself. In much the same fashion as boys' sports anime, this show is all about the characters and their emotional lives and emotional growth as people. I really grew quickly attached to all of the girls and wanted to see what happened to them next. Sentai Filmworks, in a stroke of brilliant marketing, set up a booth outside the theater and sold a limited number of Blu-Ray and DVD editions of the series. Alas, they ran out of both by the time I reached the head of the line after the screening. They were also selling t-shirts featuring Esdeth and Akame from Akame ga Kill! (Japanese: アカメが斬る! Hepburn: Akame ga Kiru!?, literally meaning "Akame Slashes!"). I was interested in these as well, but they were only available up to size XL. I joked with the Sentai Filmworks staff that they needed to study the average North American Otaku and realize that "Japan sizes" just won't cut it for us. The were apologetic and advised me to come to the next screening and they will bring more diverse shirt sizes and more copies of HaNaYaMaTa. I nodded, but really, they should've brought more copies to sell because even though they were full price I was so emotionally invested in the story by that point I would've thrown down for it so I could rush home and finish watching it while the passion still burned hotly within my breast. By now the ardor has cooled somewhat. I want HaNaYaMaTa, as much as I also want Beyond The Boundary, but I can wait for the prices to drop a little on Amazon first. Beyond the Boundary uses a Dojikko (ドジっ子) lit. (adorably) "clumsy girl" as the main female protagonist. Her tragic past and klutzy nature make her immediately a sympathetic figure and inspire feelings of wanting to protect her in the male viewing audience. They're both visually gorgeous shows but also very deeply emotionally engaging for me personally, which is the most important part.