Let me just get this out there: Episode 6 of HANEBADO! was amazing…
Why was episode 6 amazing? Let’s get into that!!
We start with new uniforms!!!
Okay, so Riko and Aragaki talk about the new uniforms, which I think is great and gives us a sense of their friendship. We have the once-hardass Aragaki talking with the quiet, lovable Riko and Riko loves the uniforms! Aragaki seems to not care much about them…but uh..you were blushing when wearing it? So I’m pretty sure you like it, Aragaki!!
Anyway, we move from that to practice. Riko is practicing returns with Aragaki (who is hitting). Riko misses, and Aragaki says she could have gotten that one. Riko says “One more time.” Ara: “You’re not loud enough. Shout it out!”…Riko: “One more time!” I love this, and I love the relationship that Aragaki and Riko have, it feels so real. There doesn’t seem to be some forced concept between them to make the show progress in any way. It honestly feels like two friends trying to get the best out of each other in every way, looking out for each other and encouraging the other to do their best! I love it!!
After this we get tournament brackets!!!
And our focus plants itself on Riko, who has to play a friend. This friend made it to the final four last time while Riko made the third round. And now Riko has to play her in the first round!!! AGGGHHH!!!! Why!!! But, I think the show gives us a reason to wonder, because Ayano turns into a bitch, sort of. “Might be tough for you,” Ayano says. Um…is she being abrasive, or deadpan for a reason? What was that? There’s so sort of change in Ayano, and I think it spans from the end of episode 5…Hmmm
We get some more Riko/Nagisa love after this, which is really cementing their friendship and I love it. These two are amazing when they’re together and I can’t handle it. Or, maybe I just can’t handle Riko… I mean, I do have a thing for girls with glasses and dark hair, but uh…..*cough* anyway…..
Riko has brothers and sisters! We get a shot of Riko at home and her family is adorable. After this quick thing we switch to Aragaki, who is thinking she wants to text Riko, but can’t figure out what to say. They had a small argument on the way home, but was it at all damaging? Riko and Aragaki seem so close, so is Aragaki trying to find a way to make Riko feel better? I think so, and I love this character piece because we’re still getting interactions between cast members to drive the plot forward!!!
TOURNAMENT TIME!!! (Hmm…this seems familiar? Harukana, where are you?)
Riko’s family shows up for the tournament, and they’re all excited to see her play! It’s amazing! And I’m excited, too! We get to see someone other than Aragaki and Hanesaki play a match! It’s wonderful!!!
Riko begins play! She gets to serve first against her former friend, and is nervous. She’s basically shaking, which is understandable, but also gives us an idea of where he head is at. It’s a bad serve, and her opponent smashes it right away. Lost point one.
Well, the episode takes a break from showing everything and goes through a bunch of points very quickly. During this, Riko gets very tired. What this actually shows is that while Riko may have stamina, she can’t keep up with a faster paced match. It’s brutal on her, and she begins to lose her focus.
But!! Riko is intelligent and finds a pattern in how the match is being played. She actually begins drawing out the shots on some paper during a change-over/break, which I think is super awesome. It also shows us more of Riko’s character. She’s determined, and is able to calm herself down by diving into something with some sort of plan and passion to compete.
She begins to gain ground, and is having fun! It’s brutal, but it’s fun!
Then she slips… NO!!!! But, I do like this, because it reminds us that Riko isn’t a goddess, and is able to lose herself. While she might have a plan, there are still unexpected instances.
And then…and then. NAGISA!!!!! While playing her own match, Nagisa shouts through then entire gym:
And Riko does. Nagisa got Riko to believe in herself again, and I love it once again. I actually got chills watching this…literally I was sitting and got goosebumps and smiled and actually got emotional because it was so pure and real and beautiful. The characters are driving this plot and I love it.
However, Riko loses her match: the score being 11-21, 19-21…she was so close to reaching a third set!!
What happens next is Riko disappearing and breaking down. But who is there to comfort her by being beside her? Nagisa! Their friendship is amazing and I love how these two characters interact. It’s absolutely beautiful.
There’s just something about this episode that really got to me. I’ve liked Riko’s character since the beginning, but her relationship with Nagisa is special. So often we get shows that use their plot to drive everything and side characters aren’t given enough space in the show. But with HANEBADO! we got a character that isn’t part of the focus (Ayano and Nagisa) and learned so much about her. We were given one episode for Riko to shine, and shine she did. While she may have lose, we got so much character interaction in this episode that it wasn’t dull by any means.
This episode was fantastic because it gave us a rounded, emotional, complete character in Riko, and showed us a side of Nagisa that was not present at all in the first two or three. We truly got to see a friendship that felt real, one that showed how two people can lift each other up and get the best out of one another, but also be there when things get rough.
Hanebado has something special in this episode in my opinion. While we’ve gotten so much focus on Hanesaki and Connie through the last few episodes, and that odd thing about Hanesaki’s/Connie’s mom it was nice to see an episode focus on another character (not being Nagisa).
I still love you, Riko!!!
That’s all from me! Thanks for reading!
Oh, but before I forget (yes, I accidentally skipped over this in my notes and just remember at the end of the review here)…we got momma in this episode. Here are some pictures…
(still hate you…)