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Hanebado! - Review

Hanebado! is a sports anime series by LIDENFILMS that is based on a manga series.

It features a cast of characters from Kitakomachi High School's badminton club. In the club, there are two girls, Nagisa Aragaki and Ayano Hanesaki.

Back in junior school, Nagisa was utterly thrashed by Ayano 0-21 in a badminton match. Nagisa has since been training very hard at the high school's badminton club to make up for her crushing defeat by Ayano, while Ayano is being pulled by her friend and classmate to join the same club.

Their school's badminton club recently hired a former Olympic badminton player Kentarou Tachibana who could see the potential in both players. With the encouragement from Kentarou and the club's members, they spur Nagisa to overcome her difficulties and to get Ayano to pick up badminton as a sport again.

The premise from the first few episodes serves to interest viewers where it features Nagisa training very hard until most of the club's members have left due to her harsh training regimen and uncompromising attitude. Ayano, while a badminton ace is somehow reluctant to pick up the sport again after giving up on it.

Promo video on YouTube by TOHO animation チャンネル

As an anime series that is released in 2018, the environmental sound effects and artwork quality of the anime series are great where each footstep, the sound of a badminton racket hitting the shuttlecock, the shuttlecock whistling through the air, the loud squeaking when badminton players are running on the smooth surface of a badminton court, the thudding when a player or shuttlecock hits the ground, the shimmering water in a river, rainfall and sweat dripping down in the badminton court look pretty and impressive.

A major unexpected change in one of the main characters, a surprise in a UFO catcher machine, and the constant physical and psychological challenges the characters face in the badminton court late in the series helps to keep this series interesting.

Snippets of best moments in the series on YouTube by Levvy

However, this anime series doesn't really bring out the character's growth and development, or the drama aspect of the main or supporting characters. Large parts of each episode mainly focus on training and playing competitively in a badminton court. Although there are some funny moments in the series, the facial expressions of a few extra characters such as a convenience store clerk, the linesman, and the badminton court cleaning boy are almost non-existent which make them look like robots in comparison to the main characters which suggests not enough attention to detail has been placed into it.

Overall, Hanebado! is a sports anime series with a bit of ecchi fan service in a modern Japanese setting. The series touches on the struggles two competitive badminton players face in the court and off the court with very good environmental artwork and sound effects. At the same time, the lack of attention on some minor characters, and the lack of focus on character interactions and development in favour of much of the scenes occuring in the badminton court may make this series less interesting as a result. All these make the anime series decent with some interesting and funny moments in each episode.

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