HANEBADO! seems to be taking its time giving us more complete characters than its other female sports counterpart this season. And what I mean by that is it’s gone through three episodes and focused on one or two characters throughout each episode, with the others thrown in for plot/story continuation. In a general sense, though, I think this is actually working in HANEBADO!’s favor. Let’s check out episode 3!!
While we start with a device that I think may be overused by the show at this point, it does give us some information into the personal feelings of one of our main characters, Hanesaki. We start with another flashback–this time, Hanesaki is playing with her mom. But, what it doesn’t really give us is a reason. Elena is there, and she leaves when Hanesaki wants to continue playing.
After this flashback we’re thrown into the “I’m-not-happy-leave-me-alone” feeling with Hanesaki, which doesn’t go over very well with Elena, but I don’t think it would go over with anyone’s best friend, so good on HANEBADO! for actually making it semi-realistic here.
Anyway, remember that pink-haired girl from the end of episode 2 (if you saw the episode or read my last review)?? SHE’S BACK!! And this time, she storms into the gym and demands to play Hanesaki.
Well, what can I say about HANEBADO! here except for they give us just enough in their character introductions to see who we’re going to be dealing with. In episodes 1 and 2 we got the hard-headed, but actually sweet, Aragaki (she just had some troubles); we got the helpful and understanding Riko; and the compassionate and friendly Elena. So what does this say about the show thus far? Well, they’re good at giving us a distinct personality at the beginning, only to open us up to who the characters really are.
However, there’s one character that we’ve yet to get this from: Hanesaki. And really, I’m wondering why. We have some backstory on her, so why not flesh her out? (Plus, at the pace the show is going I only see this one running 12-13 episodes)
Anyway, back to the show: Kaoruko storms in, demands to play Hanesaki, Hanesaki gets timid but ultimately agrees, and Kaoruko wins and easy little game. But what’s up with Hanesaki? She’s timid and afraid? I’m not sure.
Well, it turns out that Hanesaki was given a cold by Kaoruko back in middle school so they could “play on even terms” and Kaoruko won. So yeah. But that’s ridiculous in almost every sense. And yet, we get character out of it. Kaoruko will do anything in her power to beat people she knows are better than her. Crazy girl…
Okay, so with that we’ve got focus on Hanesaki, as well as on the new girl Kaoruko, but HANEBADO! doesn’t stop there. We also have focus on Aragaki and Elena. After Kaoruko beats Hanesaki there’s this bonding moment where Aragaki and Coach Kentaro head to Hanesaki’s home, only to meet her grandparents. Kentaro sees a picture in the home after finding out that Hanesaki hasn’t come home, and realizes that Hanesaki’s mom is SHINDO UCHIKA! (Yes, all caps on my part for emphasis haha)
Shindo Uchika–10 straight national tournament wins. Ten straight?! That’s amazing! Hanesaki is this woman’s daughter? No wonder she’s so good!
Okay, enough with that. We got some information, that’s good. The show seems to do that while giving us character development through relationships, though, so what does it do? It goes back to Hanesaki and Elena. Elena tries to comfort Hanesaki, and we continue with the relationship-building of the show.
Toward the end Elena realizes she needs help in getting Hanesaki to a better place mentally, so she finds Aragaki. Yeah, Aragaki the hard-headed dictator turned sweetheart. Well, they find Hanesaki at the playground, and Aragaki wants to play a set. So they do!
It’s here that we get that happy-go-lucky feeling again. Elena has a moment where she’s watching and Hanesaki is her tiny, young self playing with her mom. And the happiness seeps its way though. Aragaki is laughing and having fun, and we even get a blush and smile out of Hanesaki. The team, led by Riko and Kentaro, show up and they decide to practice/play. It’s light, it’s enjoyable, and it gives life to Hanesaki–something we haven’t seen at all through two episodes.
Elena and Hanesaki’s club submission forms are signed and they decided to join the badminton club. Episode end.
HANEBADO!!! HANEBADO…. what am I not liking about you now? I honestly don’t know. It’s honestly hard for me not to find joy in a show that’s taking its time fleshing out the characters while introducing new ones. Sure, the flashback sequences seem to be getting a little out of hand, but they way they’re built into the show makes them relevant and pertinent to the current episode. It’s honestly hard to hate a show that’s decided they’re going to give characters meaning through relationships, introduce more into the cast through relationships with already established characters, and build off everything from there.
What are they doing wrong? The only thing that’s bothering me so far as of this episode, now that we have reasons and understanding to what’s going on with our characters, is the underlying factor of Hanesaki. Something’s irking me here because I want her to grow like the rest of them. I know that’s a personal opinion, but seeing as how we’ve gotten enough development out of Elena and Aragaki (as well as a decent sense of who Kaoruko is), isn’t it time to get Hanesaki developing instead of leaving her as a shell haunted by her past?
Maybe we’ll get that in episode 4…who knows.
And in case you haven’t read them:
HANEBADO! Episode 1 review
HANEBADO! Episode 2 review
That’s all from me!