Hanebado! (Summer 2018) – A Psychological Sports Drama

I don’t really have anything towards badminton regardless I really liked this sport for a long, long time. But, I don’t know why I’m not into it now. Yet, I watch everything as long as it can so, why not? “Hanebado!”, at first, really caught me in the first episode. But, there is something at the bottom in my heart that I can’t express it. The first episode introduces all of your favorite characters including Nagisa, Ayano, Riko, Erena, and upcoming side characters. The prologue starts with something similar to your sports anime tropes especially “Haikyu!!”. Nagisa and Ayano, at their backstory, competed in a badminton championship. However, Nagisa lost heavily and Ayano didn’t feel victorious so her opponent as well.

As the story progresses, they finally meet again in one school and one club. Regardless of the story is about Ayano, sometimes, there is a transition from the point of view of two main characters including Nagisa. Ayano, when it comes to badminton, is a sociopathic with a beast-like mode. Nagisa, on the first hand, is more into winning and trying hard. She is more human if you compare it with Ayano. When it comes to badminton, she is the most competitive player you’ve ever met. Ayano, on the other hand, played by her psychology in which her mother motivated her, a former badminton player. But, it’s just the worst mom ever.

Besides Ayano and Nagisa, there is some of the underlook supporting characters which everybody doesn’t give a freak about them. The show, in the end, was never serious nor focused on other characters. Like for example, Connie, Ayano’s childhood “friend”. She is more like a douchebag at the time of her first introduction. But the more story progress, I don’t know why she suddenly became an out-of-character just because she wanted to be recognized as a sibling relationship for Ayano.

There is Riko as a side character and supporting character especially to Nagisa. Her character development isn’t too highlighted besides she is a best friend of Nagisa. She only gets a small role so that her impression seems forgettable. There are some of the male characters including Kentarou, Yukiteru, and Gaku. But as I said from the beginning, people don’t really give care on them or maybe except Kentarou as an important supporting character.

“Hanebado!”, from the start, was a show about Nagisa and Ayano. The chemistry between the two characters really overlooked in such a way. In some arc, the story focuses on Nagisa. But the more it goes, the story focuses on Ayano. In the end, everything collided into one. In my opinion, I’ve predicted that it would end like that from prologue to epilogue. Nagisa encouraged Ayano to play back to badminton. Because Ayano has more than enough potential but she should waste that. Both of them are completely, sometimes, act different personalities. Where can I say this show as psychological? Or some way? I don’t know. It’s just a decent sports anime.

For a sports show compared to some other anime, “Hanebado!” is rather quite real to be said as a sport. For example, the development of characters and their skill. It’s noticeable, of course, even for Ayano as overpowered here, the show always shows her weaknesses. There is also Nagisa who has to deal with herself and Ayano as well. This show as well shows quite strong drama elements. In addition to mixing with psychology, this anime carries a strong emotional feeling enough to its characters. But, it’s not too highlighted thanks to the lack of supporting characters as their trigger of the main characters. Although it seems to be in several episodes, it doesn’t change anything.

“Hanebado!” has one of the best production quality visuals at the season. There are so many motion captures included when it comes to characters movement. Every movement in this anime feels real with good support by the cinematography. The gesture, the 3D motion, and the character designs gave a clean-look from each character. It’s very much impressive but something is up here. I think, this show has a demographic for men. Although there was no filler and it was already visible at first, it was most of the characters, the key was that some of the design characters were given huge breasts. I mean, there is no sport bra in this anime, I guess. But overall, the art is very impressive and has a lot of energy. The opening and ending theme songs contain a work of art. It’s definitely worth watching when it comes to this.

“Hanebado!” grabs my first attention but there isn’t much potential when it comes to story and characters. Plus, the show mixes a lot of psychological and drama things. I don’t mind that but the show isn’t too logical when it comes to that. I understand how everyone feels if they lose badly or whatever but this show put emotional stress to play with you. On the other hand, this show is recommended to you who love badminton or maybe not. It has the potential of a decent narrative yet great visual animation. I hope, this show still continues with even bigger stakes on it.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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