First Impression: HANEBADO!

HANEBADO! is a sports anime about badminton, a sport you don’t often hear people talking about all that much. Based on a manga of the same name, the series follows Ayano Hanesaki who is naturally gifted at badminton. She starts out unmotivated, but eventually gets motivated from the drive and intensity of Nagisa Aragaki. The episode begins by diving into badminton action, making me actually interested in watching a badminton match. Throughout the active match (with various usages of slow motion to emphasize how close everything is), we’re seeing inside of the heads of the characters through internal dialogue. We don’t know really know who’s speaking at first, but one of them is lacking in motivation and unsure why she’s playing. Turns out, it’s both of the girls. After the opening theme, it flashes forward to everyone at school as you’re formally introduced to the characters as they come to the badminton club.

Overall, I liked the episode. It hit a lot of the same beats as Haikyuu!!! for me, except with a female cast. There were some cringeworthy moments, including a few unnecessary butt shots as well as the fact that the girls were first motivated to try out for tennis because of cute boys. No, really. But the rest of the episode had that heart and intensity you expect from a sports anime. Over the top emotions about their love of the sport and intense action during matches/practices. They present Nagisa and Hanesaki as two sides of the same coin. Both are incredibly good at badminton. Hanesaki is naturally gifted, fast, and has very quick response times. Nagisa has worked her fingers to the bone to get the skill level she has. She is dedicated, determined, and hard on herself and others. Hanesaki is shy, meek, and not really all that interested. She may have enjoyed playing for fun, but the sport of it does not seem to interest her. Seeing how the two of them grow as individuals and as players could be interesting.

stardf29: Badminton is a really fun sport, both to watch and to play (not that I’m any good at it). The nature of the sport is tight and fast-paced; every hit looks like one that is impossible to return, except somehow the other player manages to return it. At high-level play, rallies look like acrobatics with the way players dash and stretch to reach that birdie, and it really is awesome to watch. I say all this because, from what we see of a match early on, the animation absolutely nails the feel of a badminton match. If we get more matches of that caliber in both animation and scripting, that alone would make this show one worth looking at. That said, the character drama behind all of this is solid, too, and I’m curious as to why exactly Ayano quit badminton, and the potential she and Nagisa have to build each other up.

HANEBADO! can be legally streamed at Crunchyroll.


4 thoughts on “First Impression: HANEBADO!

  1. Since it has some haikyuu vibes, i might watch. Un-necessary butt shots turn me off from a show nearly always but I trust your reviews so i might give tge show a shot. Thanks for posting!!

    1. Thanks. It’s got female leads so, sometimes, there are butt/boob shots. Also, I saw a comment online that is fairly accurate – these girls need sport’s bras. That said, the characters are interesting and I like it so far.

      If you do check it out, let us know what you think!

  2. I took a look at this pilot based on your review and actually really liked it. I think in large part that’s because the show presents a kind of Salieri scenario with the two main leads. Nagisa is starting to crack from the realization that all of her hard work means absolutely *nothing* in the face of somebody like Hanesaki, who hasn’t worked half as hard as she has and yet outclasses her completely. Hanesaki meanwhile gains no joy from her natural talent at badminton. It’s implied from one shot that her very reason for playing has been taken from her.

    Nagisa’s fall into despair, at that young age, presents an interesting perspective from which to view a person who would otherwise be seen as tormenting the other characters Kamoshida-style. She simply wants to, but doesn’t feel she can, get good enough to overcome raw talent by force of will. These aren’t characterizations we normally see in sports anime protagonists, so I find it pretty intriguing. :]

    1. Wow! Seeing our review getting people to watch shows is high praise indeed! Hope you continue to enjoy the series. The first episode definitely hooked me with the characterizations, as you said. I hope it keeps its focus on the characters and the sport, with less focus on butt shots and boobs that move in ways nature never intended.

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