HANEBADO! episode 4 picked up the action! We’re getting an actual match! Well, technically it’s a practice match, but we get one regardless.
This episode did a lot, actually, I think, in terms of getting the story forward. We’ve been given backstory and personal problems through the first three episodes, building characters, and now we’re diving into Kitakomachi headed to a practice match!
Team bonding happens right away, which I think is very well done, keeping the personalities of the characters distinct, and playing on Aragaki’s transformation through the first three episodes from a complete bitch to a soft, caring individual.
After this we get a shot of a blond girl walking, which honestly confused me, but more on that later.
We arrive at our destination, for what was going to be a training camp, and the team is completely overwhelmed when there is another team practicing. It’s a powerhouse school called Fredericia. Yep, our tiny club has come face-to-face with a powerhouse.
Anyway, Kitakomachi coach Kentaro agrees to a practice match, so we’re given one singles and two doubles matches! Awesome. But first, gotta grab some stuff.
Okay, hang on. Neither team brought enough supplies? I mean, you’re there to practice right, so you should have what you need for your team. This means together you should have enough for both teams. Right? RIGHT?
This confused me, but Hanesaki agrees to go to a convenience store to grab the supplies they need, which also confused me. Through the first three episodes we haven’t gotten much out of the character, but now that she’s part of a team she’s super happy and really likes being part of the team. Maybe I missed something…
Aragaki decides to draw Ayano (Hanesaki) a map to the store, which I love. We’ve all but lost the intense, no-caring, I-control-what-happens Aragaki and now have a compassionate, caring, willing-to-help-in-any-way Aragaki. One that even decides to draw a map!
A childish map, but whatever.
Hanesaki gets lost on her way. I wonder why…
Hanesaki meets the blond we saw at the beginning–the one who was walking. She has a lollipop and offers one to Hanesaki. Hanesaki accepts it, and it turns out that our blond is also lost! GREAT!
“What is this? Did a little kid draw this?”–Blond girl looking at Aragaki’s map asks in deadpan way.
I love this because it gives us a slight dig at Aragaki’s character, who is trying so hard and is now actually lovable, and also shows us how much the blond seems to care.
Turns out this blond girl is from Denmark, but came to the Miyagi region as an exchange student. She came to Japan to beat someone. *Queue seriousness*
Well, with the blond’s determination to crush this specific person, and Hanesaki just loving to be on a team, we have two differing personalities. This new girl seems completely self-centered and obnoxious, while Hanesaki is cute and shy and loving being around people. Crush an enemy, and love being around people to have fun… Hmmm
While I like the development that’s here, what we really get out of this journey is the blond girl’s motivation. When she and Hanesaki find the store, she asks who Hanesaki is. Blond girl gets a name and a rush of emotions I can’t really describe cross over her. It’s like excitement, disappointment, fear, and joy all mixed into one.
This seemed a bit odd to me, and it doesn’t make any sense with the context we have. Why is this new girl so concerned with beating someone? Is Hanesaki the girl she wants to beat?
After the pair get back from being lost, the first match ends with Aragaki winning. Hurray! While we don’t get to see it, I think it’s enjoyable to know that Aragaki won her match.
Now, there’s been a bit of characterization in this show, but most of it is introductory for this blond girl, as well as additions to what we’ve learned about our Kitakomachi team so far. While I like this, it’s nice to actually see a match.
Kentaro, though, is bothered by this blond, whose name is Connie. Connie C.
Connie doesn’t want to play doubles. Uh, great. She’s a bitch? Cool. While the match is supposed to be doubles, Connie doesn’t play. She just stands there while her partner plays 1v2… at 2-10, Connie says “Let’s switch,” and this is when things get serious.
Connie. Is. Good.
Why is Kentaro bothered by Connie’s last initial, it doesn’t make much sense… Until Connie starts playing 1v2. Kentaro jumps us and gasps. Connie Christiansen.
Connie Christiansen is a prodigy from Denmark. She won multiple world titles at just sixteen years old. Okay, so through Kentaro we actually learn who this girl is. She’s not just a bitch to her teammates, she’s THAT good.
But if she’s so good why is she at this school and wanting to play a specific person? This didn’t make sense to me really, until I watched the episode a few times (which I usually do anyway). And then it was all clear to me. The signs were there, the figure, the emotion…
All of this comes to a head when Connie decides to fix her hair. Hanesaki sees it. There’s a flashback to Hanesaki’s mom.
Yes, I know that picture isn’t mine, but it was my exact reaction.
Connie said “big sister,” and I said “Oh fuck…” Literally that hand over face and then those words were how I reacted.
HANEBADO! episode 4 gave us what we needed: a practice match, additional character development from what we’ve learned, and additional characters that aren’t too flat right off the bat. There’s something special going on with HANEBADO! and it’s truly an enjoyable experience. While the first three episodes gave us development into our characters, and have picked up the pacing, episode four gave us a much-needed match against another school.
Hanesaki’s character still seems to struggle with her mental issues that block specific actions and emotions and whatnot, but I think this episode did a fantastic job of showing how much she needs other people around. The bus scene was cute and showed some great character bonding, and the introduction of the Prodigy, the younger sister of Hanesaki, and the girl who was trained by Hanesaki’s mom, was fantastic (although it seemed a bit obvious after a few watch-throughs).
Overall HANEBADO! episode 4 gave us a reason to come back next week. How is Hanesaki going to react to this information? Is Connie going to back down? Is this what Hanesaki needed to get back to her “top form” (the one that utterly destroyed Aragaki in episode 1)?
I guess we’ll find out.
Thanks for reading!