A Smash To The Feels – ‘Hanebado!’ Episode 3 Review

What’s the show? Hanebado! Episode 3.

So how are things in Sports anime this week? Very little sports, lots of character development some feels—quite a serious episode all things considered.

Right… so how do you feel about that? About this being a third episode of pretty serious character development over any kind of tournament sports action?

You’d hope so.

Yes. I’m fine with it—I mean I’m surprised, but I guess this show wants to do things different from the like two other sports show’s I’ve seen and are thus comparing it to. I’m not an expert on this genre at all, I’m just going off my limited experience, I thought by now we’d be talking about ‘the road to nationals’ or some such…

You still seem kinda annoyed though… am I picking up on something here or just imagining it? It’s just I had myself prepared for a sports anime and it’s had very little sports action and lots of sports-adjacent material. As I said, I’m fine with it—just surprised.

This is a sports anime right?

So what kind of character development do we get here? Well we finally get the answer as to why Ayano doesn’t want to play Badminton anymore—turns out she’s been a hard-working Badminton prodigy since she was just a young kid working alongside her mother—a pro Badminton player herself—to be the very best. During a particularly hard fought match in middle school against her insane pink-haired rival Kaoruko, Ayano loses and her mother just straight up leaves and never comes back!

Ayano’s mother is the worst. I’m sure they’ll have some BS storyline about her mother coming back and saying “I left so you could learn to be better by yourself”. Do not want.

What? That seems severe. Yeah… I mean I don’t know what we’re meant to make out of this situation other than Ayano’s mother is a total bitch. And to add insult to injury Ayano’s mother is apparently coaching another girl (as seen in a magazine article) and is very happy. Which as you can imagine doesn’t do wonder’s for Ayano’s feelings of self-worth.

Ouch. But it’s okay because Ayano has good friends—as it is now I kinda like Ayano’s friend Elena the most out of any of the characters, she’s so supportive of her friend despite never having had the sporting ability herself and I can totally relate to that—the not having any kind of ability thing, not the being a supportive friend…

Top tip from best (supportive) girl.

Self burn? Yeah… yeah…

And what was this about a rival for Ayano? Kaoruko is a weird pink-haired girl who looks like an Uma Musume reject and has an obnoxious personality… I mean I guess they need something of an antagonist for Ayano but she really doesn’t feel like she belongs in this series given how ~serious~ it’s been… but then again I guess there’s eccentric people in real life so I suppose I can deal with it for now.

All she needs is ears on the top of her head and she could be a horse girl.

So how do you feel about the show so far? Watching it week-to-week it can be easy to take for granted how good of a show it is when it’s not delivering every element one might expect of a sports anime. It’s gorgeously animated and has a great incidental soundtrack, as well as (some) terrifically emotive performances. I think once the season is done it’ll be a show that holds up better under a binge watch than week-to-week but I’m still happy to keep watching this show as it is an overall enjoyable experience.

Good end.

Previous Hanebado! Reviews:

Sports Anime + Cute Girls = A Better Sports Anime – Episode 1 Review
Emotional Flashbacks & Sausages on Sticks – Episode 2 Review


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9 comments

  1. The pink girl is a silly rival, isn’t she?
    To be honest, I think it gives balance to a show that some people were thinking was a bit melodramatic. It’s nice when an antagonist is distinct from the protagonists…
    Almost as nice as when an antagonist is eerily similar to the protagonist!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elena became a standout character for me after this episode. What a great and supportive friend, who while still clearly a being a bit selfish in wanting to force her friend to be happy, we know that she knows her well enough that she wouldn’t try this if it wouldn’t work.

    As for the pink hair girl, I unironically love how cartoonish and anime she is in comparison to the very down-to-earth cast. It’s like she got lost on the way to another sports anime that was more ridiculous.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Think about what she has done so far. She wasn’t being malicious, and I am sure she is not aware if the psychological damage she is dealing to Hanesaki. She’s susceptible to crushes, and is the first person to have the “pink lovey background” blush, while everybody else just has normal reactions. She SNEEZES on her opponent so they can fight equally, not because she wants to cheat. So dumb!

        It’s hilarious.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. As someone who is a fan of sports and sports series in general (also dramas), I think this change of pace is great. Yeah, actiony sports bits are cool and all, but if I don’t care about the characters involved, it’s just that–cool actiony bits that are entertaining in the short term, but not necessarily memorable.

    I very much enjoy seeing our character backstory explained early like this. Honestly, it might have bored me if we didn’t find out Hanesaki’s mom left until midway into the tournament because it’d mean the narrative was flowing like 90% of other sports series out there.

    An action-packed sports series is good, but a sports series that has genuinely diverse, developed, and likable characters–even if the action is a little more sparse–can be great.

    Oh, also, I also like Kaoruko’s cartoonish contrast to the rest of the cast. She reminds me of the “satruday morning cartoon” type villains, which are great in their own way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I kind of felt like this episode skipped a few steps, to be honest. The “resolution of Ayano’s worries” felt like it just happened “because we say it did.” They play a game in the park and everything’s better. It’s not like Nagisa actually talked to Ayano, or they came to some understanding. It’s not even like Elena talked to her. It more just seemed like “people showed up, and now I feel better”. And yeah, that can happen, but it doesn’t really feel like any sort of resolution or impetus to change. I don’t think I missed anything in there, so I was left being fairly disappointed in the way this all went down.

    And honestly, I felt like Kaoruko was a ridiculous and stupid addition to the show. Tone Deaf “rival” who just invades their practice and beats down Ayano more so that she can pump up her own ego? It just felt dumb, and completely out of sorts with everything that happened. And honestly, I blame that part for taking away time from what Ayano’s *actual* problem was, so we got the papered-over non-resolution at the end, instead of an actual breakthrough for Ayano. I don’t know if they felt like they needed to get some playing action in there, or it’s just what the writers and director thought was a good idea, but I felt like the whole episode just didn’t work well, nowhere like episode 2 did. Episode 2 was a great example of how to have that kind of breakthrough that a character needs, and also in showing how the others around Nagisa were affected, with the characters outside the convenience store scenes. Episode 3 was none of that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hard to disagree with what you say–sometimes it feels like this show wants to be deep and meaningful but at the same time doesn’t want to commit to it too much in fear of scaring away its supposed sole demographic (young men)–in Japan at least. It’s demographic is much broader in the West if the internet/bloggers are anything to go by. Also I feel like Kaoruko’s existence and that scene you mention specifically is catering to that very thing too.

      Like

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