Sibling Rivalry – ‘Hanebado!’ Episode 4 Review

Sibling Rivalry – An Anime QandA Review of ‘Hanebado!’ Episode 4

What’s the show? Hanebado! Episode 4.

So how are things in the world of sports anime? Ahh~ now this is more like the sports anime I was expecting when I signed up for this show!

You signed up for this show? It’s a figure of speech. Shut up.

At least coach didn’t touch any of the girls in unwanted ways this week!

So what about the show is ticking those ‘expected sports anime’ boxes now that it wasn’t before? As you may know I am in real life vehemently opposed to sports, it does absolutely nothing for me, from the recreational variety all the way up to the big leagues. But I do actually have one vaguely fond memory of sports in high school, I was the assistant manager of the reserve girl’s volleyball team and the monthly hour long bus trips to one of the fancier schools were actually kind of fun! Seeing the camaraderie and team bonding first hand was inspiring—even though I gave little to zero shits about Volleyball at all. This episode reminded me of that and that made me happy.


Right… so uh, what’s the episode about then exactly? Well after a bus trip where the team bond a little (ah, see what I did there—ties into my story, eh eh!) we end up at the training camp, only to find a prestigious school has booked the training camp too! But not without reason as they are keen to play against our girls in some practice matches! For ~reasons~ Ayano needs to go to the convenience store, which is miles away (and gets lost) and along the way she meets a light-hearted blonde haired exchange student from Denmark /also lost on her way to the convenience store. The two chat amiably enough until this new girl realizes that Ayano is her bitter sworn rival and the very reason she moved to Japan in the first place and…

And? My god this show is so silly.

Wherever will you find her…

Oh… I thought you were kinda getting into it a bit more what with that nostalgic preamble of yours? Don’t get me wrong—this show is entertaining as all heck, especially this episode but it does take a bit of straining the ‘ol suspension of disbelief, you know what I mean?

Not really but go on. Well it gets better/worse so I’ll elaborate. So Ayano plays doubles with Riko against new girl Connie and her “partner” except Connie doesn’t want to play doubles she wants to take Ayano on herself! And does so through brute force alone! It’s then we realize who this new blonde rival actually is—she’s the girl Ayano’s mother has been coaching abroad all this time! She is in essence the replacement Ayano! End credits!

After all these many… months.

Seems like a big deal then? It would be if it wasn’t so contrived and ham-fisted, but you know what? I kinda dig it! I really do! It’s overwrought and kinda soap opera-ish and it also just works! It’s at the very least more immediately attention grabbing than the episodes that have come before and it has the added benefit of being surprisingly tense! Which is almost all I could ask for in a show like this!

420 blaze it?

So as much as you derided the soap opera-stylings of this episode you’re still on board 100%? As if it’d be anything else, let’s be real. Sports or no sports, melodrama or no melodrama this is still ultimately cute girls doing (insert anything here) things and that’s enough for me! I’m a simple man with simple pleasures…

You got the “simple” part right that’s for damn sure… Tch!

Nagisa drew the cutest map for Ayano!

Previous Hanebado! Reviews:

Sports Anime + Cute Girls = A Better Sports Anime – Episode 1 Review
Emotional Flashbacks & Sausages on Sticks – Episode 2 Review
A Smash To The Feels – Episode 3 Review

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

A Smash To The Feels – An Anime QandA Review of ‘Hanebado!’ Episode 3

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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Emotional Flashbacks & Sausages on Sticks – ‘Hanebado!’ Episode 2 Review

Emotional Flashbacks & Sausages on Sticks – An Anime QandA Review of ‘Hanebado!’ Episode 2

What’s the show? Hanebado! Episode 2.

So what’s happening in this episode? More high-stakes emotional drama? Eh~ yes and no, the tone is certainly a bit more light-hearted than the first but it still has its fair share of meaty dramatic character moments—also, speaking of meat, there’s a lot of eating of sausages on sticks in this episode—as if I needed reminding that the target audience for this show (in Japan) is men!

I’m sorry, what? It’s fine~ meat is good after a workout *winky face*

Sometimes the meat is the workout!

I think you need to get out more, you’ve clearly got some issues to work through… being outside’s not going to stop my dirty mind.

Anyway, moving on—you said we’ve got some more character moments here. Care to elaborate? Well we’re still not exactly sure why Ayano doesn’t want to play Badminton anymore but the flashes of backstory we glean points towards a sick or dead mother, so tick that off the bingo sheet. With regards to Nagisa though the majority of her insecurities come from being “tall”—this is the third anime in months (that I’ve watched) that’s had this as source of anxiety for the protagonist, so that’s a thing. Although hers more concretely relates to her being treated by her peers as if “badminton is easy for her because she’s tall” and “being that tall is kind of like cheating”—which in her mind negates all the hard work she does.

That blush, kawaii!

How does she overcome this issue? Well our handsy trainer (and yes he does grab Ayano’s hands without her permission—again!) has a one on one match with Nagisa and it’s cathartic and reassuring to hear her hang-ups through a second party. The trainer character pretty much redeems himself with this single scene and hopefully the writers have enough self-awareness to not have him grab Ayano’s hands again.

Bad touch!

And dare I ask what the deal with the sausage is? Well it’s a motif you see, the sausage represents the audience and the girl’s mouth represents—

That’s enough! Geez, can’t we go one review without you acting like a perv? Maybe one day…

Well she hasn’t been winning recently…

Anything else you wanted to add about the episode? Oh! Yes actually, there’s some really gorgeous looking chalk-style animation during the flashback to Nagisa’s troubled childhood in regards to her height—it’s a simple effect but it’s just done so perfectly I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it—hopefully it’s used again in future episodes!

So are you still happy with the show? Of course, though I’m somewhat surprised the show gave two episodes to establishing characters and backstories rather than any progression towards a sports related goal—but I think it works for the show! It helps to put an emotional core in the show and strengthens the team dynamic. Plus what Badminton scenes we did get to witness were excellent in every respect! Safe to say this series is on-track to being a classic sports anime, at least if these early episodes are any indicator!

Fight on!

Previous Hanebado! Reviews:

Sports Anime + Cute Girls = A Better Sports Anime – Episode 1 Review

If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!



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

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

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.


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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