“Ayano Hanesaki, a first-year student at Kanagawa Prefectural Kitakomachi High School, has a badminton ability able to surpass others effortlessly yet avoids playing the sport. She meets Nagisa Aragaki, a third-year student who practices day and night aiming to become the best player in Japan. Encouraged by coach Tachibana Kentarou, supported by club colleagues, and fired up by various rivals, the two engage in their youth and adored sport so thrilling like a shuttle flown at high speed!” -MAL News
Hanebado’s story had a good range, while it does focus mainly on Ayano and Nagisa it also allowed other characters to have their moments as well. The technicalities of badminton that Hanebado touches on allows the audience to not only appreciate the sport but also see the different play styles that each of the characters has. The curveball in the Hanebado story was Ayano’s relationship with her mother, Uchika, while it does shape Ayano’s character and personality it seemed to be disconnected from the rest of the story. Only a few characters, six to be exact, that even knows about Uchika’s and her relationship with Ayano. Uchika’s presence didn’t seem very meaningful or integrated and if she was omitted from the story itself, the story would stay the same.
Artwork & Animation:
The art and animation were both great and awful. The opening is what caught my attention as first, the fluidity of the movements the attracts nature of the visuals had a very artistic touch until it looped the animation again. Besides the opening recycling animation, the anime had a hard time producing high-quality art and animation consistently. There were times where it was stunning and dynamic, articulating both the movement of the human body as well as the scene around the characters and then there were times when faces weren’t even drawn correctly. Hanebado took a nosedive when there was a sudden art style changed change between episodes 11 and 12. It left an awkward moment that took away the intensity of the final match.
As the main characters, Ayano and Nagisa is a good amount of screen time and while Nagisa’s character has a very logical approach to development Ayano’s is quite the opposite. Ayano’s character development seems almost random with the motive starting with “I don’t wanna play badminton” to “I have to win to be a part of the team” then to “who cares about my mom” and then “I’m better than everyone here” and finally “I want to beat Nagisa!”. Along with the constant motive change, there’s is also a sporadic personality change. Nagisa, on the other hand, is a much more simple and thoughtful character. Overcoming her insecurity of wanting to be stronger and focusing on believing in herself and supporting her team made her an easy fan favorite. There is a good development around all the characters, though some of it’s implied, it allows the cast to continue to be interesting and allows room for them to grow.
Sound (OST & Voice Acting):
The soundtrack doesn’t stand out too much. The opening and ending themes both has the high energy that showcases the energy that Hanebado gives off, both backed up with great artwork.
This was a love-hate type of show for me when the animation was good, it was GOOD. So good, in fact, it had me all excited and pumped up for each match! But then I would lose interest when it came to Ayano’s character development, but then an interesting new character would show up, and the art would go back to potato quality art.
Overall: Score 6
Hanebado started off with a bang, opening the season with dynamic animation and colorful artwork, only to let the audience down with a series of sloppy artwork, sporadic character development, and uneventful drama.
Best Girl: Christensen Connie
As the cutest character with the most meaningful development, Connie easily takes the spot as best girl. She almost fell into the same cycle that Ayano did but after one loss realizes her mistake and does her best to fix them.