Sports Anime + Cute Girls = A Better Sports Anime – ‘Hanebado!’ Episode 1 Review

What’s the show? Hanebado! Episode 1.

And what’s it about? It’s about Badminton!

Wait, what? Sports?! But you ~dislike~ sports anime?! Why are you watching this? It’s women’s high school Badminton.

Ohh~ that explains everything… Excuse me? What exactly are you inferring by that?

*sports grunt*

That you’ll watch anything as long as it’s got cute anime girls in it. That is why you’re watching this particular sports anime and not any of the other ones that aired in previous anime seasons, right? For the record, I went into greater detail in my Scorching Ping Pong Girls review as to why I don’t tend to like male sports anime. But for those who don’t want to read it all the gist of it is, I grew up in a country where male athletes were idolised over every other career, that made me cynical and jaded towards all male sports to the point were I grew resentful of their existence. Also, women’s sports should be given equal focus in the media and by people in general—it’s not so hence why I gravitate towards it whenever it pops up in anime.

Also cute anime girls? Fine! Also cute anime girls, so sue me, I like to watch cute girls playing sport.

Can I play too?

Well as long as you admit it, we can get moving along… Finally…

So… badminton, eh? Not exactly the most exciting of sports. Well it’s no Tennis but I found what little we saw of the sport enjoyable enough, not to mention supremely well-animated. Aesthetically—and solely aesthetically I must stress—I got a bit of a Yuri on Ice vibe from this show.

“what little we saw”? Is there not much sports in this sports anime? The first episode is more focused on establishing the characters and the first arc’s conflict, I’m glad they’ve done it this way because I already empathise with a couple of characters—which is going to be essential for this show to be a success.

I don’t know, why does anyone do anything?

And who are the characters? Well there’s a few of them so I’ll just focus on the four I consider to be important to this episode. Nagisa is the captain of the school’s Badminton team, she’s a passionate girl who wants to be the best at Badminton at any cost, but she’s currently in a slump and is unfortunately taking out her frustrations on the rest of the team. Her vice captain is Satoko and she tries to support Nagisa as much as she can, she seems like a kind, supportive and level-headed girl. Then there’s Ayano who, for reasons that’ll be revealed eventually doesn’t like Badminton anymore despite being an absolute ace at it. And then… *sigh*

What? What is it with these female sports anime and having a male coach who makes the worst first impression imaginable and immediately has me disliking his character? First there was Trainer-san in Uma Musume and now there’s Kentarou in Hanebado!

Bad touch!

(Uma Musume’s not a sports anime) What did you say?!

Nothing, nothing… So what does he do wrong? Just like in Uma Musume, Kentarou goes ahead and touches a girl (her hands in this instance) without the girl’s permission without even introducing himself! I mean I get it, it’s “funny”, the ensuing comments on the court and later in the gym bring about the only levity in what is a pretty ~serious~ toned episode but if the only reason for it was for comedic effect then get a better sense of humour! It wasn’t funny in Pretty Derby (an actual comedy) and it’s only mildly amusing here because of the contrast to the rest of the episode.

Muskulls.

So are you not sold on his character then? Is this going to be ‘an issue’? No, it’s fine, he’s ~fine~ I’m just annoyed at the laziness of it from a writing perspective.

Fair enough. What’s your verdict on the first episode of Hanebado? It seems like simultaneously a lot happens and not much happens in this first episode, I do get a sense of where the show is going and I like the characters quite a bit as well as the character designs! It’s got a surprisingly strong emotional heart—even this early on which could bode well for the future or could become over-bearing if it’s constantly hammered home. It reminded me a bit of the only male sports anime I’ve watched, Haikyuu, which isn’t a bad thing—I’m just hoping this balances the sport/life elements of the show better than that show did, which it does seem to be doing so far. Also anyone who thinks this show is ecchi is incorrect, but then again I’ve got the highest possible tolerance for ecchi so maybe I’m not the best judge of these things! I will be continuing with this series and look forward to see how it develops!

Listen, it looks more ecchi in screenshots then it does in motion, I swear!

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23 comments

  1. I’m also aiming to watch this one weekly this season. I don’t get the feeling that it’s really ecchi, either–at least not relative to other shows like Keijo or what I assume Harkuana Receive will be. Hanebado was definitely the most appealing to me of the sports series this summer, and I agree that it looks pretty good (animation-wise), all things considered. I haven’t decided if I want to do an “Initial Impressions” post yet, but overall I’m excited to see where Hanebado goes.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “So… badminton, eh? Not exactly the most exciting of sports.”
    I’m going to have to rebut Query-師匠 there. Badminton can also get crazily intense (though admittedly not as bad as table tennis).
    And you are right, the graphics look excellent (in more ways than one) here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. To be fair I’ve never seen a real life match of Badminton I just assumed it was like a less exciting Tennis because I don’t see it shown on TV in Australia, should have known that was incorrect assumption!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Because the ‘ball’ is lighter, there are various interesting techniques like faking other than ramming or smashing the ‘ball’. Since the movement looks smooth when less exertion is involved, it does make the game seem less exciting. So you aren’t entirely wrong with your assumption!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well…this is a show I am not going to pick up. I just don’t like sports, and this doesn’t sound like an anime that will change my mind on that stance. Still…I really enjoyed your review on it, as I always do, and the caption on the last screenshot was priceless 😂😂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. TBH, I was bored by the time the opening kicked in, so I stopped watching. Just not a sports anime guy! Very much enjoyed your review, though. 😺

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There was a different feel to this from a lot of sports anime. I dislike the “I have to get better because I have to be the BEST, and I’ll get better by working harder than the other guy who’s working harder! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!” type of sports anime, and this one felt like it tried to subvert that in this first episode, by having Nagisa realize that her “You losers just don’t want it enough! Train harder!” system was the wrong way to go. Overall I liked the drama that it brought, where it wasn’t “drama because we have to have a good guy and a bad guy” but “why am I like this?” introspection. We’ll see how it goes from there.

    The other thing it was was a Yonex commercial. Seriously, I think I’ve seen explicit commercials from other athletic brands that had less obvious product placement and logo activation than this one had for Yonex. I mean, as someone who used to play tennis with a Yonex R-23, it’s cool, but maybe a little too much.

    And I think badminton is great. The show did a fairly good job with the way it’s a weirdly fast game.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’d never heard of the Yonex brand before (not surprising as I know next to nothing about sports)! I just assumed it was some reference to vaginas lol, glad I didn’t embarrass myself and put that in the review!

      Like

  6. I’ll have to marathon this, once it finishes airing. Many moons ago I used to play Badminton (poorly) with my chums. Female sport shows can be fun. In the past I have enjoyed Bamboo Blade, Keijo and Pretty Derby.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Loved how you did the conversation stuff in this; freaking brilliant! Wish I could write something like that but meh; not my style.

    This anime is probably going to be my favorite this season. Not that much romance anime with brunettes so I’ll be okay with this at least – the short girl has black hair, so that’s enough to hook me in.

    Liked by 1 person

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