Posted by SuperMario on 24 July 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hanebado!

Hanebado goes full drama this week, in fact it’s so dramatic that it sucks out all the fun of it. Hanebado just doesn’t know how to handle over-the-top character, resulted in them riding the plot in a contrived fashion. Last week we had Kaoruko who is basically a sore thumb, this week Conny serves basically the same purpose – a destined rival to Ayano. The show doesn’t reveal it yet, but it’s quite clear she’s the girl that Ayano’s mother trained, and judging from the way she was looking for a match against Ayano, I can say that there’s some jealousy issue here (most likely: “you’re a prodigy, Conny, but your sister’s Ayano was more of a natural talent” kind of stuff). In any case, Conny wants to showcase how much she wants to take down our girl that she effectively goes against the spirits of double match and even the spirits of sport itself. In a double, teamwork is one of the most important factors. Playing solo not only shows how short-sighted you are, but also inform us that you don’t respect the sport. Damn, I might sound harsh here but it’s irritating to see a character tries to make her point by stop playing altogether. You leave a bad taste to my mouth, Conny.

The pacing of this episode, likewise, is way too slow. It takes a while until the match begins and they even cut the first Nagisa’s match. Everything feels forced from the get-go, start with the club finds out about the other school’s team, to getting Ayano to supermarket so that she can meet Conny, to the dramatic way Connie acts (dropping the coins, really? It’s so cliché now). There are two more potential conflicts rising. One of them is about Isehara, the younger sister of the team, who seems to have a beef with Ayano. I’m guessing for now it’s because everyone regards the lefty as talent that it annoys her, not from jealousy but more about recognition issues. Second, Ayano is trying hard to harmonize with the team. Both of these plot threads don’t particularly excite me to be honest. Hanebado works the best when it can integrate personal drama into the sport. Last week’s Elena feeling left out, for example, sheds another angle to her relationship with Ayano. Using bold characters who force her way into the story just ain’t gonna make it. To make it worse, the match animation doesn’t wow you like it did in the first few episodes.

I swear it’s the curse of the 4th episode in effect (usually when the show is at its lowest point), but I’m a bit worried that this going to be the direction Hanebado will take for the rest of the season. Nagisa this week is relegated to one-note character, Ayano has a compelling backstory but her bland personality can’t carry the show, and all the subtlety in characterization the show did so well in first few episodes is replaced by contrived Drama (with a capital D – also stand for Dumb Danish Damsel or Do Double Deferently!!!). I hope it can turn around because this episode becomes something that I fear the most: a generic high school sport anime.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar Evaluation says:

    This may be one of those rare instances where I’m gonna be less harsh than the blog author.

    While I do agree with the sentiments and opinions presented here, I think the author is too harsh on the show. This isn’t a sophisticated show, it’s a popcorn sport drama with a keen understanding of its characters and this episode isn’t worse than the rest, once we accept the show for what it is.

    My suspension of disbelief was dispelled from the very start (pro-lesbo-mom leaving her kid? random Olympic dude teaching random school sport club, childhood traumas resolved with 5 min pep talks?). Heck, random pink narcissistic twin tail genius character wasn’t enough of the indication, so now we have obsessive blond twin tail genius step-sister on top (I like both these characters btw).

    They’ll all be friends soon and that catharsis is what the show is going for.

    For me it’s a slight return to old school anime that often overlooked some aspects of characterization/storytelling and didn’t try to be super realistic, which made them more interesting than all this modern overdone crap. What’s not to love? Twintails, lovable kuudere support characters, pervasive-yet-very-subtle fanservice, good animation, great character design, artistic (see op/ed). I cant complain at all.

    I think the series is good (not great, but good) and avoids lots of problems with Kyoani-like slice of life shows and sport shows. Basically Scorching Ping Pong Girls with mommy issues. That’s good enough for me.

    PS: the protagonist looks like combination of KanKolle’s Fubuki and Bamboo Blade’s Tamaki. I keep expecting their voices in my head every time she speaks.

    • SuperMario SuperMario says:

      Believe me, the drama presented in the first 3 episodes totally grabbed me. It continually redefines our characters and successfully involve the supporting ones to the characters’ conflicts (like those drop-out senpai). Then we have the drama for this week which is too forced, and it’s pink twin-tail girl’ issue all over again.

      Also, how is Connie so sure that she gets to play with Ayano that she comes all the way from Denmark, attending one high school, monitor that school to have a practice match with Ayano’s school… and Ayano herself wasn’t sure if she’s going to join the club until just recently. Aaahhhh

      Okay, maybe what you said, regarding the show as Scorching Ping Pong Girls with mommy issues will temper my expectation.

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