Opinion: HANEBADO! is NOT a sports anime!!

Alexie the Great makes a claim that HANEBADO! is NOT a sports anime!!!!



Yep, it’s true. I don’t think HANEBADO! is supposed to be viewed as a sports anime, but rather as an interaction between characters with badminton as a backdrop. Does that sound odd? Yes, it does; however, the main focus of the seven episodes we’ve been given so far isn’t even on the badminton to be honest. Sure, they play the sport, but the interactions and growth of the characters has been the main focus of our show.

Take episode five as a first example:

We get these moments in episode 5 that can show how the episode isn’t about the sport, but about how two characters act and react to specific conversations that are brought up. We get a main character whose mental state is put into question after seeming to be very peppy and lovable(?) in the previous episodes. We get a backstory on a character we’ve just met that shows how she feels about a specific character (Uchika, Hanesaki’s mom).

This feeling plays into the psyches of Hanesaki and Connie, and that is the main focus of the episode…

Episode six? That dove into my favorite character–the amazingly loving, caring, and beautiful Riko! What’s her drive? What’s she got going for her to play badminton? She’s got a support system, she’s got a best friend in Aragaki, and she’s got a family that loves her and wants her to do her best. And throughout this episode we get immense character development out of Riko, with moments like this:

Am I tearing up just thinking about this episode and seeing these pictures? Yes, yes I am–but the fact that our main focus was on how Riko’s personality played into how she was going to try to win, we can see that the episode was more about bringing out the drive, passion, and humanity of Riko more so than it was about actually playing badminton. The badminton was just a conduit for Riko’s character to grow and for us to understand her relationship with Aragaki and how close they truly are to each other.

Episode four? I think this pictures says it allHanebado episode 4 connie like mom

The fact that episodes 3 and 4 of HANEBADO! focused on Connie and Hanesaki, their first interactions and how they were nice to each other, Connie wondering why Hanesaki was “putting on an act” and their subsequent badminton match really puts into perspective that the main focus wasn’t on the badminton, but rather how Connie and Hanesaki were going to play off each other as characters throughout the remainder of the season, or remainder of the episodes, etc…


There is so much about HANEBADO! that is breaking through while we’re continually given badminton matches and tournaments. I’m truly happy I continued with this show. If I go back, I remember the title of my episode 1 review was: “What did I watch this for?” Well, I guess I can now say that I am watching HANEBADO! not for the badminton, but for the formation of relationships within the cast and how the characters play off one another in terms of personality, ambition, their pasts, and how close they’ve been to each other.

HANEBADO! is not about badminton; HANEBADO! is a show about relationships, it’s about past trauma that characters are dealing with, and it’s about personal growth despite what may have happened in the past.


That’s all from me!

Thanks for reading!

Alexie 🙂


8 thoughts on “Opinion: HANEBADO! is NOT a sports anime!!

  1. I totally get what you’re saying here, but disagree with your takeaway. I’m almost entirely opposite, actually.

    imo, the enhanced emphasis on characters and their interactions/struggles is what makes a sports a series great, rather than not one at all. I think the best “sports” stories are the ones that place more focus on the people playing them than the sport itself.

    That holds true for me in anime (most recently MegaloBox and Hanebado!), but also in live-actions movies/series (Rocky, The Fighter, Invincible, Dodgeball etc.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 OHH!!! Disagreement discussion!! I love these by the way.

      I guess I could have clarified a bit on my post, but from my takeaway perspective it seems like we could have thrown these characters in any situation/genre and still had the emphasis on them. While that might not make sense, I think there’s more development and character interactions than sports in this show, which in my eyes is the focus. Even during the matches we’re getting internal monologue, we’re getting their thoughts, their hopes, etc, and (at least for me) it’s overshadowing the current match/game/point.

      Take Haikyuu!! for example. That show was about a kid who wanted to play volleyball after seeing a match on TV in middle school…and we got volleyball out of it. Almost everything he did, as well as what his teammates did, revolved around the volleyball club. Their growth came through volleyball as we saw them play in practice, their inter-high, saw their losses, their wins, and so on. While we may have gotten their reactions, there was very little time spent on any growth outside of playing.
      I don’t really see that in HANEBADO! but maybe I just missed it since I was focused on other aspects. Hanesaki’s flashbacks to her mom, Connie’s story, Riko’s family, Aragaki’s struggles with trying to make Riko feel better, Riko and Aragaki’s relationship… all that stuff is more prevalent when I watch it, but maybe I’m just hyper-focused on it.

      Anyway, that’s just what I’m thinking. I could be wrong. But if I can dodge a wrench I can dodge a ball….*GETS HIT BY WRENCH*

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bruhh mee tooo! The main reason I started my podcast/blog was to have some real legit discussion about anime.

        Yeah, I think they definitely do a better job highlighting the characters’ personal and interpersonal struggles in this one than many other sports series do. That said, I think many other sport series are mostly just “okay”.

        I’d still contend that Badminton and the Club is/are the primary context under which all the physical and emotional conflict takes place. The only reason any of the characters aside from hanesaki and elena even interact with each other is because of badminton.
        I think a lot of that character backstory and growth you’re talking about still comes through badminton. For instance, aragaki. Her issue in the beginning is one of obsessive training fuel by feelings of inadequacy because her success in badminton has always been chalked up to her height, rather than work ethic. Subsequently, her issue is more or less resolved through a game of badminton that she has with coach. The sport is still the key component/medium of development. The connie/hanesaki drama unfolding now is because they’re half siblings with a mom who was world champion player, and obviously a b!tch.

        You could definitely substitute badminton for another type of game or competition if you wanted, but I’m not quite sure you could have things work the same way in just any other situation or genre.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Mom really is a terrible person isn’t she? Hanesaki lost? Ope, time for me to move to Denmark and train this new girl, practically adopt her, and then make her a world champ. Oh wait, you need to go play Hanesaki, Connie. Show her what I made of you when she failed! *immense dislike*…*hissing and booing*

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That sounds wonderful! I’d gladly take up an opportunity–most likely after the series ends. I don’t see this running more than 13 episodes, but we’ll have to wait and see!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. HA, ridiculous, next you’re gonna tell me K-ON wasn’t about light music and was mostly just cute girls drinking tea.

    But I mostly agree with WeeaBroDerek’s sentiments. A focus on character drama does not necessarily mean a sports anime is not mainly a sports anime. Sports has a great emphasis on not only skill, but the personality and charisma of each athlete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Call it ridiculous. You have your own opinion, I respect that, and considering this was an opinion piece you don’t have to agree with me. What I said was that the focus isn’t on the sport, and what’s happened throughout the series could translate into another setting/genre with some tweaks. I still believe the show to be about character interactions, growth, how people deal with heavier issues, etc first and sports second–which in my head doesn’t classify this as a sports anime; rather, it classifies this as a drama. But….I’ve always been an oddball so fuck it haha

      Liked by 1 person

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